Your junk could be a gold mine
By Janet Lundquist firstname.lastname@example.org April 11, 2012 9:18PM
Joliet resident Darnell Draper (center) smiles as manager Sandy Kubala (left) and her husband and field buyer Scott Kubala (right) inspect jewelry for purchase during the Ohio Valley Gold and Silver Show at Best Western Joliet Tuesday, April 10, 2012, at 4380 Enterprise Drive in Joliet. The show will continue through Saturday. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 13, 2012 8:15AM
JOLIET — Got junk — or stuff you suspect is junk? It may not be as worthless as you think.
The Springfield-based Ohio Valley Gold and Silver Refinery is in Joliet through Saturday, and the company is looking to buy gold, silver, rare and unique collectibles.
Forgotten jewelry or inherited, unwanted stuff — such as pre-1970 baseball cards, coins, war memorabilia or vintage toys — could convert to cash.
The process is easy and relatively quick. Visitors bring in their items and sit down with a staff member who will evaluate the items and make an offer to buy them.
If you decide to sell, you get a check.
You never know what might have value, so it’s worth bringing in things like broken jewelry, tarnished silverware or vintage toys, said field manager Sandy Kubala.
Although there is a limit to what the company will buy.
An antique vampire killing kit, yes. Things like rings made with actual glass eyes or a box full of your grandfather’s teeth (no gold), no.
The vampire killing kit fetched $10,000, according to a company brochure. The company passed on the glass eye ring and box of teeth, said Scott Kubala, Sandy’s husband and co-worker.
“We buy a lot of watches,” Sandy said, adding that they’re not usually worth much. “But at least you’re getting something instead of throwing it in the trash. You’re getting paid.”
Someone with a large set of sterling silverware could get a check for $1,400 or more, depending on the number of pieces and weight of the silver, Sandy said.
“If it says ‘sterling,’ we’re definitely interested,” Sandy said, adding that some silver pieces have a three-digit number on them instead of the word “sterling.”
Even costume jewelry is worth something to the company, although you would have to sell a lot of it to make substantial money. If a piece is signed, such as Eisenberg Ice jewelry, it may be purchased for a collector.
Sandy’s gigantic costume jewelry collection got her into the business in the first place.
“I went because I used to own a jewelry store, and I had a bunch of stuff I wasn’t wearing anymore,” she said. “I hauled it all in (to a similar show). I walked away with a $400 check.”
Everyone who works for the company is a collector themselves, she said. And the Kubalas in particular are interested in the history of those treasured items.
“The fun thing for us is, you’re not just throwing something down on the table and we’re saying, ‘I’ll give you fifty bucks for it,’” Scott said. “It’s a process of sharing back and forth.”
Everything except gold is condition sensitive, she said. No matter how bad it looks, if you can tell an item is made of gold, it’s valuable.
Artwork — such as oil paintings — can be valuable, even if it’s not by a well-known artist.
“I call it hidden treasure,” said Sandy.
The Ohio Valley Gold and Silver Event will be at the Best Western Joliet Inn and Suites, 4380 Enterprise Drive, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
For more information on the Ohio Valley Gold and Silver Refinery, visit ohiovalleygoldandsilver.com.