Trinkets turn into treasures

Residents bring gold, old coins, plates and more to traveling roadshow in hopes of getting a nice check in return.

January 25, 2011|By Bradley Zint,
  • Field manager Colleen Rivera shows a collectible vintage Gibson guitar she purchased for the Ohio Valley Gold & Silver Refinery’s traveling roadshow. The roadshow will be in the Best Western Newport Mesa Inn through Saturday.
Field manager Colleen Rivera shows a collectible vintage… (DON LEACH, Daily…)

COSTA MESA — There was buried treasure in the backyard just waiting to be dug up.

And the family knew it.

So one day the granddaughter decided to excavate what her grandmother, an escapee from an oppressive Russian tsarist rule, put in the dirt years ago.

Turns out it was $57,000 worth of Russian gold rubles.

That's just one story Colleen Rivera likes to tell. Witnessing such impressive finds is part of her job as a field manager for the Ohio Valley Gold & Silver Refinery's traveling roadshow.

The Springfield, Ill.-based company is in Costa Mesa through Saturday looking to buy precious metals, jewelry, historical artifacts, antiques and other collectibles.

"With cutbacks, layoffs, cutbacks against insurance … people are needing residual income boosts," Rivera said. "[Selling to us] is a great way to do it."


Rivera and her two Ohio Valley colleagues have set up shop all week in the Best Western Newport Mesa Inn, 2642 Newport Blvd. They operate from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

On Tuesday morning a trickle of the roadshow's first customers were coming in with various trinkets.

Among them was Emily Silva of Newport Beach. Like most customers, she was hoping her items — including an old weather vane that's "years and years" old, some English plates and a pitcher featuring Cutty Sark whisky and "Captain John Willis" — might be worth some cash.

But no such luck.

"The appraiser said it wasn't old enough," Silva said.

But she was smiling and still in good spirits as she left the hotel.

Fullerton resident Dave Gluhak had better luck. He brought in some scrap gold and coins, including an American 1-cent piece dated 1855.

No valuable luck with the coins, but the gold — always in demand — netted him a not-too-shabby check for $387.15.

Christina Fitzgerald's father was in the Army during World War II. After his European tour, he brought home some coins, European currency and other items.

Fitzgerald, a Costa Mesa resident, decided to bring in some of her father's coins and currency, which earlier were locked in a box that needed a locksmith's help to open.

"I don't know if they're worth anything, but I just thought I'd be interested to find out if anything had value to it," Fitzgerald said.

It did.

"For a couple of pennies, a couple of dimes and nickels and stuff," she got a check for $50.

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