Fast nickel

I’ve been pretty busy of late. I’ve been going on more & longer garbage runs because the weather’s been so nice, and I’ve also spent a lot of time organizing the garage and moving my junk to one half the size.

Over the past few weeks I’ve brought a tonne (maybe literally) of stuff to the local auction house that I mentioned in a recent post. I think that this development might be a game-changer in regards to how I run my little trash enterprise. I don’t have enough time in the world to do the work necessary to list and store and ship all the quality things I find on eBay, and some items are annoying or too niche to sell quickly at a yard sale. Plus, like I mentioned in my last post I find it stressful when things start piling up!

eBay is still best for maximizing my profits from certain (especially niche) doodads, trinkets, and etc. Yard sales are a great way to sell cheaper items and whatever else happens to be in storage. However, the auction house allows me to unload quality junk quickly for a reasonable amount of money, and once I drop it off I never have to think about it again!

As for results they’ve been good so far. A few things have sold for less than I had hoped, but others have sold for a fair bit more. Overall it’s been well worth it. I’m most happy with the sales of items that I considered putting back on the curb. For instance, I brought them a large collection of slides that I found last year in St Michel. I sold the ones that were of greater interest (Expo 67, African missionary photos) on eBay but most featured flora & fauna and didn’t sell even at yard sales. I considered putting them back on the curb on several occasions but I decided every time to keep them for one more go. Then, I found out that people are making lampshades from old slides and that they do well at auction. The lot ended up selling for 20$, a total I’m very satisfied with.

Another example is a collection of paper bags (mostly from Steinberg’s) I found relatively recently in Rosemont. They took up a fair bit of room and received limited interest (beyond nostalgia) at my yard sales. I brought them to auction and they sold for 14$. I have no idea what the bidders intend to do with them, but I’m just happy to have the money.

Perhaps the best part about the auction avenue is that it encourages me to take things that I might not otherwise. I remember a few years ago finding about five or six boxes full of separatist notepads, probably from the time of the second referendum. The cover said something like “all the things Canada knows about Quebec” (in French of course) and the insides were blank. Anyways, I thought they were cool but I couldn’t imagine what I’d do with five boxes, so I only took one. Now, I’d take all five and bring them to auction.

Basically I now have a third major option when it comes to selling things (the other two being online and at yard sales). Having this outlet has already changed my decision-making when it comes to dealing with my finds. I found those two cool red lights in the Plateau last Friday. Also in the bags were a plain white globe lampshade, an exacto knife with some life left in it, and this Home Depot bucket. I grouped them all together, with the red lights being the star of the show, and dropped them off at the auction house. I’ll probably get more for the lights than I would have at a yard sale (with much less effort / bartering involved), and I took a few things I might not have bothered with otherwise.

Anyways, I’ll share more auction results when I post my sales summary sometime in the next few weeks. Today I’ll share some finds from a couple of spots that were great for about two or three weeks earlier this summer.

The first spot was the one that provided these old silver pieces. I haven’t done anything with them yet, but I’ll likely list them on eBay when things pick up there again (summer tends to be slow for online sales so I focus on other work).

This lamp was slightly busted when I pulled it out of the bag, but fortunately it was easy enough to glue the broken bits back on. I was also able to recover most of the crystals, though those are fairly easy to come by. I’ve never seen a lamp quite like it, have you? It’s looks pretty old, I’d guess it was made in the 30s or 40s based on the plug and push button switch.

I saved a pretty cool flask, which if I remember right comes from somewhere in Eastern Europe.

These Cazal sunglasses were a great find. I had never heard of the brand before but apparently they’re pretty sought after. I expect these West German frames to sell for three figures.

This cool art piece emerged from its bag unscathed. The artist is Gora Mbengue, a Senegalese reverse glass painter who died in 1988. His work seems to sell in the hundreds of dollars, but I accidentally priced it at 16$ when listing it on eBay. I’m not sure how that happened, except that 16$ is what I planned on charging for shipping within Canada. Anyways, after some deliberation I decided to cancel the order knowing full well that I might get negative feedback – I just couldn’t afford or justify selling it for that little (my intended price was 200$). I think the buyer realized that the price made no sense but left bad feedback anyways, I was hoping they’d have more sympathy since they sell art themselves. Oh well, I don’t think having a bit of bad feedback really matters anyways, as long as you respond to it maturely.

I also found a bag of old photos, a lot of which seemed to come from the Middle East. Most weren’t overly exciting, but I did enjoy this series of luxurious dog photos.

These drawings were more interesting. Most date from the 50s and I’d guess that they were drawn while the artist was in the Middle East.

I was hoping to find more at this spot, given the silver haul and other interesting throwaways, but the source dried up pretty quickly.

Around the same time I had brief success at another spot nearby. One day I found some nice old frames inside the bags.

The top piece is titled “Autumn Sunset” and is signed by a H Boyer. I forget who signed the bottom one but it’s cute. The middle piece is a paint by numbers.

I found this little hand painted photograph behind the image of Jesus on the top right. The caption is “Digby Gut [a channel near the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia] and the Princess Helene [the ship].” I can’t make out what the signature says, it looks like “Karl Yoker” to me but I couldn’t find any reference to that name online. Any help identifying it would be appreciated!

That top piece is an old Charles Sawyer colourized photo titled “Echo Lake.” It’s only worth 20$ or so but is very attractive. I took the ship painting out the frame and found that it was signed R,W. Glass (or something close to that). Again, I couldn’t find any reference to that name online, so maybe I read it wrong.

That top piece is titled “The Harbor – Provincetown.” No mention of an artist. The middle piece is titled “Lake George” (possibly New York) and is signed by S,W. Mann, or something close to it. At the bottom is a classic print of Madonna by Raphael.

Now to the non-art finds. This Smith Corona typewriter was pretty grimy when I found it, but looked way better after a go-over with a microfiber cloth. I brought it to the auction house as part of my garage clean-up, we’ll see how it goes.

I also found a Eumig projector inside a turntable box …

… two really old, really heavy mirrors (the smaller of the two is shown);

… a vintage waste basket;

… some miscellaneous junk, which I put into a box I found nearby;

… and a great old wooden clock box, which looks to date to the late 1800s. Thankfully, the glass was still intact as well!

I remember finding some cool beakers (I think for dark room solutions) and vintage new age magazines as well, but I don’t have any pictures of those.

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One-hit wonders

Sometimes a house will provide great trash over a period of weeks or months, but occasionally I’ll find noteworthy junk on the curb on just one trash day. Today’s spots fit into that latter category. Whether I was just late to the party, or whether only a limited quantity of things were purged we’ll never know.

By the time I was done here those bags were largely empty. I also found some nice stuff in the bins.

I saved a nice old set of plates by Simpsons Potters of England that made their way to the curb. A few were broken, but thankfully around 6-7 were still intact and in pretty good condition for their age. They might have a bit of value on eBay.

Otherwise I found several toolboxes filled with various hardware related bric-a-brac. I don’t think any of it is super valuable, but it’s definitely yard sale worthy! I don’t know what some of these tools are for, so feel free to share any insights you might have.

My best find though was a bag of jewelry in one of the bins.

Here’s the cream of the crop. The two irregular brooches / pendants (red stones, colorful pattern) are both Israeli silver. The Star of David is also stamped but I can’t make out what they say. It’s likely silver, however. On the bottom right are a set of mostly silver charms including an Italian horn, another Star of David, a Chai, a hand holding some keys, and and a wooden fist. I don’t know the symbology of the last two, so feel free to fill me in. The most valuable pieces are likely the ones at bottom centre, all of which are stamped 14k gold. For scrap they’re worth close to 300$, but I’ll try to sell them as is.

I thought that piece at top right was nice but I didn’t see any marks on it. Until yesterday that is, when I finally spotted a 14k stamp near the base of the pin. It weighs a hefty 9.75 grams, making it worth around 300$ in scrap. That’s a nice bonus!

I’m lucky to have chanced upon this spot that first night. Since then, I’ve seen nothing of interest.

Another house produced great stuff on a heavy garbage day but very little otherwise. I saved the pieces to an old Raymond sewing machine table, which should be an easy sell at a future yard sale or auction.

These former trees are pretty unusual. I’m not sure what they were made for, but they’d make a nice jewelry display at a yard sale.

I saved a bit of ephemera including postcards, tourist items, and university related papers. It seems someone graduated from UBC as a mechanical engineer in the 1950s.

I found a cookbook that was published in 1877! Unfortunately, someone glued a paper dust jacket to the cover and I don’t think it’s going to come off cleanly.

I found plenty of neat miscellaenous junk, including an old brass ashtray (one of two) made for a Thomas Robertson Company, a glass ashtray from the Monteleone hotel in New Orleans, an antique baby bath thermometer…

… the decorative part of an old orange box, a vintage fly swatter;

… and some old car stuff. I found a bunch of trophies related to rallies and driving (maybe a dozen in total), two Triumph car badges, and one for a 1970s Oldsmobile Cutlass.

I also saved four old car plates from the early 60s. I couldn’t find any reference online to the “Canadian Capers” or the Tulip or Quebec rallies, so let me know if you have any information as to what those would have been. I listed the four together for 100$, we’ll see if anyone bites. It’s hard to price things accurately when there’s nothing out there like them. In my mind it’s better to ask for too much than too little.

We’ll finish with more car badges, which fortunately were relatively easy to price. Both the RAC (Royal Auto Club) and Triumph Sports Owners Association badges sold fairly quickly for 50$ a piece.

I would love to have found more here but so it goes. Vintage car stuff is a great seller.

I’ve recently commissioned my first items at Encans Quebec (Quebec Auctions) after meeting someone who works there and talking with some folks who’ve had positive experiences. I’m hoping that it’ll be a good way to unload things (especially large things) quickly and at low effort while reducing the stress caused by owning way too much stuff. We’ll see how it goes, but I expect I’ll be doing this regularly going forward. I’ll definitely keep using eBay for most items though, I think it’s the best way to maximize value (especially in niche markets).

Otherwise, the warm weather has made me more adventurous in terms of my garbage routes. I had good luck on a Ville St Laurent heavy garbage day last Thursday, and ended up in Anjou on Friday (though there was no garbage). This week I’m thinking of checking out Montreal Nord and Laval, but if I feel lazy I’ll go somewhere closer.

Links

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3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Help me pay off student loan debt / Contribute to the blog
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Dribs & drabs

I reached a minor milestone on eBay recently by getting to 500 feedback. That means I get that cool purple star next to my username instead of the old turquoise one! The next colour is red but I won’t be seeing that for a while.

I had my second major yard sale of the season yesterday. It was pretty busy and I got rid of a lot of stuff, which is great because my storage space was a disaster and I needed the money. I was planning on announcing it here, but I wasn’t able to complete the blog post in time. Sorry!

I finally got around to looking through that collection of photos I found recently. There were a lot of good ones, but I think the most interesting was a series taken in the Yukon during WWII. It seems that someone was stationed there with the RCAF during the war. He also had a bit of time to do some exploring, including visiting some natives communities in the area. Fortunately the photos are well described on the back, thereby preserving a lot of the history that would have been lost otherwise. Zoom in on the pictures for a closer look! I wish I had more time to show you a more in-depth look, I just have too many other things to do.

Last month I went to Ville St-Laurent for heavy garbage day and found some old tools. I know this isn’t the best picture, but if anyone can identify these please let us know in the comments! I think the Eastman Machine tools were part of a fabric cutting machine, so maybe that’s a hint…

I found some neat old magazines in NDG. The coolest (to me) were the official guides for the 1969 & 1970 Montreal Expos, the first two seasons of the ill-fated franchise. Based on eBay’s completed listings I expect the 1969 to sell for about 50$ and the 1970 to go for around 40$.

Unfortunately, this spot didn’t provide much otherwise.

I’ve been having fun in St Michel lately. I picked up that cute end table a couple weeks back and sold it to a friend for 10$. I really like the old chair on the right.

It bears a sticker from St. Mary’s Hospital in Cote-des-Neiges and was probably made in the 1950s. It’s still really sturdy after all these years and should sell for maybe 10$ at a yard sale.

I went back to the chair spot the week after and met the folks doing the tossing. They were clearing out an old house, and offered me some furniture and junk they were looking to get rid of. My favourite piece though was one I saved from the curb, a sort of primitive looking cabinet maybe four and a half feet tall. I’d guess that it was handmade sometime in the 50s or 60s. Does anyone else like this style?

I did take a bit of free stuff, including this huge old mirror. It was in pretty nice condition, and I sold it to a friend for 50$.

I also took a few large pieces of art – I’m a sucker for the amateur stuff. These all sold for 10$ at my yard sale. This hunting scene seems to be signed “H. Jelos.”

I was told that “Peter” sold art door to door many moons ago. Based on the frame, I’d guess this was made in the 70s. It’s an attractive landscape.

This one, another “H. Jelos” features some obvious Christian symbolism.

There was some other nice stuff I would like to have taken, but there was only so much room in the car!

I noticed these bottles on the curb elsewhere in St Michel. The tosser noticed me looking at them and offered me two extra cases, which was nice! He told me that these old Italian Brio bottles were delivered door-to-door around forty years ago. That sounds about right based on the graphic design.

Otherwise, my best find from this Thursday’s run came in Ahuntsic. I spotted a pile of boxes on the curb and went to take a look. Most held nothing of interest, like long expired school textbooks, but one contained a neat old Heathkit AA-32 tube amplifier. From what I read this dates from 1964-1965 and was sold as a kit to be assembled by the user. It’s a pretty cool looking machine and is a fair bit older than most of the other amps I find. From what I can tell, this amp (which is in solid cosmetic condition) sells at around 100$ for parts and 250$ in recently serviced condition. I’ll test mine out and will likely eventually sell it for somewhere between those two amounts.

My haul last week was surprisingly small, outside of some stuff I’ll mention in an upcoming post. Here’s hoping this week is better. Some gold would be nice!

Links

1. Facebook page
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3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Help me pay off student loan debt / Contribute to the blog
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Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. Staying on top of emails is not my best quality, so please be patient (but feel free to nag).