Carpenter discovers 50-year-old trove of Playboy magazines in a Montague attic

BA Playboys in Attic

Alex Jackson holds a 1974 edition of Playboy. He found the magazine in the attic of a house where he was doing bathroom renovations. Beth Atkinson photo

Alex Jackson had done hundreds of bathroom renovations.

The 38-year-old carpenter has been in the business for over 20 years and this job was nothing new. He had demolished the shower and was installing a new fan in the ceiling.

Jackson got out his ladder and placed it beneath the attic hatch. After climbing a few rungs, he pushed up on the piece of ceiling.

He turned his headlight on and managed to squeeze his way into the shallow space, his toes barely resting on the top of the ladder.

Peering into the darkness, he saw three boxes.

The first fell apart as he dragged it towards him. It contained old Time magazines.

The next box held what looked like record sleeves.

“Maybe there’s a bunch of records up here,” he thought.

After pulling those towards him he saw they were Eastern Graphic newspapers.

He stretched as far he could to grab the last box, the pink insulation beneath him scratchy against his skin.

Jackson tugged at the last box. It was heavy and like the others it ripped while being moved.

He grabbed at the magazine on top, a men’s business journal. The magazine beneath it was a golf magazine. He threw them to the side.

He grabbed the cover of the next magazine in the pile. It flopped open in front of him.

There on the page in front of him were a pair of boobs.

Jackson passed the stack of 1970s Playboys down to the homeowner.

It isn’t the first time something like this has happened.

During a previous bathroom renovation, while in an attic above a garage, he discovered a pile of Playboys from the 1990s. There were some whiskey bottles too, said Jackson.

“It was some guy’s little man stash.”

A stack of old raunchy magazines was nothing. He has seen worse, he said.

“In an attic tucked into the trusses was a box…it had a giant turd in it.”

The house had been renovated three years earlier. Jackson suspects the previous roofers left it there.

“That was the grossest thing I’ve ever found in an attic, on any job, period.”

Some renovations have left Jackson with more than a story to tell. In one attic he found a stack of what he thought were original Superman comics. After closer inspection they turned out to be reprints, he said.

“They weren’t worth anything, but I thought they were.”

However, many people seem to assume their old belongings aren’t worth much.

An Ebay seller who goes by Tantallon Treasures buys products from yard sales, estate sales, thrift stores and on consignment.

“We enjoy reconnecting with older items and then passing them on to others to enjoy,” said a spokesperson who preferred to go by the shop’s name.

Tantallon Treasures has been in business for almost three years and sells anything vintage it can find.

“It doesn’t hurt that the sales provide an additional source of income because we make a profit from the costs.”

Among its products are old Playboy magazines found at a garage sale.

“It actually took a considerable amount of time to find a buyer.”

For thrift stores, vintage magazines don’t last so long on the shelves.

Holly MacDonald works as the retail sales manager at Value Village in Charlottetown.

They sort items into piles and whatever makes it to the OK carts gets put on a shelf. In the seven years she has worked there, nothing has been hard to sell, she said.

“It all depends on customer preference and everyone is different.”

MacDonald has seen all kinds of products, including signed hockey jerseys and records, find buyers.

“A lot of times those items are sold to customers before the employees get to shop.”

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