Weak economy equals boom for buyers of gold, silver and collectibles

March 20, 2012

By Tom Corrigan

Treasure Hunters buyer Craig Meadow shows off 70 pounds of casino chips he bought from a local woman last week. Meadow also was hoping to buy some slot machines from the woman. By Tom Corrigan

Early the morning of March 16, Craig Meadow, a buyer for Treasure Hunters Roadshow, said he had just made probably the most unusual purchase of his weeklong visit to Issaquah.

Meadow was one of two buyers in town with Treasure Hunters, who advertise themselves as buyers of precious metals, coins and antiquities. “Collectibles” could probably be added to that list.

Meadow’s noteworthy buy was 70 pounds of casino chips of every variety. Many were from various Las Vegas casinos and may even still be viable at the casinos they came from. Others were a lot more exotic, such as a porcelain chip still wrapped in a protective covering. Another was a Kenny Rogers memorial chip featuring a picture of the singer.

Meadow paid about $80 for the chips, saying he bought them primarily for the metal. The seller was supposed to return as the two still were working out a deal for several slot machines, including three that dispense gumballs. The seller said the items had belonged to her late husband, according to Meadow.

The company behind the “Treasure Hunters” cable TV show, Treasure Hunters, also known as THR and Associates, has been sending buyers to Issaquah a few times a year. During their recent week at the Issaquah Holiday Inn, Treasure Hunters was especially looking for coins, older paper currency, trains, dolls, vintage jewelry, musical instruments and similar items along with gold or silver, Treasure Hunters spokesman Matthew Enright said in a press release.

Gold, silver and jewelry buyers are in vogue presently, Meadow agreed, with shops popping up on street corners and in malls. The still tough economy is no doubt the reason, he said. With so many places to potentially sell items, how do know you’ve found a reputable buyer who will pay a fair price? One key is finding a buyer who has been in the business for a while, Meadow said.

“We have been doing this for many years,” he said of Treasure Hunters. “We treat people fair and we give them a fair price.”

Meadow travels all over the country for Treasure Hunters. When needed, he can call on what he said is a highly knowledgeable research staff to help determine the value of an item. He said he’s purchased a master recording of a Beatles’ song from a Moses Lake resident and was with another buyer when Treasure Hunters paid $10,000 for a “vampire hunter’s kit” including a cross and wooden spike.

The most unusual item Meadow said he personally bought is also the most expensive. He paid $25,000 for a coin that predated the Roman Empire and had been authenticated by the Smithsonian Institute.

“It was a beautiful coin,” Meadow said. “You hold it in your hand and you wonder how many other people have held it.”

Learn more about Treasure Hunters at www.thrassociates.com.

Tom Corrigan: 392-6434, ext. 241, or www.tcorrigan@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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One Response to “Weak economy equals boom for buyers of gold, silver and collectibles”

  1. robert ganz on March 20th, 2012 6:49 pm

    Lady you got ripped of ! 70 pounds of casino chips for $80? If you had only 5 of the $10 commemorative chips made of silver, those would be worth more then $100. Why did you not visit a local coin dealer and had them evaluated before you literally gave them away to the traveling circus guy!

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