Garbage of the Mile End pt.2

I’ve been having good luck in my own neighbourhood lately despite covering it much less than in years past. I spotted this pile a couple weeks back. Not long after I starting picking a lady came out and told me to be careful as her sixplex had recently been sprayed for bedbugs. I was thankful for the warning but continued with a highly conservative approach – sometimes people get overzealous when dealing with bugs and toss things they shouldn’t.

Indeed, I kicked one bag and heard the sweet sound of coins. Inside was a small collection stored in a ceramic dish.

A few coins might not be worth much otherwise, but two were pre-1968 Canadian dollars. Those are composed of 80% silver and are worth around 15-20$ a piece. I washed them of course, but realistically the coins weren’t likely to harbour any bugs.

I talked to the same woman again a little later and apparently she was familiar with the blog. However, she told me she had mixed feelings about what I do, citing “papers” as the reason why. I assumed she meant old, possibly intimate papers such as family photos, and explained that while I think garbage picking can be intrusive I believe the good greatly offsets the bad when you consider the environmental and historical benefits. Plus, I’m not particularly interested in getting to know the people I pick from.

Later I realized that she could have meant sensitive documents such as tax returns that could be used to steal someone’s identity. I have no interest in such things, and wish that people would go ahead and shred it (as they should). We didn’t talk for long so unfortunately I can’t be sure what she meant.

Most people I talk to are supportive, so it was interesting to hear a different point of view that didn’t involve being yelled at. If you have any thoughts about the pros & cons of ethics of garbage picking please share them in the comments!

Later on my walk I happened a mess of bags that had been ripped apart, presumably by other pickers. Most of the best stuff was probably long gone, but I did salvage a set of Pyrex “Vision” cookware that had been otherwise forgotten. I brought these to auction but they haven’t been listed yet.

A house not far away was emptied out over a period of a few months. I saved a lot of great stuff there, but unfortunately I was very busy at the time and wasn’t able to take many pictures.

On a couple of recycling days I filled the car with lab glass, a lot of which was still in its original packaging.

I saved so many beakers of different sizes. They aren’t really worth that much individually but I sold a bunch at one of my recent yard sales. These 30ml beakers might go on eBay since they’re in their original box and should be easy enough to ship.

This 5000ml pyrex boiling flask was another good find. It would have been expensive to ship so I dropped it off at the auction house instead. I think it sold for 20-some dollars, which is decent. New they cost a lot of money (there’s a pretty big markup on anything medical) but I would have had a hard time getting more than 40$ on eBay.

My favourite pieces were the red graduated cylinders, many of which were new in box. Despite their coolness they only sell for around 20$ + shipping on eBay. I sold a couple at a yard sale, brought a few to the auction house, and still have several, mostly in the 250ml format.

This really just scratches the surface of my lab equipment haul! It was actually overwhelming how much I found but thankfully I’ve pared it down to a reasonable amount. I still have some research to do, however. For example, there’s a bit of equipment including several pipet devices that might be worth decent money but I haven’t had time to figure out how much exactly. If anything ends up selling for a nice sum I’ll be sure to mention it on a future sales post.

That spot provided some other quality junk as well, including this vintage Radio Shack hockey game (which seems to sell for around 50$) …

… and these unusual ecclesiastical pieces. I had a hard time researching them but it seems that they’re vessels for holy oils. One is marked OS (oleum catechumenorum/oil of catechumens) and the other OI (oleum infirmorum/oil of the sick). Originally there would probably have been a third marked SC (sacrum chrisma/sacred chrism). They appear to be very old and silver plated (no hallmarks, some wear to the plate visible on the crosses). They’re about 3,25″ tall and have screw-on tops. That’s all I can say for sure, but please let us know if you have any relevant information to share! Regardless they’re pretty neat and likely worth between 50-100$ for the pair.

Elsewhere, another house was slowly emptied over a period of many months. Previously my best finds were a vintage butterfly tray (which sold quickly for 70$), a bag of clarinet reeds, and a silver class ring from the 70s. Last garbage day was better, however as these trinket boxes (and at least some of their contents) got chucked.

Here’s the costume stuff / random bric-a-brac, most of which will go into the yard sale pile …

… and here’s the stuff I can make good money on. The medical ID bracelet is 10k gold and worth about 100$ in scrap. The enameled Azores pin (featuring a pair of clogs), Catholic medallion, bouquet pendant, and each of the four bracelets are silver. Most of those have Portuguese hallmarks which I’ve never seen previously. The rhinestone bow-tie brooch probably isn’t solid silver but it’s definitely vintage. The same applies to the rosary. Unfortunately these folks seem to be done tossing, but these small finds definitely made my night!

As you can probably tell I’m pretty far behind on my posts, and as a result there’s a whole bunch of high quality finds I have yet to show you. I’ll try to get them posted relatively soon…

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3. Help me pay off student loan debt / Contribute to the blog
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Recent sales: July

July saw me bring a tonne of stuff to auction as I emptied my various storage areas. The purge made for a long sales list, which (in addition to recent comments) led me to reconsider the way I share my sales. I think in future posts I’ll do a general overview of the numbers, and highlight only the most exciting sales – something in line with what they do at Scavenger Life, but with a few more featured items. The detailed summary made more sense when I sold less items, but now they’re getting to be a lot more work, the tedious kind at that. Better to save that energy for other posts, or more picking!

If you want to keep track of my eBay sales on your own, visit my eBay listings page and sort by “sold” (or just bookmark that link for future reference).

eBay sales

  • Carl Poul Petersen sterling silver cigar humidor: 1000$. This is currently the most valuable single item I’ve ever sold! I hope to break the record later this year, however…
  • Faber Castell Minfix pencil sharpener: 27$.

  • Enicar Ultrasonic Supertest watch: 72$.
  • Leru expandable bracelet: 13.50$.
  • Phonak MyPilot hearing aid remote: 31.50$. All items that sold with cents (and most with prices not ending in a 0 or 5) were part of a sale I did to clear out some older items. It worked pretty well!

  • Egermann bohemian glass vase: 31.50$. This took a while to sell. Perhaps I overestimate its value. Found in Montreal West.

  • Benito Mussolini postcard: 18$. Part of that huge postcard haul I found last year.
  • Royal Navy shoulder boards: 9$.
  • Detonator II programmer box: 18$.
  • Beswick cat figurines: 36$.
  • Burberry eyeglasses: 36$.

  • Rolex passport / documents holder: 54$.
  • Coach eyeglasses: 22.50$.
  • Armani sunglasses: 27$.

  • 1TB external drive: 54$.
  • Habanita by Molinard, 100ml: 58.50$.
  • Miniature bottle of Diorissimo: 22$.

eBay total:  1499$.

Auction results

Unfortunately there’s no good way to link you to my auction listings, either past or present, so a lot of this info will be inaccessible when I pare down these posts. However, I’ll still share my favourite or more notable sales.

Unfortunately I was too busy to take pictures of most of these things before bringing them in. You’ll have to use your imagination!

  • Lot of vintage paper bags (mostly from Steinberg’s): 14$.

  • Lot of slides (mostly of flora & fauna): 20$. A big part of the huge photo haul I found last year in St Michel. The most valuable were the Expo 67 slides, which went for about 250$. Otherwise, some African missionary slides ended up selling for around 50$. These weren’t as collectible, but I’m sure someone will appreciate them (or turn them into a cool lampshade).
  • Old fishing rod: 6$.
  • Vintage metal & glass lampshade: 14$.
  • Vintage 8lb anchor: 10$.
  • Sears 26122 guitar pre-amp: 24$.
  • Wood lathe: 30$
  • Framed metal fisherman: 9$.
  • Picture frame with chain-like motif: 6$.
  • Pressback chair with missing leather seat: 16$.
  • Vintage industrial towel holders: 14$.
  • Train set parts: 22$.
  • Lot of three portable radios with cassette players: 7$.

  • Bucket of pennies: 70$. Given to me by a nice guy in Cartierville. I’d guess there was 35-40$ in actual coins, but pennies sell for around 2c each at auction these days.
  • Vintage Panasonic radio: 8$.

  • Electric soldering machine: 26$. It looks pretty grimy here but it actually cleaned up fairly well.

  • Dromedary sculpture: 16$.

  • Raymond sewing machine table, in pieces: 30$.
  • Wine decanter thing: 26$.
  • Kodak Etkasound projector, untested: 8$.
  • Sharp projector, working but old: 26$.
  • Standing birdcage, missing bottom piece: 12$.

  • Rivet machine: 20$.
  • Aiwa stereo setup, untested: 8$.
  • Entry carpet: 26$.
  • Fireplace log rack: 12$.
  • 17 old Alka Seltzer jars with hardware bric-a-brac inside: 10$.
  • Glass candleholder: 5$.
  • Lot of lamp pieces: 9$.
  • Two balloon inflators, working: 7$.
  • Vintage andirons: 6$.
  • 4×4 jack: 44$.

  • Huge Betamax player, untested: 10$. I realized that I was probably never going to get around to testing this thing, and since it weighed like 50 pounds it would have been a hassle to ship. I’m happy to get it out of my basement.

  • Vintage UFO Pendant lamp: 75$. I’m happy with this sale. The lamp was great but needed some TLC. It would have been difficult to ship and annoying to sell on Kijiji. Found in Ville St Laurent.
  • Chair base with wheels: 18$.
  • Vintage Coleman cooler: 26$. I discovered that vintage coolers are a pretty easy sell.
  • Victoriaville goalie stick: 6$. I should have held onto this until hockey season.
  • Five stainless steel restaurant trays: 50$. A surprising result. I guess these things cost a fair bit new.
  • Untested turntable: 7$.
  • Vintage trophy lot: 5$.
  • Cup & stein lot: 18$.
  • Brass umbrella stand: 44$. I didn’t expect it to sell for nearly this much – I think I had it priced at 10$ at one of my yard sales.
  • Box of Le Jour magazines: 6$.
  • Lot of glass & metal lamp pieces: 16$.
  • Lot of chair wheels & legs: 12$
  • Alain Choquette (Quebec magician) signed photo: 5$.
  • Jean-Pierre Girerd lithograph (cartoon of Rene Levesque): 24$.
  • College de Montreal group photo (“trombinoscope”) with Gratien Gelinas: 34$.

Total: 917 – 229.25 (25%) – 48 = 639.75$.

Yard sales: 300$ (one small sale, one mediocre turnout).

Total: 2438.75$, 14505.25$ so far in 2018. So far I’m on pace to make about as much as I did last year. However, I expect that my profits through the last quarter will propel me to new heights of (relative) wealth!

Links

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3. Help me pay off student loan debt / Contribute to the blog
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Pickin’ from the bottom of the bag

Longtime readers know that the smallest treasures often make their way to the bottom of the trash bag. One of my best finds recently was in St Michel where someone decided to dump a jewelry box (and seemingly all its contents) into the trash along with the pizza crusts. I threw the bag in the car for later sorting because I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

(Sidenote: I happened to be followed by a photographer that day. He was taking pictures for an upcoming interview in a local magazine, and I’m glad I actually found something of value in the short time we had available! Usually I end up having to feign interest in a junky pile just to get a good shot. I’ll share the interview here when it’s out).

By scrounging amongst the crusts I was able to refill the jewelry box. Some pieces were indeed worthy of the trash, but most were not and some will end up being fairly valuable.

These tie pins were likely a service award given out by the Steinberg’s supermarket chain that operated from 1917 to 1992. One is silver and the one with the ruby is 10k gold. I brought these to the auction house – Steinberg’s was a Montreal institution for many years, so the name invokes a lot of nostalgia (and hopefully many bids).

Speaking of nostalgia, I also found these cool “Man and his World” Expo 67 cufflinks. They’re in pretty good condition, and I expect them to sell for around 50-60$.

Here’s the best of the costume stuff. I really like that leaf brooch but unfortunately it’s unsigned. I’m mildly hopeful that the bracelet on the right is unsigned gold but that’s probably wishful thinking.

Finally, here’s the stuff that’s marked as silver or gold. There’s three Air Canada service pins on the left, all of which are sterling silver (the latter two might be gold plated as well). The religious medallions on the bottom right are 18k gold, as is the bowtie brooch above it. Overall this was an awesome haul, and I expect that it’ll earn me four figures once it’s all processed!

I haven’t seen much here (besides a box of nice German crystal since). I’ll try to keep an eye on the situation, but I’m also planning on retiring the St Michel route for a while – it hasn’t been productive for a few weeks now.

I saved these items from the bottom of a bag in Hampstead. There’s a mini bottle of Christian Dior’s Eau Sauvage, a few coins, two pocket knives, a pipe reamer, a couple pins and a single bracelet link that I hope is gold. That Heil piece is actually a measuring tape made by the Zippo company, I’ve never seen such a thing previously.

I actually went to an estate sale at this place a couple weeks later. They might have made a few extra bucks if they put this stuff in a box and said “make an offer,” but I guess throwing things away helps to make the process a little less stressful. Or, maybe they legitimately thought that these items had no value. Who knows.

A bag in TMR contained: around 25 coins, a few of which date back to the early 1900s; a WWII food ration token; a couple of vintage bracelets (I particularly like the orange one – the beads don’t seem to be bakelite but are probably a different type of old plastic); a single gold earrings; two chains I hope are gold; 10 Hong Kong dollars from 1985; and a few other doodads.

Finally, I took a look at this trash while walking around my neighbourhood the other day. I kicked a bag and heard the familiar sound of coins.

There was indeed a sizeable collection of mostly foreign coins at the bottom of the bag. I gathered them all into that empty plastic cup at the top of the photo and brought them home for sorting.

Here’s a video of me dumping the haul into the light box. The coins aren’t worth much individually, but once I amass a big collection I can sell them at the auction house.

From all that I spotted three pieces of note: a 1945 Venezuelan 1/2 Bolivar (silver), a 1951 Canadian dime (also silver), and an old looking (brass?) button marked “Republique d’Haiti” featuring an image of a cannon. I couldn’t find any other buttons like it below, so if you happen to know something about it please share in the comments!

In other news I’ve been quite busy basically re-organizing my whole business with the auction house in mind. I’ve cleared all the random junk I’d never have time to deal with from the basement, sorted through and organized the junk in my garage and storage, purged my stash of clothes and brought a bunch to a local consignment shop, and all the the while found more garbage that I have to deal with! At some point the work should slow down and I’ll have more time to blog. This summer has been great for picking and I’ll try to share more of those finds here soon.

If the weather is good I plan on doing a yard sale this Saturday at my storage (4096 Coloniale near Duluth). I want to clear out a bunch of stuff and maybe you (and the university kids who are now returning for the fall semester) can help! I’ll start around 11am, and if it doesn’t work out for whatever reason I’ll edit this post to reflect that. Perhaps check back Friday evening just to be sure – if I have to cancel I’ll add a notice in bold below.

Links

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3. Help me pay off student loan debt / Contribute to the blog
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