Buyers discover golden keepsakes

December 27, 2011

By Tom Corrigan

THR buyer Noah Williams shows off a 1960s Gibson guitar purchased during a gold, silver and memorabilia buying event at the Holiday Inn of Issaquah. By Tom Corrigan

Early the morning of Dec. 21, the buyers for THR and Associates were at least temporarily on their own inside a meeting room of the Holiday Inn of Issaquah.

A national buyer of precious metal and collectibles, THR was in town Dec. 19-23 to offer those wishing to divest themselves of possibly worthwhile but unneeded items a chance to earn money for those items.

THR is the same group that produces the Treasure Hunters Roadshow TV show.

Standing by a table filled mostly with jewelry and watches, THR buyer Noah Williams said the company usually provides him with about $500,000 to spend on items during a stop such as that at the local Holiday Inn. Tough economic times and current high prices for gold and silver are driving sellers to such companies as THR, Williams said.

He added the Issaquah buying event was a lot busier earlier in the week, but sellers were still arriving in small numbers as Christmas approached.

As of mid-week, Williams said the star item purchased was undoubtedly a 1961 Gibson electric guitar. He placed the full value of the instrument at about $8,000, saying the seller had left with a check for $7,500.

Williams did not supply names, but said the seller was the child of a former member of a local rock band from a few years back. Williams said the family had tried to sell the guitar previously, but couldn’t find anyone willing to pay what they thought it was worth.

Several factors made the guitar a higher-priced item, according to Williams. First is the age of the guitar along with the facts it was made in America and there were few of the models produced.

Some World War II memorabilia purchased during the Issaquah event included a soldier’s belt and canteen. Williams paid $100 to the seller who said the items had belonged to a grandfather.

Williams travels around the country for THR and said Washington was the 14th state he’s visited this year. The strangest items he’s bought? That would be some letters written by mass murderer Charles Manson, along with a braided piece of Manson’s hair. Williams said he paid $2,500 for the items, which he was able to authenticate. The seller’s father apparently had served some time in the same prison as Manson.

As for Williams’ most expensive purchase, that was a large number of gold coins, enough to fill what to Williams looked like a casino chip carrying case used by high rollers. Having collected the coins as an investment, the seller more than doubled his money, earning close to $1 million from THR, Williams said.

Tom Corrigan: 392-6434, ext. 241, or Comment at

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