Spring cleaning bits & bobs

Spring has definitely sprung. That means the cat is happy, and extra garbage (quality and not) is making its way to the curb. Today I’ll share some recent finds, some of which are related to spring cleaning, and some of which are due to people moving (which also tends to happen more when it’s warm out).

This pile in St Michel was mostly trash, other than the contents of the plastic case that I pulled out from underneath that floating box.

Inside was a diverse array of metal bits & bobs. There were toy cars, random bits of copper and brass, a few kitchen utensils, and a couple old long brass door latches that I think will do well on eBay.

Perhaps most notable though was this collection of skeleton keys, some of which are quite large (the biggest being about 5″ in length). The designs on the end are pretty unusual as well, helping to make this the nicest collection of skeleton keys I’ve found in one place. My mom loves skeleton keys, so she’ll likely end up with at least a few of them…

For a few weeks one chap was tossing all kinds of barely used tools in preparation for a move. I just sold the carpet knee-kicker for 70$, and I have the carpet iron and air powered caulk gun listed on eBay as well.

Buddy also tossed a seemingly never used GraLab darkroom timer, which I sold on eBay for 85$.

That spot’s last productive garbage day featured office-related stuff and a few junk drawer doohickies, the most valuable of which was this 10k white gold MedicAlert bracelet. At 6 grams, it should net me about 170$ at current scrap prices.

An Instagram follower alerted me to a huge pile of trash in Rosemont, which I’d guess was the result of someone clearing out a storage area. Most of it wasn’t my bag, but I did pick up a couple nice (I think Chinese?) horse sculptures, a couple old toy cars, a cute vintage cat figurine, and a few other doodads.

If ever you have a hot garbage related tip, feel free to message me. Facebook & Instagram messages are probably the best way to do so, though sometimes I miss those notifications as well.

One of my best spring cleaning finds came from a pile on Victoria Avenue. (I also grew up on a Victoria Avenue, but elsewhere in Quebec). I found a lot of quality junk there, including kitchen stuff, silver plated Bombay Company accessories, and a small fur coat. Most valuable was a collection of jewelry, which I’d guess belonged to someone my age or younger. I picked all the different pieces out of the black trash bag and placed them in an old Tupperware tub for sorting.

The highlights were: a monogrammed 10k gold ring, a bulky Mexican silver bracelet, a pearl bracelet with a gold clasp, and three different pieces signed “Tiffany” (the key, the chain attached to it, and the necklace on the bottom).

I’m sure the key is a fake Tiffany piece, because it claims to be sterling silver but is not (based on an acid test). The chain is likely real, however, and I’m fairly confident the necklace on the bottom is as well. It’s funny to own both real and fake Tiffany products, but I’m sure it’s not that uncommon given how often Tiffany is faked. Anyways, assuming the “Return to Tiffany” necklace is real, it’s worth around 300-400$.

The silver bracelet second from the bottom would have been nice as well, but the woven silver thread has broken a bit in a few places, so to wear it you’d have to commit to being poked regularly. It’s still worth about 10$ for scrap.

Otherwise, I forget where I picked up this scooter. I thought it looked well made, so I brought it back to the garage where it sat for a few weeks. Then, a friend came by and mentioned how her roommate just bought a similar one on Amazon for 180$. Hearing that motivated me to get it listed on Kijiji, where it sold pretty quickly for 50$. Can’t complain about that!

Some folks in Westmount tossed this nice old rocking chair a couple weeks back. My first thought was to sell it, but once I sat down I found it to be surprisingly comfortable. We’ll see what happens, but for now it seems like a good fit at the house.

Otherwise, eBay sales have been strong of late. My biggest sales of late have been an older ophthalmology machine that sold for 600$ (we just have to figure out how to get it to Cambodia) and a set of Order of the Holy Sepulchre Medals for another 600$ (a find from last summer that never made the blog). I don’t plan on sharing my sales regularly anymore, but you can always see what I’ve sold recently on eBay by visiting my eBay listings pages and sorting by “sold” only. The only thing is that they don’t show you the “Best Offer” sold price (though I rarely use that feature, and you can find the accepted price by using watchcount.com) and an item still shows up as sold even if the transaction is cancelled (which is why I “sold” three Expos posters instead of two). However, usually once the price goes “green” the item is out the door.

I think the auction house is set to open again in a week or so, which will help me clear out my garage and make some cash. I’m still not sure when yard sales will happen again, or what they’ll look like once they do.

I saw a bit of good news as it relates to Covid-19 and trash picking. Apparently most transmission is person to person, and the virus in most circumstances won’t survive very long on random surfaces. It’s still a good idea to keep the hand sanitizer close by when looking through trash, but this is still good news nonetheless, especially since social distancing is baked in to garbage picking already.

Anyways I’m pretty far behind when it comes to sharing my quality finds here. I’ve been too easily distracted by the news, so I got a friend to put parental controls on my phone so that I can’t check the most addictive websites so frequently. Hopefully this leads me to be more productive / feel more at peace going forward.

Links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings, Sign up for eBay, Search for something you want / research something you have (I’m a member of the eBay Partner Network so I make a bit of money if you buy things [even if they’re not mine] or sign up for an account via these links)
3. Help me pay off student loan debt / Contribute to the blog
4. Follow me on Instagram
5. Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com – note that it might take me some time to reply, and that I am unlikely to be able to fulfill requests for items

Montrose

It’s getting cold out there, so let’s go back to the summer when this spot was occasionally productive. On this day in June I picked up a couple old trunks, both of which ended up selling for okay prices at auction.

The pickings were hit & miss. The bags were mostly junk on this day, but thankfully I spotted an old clear plastic bag full of lighters. None were super valuable on their own (even the one at bottom right, which seems to date to WWI) so I brought them to the auction, where they ended up selling as a lot for 55$.

The last day was one of the most productive. I picked up a bunch of quality junk, including an old bank, a depression glass dish, some vintage scissors…

… a fun & very old clover-like table mirror;

… a nice wooden box with a mirror inside, a fun Noritake nut bowl with some “3d” nuts inside;

… a great Sheaffer pen set, which includes a fountain pen with a 14k gold nib;

… and an old beaded cushion. Some seem to think it’s a pincushion, but I think it was made to hang from the wall. Either way, these were apparently made by the Iroquois in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It’s in fairly good condition all things considered, and it should sell for around my 85$ asking price on eBay.

One day I found a bunch of photos. Most weren’t too exciting, but this one of a cricket team is pretty cool. It was taken by Glasgow photographer J.B. Macnair probably in the 1880s. I don’t know much about cricket, but this photo is the kind of thing that might be worth more if I figure out who’s in it.

On my best day here I opened up a bag and found a box filled with jewelry.

There was a lot of quality costume jewelry inside. The green necklace is a Sherman piece, and those always go for good money. There’s another nice shiny necklace by Continental, and a gold-tone one by D’Orlan. There’s a bit of silver, like that Bond-Boyd brooch (with the blue stones, probably the nicest Bond-Boyd piece I’ve seen) and the bird brooch.

My favourite piece is probably this Italian micro-mosaic brooch, which was made by Fabbrica Angelo Pessar (FAP) in the late 1800s or early 1900s. Not only is it quite large (diameter: 5.1cm), it’s very detailed and uses negative space nicely. It’s the nicest example of a micro-mosaic brooch that I’ve seen to date, so I priced it at 200$, which I think is the high end for pieces from that era.

I’m also intrigued by this set. It looks to be made from silver, but there’s no hallmarks to be seen. Again, the details are pretty nice, with filigree petals and individual stamens (the long things in the middle of the flower, basically the pollen producing bits). A lot of those stamens are squished down, but I was able to bend them back into place pretty easily. If you happen to know anything about these, even the type of flower, please let us know in the comments! I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

Otherwise, yard sale season is officially over. It was a pretty good year of sales, but I’m also happy to take a break from it all. I did a big purge, and will come back next year with a whole new collection of quality junk. I might try selling some of my mid-range finds at a flea market sometime this winter but nothing’s official yet. If I do that I’ll post the details here, and I’ll send out an email on my new mailing list.

Links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings, Sign up for eBay, Search for something you want / research something you have (I’m a member of the eBay Partner Network so I make a bit of money if you buy things [even if they’re not mine] or sign up for an account via these links)
3. Help me pay off student loan debt / Contribute to the blog
4. Follow me on Instagram
5. Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com

Questionable judgment pt.2

Today I’m sharing more finds from the house that tossed the heavy sterling silver dish in the fall. These guys exhibited some of the worst judgment I’ve ever seen in my career as a garbage picker – whether that was due to ignorance, total disinterest, or a combination of the two we’ll never know. Their treatment of precious metals was notably poor, but they also threw out other quality items like the art glass vase above.

The bottom was signed Orrefors (it took me a while to figure that out), the name of a respected glassworks company based in Sweden. It had no notable defects, and sold a while back for 80$.

This “boy with umbrella” Royal Copenhagen figurine also showed no signs of damage. It’s about 18cm tall and should sell for around 70$.

Some of these things were wrapped in fabric before being tossed. Or perhaps more likely, they were stored wrapped in fabric and then tossed. Either way, this clay sculpture survived its trip to the curb more or less unscathed. It’s signed by Demetrio Garcia Aguilar, a member of the Aguilar family of Oaxacan potters. It’ll probably sell for around 80$.

(For the record, I’m a bit like Alex Trebek – I may seem all knowing but I’m really just holding cue cards, or in my case doing a lot of research beforehand. For example, I knew nothing about the Aguilar potters before finding this sculpture!)

This unusual wood figure was made by J.M. Poirier, a fisherman and folk artist based in Nova Scotia / Îles de la Madeleine. I’m hoping to sell it for around 80$.

I think this old brass thing is a pull of some kind. It’s pretty big actually, measuring about 12cm in diameter. I’m not sure what to ask for this, so if you have any ideas please share them in the comments!

This set of lightweight midcentury etched glass mugs also made it to the curb in surprisingly good condition. They’re marked Schott Mainz Jena Glass on the bottom and would be great for coffee or tea. They’re worth about 10$ each, but I’ll give a customer at this vintage market a good deal when I sell my trash there near the end of the month (April 28-29, save the date!).

This little silver dish was made in Peru by Camuso. It should sell for around 30$.

The best silver piece however was this large sterling cigar humidor, which according to the inscription (which I’ve partly censored out) was given as a retirement gift to the President of a local congregation in 1944.

The box weighs about 1.2kg, probably 1.1kg of which is sterling silver. That puts the scrap value of the box at approximately 550$.

However, I’ll definitely be able to add a healthy markup to that. This box was made by Carl Poul Petersen, a Danish-Canadian silversmith who apprenticed under the legendary Georg Jensen. Inspired by this fruit bowl of his that recently sold on eBay for 4450$, I finally got around to listing mine recently for 4000$. I’m probably fishing a bit with that price, as the fruit bowl seems like a bit of an aberration (though his stuff does sell for good money) but hey, it’s better to start way too high than way too low. At the very least I expect this to be the first single item that I sell for four figures (those Expo 67 photos from a couple years back sold for 1200$, but that was a group of items; also, the George Nakashima chair sold for over a grand, but after shipping I made only 900$).

This is why I called this series “Questionable judgment.” I find sterling, mostly in the form of mediocre jewelry on a regular basis but it’s pretty unusual to find bigger pieces. This place offered me two of them, with a combined scrap value of about 1000$ and the potential for a fair bit more. I can understand throwing out silver plated stuff, which has little intrinsic value, but you’ve got to wonder what was going through this person’s head when they were bringing these things to the curb.

Part three will feature more quality junk and more precious metals, but that’ll be a little while yet. My “best of 2017” post is almost done so be on the watch for that. Otherwise, I’m swimming in great finds right now and thus have lots to talk about. These days I’m feeling like there’s not enough time in the world to deal with all the stuff I’m salvaging, and I’m trying hard to avoid getting burnt out over it.

Links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings
3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Contribute to garbagefinds.com
6. Follow me on Instagram

Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. Staying on top of emails is not my best quality, so please be patient (but feel free to nag).