News 12 On Your Side: Hidden camera investigation into 'roadshow' in Augusta

By: Elizabeth Owens Email
By: Elizabeth Owens Email
Selling coins OYS

When selling your collectables, look for businesses that are established and have a good rating with the Better Business Bureau. (WRDW-TV / Nov. 4, 2011)

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The Ohio Gold & Silver Refinery is in Augusta this week, promising there will be "experts" on hand to give you "good offers" on your antiques, gold, silver or other rare collectables lying around your home.

The Ohio Valley Gold & Silver Refinery is one of about a dozen roadshows under the parent company THR & Associates. According to a news release, they're "experts" who travel the country looking to make "good offers" on collectables .

THR & Associates is not associated with the television show "Antique Roadshow." Unlike the the PBS show, THR & Associates dealers appraise and offer to buy collections.

Wayne Dameron, owner of Cline's Rare Coins, is skeptical about traveling roadshows.

"The people are not offering a fair price for the merchandise," Dameron said.

He says roadshows take advantage of uneducated sellers.

News 12 On Your Side wanted to know if the Ohio Valley Gold & Silver Refinery would give a fair amount for a rare coin collection, so we armed our station's Chief Engineer Ed Elser with a rare coin collection and hidden camera.

Cline's Rare Coins lent us a collection that is appraised at $5,500, according to the weekly Gray Sheet listings. The collection included a rare 1909 coin that is valued wholesale at $3,500. Another rare coin in the collection was a Carson City 1889 silver dollar. It is appraised at $1,000. We put the 1889 CC in a case with several other silver dollars that are not as valuable.

Ed: "On these do you, like the amount you give, is that a percentage of what you can put it for sale for?"
Dealer: "A very high percentage, yes."

The Ohio Valley Gold & Silver Refinery dealer assured Ed that she would pay a high percentage for the value of the coins.

He showed her the rare 1909 penny that was appraised at $3,500.

Dealer: "I got back my research on the penny, $750."

The dealer offered $2,750 less than the wholesale value on the 1909 penny.

Ed also showed the dealer the collection of silver dollars which included the rare Carson City 1889.

The dealer noticed the 1889 in the collection and even said "1889," but never told our engineer that it was a rare coin. She later upped the price from $15 to $25, which is 2.5 percent of the of the wholesale value. The silver alone in the coin is worth over $26.

Jim Toner is a field manager for Ohio Gold & Silver Refinery.

"I think we are normally give at least twice what you locals will give," Toner said.

News 12 asked him about the coin worth $1,000, for which his dealer offered $25.

"I did not see the 1889, so I can't comment on it," he said.

The manager told News 12 he wasn't around when our engineer came in. However, our hidden camera caught him in the same room and you can hear the dealer calling him by name to come look at one of the coins in our collection.

Toner asked News 12's Elizabeth Owens to see the 1889 coin. She showed it to him and he opened up a book to look up the price.

Toner: "An 1889 in that condition?"
Owens: "Yes."
Toner: "Very fine, $750"
Owens: "Right and you guys offered $25 for it."
Toner: "I don't know if she noticed it was a Carson. I don't know. I have to talk to that individual."
Owens: "But she was trained, so she should have noticed it."
Toner: "Maybe she noticed it, maybe she didn't. I don't know."
 
Here are some things to keep in mind if you are looking to sell your family collectables:
-Seek appraisals from experts dealing the area of your type of collection
-Look for businesses that are established and have a good rating with the Better Business Bureau


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