The aged cardboard box

My most interesting finds last week came from a blurry pile not far from the owl house. The aged cardboard box caused me to do a double take while driving by – it ended up containing broken pieces of stained glass.

Inside one of the bigger bags was a box containing two vintage Czechoslovakian table lamps. They’re quite nice and have little noticeable damage, though one is missing its hanging bits and neither looks to have any wiring. I brought them to the auction house, check out the listing page if you want a closer look (the auction is ending tonight, so bid now if you want them!).

I looked inside another bag and saw a bunch of sewing stuff. It started to rain, so I threw the bag in the car and sorted through it at home.

This old Macdonald’s cigarette tin held a tangle of buttons.

Most were strung through a metal wire. Many are made from mother of pearl, which do pretty well on eBay when sold in lots. There’s also a few WWII buttons on there, those are pretty common but always cool to find.

Also inside the bag was an old, beat-up folder filled mostly with crochet magazines.

The magazines date to the 1910s and 1920s, making them around 100 years old! These are the ones that survived the past century relatively unscathed – a few others weren’t quite so lucky.

I think magazines like these sell for around 10-20$ individually. However, that would require a fair bit of effort on my part, and they would probably take a while to sell. My current plan is to list them as a lot on eBay. We’ll see how that goes!

My favourite folder find however is the unusual piece below…

It’s an old air raid precautions poster from around WWII. It measures about 14 x 10.5″ and was probably made to be displayed in public. There was some concern in Canada and the US about potential attacks from Axis powers, but the risk was obviously far lower here than in other parts of the world. As a result, this piece may be rare – I had no luck finding anything similar on Google.

Zoom in for a closer look. Below is the French version that appears on the opposite side.

Pretty cool eh? I’m not sure what I’ll do with it yet. It would likely have value to a collector, but maybe it would be better to give it to a museum or archive.

I fished these pieces from the bottom of one of the other bags. On the right is a very worn coin that I’m guessing is an old silver dime. On the left is a 1925 Jubilee medallion, and in the centre is a first communion souvenir dating from 1890. See the opposite sides below!

That’s all from this spot, at least for now…

I’ve been focused on clearing out my junk before winter; I’d say that the job is just about done. My garage is actually looking a bit empty after several purges, and I’m excited to begin a new era of organization and categorization with the auction house in mind.

My best recent finds have come from Côte-des-Neiges and Cartierville. I’ll be sure to share some of those here relatively soon.

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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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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

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings, Sign up for eBay, Search for something you want / research something you have
3. Help me pay off student loan debt / Contribute to the blog
4. Follow me on Instagram