Ridiculousness

This year has been a bust, but last year was fantastic. This spot provided some of my best finds of 2020, and just a few days before the New Year.
I feel pretty confident that this stuff was tossed when a kid came home for the holidays and cleaned out their old room. There wasn’t a lot on the curb, but the things that made it there were pretty top quality. I found two Macbook Pros, one from 2010 and one from 2015 (I’m guessing they got a new one in 2020). I finally got around to listing both on eBay recently, and they should earn me around 125 & 275$ respectively. The newer one has a cracked screen, but is still usable. I also had to wipe the hard drives before listing them, but that’s not too hard to do.

Most notable though were the vanity items, particularly the jewellery.

There’s a fair bit of silver in this picture. The most valuable piece was the Tiffany heart tag necklace, which was real and sold for close to 400$. I’ve found a couple of those now, so maybe they’re more popular with gift givers than they are with gift receivers.
I also found a pair of Tiffany earrings, which I think sold for 100-150$ (this is a little while ago now, so I forget exactly). And we’re not even at the best part yet.

Silver is great, but gold is better (at least going by dollars per gram). This person tossed out two solid 14k/18k gold necklaces. The one on the right was made by Quadri, but I spotted some wear and tear and decided to take the easy way out and sell it to my jeweler for its weight in gold.

I still have the one on the left. It’s Italian 14k, and I’ll have to go on a mission to determine who made it based on the hallmarks. I doubt it’s a super well-known designer, but either way it’s very pretty, featuring graduated pieces of yellow, rose, and white gold.

Here’s a couple other gold bits. That ring is 14k (but the stone is just a bead that happened to fit well in that space), and the chain is white 14k gold with a roughly 1/4 carat diamond at the end. If I remember right, that smaller ring didn’t turn out to be solid gold after all.

In the end I saved around 75g of gold jewelry, most of which was 14k. The scrap value for that amount of gold (which I don’t think has changed significantly from last year) is currently about 3225$ (Canadian dollars, of course). And that’s not including the pieces I might be able to sell for more than scrap, such as the white gold chain with the diamond, and maybe that 2nd necklace.

As I said earlier, I tend to think that a younger person threw this stuff out, not really understanding the value it had. Likely the many pieces of fine jewelry were unappreciated gifts, or maybe ones that they thought they grew out of with age. Clearly they were well-to-do, given the neighbourhood they lived in and the number of quality items they owned (I expect this was only a fraction of their collection, and I would guess that this person received so many luxurious gifts that perhaps they began to lose all meaning). Regardless, you have to live in your own (incredibly privileged) little world to justify tossing things like this so thoughtlessly. This was one of the more ridiculous hauls of my trash picking career.

This might be a great example of how important luck can be. This spot was a “one-hit wonder” – I didn’t find anything else there afterwards – so I had to be in the right place at the right time to make the score. On the other hand, it seems that rich people tossing out great stuff (or, in other cases, clueless people of various socioeconomic statuses throwing away great stuff) is an inevitability, so maybe dedication to the craft is ultimately more important than luck.

Fog-brained pt.2

(FYI, I started this post a month or so ago, will leave what I wrote and add a bit of newer info at the end).

The garbage has continued to be just okay overall, though it’s good to remember that today’s okay is yesterday’s (as in, when I started this blog) “omg.” I’m still picking up enough to keep the ball rolling, and thankfully I now have a few different people I trust selling stuff for me. I don’t feel motivated to flip my own trash these days, maybe because it’s never been easier to have someone else do it for me. And why not? It saves me a lot of effort, and sometimes they do a better job that I ever could, especially in niches I’m not very good at (ie: clothing). So the money has been consistent, even if I haven’t found much gold, literally or metaphorically.

The brain is still pretty foggy and it’s hard to jump-start it. I’m trying a new medication called Trintellix but it’ll be a couple more weeks at least before I know if it’s actually working.

The spot above was a two hit wonder. Maybe if I had gone down that street a little sooner I would have found more… Anyways, that first day I picked up a bunch of worldly items in good condition, including a couple nice pieces of Tonala (Mexican) pottery, some quality brass tchotchkes, and several miniature houses that I’d guess were bought in Spain or Morocco. A lot of this was sold on my new Instagram account, @garbagefindssells, and others went to the yard sale pile.

The standout from that night though was a little white kitchen bag filled with coins and other “junk”. My most valuable find was probably the Montblanc pen, it’s just the basic ballpoint but it should sell for 100-150$ (haven’t done my research yet though). Otherwise, I picked up a lot of largely worthless foreign coins and several largely worthless bills, but also some Euro coins and two silver coins from Germany commemorating the invention of the x-ray (top left-ish).
I went back the week after and found a recycling bin chock-full of crystal. I’m 99% sure crystal and drinking glasses in general aren’t recyclable, but whatever. I spent a good while picking glasses out of the bin – a surprising amount were not damaged.
These were my favourites. I saved 8 in total (they came in a few different colours), and the set sold quickly for 100$ thanks to one of my sellers. There was also a nice pink and clear decanter, which you can kind of see in the recycling bin shot on the left next to the Tim Horton’s cup (also not recyclable). That sold for 40$. Otherwise, a lot of the cups went to the yard sale and sold for around 1$ each. I still have a set of four cups from this spot to research, they’re heavy and have a cool bubble/hole in the bottom but aren’t signed.
Otherwise, here’s a few bits from another spot. There’s a couple bits of silver, like that little brooch on the left and the baby rattle on the right. The watches are the moneymakers though. The Casio at the top right is probably the most valuable, it’s in nice condition and those models from the 70s are fairly collectible these days… it should sell for between 100-150$. The solar Casio’s to the left both have signficant screen bleeding, but fortunately they’re the same model so I listed them together “for parts or repair.” They should sell for 50-60$.

I never heard of the Tissot Two-Timer before, but then I found two within a week (one came from another spot). It doesn’t seem to be super valuable, but the two together should make me around 80-100$. That antique compass is also very cool, too bad the glass is all bunged up.
Otherwise, I found a stash of vintage election posters right around the beginning of the election. A few featured Nick Auf de Maur, who I’d never heard of but sounds like quite a character. He ran, but lost as a PC in 1984. I also saved about a dozen 1986 Montreal Civic Party posters featuring Claude Dupras, their first party leader who wasn’t Jean Drapeau (he lost). I like political ephemera, so I’ll probably keep one copy of each and sell the rest.

More recent news & notes:

  1. Trintillix sucks so far. I’m losing interest in trying pharmaceutical anti-depressants, they have done little to help so far (and I’ve tried about seven now?). But I’ll talk to my doctor any see what happens…
  2. The flow of garbage has also been mediocre, at least until last week. It was probably my first “very good” stretch for a while. Hopefully it keeps up, this job is more fun when I find things. Hopefully I can get my brain into actually posting some of that stuff here.
  3. WordPress has changed up their format and so far I hate it. If anyone knows a way to use the old platform, let me know. In the meantime, forgive me if certain things don’t work like they usually do (ie: you can’t seem to click on the pictures to zoom in, so if you want a closer look you’ll have to zoom in using your browser – usually CTRL & the + sign).

Just up the street

This was one of my more exciting spots last fall. They started tossing right around when someone living just up the street stopped.

On one of my best days here I found a bunch of loose jewelry in a bin. There was a bit more inside some black trash bags.

Overall I saved about 3.25 pounds of jewelry. A small portion of that was silver and gold.

I thought that ring in the gold pile might be white gold, but it turns out that stainless steels holds up well against the testing acid. Regardless, I can’t complain about this haul. The bottom right piece was designer costume jewelry, I forget by who.

Don’t worry, that’s just an air gun. It sold for good money at auction though. Otherwise, I found a couple camcorders, cell phones, a Blackberry tablet, two iPods, and a bit more silver & gold jewelry (I wish I took a close-up photo of that bunch). On the right is a David Yurman sterling silver money clip that I sold on eBay for just north of 200$.

The suitcases in the first picture emerged on one of the last productive trash days. A couple of them produced quality finds.

That little wooden box held a set of old weights, as well as two golden nuggets.

They’re heavy, and test as high purity gold, so I think that’s what they are! It seemed that there was at least a couple generations of dentists in this family, so I’m assuming these would have been used in dental fillings. With a combined weight of about 18 grams, and assuming they’re 20k or above, these little pebbles are worth about a grand in scrap.

Other notables include a marcasite and silver bracelet, a silver “US Air Force Strategic Air Command” ring, and a Jaeger le Coultre travel alarm watch. It didn’t work at all, but being a nice brand I was still able to sell it for a bit over 200$. All in all this was certainly one of my best spots of the year.

I had some luck Tuesday in NDG last week, but car troubles set me back Wednesday thru Friday. Hopefully this week I’ll end my cold spell, which has been going for around three months now. Fortunately, preceding that was a roughly six month long hot streak, so the lull isn’t bothering me too much (besides being boring).