WILTON — People brought coins, jewelry and other valuables to the Treasurer Hunters Roadshow here this week, Northeast field Manager Angela Wright said Thursday.
She and her team set up shop at Comfort Inn & Suites on Tuesday with a purse of $250,000 to spend on items through Saturday, she said.
Many of their customers are baby boomers trying to downsize from a home to a condo, Wright said. They bring that silver teapot passed down through the family or silverware that no one wants to bother polishing, she said.
Over the last few months, more have come from need for extra cash, and others are intrigued by the price of gold, which was $1,744 an ounce as of Thursday.
"We never know what we're going to buy," Wright said, looking over a display that included World War II photos, a Pinocchio figure from the 1940s, guitars and a chest of jewelry.
A collector for more than 20 years, she said it's the experience that helps agents evaluate and set prices. There's also a large research department to quickly check items, including a vampire killing kit bought by Treasure Hunters Roadshow at another location for $10,000, she said.
The treasure hunters connect people with collectors around the world and offer prices based on what collectors are willing to pay, she explained. Treasurer Hunters Roadshow has purchased cars, Johnny Cash's bed and an autographed photo of the Beatles, among other valuables. Tin toys are a hit now, she said.
When a customer sells an item, the agents photocopy their driver's license and add a description of the item. These are sent to local police to ensure that the items are not stolen, she said.
Internet sales sites such as eBay have changed the world of collecting, Wright said. Also, supply has exceeded the demand with items such as Hummel figurines now going for $7 to $40 instead of previous $200 to $800.
Wright's team, which is one of 150 traveling the U.S., Canada, England, Germany and Spain, will head to Milton, Mass., next week to continue their search of treasures, Wright said.