The Treasure Hunters Roadshow (THR) hit Placerville on Tuesday and they’re ready to buy.
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The company, which swings through Placerville every three to six months, visits towns all over the country, Canada and Europe turning people’s cast-offs into treasure.
They buy pre-1965 general circulation silver coins, pre-1934 paper currency, jewelry, diamonds, gold, platinum, watches, antiques, sports memorabilia, historical documents, military items, autographs, dolls and toys, comics, and vintage guitars. These items are then resold to collectors or through auction houses.
Most appraisals are done on the spot by the field reps, but in other cases they take a photo and description of the item and send it to the home office for authentication and appraisal. Hot items right now include anything gold or silver, vintage guitars, and bayonets.
Dawn Hubbard stopped by with her treasure trove, including an extensive collection of baseball cards, signed 49er’s helmets, a 1929 recital program from Symphony Hall in Boston, and an 1889 newspaper clipping advertising a fight between John L. Sullivan and Jake Kilrain. She found the items while going through old boxes from relatives and decided it was time to get them appraised and sold.
Vinny Latham, a field manager for THR, said that one of the coolest things he has ever come across at a show is when a woman brought in letters from John F. Kennedy to the woman’s mother implying that they were having an affair. The woman decided not to sell them just yet because she didn’t want to drag her mother’s name through the mud.
While most of the items people sell generate only modest sums, the company has paid handsomely for rarer treasures. For example, they paid $10,000 for a vampire killing kit; $22,000 for a first edition Batman comic book; $30,000 for Johnny Cash’s bed; and $100,000 for a Les Paul guitar.
THR, which is located in Springfield, Ill., started out as a toy company. Latham said that if you have an antique toy, the company can tell you everything about it, including when it was manufactured and by whom.
He noted that while not everybody has a valuable guitar to sell, “every woman has a broken necklace and everyone can use some extra money.”
The roadshow is being held at the Cary House Hotel, 300 Main St. in Placerville. Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 9 to 6, and Saturday from 9 to 4. The show closes Feb. 4.