If you have a stash of broken jewelry, old class rings and old coins laying around the house and wonder what it would be worth and where to unload the stuff, Treasure Hunters Road Show has the answer.
The Springfield, Ill., based international company made a stop in Hudson and River Falls March 22-26. Treasure Hunters' mission is to appraise items brought in by the public and offer a price for the goods based on the going metals market and what collectors might pay.
Phyllis Couch, Somerset, formerly of Hudson, brought in some old jewelry to the Hudson House Best Western Thursday morning including a 1965 Hudson High School class ring. She walked out with a check for more than $500 and was pleased.
But it's not just gold and silver coins and jewelry the Treasure Hunters is looking for. General Manager Derek Mahle said a wide range of things are in demand. "Old guitars and other musical instruments, beer advertising signs, costume jewelry and sterling silver tea sets, watches, military memorabilia, sports memorabilia are desirable," he said. "We paid out $100,000 for a 1960 Les Paul guitar in very good condition with the case and amp," he said.
When asked what the most unusual item the company has every purchased, he said, "A vampire slaying kit, that came from the southern United States.
"It was complete with a flintlock pistol and silver bullet and stake," he said. "A few hundred years ago Gypsies in Europe would sell them to travelers." The company brochure listed the purchase price of the kit at $10,000.
The company also purchased Johnny Cash's bed for $30,000. The country singer had an ornate canopy bed made of carved rare wood that the president of Treasure Hunters now sleeps in, said Mahle.
The atmosphere was low key in a back conference room at the Hudson House Best Western Thursday morning and the team was a pleasant sort. "There is no pressure to sell," said Eric Bell, another member of the six-person team.
Even last Wednesday's snowstorm that put the emergency brakes on a spring thaw didn't hurt the Treasure Hunters. "We were expecting nobody and they had to wait in line," said Bell.
Treasure Hunters Roadshow has been visiting cities in the U.S., Canada and Europe since 1996 and has purchased over $250 million worth of precious items, the company brochure said.
The seller is required to produce identification and a thumb print before the deal is closed. Ten percent of the offer is deducted from the offered price for Roadshow services, according to the brochure.
Expectant treasure sellers were waiting in the wings an hour into the Thursday session, which started at 9 a.m.
The Treasure Hunters Roadshow somewhat resembles the famous Antiques Road Show on public television with one big difference. "Antiques Road Show only appraises items. We make an offer to buy," said Bell.
Out of curiosity, Mahle took a reporters wedding ring to determine its Roadshow value. Since it was handmade and the owner was unsure if the content was 14 karat or 10 karat gold, the manager gave two estimates. For 10 karat the offer was $100 and 14k would fetch $150, he said.
Mahle said Treasure Hunters Roadshow usually returns to a community in six months or so. For more information, contact www.treasurehuntersroadshow.com on the web.