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Residents flock to Treasure Hunters Roadshow for appraisals, sales

By Staff | May 13, 2010

Hundreds of local residents combed their attics and closets this week for any items they could have appraised or sold at the Treasure Hunters Roadshow.
The show has been operating out of the Hampton Inn & Suites on Southeast 47th Terrace in Cape Coral since Tuesday and will leave the city Saturday.
Experts from the show examine items brought by customers — such as old military gear, toys, musical instruments, comic books, coins or scrap gold — and not only tell how much the item is worth, but match it with a prospective collector.
“We have some really cool things here,” said Mark Cooper, a watch expert who is manager of the Cape Coral roadshow.
He pointed to a Gramophone from the early 1900s which he had just purchased for $1,200 from a local woman. A long table against one wall held a dozen or more gray bins holding different collectable coins. On Wednesday, Cooper said he had purchased a bag of Morgan dollars — coins minted between 1878 and 1921 — for $1,400.
Coins have been one of the biggest sellers this week, he said. And many of these coins are ordinary quarters made before 1964, because older coins have a higher percentage of silver and the price of this metal is higher than it’s been in years.
“The main thing we have been buying is coins and gold,” said Cooper, who also pointed out that the price of gold is approximately $1,200 an ounce.
Some customers brought in old or broken gold jewelry to be appraised and sold. Cooper said they receive the full price per ounce for pure gold, and the price is decreased if it’s 18 or 14 karats. One customer received a check worth over $1,000 for a small collection of necklaces and bracelets.
Cooper said, as of Thursday afternoon, 270 people had visited the roadshow since its opening.
Staff member Kimberly Klatel welcomed new customers into the hotel conference room. She said there was a waiting list of approximately 50 people and said estimated waiting times couldn’t be provided because every transaction was different.
Five staff members spent the day appraising customers and transacting items. Each was an expert on artwork, guitars, watches or coins, but had general knowledge of other treasures.
Don Norquist, a Cape Coral resident, waited 2 1/2 hours to be seen with his antique stamp box and an electric razor from the 1920s. He said it still works, but he hasn’t tested it on his own face.
“They have been in my attic for the last 50 years,” he said. “I’m trying to sell it to pay for gas for my vacation next summer.”
Besides the items he was bringing to the show on Thursday, Norquist also has an old tobacco cannister that belonged to his father. It was left to him after his father died, but he didn’t want to try selling it.
The roadshow was in Cape Coral 12 months ago, but Cooper said they didn’t have as much business as they’ve had this week. Some of the items they bring, like types of figurines, have dropped in demand so Cooper advises customers to hold onto the items until they are worth more in the future.
But most of the people take what they can get for the extra money.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people are struggling,” he said.
Don and Becky Olney from Lehigh Acres drove across the county to sell some of their Ducks Unlimited knives to Michelle Bley, a roadshow staff member.
“Those usually run for $40 to $80 each, it depends on the condition and model they have,” said Bley.
The Onleys were attempting to sell their two knives to the roadshow, but they also had an antique Stanley square used for construction.
Don Onley said he’s had one of the knives for nearly a quarter of a century.
“I’ve had that a long time,” he said.
The show is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and is open Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information, visit www.treasurehuntersroadshow.com.