One person’s trash ....

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Attics, basements and piggy banks raided in search of hidden treasure

By Robert Villanueva

By ROBERT VILLANUEVA rvillanueva@thenewsenterprise.com


ELIZABETHTOWN — Of all the things she took to Treasure Hunters Roadshow — foreign coins, watches, costume jewelry — it was the broken and scrap jewelry that netted Meshell Labaun of Hodgenville the bulk of the $207.25 check she walked away with.

“I think I did pretty good,” Labaun said. Robert Bedford of Radcliff did a bit better.

His collection of coins resulted in a check for nearly $2,000.

Bedford’s collection consisted of silver and gold coins, coin sets, commemorative coins and paper money, among other things. He’d collected the money since the 1950s.

“Getting too old,” Bedford offered in the way of an explanation for why he was selling his collection. “I don’t want to mess with it.”

Like Bedford, Labaun took her items to the Holiday Inn Express for the free Treasure Hunters Roadshow event, hoping to make a sale. She was motivated, she said, by the fact that she had “no money.”

Labaun offered coins from various countries, such as Holland, France and Austria, but the buyer saw little market value in them. Likewise, several framed collector’s sets of old coins, including buffalo nickels and Indian head pennies, didn’t elicit much interest.

“I knew I had a bunch of stuff that wasn’t worth a lot of money,” Labaun said. She plans to try to sell some of her other items on E-bay, the online auction Web site.

The jewelry that sold included broken pieces of gold and silver that were passed on to her mother, then to her.

“That’s kind of a typical transaction we see a lot of,” buyer Tony Enright said.

Though many people go to the events expecting appraisals, Enright said buyers at Treasure Hunters Roadshow evaluate items based on their current market values, and not everything is purchased. The current market value differs from an appraisal in that an item might be appraised for a higher value due to its uniqueness but wouldn’t necessarily have a high market value if collector interest is low, Enright said.

As buyers for collectors, Roadshow personnel seek to get sellers the highest amount possible for items collectors want because their commission is based on the selling price.

Though some have confused the Treasure Hunters Roadshow with Antiques Roadshow, a program that appraises items, the two are not affiliated,

Coins, toys, jewelry and musical instruments were among the items visitors to Treasure Hunters Roadshow brought in Tuesday. The 10 or 15 minute wait in the morning turned into about an hour wait by late afternoon.

“Typically the first day we see a lot of different things until people get an idea what we’re interested in,” Enright said.

Fred Mattingly of New Haven used the event as an opportunity to sell coins of a variety of denominations, from pennies and dimes to quarters and silver dollars.

“My mom saved them,” he said. The collection resulted in a $232.37 check for him.

“I was kind of surprised,” Mattingly said. He was happy with the transaction, since he didn’t plan to continue collecting coins.

“I’m too old to collect,” he said.

Other visitors brought in post-Civil War and early 1900s delegate medals from the Grand Army of the Republic, an old pair of lady’s Derringer-style pistols and toy Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars. The items did not have buyer interest.

Carbin and Mary Cross of Elizabethtown took in a couple of items, including an ultraviolet wand for alopecia, a form of baldness. She did not get an offer for it.

“It just wasn’t in high demand,” Mary said.

Others brought in coins that would have commanded a higher price had they been in better shape.

“Condition makes all the difference in the world,” collectibles buyer Eric Helms said.

Treasure Hunters Roadshow holds events throughout the country. The Elizabethtown event continues through Saturday, welcoming visitors from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. today through Friday and 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Enright said Tuesday’s turnout was good, and it was a good indication of attendance for the remaining days. The event has been held in other Kentucky cities, including Bardstown and Bowling Green.

“Kentucky’s always been good to us,” Enright said.   Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743.