By Valerie Baldowski
William Bobolia and Paul Milner, of McDonough, entered a small room off the main lobby of the Sleep Inn in McDonough, to see if they could sell some coins.
The two were among the potential sellers who visited the Ohio Valley Gold and Silver Refinery on Wednesday.
Based in Springfield, Ill., Ohio Valley travels throughout the United States to buy precious metals and collectibles. Its buyers will be set up at the Sleep Inn, at 945 Ga. Highway 155, through Saturday.
Bobolia and Milner went straight to a table and sat down with two separate buyers to discuss their coins. The buyers briefly inspected the coins, but did not buy from either seller. The pair left quickly without any discussion, but the buyers did make many other purchases.
Along one wall of the hotel room, was a table bearing items buyers had acquired. They included Civil War and foreign currency, a military helmet, various military-style knives, an actual torch carried through Atlanta during the 1996 Olympics, a glass jar containing coins, and a display case with sterling silver flatware, watch faces, and jewelry.
Some of the items hopeful sellers bring are sometimes unusual, or bizarre, said buyer Sheila Cenizal, during a break.
"We got a sword from a lady in Savannah, Ga., and her husband was on a search and rescue team," said Cenizal. "On the sword was blood that was still embedded in the blade. It was in April of this year. We actually bought 10 swords from her."
The company buys a wide range of items, she said.
"We did buy a bank, a little metal Punch and Judy bank," continued Cenizal. "We paid $3,500 for it. We bought that at the end of January, in Mobile, Ala."
The bank, she said, was from the late 1800s.
Cenizal said the items bought from the sellers are shipped to the company's corporate offices, and then sold to customers who collect those types of items.
One seller presented a three-legged buffalo nickel during a stop in Nashville, Tenn., in January, said field manager Chris Tarver.
"They're worth a whole lot more than regular buffalo nickels, obviously," Tarver said. "It was a mistake by the mint." Another rare coin presented, he said, was a Spanish "sunken treasure coin," from the 1700s.
Tarver said other items bought have included guitars, banjos, and old pressed-metal toys.
With each purchase it makes, the company aims at pumping money back into the economy, he said.
"What we do is, we show up with a whole bunch of money to spend in somebody's community," added Tarver. "We're excited about it, it's our own little stimulus package. Most of it is driven by the high prices of gold and silver. Lots of people have broken chains, they have mismatched earrings they want to bring in. They can bring it in and get a lot of money for those things."