Kathy Ross clutched a plastic bag full of costume jewelry Wednesday as she walked toward the entrance of the Hampton Inn & Suites in Craig.
She walked out carrying a check for more than $1,000.
Ross sold her jewelry to the Ohio Valley Gold & Silver Refinery. The company, which is based in Springfield, Ill., has representatives in Craig this week to buy old and rare collectibles, coins and precious metals, which are then refined or resold to collectors. The company began buying Tuesday and will continue through Saturday.
Ross said she was thrilled with the result. Instead of costume jewelry — which refinery buyer Colleen Rivera explained is worth about $20 a pound — Ross actually had many gold and silver pieces in her collection.
“(Ross) said it was all costume jewelry, but I looked at it and said, ‘Well, I don’t think so. Let’s look through it and see if we can pull something out,’” Rivera said. “I started sorting it into piles of 22 karat gold, 14 karat gold, 10 karat gold and a pile of sterling silver.
“So, (Ross) was thrilled to pieces to that she was able to get paid for precious metals rather than for costume jewelry. I’m glad she felt good about it.”
Jaryd Gerhart, a manager with Ohio Valley Gold & Silver Refinery, said the experience is meant to be enjoyable.
“We see a lot of people coming to us in a bad economy, but the good news is gold and silver are at high values right now,” Gerhart said. “We’re having fun here. We want people to come in, have a good time and leave with money.”
While Ross was happily surprised by her result, not all customers are.
Pat Sisneros, of Craig, said she was displeased with the offer she received Tuesday for her Mercury head dime, wheat pennies and silver watch.
“I’m going to keep them,” Sisneros said. “She couldn’t write me a check for less than $5.”
Gerhart said that’s the nature of any business, and that he and the refinery try to do their best offering customers fair market price.
“We’re very competitive with our prices, and we’re trying to take care of the people who come in here,” Gerhart said. “I want these folks to come back and come see me again, because we will be back.”
Gerhart said he and his team plan to return to Craig “every year or so,” as repetition in a community builds trust.
“Maybe someone’s not ready to sell (their coin collection this year),” Gerhart said. “Maybe in a year or two, they’ll feel comfortable. They’ll know me, and I’ll know them.”