Fog-brained

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. My brain just hasn’t been very cooperative lately. I have a hard time focusing on anything for any length of time, and keep procrastinating on essential tasks like finishing my taxes and buying clothes. I sometimes struggle to see the point of it all, which sure sounds like something someone with depression would say. I’ve probably spent / been spending too much time alone, which doesn’t help. However, I am trying to eat better (snacking on raw veggies like snow peas, carrots, and turnip), exercise more (going on bike rides, often inspired by nearby trash days), and cut down on caffeine. We’ll see how that goes.

Regarding garbage, this year’s really been a dud so far. I haven’t found any “omg” finds, some nice stuff here and there but little that’s blog worthy. I’m starting to feel like a lot of people did their purging last year, which was great for me, and that the next year or two might be less fruitful than usual. Either that, or I just haven’t been particularly lucky.

Anyways, here’s a few things from last year I haven’t posted yet (there’s still lots more to share, including some “omg” finds). Someone sent me a picture of the pile above on Instagram, and I went to check it out. It looked like an entire apartment was on the curb. I saw evidence of potential bedbuggery on one of the furniture pieces, so I decided to focus on small, easily cleaned items. 

This stuff was pretty grody, so it was probably for the best regardless. All my finds fit into this gross lockbox and a cast iron pot.

It needed a good clean, as you can see. The few things that needed a more delicate touch, like that watch, I wiped down with a damp cloth. 

That was a nice hunk of copper for the scrap bin (left). Haven’t seen any others quite like it, so I wonder if whoever owned it worked in metal processing or something.

Anyways, here’s my pick of the most interesting stuff (and a bit of random junk). I saved a pewter gargoyle & bird skull bracelet, a wizard brooch, a Zippo lighter, a small amount of scrap silver and a tiny bit of gold. That skull ring is a little intense, I’m wondering if it’s a biker thing. It’s silver plated and marked “G&S RP 87.” Based on my acid test I think that bird skull bracelet (?) at top right is unmarked solid silver. It looks pretty well made, and the eyes are some kind of milky-coloured stone. I’m going to have to do some research on that one before doing anything with it. 

Here’s some jewelry I found at a one-off in Hampstead. The little necklace in the middle was tangled up pretty bad but was silver & made by Tiffany. I think it ended up selling for a couple hundred bucks. The rest of this stuff was silver as well, if I recall correctly.

This was the only interesting piece of jewelry found at another spot. Can anyone make out this signature?

I found another small jewelry haul in NDG, along with some other quality junk though nothing exciting enough to post here. The bracelet was silver, and the lone cufflink was 18k gold. The latter was hefty enough that it alone was worth around 250$ for its weight. I was thinking the pearl earrings were gold too, but they were not. 

Here’s some stuff from a Westmout one-hit-wonder. There was lots of relatively high-end touristy stuff here, a lot of which went straight to the auction. I took pictures of the smaller stuff, like that little stone dish (made in Kenya), and those little ceramic tiles (made in Mexico). 

They also tossed a nice collection of pens. The nicest: a Sheaffer fountain with an 18k gold nib (gold cap near middle), a Cross fountain which I can’t find right now, and a matching Pelikan fountain & ballpoint. Most of the rest were medical swag, so I’m guessing the previous owner was a doctor. I didn’t know thalidomide was still around… the more you know.

Finally, some pens from a particular successful run (at least when it came to finding pens) in NDG. One spot offered two of the same Parker “cisele” sterling silver ballpoints, which are always an easy sale (though I may keep one), while another spot gave me a set of Sheaffers, a nice green Parker fountain, and a very striking gold-tone Parker with a 14k nib. I still have all these, I have to figure out the model name and all that if I want to get the best price.

Anyways, that’s all for now. Hopefully it won’t be another two months before I can get my brain in gear again.

Just up the street

This was one of my more exciting spots last fall. They started tossing right around when someone living just up the street stopped.

On one of my best days here I found a bunch of loose jewelry in a bin. There was a bit more inside some black trash bags.

Overall I saved about 3.25 pounds of jewelry. A small portion of that was silver and gold.

I thought that ring in the gold pile might be white gold, but it turns out that stainless steels holds up well against the testing acid. Regardless, I can’t complain about this haul. The bottom right piece was designer costume jewelry, I forget by who.

Don’t worry, that’s just an air gun. It sold for good money at auction though. Otherwise, I found a couple camcorders, cell phones, a Blackberry tablet, two iPods, and a bit more silver & gold jewelry (I wish I took a close-up photo of that bunch). On the right is a David Yurman sterling silver money clip that I sold on eBay for just north of 200$.

The suitcases in the first picture emerged on one of the last productive trash days. A couple of them produced quality finds.

That little wooden box held a set of old weights, as well as two golden nuggets.

They’re heavy, and test as high purity gold, so I think that’s what they are! It seemed that there was at least a couple generations of dentists in this family, so I’m assuming these would have been used in dental fillings. With a combined weight of about 18 grams, and assuming they’re 20k or above, these little pebbles are worth about a grand in scrap.

Other notables include a marcasite and silver bracelet, a silver “US Air Force Strategic Air Command” ring, and a Jaeger le Coultre travel alarm watch. It didn’t work at all, but being a nice brand I was still able to sell it for a bit over 200$. All in all this was certainly one of my best spots of the year.

I had some luck Tuesday in NDG last week, but car troubles set me back Wednesday thru Friday. Hopefully this week I’ll end my cold spell, which has been going for around three months now. Fortunately, preceding that was a roughly six month long hot streak, so the lull isn’t bothering me too much (besides being boring).

Sunnyside

Quality finds were pretty hard to come by all through February and so far in March, but I expect things to pick up once spring cleaning gets going. Here’s some stuff from late September, when some rich folks moved from a house they’d clearly been in for a while. They were nice, and told me to take whatever I wanted.

This bag interested me because I saw a jewelry/trinket box poking out the side. I brought the whole bag to the car and sorted through it there, partly for convenience and partly because people can be weird about their bags. Most of my best finds were inside.

A lot of it was kids stuff from the 70s and 80s. I brought these games, electronic and otherwise to the auction where they sold for 60$ or so.

I also brought them mementos from a slightly controversial 1986 class trip to the Soviet Union. They sold for 22$ if I recall correctly.

Here’s some sunglasses and watches, the nicest of which were vintage Timex. Nothing super fancy, but they did sell on eBay for a bit.

I saved a lot of miscellaneous “quality junk,” the kind of stuff which is fun for yard sales.

Some of this stuff, like the “thumbcuffs,” were sold on my new Instagram account “garbagefindssells.” To be clear, I got someone else (Katie) to run the account in exchange for a good cut of the profits because I suck at doing that kind of thing. So far it’s gone as well as I could possibly have hoped, helping me unload a certain class of item more quickly and for more money than I’d get at the yard sale or at auction. Also, I like how the format helps to highlight certain items that might not look like much at first glance.

If someone wants to go back in time and beat the 1980 Selwyn House football team I got their playbook!

Lightly used wallets are always a hit at my yard sales, and these ones weren’t even used!

Believe it or not vintage batteries can sell for decent money on eBay. I’ve been stashing them away for a while, and now I might have enough for a lot. 

As is often the case, my most valuable finds were some bits of jewelry. I saved a silver Wolf Cubs ring, silver Mount Stephen Club cufflinks, a large silver ring with the word “veritas” and a lion on it, a 14k gold razor blade pendant, and a gold chain with a skeleton key pendant attached. All in all, this spot netted me several hundred to a thousand dollars worth of stuff.

I know I said I would post more, but I’ve been feeling uninspired to say the least. Depressed is probably a better word. I blame February, the weather and the 8pm curfew we had, which our all-knowing Premier graciously extended to 9:30pm yesterday. I suppose the curfew is all well and good if you have a family to go to home to, but for us single folk it can be a pretty isolating experience. Plus, I’m not sure it accomplished anything. Cases are down, sure, but in my opinion that’s due to the other restrictions. Anyone who tried doing grocery shopping before curfew started knows first-hand that forcing people to go to the store (or do anything, for that matter) around the same time isn’t a great way to encourage social distancing. Anyways, don’t get me started!

I look forward to the warmer weather, the later curfew (and, perhaps one day no curfew), and finding good trash again.