First day of roadshow a success

Published 10:00 am Thursday, May 12, 2011

Bob Harbolt, 81, of Ironton, waited patiently with his cardboard box at the Ironton City Center Tuesday morning. He was there for the Ohio Valley Gold and Silver Refinery Roadshow, curious about the value of his item, more than half a century old.

When Harbolt’s turn came up, he carefully took his five smaller boxes out and pulled bottles out to set on the table for examination. The five-ounce bottles contained silver alloy used for dental work during World War II.

Alexander Jelarcic, field buyer, examined the items and after researching, offered Harbolt $225 for the bottles. Harbolt said he was going to hold on to them, and then Jelarcic and show manager Shawn Henley, offered to test the contents of the bottle to determine the percentage of silver.

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Harbolt agreed, and was pleased when Henley came back to say it was 90 percent silver and offered $400 for the five bottles.

“I’ll talk to my wife, and I might be back,” Harbolt said.

Harbolt was just one of the many customers the roadshow saw Tuesday morning. Henley said they saw 10 customers during the first hour.

“It’s been pretty busy,” he said. Just Tuesday morning, the roadshow had already purchased a couple of gold rings, a pocket watch from the 1920s, some old comic books, a 1930’s tin for Camel cigarettes and a couple of sliver dollars.

“Usually our shows end with 80 percent of people leaving with a check,” Henley said.

Antique comic books, originally priced at 10, 12 or 15 cents, is something Jelarcic said people might just have lying around. The value can vary, from 50 cents to a dollar an issue, or much larger for a rare edition.

Jelarcic said someone once found a first-edition Batman comic book in the bottom of a pinball machine that was purchased from an auction. They were paid $1.5 million for a 15-cent comic book.

Lori Locke, field buyer, said there is a key to what makes an item particularly valuable.

“Rarity is everything,” she said. She said this is especially true with autographed items. “If you get something signed by somebody who doesn’t sign often, it’s worth more.”

Ethelmae Clutters, of Ironton, brought jewelry in to be evaluated.

“I wore it until about a month ago, and I was painting my ceilings and took them off, and I really don’t miss them,” Clutters said. She said she was offered $100 for one of the rings, but decided against selling.

“I’m going to give my stuff to the grandchildren,” she decided.

Emily Scott, 29, of Pedro, brought many items, including two paintings, two stuffed teddy bears, plates, jewelry and coins, among other items.

“You just never know what you have,” Henley said. “Before throwing it out, see what it’s worth.”

The roadshow will be at the city center the rest of this week from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.