August 7, 2009 10:44:00 AM
Bruce Barnett walked into the Wingate Inn Wednesday with a hefty collection of coins and small silver bars that has been sitting idle for years. The Columbus man had come to find out what the Treasure Hunters thought of it.
A team from the Illinois-based Treasure Hunters Roadshow is in Columbus through Saturday as part of an 18-month "national treasure hunt."
As buyers for a vast network of collectors, the group hopes residents in the region will bring in items such as coins and paper currency issued prior to 1965, toys, dolls, old jewelry, old and modern musical instruments, war and advertising memorabilia, swords, knives and more.
"Anything old, we want to see," reads a Roadshow press release.
"We''ve already purchased two nice collections of confederate currency," said show manager Tony Enright Wednesday. His treasure-seeking team is one of 25 canvassing the country for items a database of nearly 6,000 collectors will buy.
"We want people to know we''re not the Antiques Roadshow," Enright stated. "They appraise and offer appraisal insurance, and we actually buy."
While Enright said the national Roadshow does make occasional high-dollar purchases -- such as $100,000 paid for a 1960s vintage guitar -- he cautioned potential sellers about unrealistic expectations.
"Most people we buy something from will walk away with a check for between $100 and $400," he said.
About 100 people visited the Roadshow Tuesday. Items purchased by the team locally have included jewelry, a train collection, a vintage Buddy Lee doll, military daggers (including a Hitler Youth dagger) and a cast iron farm bell.
For Barnett, the visit to the Wingate with the heavy coins was deemed worthwhile.
"I was pretty pleased with what they gave us," he said after the transaction. "A lot of the coins were from before 1965, and they were silver."
The Treasure Hunters Roadshow is open at the Wingate Inn on Military Road until 6 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.