Phyllis Moore inherited her late uncle’s collection of stamps from the Civil War era and coins that dated back to 1650. On Thursday, the Habersham County resident came to Gainesville to find out the value of her inherited items and perhaps sell them.
The Great Treasure Hunt, a Winston-Salem, N.C.-based firm, travels the country and offers to buy scrap gold, vintage toys, coins, watches and musical instruments.
"Gainesville has been really good in quality of merchandise and people," said Michael Wescott, a company representative. "We’ve been receiving a lot of gold and silver coins. There has been a nice variety of other things coming in."
Wescott said some people admit they are coming out of necessity.
"Times are tougher now and some people are coming in because they need some extra money," he said. "It’s easier to part with some broken jewelry you don’t want anymore to help make ends meet."
Wescott said the company has held buying shows at rented locations from Canton, Ohio, to California. Larry Underwood of Cornelia brought in his Gibson Les Paul Jr. electric guitar to see how much the restored 1958 instrument would bring.
"I heard about it and wanted to see what price they would give me on it," Underwood said, adding that he didn’t have to sell the guitar but would do so if the price was right.
Wescott and other company representatives sat at tables with laptop computers tied to a subscription Web site that indicates both the value and demand for collectibles.
The company provides potential customers with a worksheet that says there will be some items that don’t interest them because of limited demand.
The sheet says the representatives will make an offer, and they don’t keep the owner from making a counteroffer.
Moore watched closely as Wescott examined her items. When Wescott went to make a telephone call about the value of one of her coins minted in 1650, she went with him, not letting the goods out of her sight.
"We wanted to see what they were worth," Moore said.
The buying event continues through Saturday at the Gainesville Civic Center.