I'm a professional scavenger making a living selling curbside garbage. This blog details my finds and sales. It also acts as an archive for things beautiful and historic that would otherwise have been destroyed.
One of my best china hauls since that big collection of teacups several years ago came from this pile in an affluent neighbourhood near Olympic Stadium.
This box was stuffed full of it. I got the feeling that these had been packed away for years, other than the green glasses which I’d guess were added before the trip to the curb.
Here’s what was in the box, minus three glasses and a few bits that broke along the way. The biggest set, which features teacups, demitasses, and two handled consomme bowls were made in Limoges by someone with the initials RH (the stamp looks similar to the one on this set).
As for the other teacups, the three on the left seem to be fancy enough to be eBayable. The well-gilded one on the left was made by Royal Chelsea, and the pair in the middle were made by Hammersley. The other two are nice as well, I forget who made the one at far left, but I think the dainty cup next to it was also made in Limoges.
These green sculptural glasses were perhaps my best get. I did some research and found out they were Cambridge (Ohio) glass, and likely made in the 30s or 40s. It seems that they sell easily for 80$ a piece, and likely more if you’re patient. I have ten, all of which survived in excellent condition.
In the bags I found a few pieces of “aluminite,” which were also made in Limoges and quite vintage. I’d never seen this before, and it’s probably worth selling as a lot at the auction.
I also found a bag full of nice clothes, most of which looked to be from the 70s (look at those patterns!). They all looked barely used, some still had price tags on them. A couple were by a designer whose work seems reasonably desirable, but I can’t remember his name right now.
All this stuff smelled lightly of cigarette smoke. Thankfully, it wasn’t overpowering as it sometimes is, though I might have taken that pink armchair if it didn’t have that smell. I haven’t had luck here since, but I’m not giving up on this spot quite yet.
I’ve had a hard time getting those first words of a post down these days. Once I get those done, the rest seem to follow alright, but I’ve had a hard time focusing / have been too distracted. Pandemic brain perhaps? Regardless, I’ve had pretty good luck lately, and have lots of pictures to share. I’m probably going to write shorter posts for a bit to keep things flowing a bit more smoothly.
Also, I plan on doing a yard sale this Saturday starting around noon at 4096 Coloniale (near Duluth). Hand sanitizer is available, masks are recommended. The area around my garage has become a construction nightmare and I’ll be lucky if I have a sale there again this year.
The spot that provided those nice late 50s/early 60s collectible cards didn’t offer me a Mickey Mantle rookie card as I’d hoped, or many other sports cards for that matter. Still, I collected some quality vintage junk, some of which was eBay worthy.
Most of this is fun yard sale stuff, the only thing that isn’t is the old earthenware pot in the back which I grouped with another old jug I found and brought to auction (the lot ends on Tuesday).
Here we have some old rulers, tins, and stencils. Those Normand Hudon playing cards would have been worth some money, but the cards inside didn’t match the ones on the cover.
More vintage junk for the sale. The letter is from former MP Charles Drury, who also held several cabinet positions over the years and served in WWII. The Holt Renfrew credit card dates to the 80s and is now part of my collection of old cards.
I like maps, and on the back of that letter was a nice one of the riding of Westmount (which includes some bits of NDG / CDN).
Here’s a fun sign that I’m sure someone at a yard sale will appreciate.
I did find a bit more old hockey stuff. This Jean Beliveau souvenir magazine went to the auction with some other Canadiens stuff.
I also picked up many pages of hockey calendars from the early 70s. I sold one batch for 60$, and I have another listed at 75$ (just discounted).
Most of this stuff has been processed now. I sold sets of cards for 85, 60, and just yesterday 135$ (the Civil War cards including the relatively rare checklist). Another lot sold at auction for around 40$, and I have a couple more eBay lots yet to sell priced at 40 and 65$. Overall, including a couple pieces of furniture & the yard sale stuff, I’ll end up netting around 400$ from this spot. Not omg, but a quality weekly destination regardless.
I did my first “real” yard sale of the year yesterday. I sent an email out to my mailing list subscribers (which I haven’t promoted as much as I should, sign up here) and posted on Instagram but I’m sorry if anyone wanted to come but wasn’t notified. Anyways, it was a reasonably good day, not my most profitable sale but still well worth my time (I made around 580$, 180$ of which I paid for a friend to help). Perhaps more importantly I was able to declutter my garage a bit, which should make it easier to reorganize it a bit (as I’ve been wanting to do). I’ll be doing more sales soon, as I’d like to get rid of as much as possible before winter.
I don’t think a spot has ever produced such an overwhelming amount of stuff as this one. I currently have around 12 big bins worth of this stuff at my garage waiting to be dealt with. Given that my first find here came over a year ago, I’ve decided that I have to accept that not all of it can (or needs to) make the blog. I’ve begun looking through it all again, taking pictures of some, relocating others to the yard sale pile, etc. I keep an eye on this house still, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this spot has produced its last great trash pile.
Anyways, I have a tonne of pics to share still, even before I get to the other 12 bins of junk. In time I’ll share more (if non-specific) details about the location as it’s an interesting place historically, but for now I’ll keep that to myself. The tosser was furious the one time we met on the curb, which makes me a bit hesitant for now…
Anyways, this is more stuff that came from the dumpster that arrived relatively recently. Those wooden dolls are Japanese and signed – there was a fair bit of 60s & 70s Japanese stuff as someone residing here visited there at some point. They’re currently an auction lot, ending in about a week and receiving a good amount of interest. I like old containers, especially if they’re 1970s flea powder and have cute dogs on the front. I also love old glass vessels where the numbers were in the mold, like that shot glass-sized measuring cup in front of the doll.
Otherwise, “Word taking and word making” is a turn of the century era version of Scrabble or Bananagrams. The pieces (they look the same as the ones in this similar example found on Google) had spilled into the dumpster, and I remember doing a pretty thorough dive to make sure I didn’t leave any (or, at least many) behind. I don’t think it’s super valuable, but anything that old is cool to find.
Here we have a couple copper vessels, which probably aren’t anything too special, a bit of silver plate, another old glass measuring bowl with the numbers sticking out, and a brass doohickey (bottom right). If you have any idea what it’s for, let us know.
The most intriguing thing here is probably that ceramic container with the wood-like exterior. I’m not sure if the “wood” part was originally there because under that is some old writing. I want to see what’s written underneath, but I also want to make sure I’m not devaluing it by removing the “wood” (which I think is probably artfully-shaped pulp). It probably dates to the late 1800s or early 1900s, as does that thingy in the center, which was broken and repaired at some point.
Lots of old tools and junk here. Nothing too fancy, but great for the yard sale.
I saved a whole bunch of vintage and antique knives. Most went to the auction with some other cutlery but didn’t sell for much. I kept one or two that I figured might be listing on eBay (I forget which right now). Old knives and cutlery sets can sometimes be worth good money depending on who made them.
I saved four beautiful Victorian fireplace tiles, which survived their trip to the dumpster (and also 100+ years on Earth) in excellent condition.
They were made by Minton & Co. in Stoke-Upon-Trent, England, probably in the late 1800s. They’re about 1″ thick, so I think they were made for the fireplace. I haven’t been able to price them yet, but I suspect they have some value.
One of the first bags I pulled from that dumpster contained a few really old bottles, as well as some unused antique cabinet-style and other photography card stock (top right). I found more of the latter later on. I ended up collecting a medium-sized box worth, which I brought to auction before they went on their 2-week vacation last week.
A few of the bottles contained medicines, but most held paints or other artistic materials. The bottle second from the left broke and released some stinky ammonia-like substance, but fortunately it broke in a way that wasn’t super noticeable from the front.
For a closer look, click the thumbnails below. To zoom in, go to the bottom right of the thumbnail page and click “view full-size.”
The “catarrh snuff powder” on the far left is pretty cool. It was made for general lung ailments, including excessive phlegm (which used to be called “catarrh” apparently). My other favourite is the Winsor & Newton’s “Indian Red” watercolour paint, which was stored in a cool ceramic vessel with a bit of steel fastening the lid in place. I haven’t done any research into these bottles yet, but I suspect the medicine bottles are fairly uncommon and potentially valuable (especially to a local collector, as they come from Montreal pharmacies).
Anyways, as you can see there was a tonne of really old stuff here. I’m not used to dealing with so much at once, which is part of the reason I’ve taken so long to post it! Anyways, there’s lots more to come…
I’ve been doing a “pay what you can / what you think is fair” sale in my front courtyard for the past couple of days, and will do one tomorrow as well (I’ll bring some fresh stuff as well). I wanted to let you know earlier but I’ve felt a bit overwhelmed of late. Anyways, you can come to 147 St Joseph Ouest anytime between 9am and 8pm, and just leave whatever cash (or Canadian Tire Money, broken silver/gold jewelry, other small valuables) in my mailbox. I may or may not be there to say hello. The sale is obviously a fair bit smaller than the usual sale, but there’s still lots of quality junk. I do plan on doing a “normal” sale sometime soon, once I have a plan in place that complies with the city’s guidelines.