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Metals, not family keepsakes, prove precious at Treasure Hunters Roadshow

BY DEMORRIS A. LEE

TARPON SPRINGS — Carl Elder's mother bought the Gibson standard guitar for him when he was 13. Elder learned how to play his favorite tunes on it and later played in a garage band. He still uses the guitar to strum a few acoustic tunes.

The guitar, which cost $30 and was likely made in 1963, has plenty of sentimental value, but Elder, 59, wanted to know its monetary worth Wednesday.

A damaged bridge. A chip here. A chip there. Value: $600.

Elder didn't sell his guitar, but he did get $105 for a small gold coin that he won in a golf tournament four years ago.

"I'm pleased with the price they gave me, but it needs a little work," the Palm Harbor man said of his guitar. "I'll just keep it and take it to a guitar show and see if I can get a trade off it. But four years ago, that coin was worth $45."

Elder was among hundreds who attended the Treasure Hunters Roadshow looking to turn old items into new revenue.

Located in a meeting room at the Hampton Inn & Suites on U.S. 19 N, workers from the Treasure Hunters Roadshow eyed old coins and jewelry, inspected dated paintings and wrote checks for things they thought had monetary worth. The show has been in town since Tuesday and leaves Saturday.

Everything from an old candy dish shaped like a hen and a wood carved hanging of the Last Supper to a Hopalong Cassidy gun and holster set were inspected.

"People come in and to them, their item has value," said Jim Hickman of the Treasure Hunters Roadshow. "But sentimental value, you can't buy that and it doesn't go a long way here.

"This is an opportunity for people to see what some of their items are worth and we do that free of charge. Who knows? It could be worth a lot, but then it could be full of sentimental value but at least you will know."

The valuable items at this time are gold, silver, coins, and some jewelry, Hickman said.

Because of the economy, there isn't much of a market for fine china dish ware, toys or porcelain ashtrays, even if it was handmade by one's great, great, great-grandfather.

"The market was flooded with those type of items when people started selling things off to make money," Hickman said. "Collectibles follow the economy."

The traveling evaluators are in the area at least once every six months. They have a computer database with some 6,500 buyers.

If there is no interest in purchasing an item, visitors are often referred to other venues where there might be interest.

"We recognize the value, but we just don't have a place for it," Hickman said of the referrals.

Pat Haynes-Allen and her husband, Gary, both retired and from Tarpon Springs, rolled in a small black suitcase of items. It contained some china that belonged to their parents, jewelry and silver coins. They were told to hold on to the china, but were given a $271.08 check for the coins and jewelry.

"You can only store that stuff so long," Haynes-Allen said.

Mary Venezia of Tarpon Springs had to take her handmade wooden toys back home. But she received a $96 check for eight silver dollar coins that she's had for at least 50 years. The "peace coins" were likely minted in 1922.

"I got them from my father and he died in 1956," Venezia said. "I've given some to family members and these are what I had left. It was time to go ahead get rid of them."

Demorris A. Lee can be reached at dalee@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4174.

Fast facts

Treasure Hunters Roadshow

When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Where: The Hampton Inn & Suites, 39284 U.S. 19 N, Tarpon Springs.

Items in demand: Coins and paper currency issued before 1965, toys, dolls, trains, vintage jewelry, musical instruments, war memorabilia, gold and silver jewelry, costume jewelry, advertising memorabilia, swords, knives, daggers and the unusual.

Metals, not family keepsakes, prove precious at Treasure Hunters Roadshow 12/10/09 [Last modified: Thursday, December 10, 2009 9:14pm]
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