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Antique buyers offer cash to residents with unique items

POSTED: November 12, 2010 11:30 p.m.
SARA GUEVARA/The Times

Buyer Shannon Lee checks the authenticity of a gold ring Friday during the Ohio Valley Gold & Silver Refinery roadshow at the Hilton Garden Inn in Gainesville.

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Whether it's gold, silver or a vampire-killing kit, the Ohio Valley Gold & Silver Refinery buyers have put their hands on some valuable items.

The group stopped in Gainesville this week in search of unique coins, jewelry and collectors items.

"I've always been interested in antiques, so when I retired from the military, I jumped on it," said Don Land, the show manager. "You never know what will walk through the door. It's a lot of fun."

Established in 2005, the group travels three weeks out of every month. More than 60 teams cover the nation, and Land's group handles Georgia and Florida.

About six months ago, the group purchased a vampire-killing kit - an 1850s box that includes an antique wooden stake, mallet, spectacles, vial and book.

"You see some bizarre stuff. The owner of our company bought Johnny Cash's bed for $30,000 and gave it to his wife for her birthday," Land said.

"And a 1960 Les Paul guitar went to the lead singer of Metallica for $100,000. Apparently it was one digit off his original guitar."

In Gainesville, the buyers picked up some interesting items this week. A gun collector sold an 1800s A. Waters black-powdered pistol for $400 and a walking stick, which transforms into a black-powdered rifle, for $150.

Another woman brought in a small musical instrument case her husband left behind when he died, but when Land opened it up, he found a Remington model 6 gun.

"The rifle and butt were cut down, but we bought it for $20 to use it as a display piece in our research department," Land said. "It'll be a teaching tool to show people what kind of modified and strange guns they may find in the field."

The parent company, Treasure Hunters Roadshow, recently landed a nationally syndicated TV show with the same name, and Land is waiting to see when his team shows up.

"I know we were filmed at a show in Jacksonville, (Fla.), but I haven't seen any footage yet," he said.

Shannon Lee, a buyer in Land's group, has had a few minutes in the TV spotlight. She appeared in an episode of Pawn Stars, a reality show about the Harrison family who evaluate items, refurbish them and resell them at the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas.

Ohio Valley Refinery's buyers, who are trained for four weeks in Springfield, Ill., serve 6,000 collectors who send in lists for what they want.

Other items are sold at auctions, including several gun auction shows in Georgia.

"We're looking for gold, which is at $1,400 an ounce, and silver, which is at $27 an ounce now," Land said. "The values are at an all-time high for both, so it's a seller's market."

A handful of local residents showed up Friday morning, toting coins and jewelry.

"I didn't get much, but I got enough," said Tommie Love, a Flowery Branch resident who brought in a bag of John F. Kennedy half dollar coins. "This group is in town only at certain times, and I always thought I should stop by but never have."

Richard and Frances Murrow, Gainesville residents who brought in an assortment of gold jewelry and strange coins, sold a few items with small value.

"I just came to get rid of some junk," Richard Murrow said with a smile. "And I found out what I have."

 



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