The Wecolator

Thanks for all the comments to my last post! It does make me feel better to know that lots of people support what I do and enjoy the blog. I think a thick skin and regular words of encouragement are necessary in any misunderstood profession where people sometimes react harshly to your work. Off the top of my head I can definitely empathize with the parking enforcement folk, who rarely meet anyone happy that they got a ticket. If you can think of any other jobs where dealing with negativity is constant, please share them in the comments!

After discussing all that negativity I figured it was a good time to share a positive encounter with someone I met at the curb (in Westmount, no less). I first happened upon this pile way back in February – if you’re currently suffering in a heat wave like I am, looking at that picture might make you feel slightly cooler!

Most of that first pile was actual trash, but I did salvage this cute Birks silver dish somewhere amongst the clutter. It’s not worth a whole lot, maybe 20$, but finding silver is always fun and leads me to wonder what other valuables might get tossed in the future.

At some point I met one of the people doing the tossing. She asked what kinds of things I was looking for, a question I struggle with to this day because the possibilities are nearly endless. In general I’m looking for things with value, but that’s pretty vague and clearly I see value in items that other people don’t. I probably said something along the lines of “things I can sell at a garage sale,” but I should probably think of a better line than that. Either way she took my phone number, saying she had a lot of stuff to get rid of and maybe I could have some. She then lost my number, but we met again maybe a month later and actually got in touch.

In the meantime I picked the trash, often finding little of value beside vintage curiosities. I’m a sucker for old tins and jars, so I took this c. 1960s “Killex” lawn weed killer. “Killex” seems like a strong word for something that mainly kills dandelions and clover.

A couple of pieces ended up in my collection, like this “Yolk Egg Paste” made by Rose & Laflamme. I’m not sure what yolk egg paste does, but today it smells a bit like molasses. I’m guessing this is from the 60s as well.

Also, I saved what might be the cutest can of chemically destructive aerosol deodorant ever made! I’m pretty sure this is from the 70s.

The finds improved as the weather got warmer. One day I was greeted with this chipped plaster bust. I didn’t know who it was, but someone on Instagram told me that it was Adam Dollard-des-Ormeaux. He was a folk legend of sorts here in Quebec, especially in the 1800s, but his legacy is now a matter of debate. Regardless, the chips weren’t so bad as to ruin the piece, and it sold for 30-some dollars at the auction house. I think if it were re-painted most people wouldn’t even notice the damage, but I have no idea what the buyer did with it.

This vintage lamp was pretty dusty when I found it, but looked a lot better after I sprayed it with a hose (pictured post-hosing).

This teapot has unfortunately been busted in many places, the cover especially which is broken into over ten pieces (and missing a chunk maybe 1×1 cm2). Someone took the effort to glue it back together though, and I figured it was worth taking home. It looks pretty old, and I was thinking Chinese (but I don’t know ceramics that well). The pot and spout are actually intact, so that’s a good thing. If you know anything about this, please let me know!

One day I found a jewelry box. There wasn’t anything super exciting inside, but I did get some fun yard saleable stuff and trace amounts of scrap silver and gold. Also, those Duvalier-era Haitian bills were cool. I sold them to a friend who does art with old money – apparently even dirty bills like these clean up pretty well because they’re usually made with high quality paper.

This tin was a little more exciting. Under that Argentinian bill were a couple bits of silver, a few coins, and a tooth pendant of some kind. I’m confident that the top is made from gold, but it’s tough to make out the hallmarks.

Around this time I met the woman again. As it turns out she was clearing out her childhood home after her father had passed away. She offered me a range of free stuff, a lot of which I took. She let me pick the garage before she paid someone to empty it – I found several cool things, and gave her a bit of money to show my appreciation. She seemed like a very nice person.

One thing I got for free was this old Wecolator stair lift. I’d never seen anything like it before, and I decided I had to have it. The beast weighed about 300 pounds, maybe more, and the piece with the chair was especially heavy – I needed to get a roommate to help me move it. The rails were sturdy and reminiscent of an actual railway track.

Not long after I brought it to my garage it became clear that it was going to be difficult to sell for anything other than scrap. The local auction house wasn’t interested, and I put it on eBay just to see if anyone would bite (they didn’t). As you can imagine this thing took up a lot of floor space, and after a while I got sick of tripping over it. It had to go, but I wanted to see if I could find it a better fate than the scrapyard.

Fortunately I thought back to an old neighbour who is well known in the community for his steel sculptures. I gave him a call and he was happy to take it off my hands. I was very happy to get it out of my garage, so I’d call the outcome a win/win. Last I heard he was getting parts of it sandblasted – maybe I can post the results here sometime in the near future.

So that all worked out, but in the future I should avoid projects that require a lot of work and little (and in this case, no) profit!

At one point I was offered this neat plaque. I forget why, but she thought I’d like it. The plaque was made for the Wabasso Cotton Company in 1956 in recognition of their 25 years making Sanforized (basically pre-shrunk) textiles. I remembered the company because I found a 10k gold 35 year service pin early last year in Rosemont.

Later I noticed that the plaque was signed “Dieges & Clust Sterling.” I don’t know its exact weight, but based on the size I’d guess that it’s worth about 150$ for its weight in silver. I don’t plan on melting it though, it’s cooler as a decoration I think.

This was the last trash pile. A very colourful one as well! Most of the furniture was too worn out to be of value, but I found some cool little things inside the bags.

This yogurt container held a bit of junk, and also a minor treasure (I hope the fortune is accurate as well!)

That three leaf clover brooch came from the yogurt container. It’s signed but I can’t make out what it says (you can see the mark below). Regardless, the leafs seem to be made of little rocks and the piece looks quite vintage. That necklace on the right is also pretty nice, I think it’s silver but again the marks are pretty difficult to read (it might be double stamped). Otherwise, I found a cool Noras necklace (likely silver plated), a Parker Jotter, a tobacco pipe and a ring sizer.

On that last day I also saved a few cameras (none of which seemed to work, but all sold at a yard sale for a buck or two), some metals for the scrap bin and a few other curiosities.

One of my favourite finds was this old house number plate. I’m a sucker for these as well, and I’ll likely put it up on my wall at some point. It’s different from the usual blue enamel plate you find in Montreal, and I’d guess it’s around 100 years old.

On the whole it was a very pleasant experience. Hopefully I can meet more nice people going forward! My luck on that front hasn’t improved since my last post, however…

I’ve found a lot of great stuff recently, but I want to share a few more of my awesome spring finds before getting to those. I’ll try to finish that off soon, but writer’s block has been a challenge as of late.

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

Le quartier ukrainienne

I’ve been keeping my eye on this spot in Rosemont for a few months now (as you can probably tell from the snow in this picture!). It’s near Boulevard St Michel, in a part of town that’s home to a large Ukrainian population. One thing I enjoy about visiting different parts of town is finding different kinds of stuff, and I appreciated the little look into Ukraine that this trash provided me.

[Here’s an interesting fact I found on Wikipedia: “According to the 2016 Census, there are over 1.35 million Canadians of Ukrainian background living in Canada, giving Canada the third-largest Ukrainian population behind Ukraine itself and Russia.” I didn’t know it was that many!].

On this day one of the bags looked to have been run over by a truck. There were bits of junk all over the place, but I tried to clean it up as best I could (I keep extra garbage bags in the car just in case the need arises).

That bag held some interesting stuff. I found an old Expo 67 just laying there on the ice. It survived in pretty good condition, but probably wouldn’t have if it had ended up in the stream of water not far away.

One neat thing I found that day was this silver & enamel pin. According to people on Instagram it means “Ukrainian Canadian Committee” (or something along those lines).

I finally got my photo lights set up the other day, and I figured processing the stuff I found here should be my first order of business. A lot of it had been sitting around since the spring, and I figured it was time to add most of it to my yard sale pile. If you like the photos, or have any constructive criticism please let me know in the comments! Also, remember to zoom in if you want a better look!

Here we have a few film reels (contents unknown), a bowling award, the Expo 67 passport, three dusting powder containers (alas, little actual powder), and a weird boob thing with a broken bell inside. It’s made to be hung on the wall.

Here we have some quality junk, like an ashtray and pen holder both featuring the number “69” and some bowling pins. Not sure how they’re related, but I’m sure someone will appreciate them at my upcoming yard sale. The walrus on the left is one of those faux Inuit pieces that apparently littered gift shops back in the day – here’s an article from 1983 discussing the issue.

The lily tin was filled with sewing stuff. The wooden box on the right was made for Invincible cigars.

I found these small things the same day as the cigar box, and I had them stashed in there for the last little while. I love finding those old wire rim glasses, in good condition they usually sell for around 30-40$.

Here’s some miscellaneous quality vintage junk. I’m a sucker for old containers, so I picked up some “Suede Renew” spray, Lady Empire shoe colouring, and Baribo-Maid toothpicks. That bottle of Crabtree & Evelyn “Lily of the Valley” eau de toilette still smells pretty good! It looks to be a popular scent, and should be worth listing on eBay.

Here’s a big collection of little junk. The most valuable item might be the Birks “Regency [silver] Plate” ring box to the top right of the Bay Bob Pins. It’s a nice piece, and looks to sell for around 60$ on eBay. Otherwise we have another bowling trophy, an image of the Ukrainian Orthodox Jesus in a brass frame, an “I love to read” pin, some kind of Eastern European perfume, and an old Schwartz tarragon tin.

The icons were one of my most recent finds from this spot. These people are tossing pretty intermittently these days, but it’s not too far out of the way so I still go every week just to see.

The blue piggy bank on the right was made by Reliable toys. I found a pink one exactly like it a while back. The “baby” cup (second from bottom left) is pretty cute as well.

Yes, those sunglasses are larger than usual. There’s a silver tie clip around the middle, and next to it is an enameled pin. The Japanese fan originates from Expo 70 in Osaka.

One day I saved a bunch of handkerchiefs, many of which were stuffed in the pouch on the bottom right. I think handkerchiefs are coming back into style somewhat, and I expect these to be popular at my upcoming garage sale.

A lot of this paper ephemera originates from a Furness Bermuda Line cruise. The trip in question took place in 1953, which seems to be around when the post-war cruise industry was peaking (later to be replaced by “megaship” cruising).

One day I found these two paper bags with old ponytails inside. I didn’t know what I’d do with them, but I’m drawn to save unusual items! I think there’s a market for old hair, but I don’t know what people do with it. I think it’s too old to be of much use in wigs…

Otherwise, this Labatt lamp was a fun find. It sold at auction for around 10$. I was hoping for more (local brewery stuff often does pretty well, even when it’s really kitschy) but that’s realistically about what it was worth.

I also saved a nice old Waterman fountain pen. It’s definitely an older model, probably dating to the 30s or 40s, and comes with a 14k gold nib. I haven’t had time to research it much, but I’m sure it’s worth at least 50-60$.

So, a lot of fun finds, and some with a bit of value as well. I’ll keep my eye on that spot, and if they toss anything else of note I’ll be sure to post it here.

I’m planning another garage sale for tomorrow. Most of these things will be there, as will lots of other things. I hope to clear the place out and start fresh! The address is 924 St Gregoire near Laurier Park, and I’ll probably be open from around 12 to 6 (probably a bit later too, if people keep showing up). It’s supposed to actually be hot out for the first time this year so prepare accordingly!

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

Restlessness pt.1

I happened upon one of my best spots so far this year completely by accident. I was feeling restless one evening and I decided to go on a garbage run that hasn’t been in my regular rotation for some time (basically, the Montreal West area at night). On my way there I got the idea to check out a couple of streets in a different rich neighbourhood where the garbage is usually picked up early in the morning before I can get there. That’s where I found this massive pile of trash, and discovered a spot that would produce many treasures over the next few weeks.

I met the guy doing the tossing that first night. He seemed pleasant and a bit eccentric. He was happy that I was interested in some of the bigger objects, but was convinced that there was nothing good inside the bags. He was worried I’d make a mess if I looked through them and I couldn’t convince him otherwise. He seemed stressed out, so I decided to continue my trash run and return later in the evening. Fortunately, when I returned maybe two hours later there was no one in sight and I could do my work in peace. I ended up filling the car with bags, and sorting them later in my garage.

In a way he was right, probably 95% of the stuff in those bags was worthless. However, there were also a few treasures within. This bag held some old Archaeology journals, as well as a glass case filled with sherds.

Generally speaking I don’t think individual sherds are very valuable, even if they’re ancient. Still, they’re definitely cool! There were a couple of coins in one of the sections, and maybe those are worth something.

One coin dated to the 1870s (it’s hard to say where it’s from, the other side is pretty illegible), but the other looks to date back to ancient Greece. I’m not a coin expert, so please share any knowledge you might have! I know there are lots of quality replicas out there, but my guess is that this one is real. The fact that it comes in a little package makes it seem a bit more legit.

I don’t think most ancient coins are super valuable either, but I’m sure it’s worth something to someone…

A lot of other great stuff was packed away in little old boxes, like this one from Eaton’s.

Here’s a look inside…

… and here’s the unpacked contents. The dolls look pretty old, I think their faces are made of plaster. I assumed that the piece of wood with two pegs went with them, but now I’m not sure. Either way, the piece of wood is from Poland, Krakow specifically – you can see the stamp below. I also found two skeleton keys, a nice old brooch (probably early 20th century & made from brass), a piece of birch bark with (Polish?) writing on it, and an old pair of eyeglasses of the “pince-nez” variety. That style was apparently most popular in the late 1800s.

Later I was surprised to spot a 14k gold hallmark on the glasses, which you can see in the photo on the right. I’ve never found solid gold eyeglasses before, and this puts their value probably in the low hundreds of dollars. The letters “EBM” are also stamped on the glasses, but I haven’t figured out what that means.

Other boxes contained natural materials, like this box of rocks and shells. One rock had “GaspĂ© 58” written on it.

Another box held a large collection of small driftwood. I wondered what I would do with all this stuff, but fortunately the auction house decided it was interesting enough to sell as a lot. It’s actually listed right now, and the bidding ends tomorrow (Thursday) at around 8:10pm. If you’re interested check it out here!

That’s really just the beginning, but let’s finish with some things I wouldn’t have saved if I hadn’t have returned that first night. There were a few cool things in this old, beat up file box, including an Esterbrook fountain pen and a 1950s (fairly early) Dunhill Rollagas lighter.

You can see the Rollagas again at the bottom left of this shot. Dunhill lighters are pretty sought after, and I recently sold mine via eBay auction for 124.50$ even though it wasn’t in perfect condition. Not bad!

Otherwise, we have a collection of mostly local matchbooks, a few coins, a Parker ballpoint pen with a sterling silver cap, a knife and fork in 800 (80%) silver, and a 10k gold heart-shaped pendant. Not bad for “junk”!

This spot has a lot more to share, but I figure it’s best to space it out a bit. Plus, there’s still some stuff I want to get pictures of.

Elsewhere, garbage has been off the hook lately. That’s always a good thing, but my garage is a mess and I’m definitely feeling a bit overworked (but not quite burnt out). I am occasionally tempted to put everything (or at least the yard sale stuff) back on the street, but it’s probably best to resist those urges.

At this point the only way to get my garage organized is to get rid of some stuff, so I’m hoping to do a yard sale this weekend, probably Sunday. I’ll add an edit below on Saturday updating the status one way or the other.

Edit: Garage sale is Saturday instead because they’re now calling for thunderstorms on Sunday! Address is 924 St Gregoire, near Laurier Park starting around noon.

I also decided to buy new photos lights. I think these ones are better suited for taking the kind of photos I want and I’m excited to set them up.

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