The horseshoe

You can’t predict garbage, and occasionally I still happen upon a pile that forces me to explore a whole new world of junk. In this case, it was trading card games.

These folks tossed bags upon bags stuffed full of trading cards, including Pokemon, Magic, Yu-Gi Oh, Cardfight Vanguard, and a few others. Here’s my trunk largely filled with them!

The number of cards I found is pretty incredible. My best guess currently is that there are somewhere between 30-50 thousand in total. I recently emptied the bags into boxes to make them easier to stack, and based on the weight of one box I’d say that I have about 150 pounds of cards. That’s basically me, but in card form.

I knew nothing about these kinds of card games. So, I did some research and now I can say that I know very little about them (a slight improvement). I know that some cards can be super valuable, but most aren’t worth much unless sold by the pound or thousand. I know holographic cards tend to be more powerful / valuable than regular looking cards.

Thankfully my sister and her boyfriend have some familiarity with Magic, and while they’re not experts either they definitely know more than I do. For my birthday (on the 30th!) I told them that the best possible gift was to come and help me organize this giant mass of cards. Here’s a scene from that day. The different card sets were all mixed together in the bags, so I figured step one was to reorganize them into boxes I bought from the game shop. The three of us spent about four hours doing this, and we got through maybe 20% of the collection.

We separated the holographic Pokemon cards when we saw them, and I found an app for my phone that scanned the cards and showed their value on the marketplace. Most weren’t worth much, but I did find some cards in the 1-5$ range, a couple of 10$ cards, and one (an “Ex”) that was worth 30$.

I’m glad I found that 30$ one, if only because it shows that the collection wasn’t totally picked over before it went to the curb. A lot of the people I’ve talked to have wondered why they were thrown out. It’s a good question, one that is important to consider when thinking about how much time and effort to put into researching them. The best case scenario for me is that they belonged to rich kids (this was a nice part of town) who moved away from home for university, and when their parents were getting ready to move (the house had been sold) they decided to ditch the dead weight without consulting the kids. The worst case scenario is that whoever owned them picked out the best cards, and tossed the rest. The 30$ card doesn’t make the worst case scenario impossible, but it does indicate that their tossing might not have been a super organized affair.

Anyways, I’ll keep you posted as I learn more about their cards. They’re a good find regardless – I’d guess that, sold in bulk they’d make me a few hundred bucks at the auction house. But I’ll do my due diligence before I take the easy way out!

The dregs from that spot came a couple weeks later. There were just a couple trash cans out, inside of which was random junk which I’d guess was left behind after the move. I spotted something old and metallic at the bottom of one of the bins, and that object turned out to be this old horseshoe. Hopefully it bodes well for the card collection! Regardless, my luck immediately after finding this horseshoe was quite good. I found some top quality (ie: “best of 2019” worthy) junk that night, which I’ll share here soon enough. I also happened upon a great spot purely by chance later in the week.

I’ll share those finds soon enough. In the meantime, here’s some miscellaneous finds from recent weeks. This is an old chair I picked up in Ville St Laurent. I thought the woodwork was pretty good, and the upholstery in decent shape for its age. Mid century and industrial is where the money’s at these days, but this chair still sold for 40-some dollars at auction.

Nouveau Bordeaux & Cartierville haven’t been as productively lately, but I did pick up this pink sink there last week. I wasn’t sure if they’d take it at the auction house, but thankfully they did – otherwise I might have put it back on the curb. It’s an American Standard that was made in 1963, and I hope it’ll be as popular as that vintage trash can that sold for 85$ a while back…

I found this busted frame in a bag the other day in Westmount. The picture was unusual, so I took it home for a closer look.

Behind the broken glass was a cool embroidery on what felt like silk. I’d never seen anything quite like it, but someone on Instagram identified it as a silk picture – a style that was popular in the late 1700s and early 1800s. This image, a woman laying flowers on Shakespeare’s tomb, was a particularly popular picture to reproduce back in those days – you can find a brief history of it here. Mine’s not in the best condition and probably isn’t worth much, but it’s always cool finding something that old!

My old wallet fell apart recently. Fortunately, I found this one at just the right time (okay, maybe a few months later than would have been ideal). It looks to have been made for the Piaget watch company, so it’s a pretty classy looking wallet! A lot of other cool stuff has come out of this spot, but I’ll share those finds in a future post.

The Mile End has been productive again lately. I found these Slinky Crazy Eyes in their original box a little while back.

Here’s me (pre-haircut) putting them to use. Pretty fun! They’re worth about 20$, but I might just keep them.

I found a bunch of jewelry while walking last week. Most of it sucked, but I did save a gold cross on a silver chain, a single silver cufflink, and a cool silver & turquoise brooch. I’m guessing that this stuff was tossed because of a move, and I don’t expect to find anything there going forward.

More impressive was this haul from just down the street a couple weeks back. It included a couple of silver rings, a bit of perfume, and a great pair of Parker 51s.

The set includes a fountain pen and a liquid lead pencil. The presence of the liquid lead dates the pair to the late 50s / early 60s, that being the short time frame in which the “LL” was produced. It’s a beautiful set, and with the original case it should sell for at least 200$, perhaps more depending on the exact colour (which is kind of hard to tell). Nassau green for instance is an uncommon and collectible colour, but mine could also be “navy grey”… I’ll have to take a look at them in the sunlight before saying anything for sure. Regardless, that was a fun find!

Also fun was this old Yves St Laurent dusting powder, which when opened revealed a 14k gold ring. That’s a first for me! I’ve been getting pretty lucky with gold lately, and I’ll share more examples of that soon enough.

Otherwise I’ve been busy, maybe too busy doing organizational stuff. I recently spent some money and bought some industrial shelves, which should make it easier to keep the garage clean going forward. The weather has been mixed at best, but I expect that I’ll be able to do a yard sale in a week or two.

Links

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3. Help me pay off student loan debt / Contribute to the blog
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Recent sales (January & February)

eBay

January: 2658 – 300 (estimation of fees) = 2358$ on 33 sales.

February: 1390 – 165 = 1225$ on 19 sales.

Total: 3483$.

Old car flags: 150$. These sold pretty soon after (finally) being listed. I’m guessing they were from the 20s or 30s, and made to hitch onto the front of a car. Found in Westmount.

Red Walkman II, for parts or repair: 100$. This didn’t work at all, but was in excellent cosmetic condition and red, which is a relatively uncommon colour for this fairly early model. Found in Cote St-Luc.

Waterman Phileas fountain pen: 100$. Found near Vendome metro on one of my best runs of last year.

Vintage B&L Ray-Ban Aviators: 321$. People sure love their vintage Ray-Bans! These came in their original leather case and were in excellent condition. I went with an auction because I had a hard time pinning down a price, I can’t complain with the results! Found in the Mile End around moving day of last year.

Giorgio Beverly Hills VIP Reserve: 175$. I think this is the most valuable single bottle of perfume I’ve sold thus far. Part of a nice collection I saved last year in Westmount.

18k gold Victorian brooch: 300$. This thing sat around for years. I was afraid to list it for too little, but was also reluctant to pay someone to appraise it. I’ve learned a lot over the years, and one day relatively recently I realized that I could trust my own judgment (and eBay’s completed listings, of course). So, I finally got it listed, and made a decent chunk of change as well. Found in Hampstead.

IBM Model F keyboard: 300$. This was part of a post estate sale purge. Vintage mechanical keyboards have good value, especially when they’re like new and come in their original box.

Vintage French & Arabic canister set: 90$. Found in Nouveau Bordeaux.

Gora M’Bengue (Senegalese artist) reverse glass painting: 200$. This was the piece I accidentally listed at 16$ and got negative feedback for when I cancelled the sale. It was a good choice I think, as the bad feedback didn’t seem to affect my sales and I didn’t want to miss out on that much money. Found in TMR.

3 Frank Schirman Hawaiian black coral figurines: 120$. I found a paper bag full of these figurines alongside the Russian dolls I posted recently. I’d guess that the previous owner operated a store at some point – I can’t think of another reason one might own 20+ identical figurines. Regardless, there seems to be a market for them (perhaps relating to the resurgence of the Tiki bar) and this particular buyer bought three. This should end up being a nice haul assuming the other twenty of so eventually sell. Found in Outremont.

Local auction

2113.50$ after fees.

Two vintage tin guns: 85$. This came from the place where the tosser got really mad at me (like top three all-time mad) for looking through his trash. That encounter was nearly two years ago, but they’re still throwing interesting things out, albeit inconsistently. Fortunately I haven’t seen that guy since. These toy guns were missing a couple of pieces, but were still in very good condition for their age.

Lot of vintage earphones: 85$. Here’s a good example of my combining several items in the 20-30$ range to make a quality lot. I make less money than I would selling them individually, but doing it this way saves me so much time. There’s a near infinite number of things I can list on eBay at any given time, so I have to pick my spots wisely lest I become a workaholic.

Map from the 1700s: 85$. This one was the most valuable from the collection I saved in December. I wish I could have gotten more photos of this understated haul, but unfortunately I just didn’t have the time.

Richard W Schofield Memorial Trophy (for the St. Lambert community sports association): 44$. Apparently random trophies are worth decent money. Found in Ahuntsic.

Lot of picture / book stands: 55$. I found these in a bin (I can’t help but check them) while casually walking around my neighbourhood. The final price is especially satisfying because I feel like I got paid to live my life. I wasn’t expecting them to sell for this much, but I guess the solid brass ones were actually pretty nice. Found in the Mile End.

Untested Nintendo 64 w/ Smash Bros: 95$. Video game stuff always fetches a good price here. I didn’t have any controllers so I wasn’t able to test it. After a while I got sick of looking at the thing and brought it in as is. I’m pretty happy with the result – apparently the “clear black” N64 is a relatively uncommon model, so that might have driven up the bidding.

Faux stained glass shutters: 40$. I saved these literally seconds before they were crushed by the garbage truck. In fact, one of the sections was already in the mouth of the beast when I walked up to the pile, but the garbage man was nice and saved it from oblivion. They were just plastic and wood, but they’re still pretty cool. Found in Outremont.

Small stained glass windows: 65$. I pulled these ones of of a trash bin in Ville St Laurent.

Scrap gold / silver: 1300$. I had a pretty nice collection, including a bunch of 18k, so this run was more profitable than most.

Total: 6896.50$ so far in 2019. That’s a great way to start the year!

This week has been a great one for garbage. It’ll take a little while to process it all, and maybe I’ll have to enlist someone to help me out…

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

Last of 2018 pt.2

Recently I’ve been covering downtown, in particular the Golden Square Mile a little more often. I think I’ve been underestimating the potential of apartment buildings, especially those housing a wealthier demographic. Sure, most apartment trash goes down a chute and mixes together at the bottom, creating an extremely smelly and generally undesirable concoction that I’d prefer to avoid at all costs. However, I’m sure a lot of people, when moving or clearing out an apartment, figure that it’s easier to bring their bags of goodies to the curb rather than cram all their junk down a small hole. Or, so I can hope.

Regardless, I found these coins just off Doctor Penfield while out on a casual run with my mom. There’s more than 10 Euros there, as well as 6+ British pounds, which adds up to around 25 Canadian dollars.

People throw out their foreign coins on a pretty regular basis. This is my current stash of Euros and British Pounds, the currencies most worth holding onto (I also keep Australian & New Zealand dollars but those don’t turn up quite as often).

I forget what this all adds up to now, but it definitely translates to somewhere around 100 Canadian dollars. Most foreign exchange places have no interest in coins but I was able to sell my last collection to a couple of blog readers for somewhere between 1:1 and the actual exchange rate. If anyone else is traveling to Europe soon and doesn’t mind bringing a couple pounds of coins with them let me know!

This pile provided my best downtown apartment finds in recent memory.

Many of the bags held gross chute trash but others contained old china and other kitchenware. You’d think that this kind of stuff would break on its way to the curb but more often than not it survives the trip.

This place was perhaps most notable for its platters, a couple of which look to be quite old. The one at top left is a Paloma Picasso piece so that’s not quite vintage, but the ones below it are definitely dated.

I’d guess that this one is the oldest of the bunch – it has a sort of uneven glaze, especially on the bottom, and bears no signature. After a bit of google searching I found a platter that has a similar design, at least in terms of the octagonal shape and the way it was glazed. That one was made in the 1700s, and shows wear on the underside that you’d expect from a piece that age. Mine doesn’t show much sign of wear, save for a few chips around the edges, meaning that it’s either been extremely well preserved (aside from it’s trip to the curb) or is a relatively recent reproduction. I don’t know much about old dishes, so please let us know if you do!

This one looks quite old as well. The pattern slows slight inconsistencies, making me think it was painted by hand. It does have a mark of some kind on the underside, though I have no idea what it says. It’s possible that they’re letters or numbers in a language other than English – the first two symbols look a lot like Arabic.

I also found this little guy. It measures about 15×6″ and looks pretty “mid-century.” Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be signed, but let me know if you’ve seen something similar.

This large 17″ decorative dish was also an interesting find. There’s a Star of David in the middle so I’d assume it’s of Jewish origin but I know nothing of the design otherwise. There are wires on the back for wall hanging, but I suppose those could have been put on after the fact. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, so let me know if you have! Regardless, I feel lucky to have found it in such good condition.

Unfortunately that was all I found here. Maybe I missed out on even more great stuff on the previous garbage days…

I found a bunch of intriguing stuff at a spot in TMR this summer, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to catalogue most of it. I still have one unusual object I found there, that being this ceramic vase (about 5″ in diameter) that looks like stone or petrified wood.

It’s signed on the bottom but I can’t make out what it says. If you know anything about it please let us know in the comments!

I found this necklace in with some other less notable pieces. There aren’t any hallmarks but I’m guessing it’s made from a low grade silver (like 80%). I should test it. Anyways, it’s a neat design and I’m hoping someone here will recognize it. It looks a bit “tribal” to me.

The dryer at my house broke, so when I happened upon this one on the curb in a rich part of town I decided to give it a shot. I didn’t know if it would fit in the car, but it slipped into my hatchback with an inch or two to spare. I wish I had a video of me wrestling this into the car by myself – it was quite the feat! It did end up working, so I’m glad I made the effort.

Let’s finish with this old c. 1930s “Magicoal” faux fireplace that I spotted one night on my way back from the grocery store. I met the guy who brought it to the curb, he was clearing out his apartment because the triplex he was living in had recently sold. He encouraged me to take it, and mentioned that it had been in the house since he moved in – and presumably for a long time before that.

I was going to take it either way. These things make fun mood lights (as seen above), and if I decided not to keep it I knew it’d sell for a bit of money at the auction house. As I went to pick it up I also thought about how it’d be a great place to stash something.

Indeed, I looked in the back and spotted a dusty bank envelope. I excitedly carried the beast (the thing is cast iron and must weigh about 50 pounds) back to the car for further inspection.

Inside the envelope was 262$! I doubt it belonged to the guy who tossed it, as he was younger and didn’t seem like the type to forget their stash (especially after going out of his way to bring this thing to the curb). I’m guessing it was left by a previous tenant – the bills were all from 2004 and the toonie, which looked lightly circulated was made in 2012.

I never had much luck finding actual cash in the trash before 2018, but then I found three figure stashes on three separate occasions. I’d be happy if this trend continues in 2019, but it’s more likely that the garbage gods will choose to reward me in some other totally unpredictable way.

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