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Roadshow Searches for Hidden Treasure
by Garrett Valenzuela
Aug 03, 2011 | 347 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/John Byrne - Travis Lord examines a gold bracelet on Tuesday during the first day of the roadshow put on by The Ohio Valley Gold and Silver Refinery and THR and Associates at the Holiday Inn on E. Nugget Avenue in Sparks. The show continues through Saturday.
Tribune/John Byrne - Travis Lord examines a gold bracelet on Tuesday during the first day of the roadshow put on by The Ohio Valley Gold and Silver Refinery and THR and Associates at the Holiday Inn on E. Nugget Avenue in Sparks. The show continues through Saturday.
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SPARKS — From the wilderness of Alaska to a meeting room at the local Holiday Inn, a gold nugget about the size of a walnut completed a journey on Tuesday that spanned two generations.

A local man who identified himself only as Gary visited the hotel on E. Nugget Avenue, bringing with him the hunk of gold dug up by his father about 80 years ago. He brought the gold to the roadshow being held this week by The Ohio Valley Gold and Silver Refinery and THR and Associates, based in Springfield, Ill. The roadshow travels the United States looking to buy gold, silver, antiques and collectibles.

“Everyone has a little bit of gold,” said Vincent Latham, manager of THR and Associates. “We’re the guys who collect the little bits of gold and make huge, 100-ounce bars out of it then sell them.”

Latham said gold and silver coins are a frequent item for their roadshows. After agreeing to $400 for the Alaskan gold, Gary said he has additional gold in the form of coins but in the end he could not agree with Latham on a selling price.

“Sometimes you find really great old coins that are more rare or not based on the year they were made,” Latham said. “Some coins will have more value as a collectible piece than the precious metal that’s involved in it.”

Though there are many companies buying gold and silver jewelry nowadays, Ohio Valley’s refinery has come to Reno looking for more than just precious metals.

“Our company was founded on buying, selling and trading toys,” Latham said. “The really exciting stuff is the collectibles we find.

“We have 6,000 different collectors that we collect for,” Latham continued. “There are different people out there who are looking for different items. We have those collectors’ preferences and we buy those things.”

In its quest to collect items, THR and Associates find themselves coming across antique items such as famous autographs, rare books, instruments, sports memorabilia and comics.

“We’re always looking for the unique stuff,” Latham said pointing to the roadshow’s brochure with a picture of Johnny Cash’s bed, which was acquired for $30,000. He added that certificates of authenticity are usually required for them to consider buying autographed items.

When deciding on buying a rare item in poor condition or buying a fairly ordinary item that is in good condition, Latham could only offer this information:

“Some things, if they are not rare, aren’t collectible. Some things that are in excellent condition aren’t collectible. Some things that look like they’re marginal shouldn’t be collectible, but if they are very rare they are collectible.”

When identifying antique items, THR and Associates do not take chances with their purchases.

“We don’t have to be experts in every single thing because we have our collector database and a great research department to refer to,” Latham said. “We send them pictures and any information we gather and they tell us what we can offer on it.”

The Ohio Valley Gold and Silver Refinery roadshow will be held today through Saturday. Times are weekdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 217-726-7590.
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