Nick DiMola shows off his extensive collection of valuables rescued from garbage pickup jobs

This article was taken from the April 2011 issue of Waste Advantage Magazine.

To view the magazine version of the article, click here.


How long have you been in the waste industry?

I have loved garbage since I was a kid. I always liked finding something and selling it to someone else. I used to go around to newspaper stands when that day’s papers were going into the garbage, take them and sell them for 25 cents to people waiting for the train. I was always fascinated with flipping garbage over to make money. As I got older, it turned into more of a hobby. Everything that I take from the garbage tells a story. It’s not like just finding a window and thinking that someday you are going to use it for your house. It’s stuffed toys, old appliances, old phones, old stereo systems, old vending machines, ice skates, lights from the roof of a taxi cab, model airplanes, gas engines, etc. Over the years from collecting so many items, I have kind of a museum on display in my shop. When somebody walks into my office, it’s like going into a time capsule. There is stuff on every inch of the ceiling and shelves. I have items dating back to the 1800s and I collect them up to the 1970s. Anything over that decade is “too new.” I like a lot of stuff from the 1930s and 1940s. They made things that last.

What is your process of finding these treasures?

Most of my jobs are residential, whether an owner is selling a house or an abandoned property and their lawyer says, “Hey, we need to clean out the basement or garage.” We go down in there and begin clearing out the spaces. I’m the guy that finds things that have been buried for the last 50 years. I have an eye for anything that is interesting — from old milk bottles to oil bottles with funnel necks. Items like this are getting harder to find, but some rubbish removal jobs lead to an abundance of collectible items, making it worth the hunt.

How many treasures have you collected since you started?

Thousands. I have at least 1,000 items in my office alone. Small, big; every item tells a story. If you walk into my office, it’s unbelievable. It looks like an antique store, but I don’t sell anything. It is my personal collection. To others, it’s junk; to me, it’s gold.

What was the first thing that you collected out of the garbage?

When I was a kid, down the street from where I lived, there was a factory that manufactured washers and dryers. They had they four-wheel dolly on a steel frame with a T-handle that turned the front wheels made of steel and hard rubber. I got it out of the garbage when they were throwing it away and converted it into my own go-cart with a car seat on the top and a toolbox on the back. I used it to pick up scrap metal and bring them to the scrapyard.

What is your favorite item that you’ve collected?

I have so many of them, but I have this one windup toy dump truck from the 1950s. It’s 100 percent original, faded, and it’s got scratches on it. But I love it because it’s spring loaded, so when you push the little lever down to make the dump body go up, it makes a dump truck noise at the same time. I found it in somebody’s attic in a house cleanup.

What is the most valuable item that you have collected?

I have a lot of coins. I have old war paper money from 1922 Berlin, Germany, that’s signed by a high-ranking officer and still sealed. I guess it was made to give to the soldiers but never made it there. I also have a 1942 BU Navy torpedo launcher stopwatch that’s signed—it was used to detonate torpedoes. I have a 1969 Rothschild red wine bottle (a 1959 bottle is valued at $16,000). Although the wine went bad, just the bottle alone is worth $1,000. If that bottle were in perfect condition, it would be worth $6,500. Just recently, I found an 1897 original program for General Grant’s tomb in Manhattan in the garbage. It’s a paper document, looks like a brochure. I started researching it and there’s only one in existence in the New York City archives. There aren’t any others in any
museums, including Grant’s Museum. Sotheby’s is going to appraise it and confirm that it’s an original and a garbage company is going to donate it to Grant’s Museum in Manhattan.

You have a blog at http://WeLoveGarbage.wordpress.com. What kind of things do you discuss on it?

I post things that I find strictly in the garbage — the items that I am saving. It could be an oil can, a pen, anything interesting. For example, I recently found an inkwell pen in a doctor’s office. It is made of marble and uses a 14-karat gold tip. At first glance, you might think it’s just a regular inkwell pen, but the tip is made of 14k gold, and was something someone actually used in the 19th century. Little things like that — that’s history.

How long will you continue to look for unique items in your pickups?

Until the day I retire. Even if I was a millionaire I couldn’t give up the garbage business because just the excitement of going through 50 to 60 years of garbage piles indoors is priceless. You never know what you’re going to find. It’s always a treasure hunt. We love garbage!

To read Nick’s blog and see more treasures he finds each week, visit http://welovegarbage.wordpress.com. Dimola Bros is an interior demolition and rubbish removal service based in Queens, NYC that works on residential houses to Manhattan commercial space. For more information, call (718) 326-6969 or visit http://www.dimolabros.com to see more than 750 photo galleries of completed jobs.

To view the magazine version of the article, click here.

DiMola Bros Rubbish Removal
1640 Summerfield St.
Ridgewood, NY 11385
Phone: 718-326-6969
Fax: 718-326-7979
NGDimola@aol.com / http://dimolabros.com

~ by DiMolaBros1956 on April 6, 2011.

3 Responses to “Nick DiMola shows off his extensive collection of valuables rescued from garbage pickup jobs”

  1. what a great article, this magazine is cutting edge and informative.

  2. […] THE LATEST ON WASTE DISPOSAL: DiMola’s trash collection of antiques keeps growing with 1940s tool chest […]

  3. […] found this Porter-Cable electric hammer on a garbage pickup job in New York, and it’s typically used for chipping and breaking concrete. It would […]

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