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Got Junk? Treasure Hunters Roadshow Will Check It Out

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Author: Matthew Enright

If you have gold, silver, antiques or other rare collectibles lying around your house, the Treasure Hunters Roadshow wants to see them.

The International Collectors Association, based in Springfield, Ill., is bringing its five-day roadshow to the Quad-Cities for the first time this week, starting Tuesday at La Quinta Inn, 5450 27th St., Moline.

"What we've really seen a ton of is gold and silver," Matthew Enright, the association's director of operations, said recently. "As the dollar gets weaker, gold and silver go up in value. The gold market is through the roof."

"People are bringing in broken chains, necklaces. People are taking advantage of the market," he said.

One man last week in South Dakota brought in a handful of old silver dollars and 50-cent pieces, and he walked out with more than $4,000, Mr. Enright said. "The guy was blown away," he said.

The treasure hunters make offers based on what collectors are willing to pay. When someone decides to sell, he or she gets paid on the spot, and the treasure hunters send the item to the collector, Mr. Enright said.

Part of a nationwide tour, the Treasure Hunters Roadshow launched 15 years ago and has been all over Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee, he said.

The association works with 6,500 collectors from all over the world and has allocated $712,000 to spend this week on antiques and collectibles, Mr. Enright said.

"We're looking for items like Civil War swords, old Gibson guitars from the '30s and '40s," he said. "People bring in these items, sign in, get a number, and they sit in front of an appraiser."

A collector who is interested in that specific item can be reached directly during the show, or an expert will determine its value, and the owner typically makes a sale at the show, Mr. Enright said.

The association does not use licensed appraisers, but can give reliable market values for pieces. If a buyer cannot be found, the owner will be referred to one who may be interested in the item.

The treasure hunters are interested in seeing items such as coins and paper money issued before 1964, toys, dolls, trains, vintage jewelry, old and modern musical instruments, war memorabilia, advertising memorabilia, swords and knives.

Mr. Enright noted an item doesn't have to be old to be valuable - just unusual and in the best possible condition.

"It has to do with the rarity of the item," he said. "It could be coins from 2000. A businessman invested in new gold coins in early 2000. He paid $1,200 for high grade, minted coins and he ended up walking out with a $40,000 check.

Over the past year, the show typically attracts 1,000 to 1,500 people over the week, Mr. Enright said. The tough economy hasn't necessarily boosted those numbers, he added.

Collectors - who also are welcome to visit the show - are very serious about their hobby, and are willing to pay top dollar for items they want, Mr. Enright said.

Nearly all coins, jewelry, musical instruments and toys made before 1965 are highly sought after by collectors, he said.

The show runs at LaQuinta Inn from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call (217) 523-4225.

About the author: Matthew is one of the treasure hunters at the Treasure Hunters Roadshow. If you would like the Tresure Hunters Roadshow to come to your city, contact 217-636-7900 or visit

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