MOUNT VERNON — Attics and closets sat empty Tuesday as local residents lined the halls of the Holiday Inn Express clasping their antique treasures to be valued during the Treasure Hunters Roadshow.
Some residents, referred to as titled sellers by the roadshow, were hoping to cash in on their valuable items, even if just to rid their house of unwanted or unused items that had earned the title of junk.
“We’re hoping our items are worth something,” Walter Butler of Mount Vernon said of the coins, paper money and sports memorabilia he and his wife, Vera, took to the show. “It’d be nice to be rid of these things that are just piling up around the house.”
Others, however, were not ready to sell their items.
“I just like genealogy and collecting coins and I wanted to see if these had any value,” Marge Purdy of Howard said of her coin collection. “I might be back to sell; I better talk to my husband first.”
Some “hot items” buyers are looking for this year are collectibles such as coins, old comic books, baseball cards from the 50s and 60s, war memorabilia and vintage guitars.
Buyers are especially looking for items made of gold or silver, and because precious metals are at an all-time high — pricing is at $1,200 per ounce of gold and $18 per ounce of silver — sellers are sure to walk away with money in their pockets.
“Come in with any of those items and you’re guaranteed an offer,” roadshow manager Dennis Kouts said.
In fact, THR purchases anywhere from $1.5 to $2 million worth of items every week, and 80 percent of items taken to the show turn into a sale, Kouts said.
Purchases are offered based on whether or not the item is being sought by a collector or not. To determine an item’s value, it is run through a collectors’ database and if the item receives a hit, meaning a collector has expressed interest in the piece, then the item is valued and an offer is made to the seller. The seller then has the option to either accept or reject the offer.
Sellers should be sure to bring their driver’s license with them if they are interested in selling an item.
Though the roadshow buyers can tell sellers what the item’s value may be, based on the current market price or a collector’s offer, they stress that they are not certified appraisers.
Nevertheless, buyers are trained employees of THR, completing a training course supplemented with buyer shadowing in order to recognize authentic items and receive their own buyers table.
Throughout the process, finding and valuing rare items has become as much of a pleasure to the buyers as it is to the sellers.
“I enjoy looking at antiques and collectibles, especially coins, and doing this for a job makes it not a job,” said buyer Fred Dillon.
Though Dillon enjoys sorting through sellers’ items and distinguishing treasures from what was thought to be junk, he continuously has his eye out for items that personally capture his interest.
“I wouldn’t mind seeing Nazis memorabilia come through here,” Dillon said. “Seeing those items brings the event to reality; it lets you know this really did happen in history.”
So whether residents are interested in cashing in their antique items or simply curious as to an item’s value, buyers stress that all items be brought in, because valuable or not “it’s worth a look,” Dillon said.
The roadshow was established in 1996 and travels the U.S., holding over 1,000 shows a year.
The THR can be found at the Holiday Inn Express, located at 11555 Upper Gilchrist Road. The show continues today and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The roadshow is also currently in the process of establishing a TV series; the first episode was filmed last week and will premiere in September.