KENNEWICK -- If there's something silver, gold, or old sitting in a cupboard or tucked away in a box in the attic, dig it out. The Treasure Hunters Roadshow team coming to Kennewick on Tuesday wants to see it.
"We're after real collectibles, vintage guitars, war memorabilia from foreign countries, Barbie dolls from the first two years," said Clint Crook, show manager for Treasure Hunters for the Northwest.
"What makes an item collectable is the rarity and the market is always changing," he said. "That's why we don't want World War I and II items, we can get those, as issued, in surplus stores."
But team members do want your gold and silver.
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"With the price of precious metals as high as it is now we're always taking in investment gold, gold and silver coins, coin collections and jewelry," Crook added.
Crook and his team of five will be evaluating people's treasures for free from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Hilton Garden Inn, 701 N. Young St. There is no limit to the number of items you can take for evaluation, nor the number of times you go.
If one or more of your items fits team members' criteria -- they have a list of wanted items from more than 10,000 collectors worldwide -- they might make you an offer on it.
Whether you accept is up to you.
"We're not in town to appraise, we're in town to buy," Crook said.
Terry Maurer of Pasco, a member of the Certified Appraisers Guild of America, said "an appraisal is a written document. An evaluation is more what you tend to get in circumstances where there's less time involved."
Maurer writes the Herald's What's It Worth column, which runs every other Sunday in the Sunday Extra feature section.
Don't be misled by the name, Treasure Hunters Roadshow, is not the Public Broadcasting System's Antiques Roadshow. Treasure Hunters Roadshow is broadcast on Sky Angel Television Network on Dish Network and Resorts & Residences Network on Direct TV. Check local listings for program days and times.
The team will not be filming during its stop in Kennewick.
If you do decide to take your treasures for evaluation, Crook recommends taking a book, a sandwich and patience as the lines can be long. The team will examine each item, consult with other experts via the internet and phone if necessary, and come up with a price.
Just remember when selecting items to take that not everything is collectible.
"Some things just need to go to a yard sale," he said.
He also advised, "leave the furniture at home. It's big and bulky and not what we're typically looking for. We want things that are portable."
And skip china and glassware. Prices on them, Crook said, "are extremely down right now."
Some hot items collectors are searching for include toys, especially cast iron from the 1800s, and tin wind-ups from the 1930s and 1940s, Bisque and Blythe dolls and silver flatware and dishes, but only if they're marked sterling.
If you do sell an item, the Treasure Hunters team will ship it to a processing center in Indiana where it'll be boxed up and sent to the buyer who was searching for that item.
"With the economy down," Crook said, "people are looking for ways to bring in extra cash. They're looking to keep the lights on, to keep their house."
He recalled one woman he met three weeks ago in Mesa, Ariz.
"She was really down and out," he said. "But among her items was a document signed by President John Adams. We got her $4,500 for it which really helped her situation. She was crying, people around were crying, we all felt good for her."
"It's amazing, especially out West, what we find. I'm astounded what people carried with them," Crook said.
What collectors are looking for, and the prices they're willing to pay, constantly surprise him too.
At a show in Denver a man brought in a dinosaur shaped squirt gun, still in its package with the Toys R Us sticker on it for $3.99.
"I found someone willing to buy it for $1,500," Crook said. "That old saying, 'One man's junk is another treasure,' is true."
For more information, go to www.treasurehuntersroadshow.com.