Garbage man finds tin can that completes his Sinclair collection
I haven’t put up a blog post since the beginning of the week, so I’m feeling a bit rusty. This Sinclair oil can should do the trick.
Just last Monday, I was hired to give an estimate for an estate clean out job in Brooklyn. Although I’ve been collecting antiques on the job for quite some time, I went into it without any expectations of finding cool objects. I find a lot of stuff on a lot of jobs, but it would be impossible to find something on the job every single time. I mean, I’m good, but I’m not THAT good.
This particular house had been under the same owner for the previous 70 years, so he kind of eyed me as I made my way through the place. I was observing everything, getting a good view of how much garbage needed to be removed, all the junk along the walls, and how much it might cost to get rid of it.
As we walked through the basement, I saw this can, sitting on the ledge of the foundation underneath the staircase.
“Can I check that out?” I asked the owner, who had been walking alongside me during the estimate.
“Sure,” he said, but seemed a bit confused by my request.
I picked it up and examined it for a while. I was so enamored by this can, that I didn’t even notice the owner was eying me down, not in a worried or angry way but in a kind of “What the heck are you doing?” type of way.
Finally, I looked up. “Can I have this?” I asked him.
He kind of laughed and said, “Sure. But why do you like that old can? It’s garbage.”
CLEARLY, he didn’t know me. But he was about to.
This simple dialogue evolved into a 20-minute conversation about my company, my love for antiques and, ultimately, the fact that I now combine the two and collect antiques while working for my company. And what I explained to him, I’ll now explain to you.
I’ve been collecting Sinclair oil memorabilia on various jobs for the last several years. I’ve got the Sinclair gas pump in the office; I have the porcelain Sinclair sign hanging up on the wall in my garage; I have a bar of soap in the shape of a dinosaur in its original box, which was a giveaway promotional object at a Sinclair gas station; and I have a photo of an advertisement with the gas station attendant tipping his hat. And now, I’ve got the can.
I recognize that it’s from the 1940s, just based on the styling of the can. I like the patina on the can and the old writing. I like the way the logo is designed. It’s obvious that this can is extremely old, and I believe it had been sitting in the same spot in that basement for a minimum of 50 years.
The estate owner was thrilled that I was taking the can to display in my office. After all, he explained, at least it wasn’t going in the trash.
But that’s what makes this job so exciting — rescuing amazing items from the garbage. And over time, piece by piece, a collection is made.