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Gold to Cash
By Darcie Loreno
Tribune Chronicle

High price of precious metals has many residents cashing in
Bonnie Young of Bristol, far left, brought boxes of silver flatware and tea sets to sell to Coin & Jewelry Buyers of America Thursday. Here, buyer Joe Hiltner looks for engravings on the silver items.
HOWLAND — Debbie Shiley hasn’t worn her Niles McKinley class ring for 34 years.

She never spent a roll of dimes dating back to the 1940s and 1950s.

And a few nickels, wheat pennies and an old wedding band haven’t been good for anything but collecting dust where they were tucked away in her Niles home.

But after a trip to Avalon Inn Thursday, she has some free space at home and a pocket that’s $125 heavier.

‘‘It was just on a roll of dimes, my ring, an old wedding band — there was nothing fancy about it,’’ said Shiley. ‘‘I thought I did really well — to get $40 for a roll of dimes.’’

Through Saturday, residents like Shiley have the opportunity to sell their jewelry, old coins or other forms of gold, silver and platinum at Avalon, where Garfield Heights-based Coin & Jewelry Buyers of America will be posted, ready to shell out cash for their valuables.

Dana and Shawn Sims, of Warren, made about $220 after selling a broken necklace and bracelet along with a pendant of Mary and Jesus.

‘‘We were just cleaning out her jewelry box,’’ said Shawn Sims. ‘‘We were going to take the things to a pawn shop.’’

According to appraiser Cheri Bonner, it’s the perfect time to sell the items. Market prices for gold hovered at $944.20 an ounce, which is a 40 cent drop. Silver is up 17 cents at $18.55 an ounce.

‘‘They can get double now what they could get last year,’’ said Bonner regarding gold sales.

Because of that, she said, the company — which holds such events all over this part of Ohio — has seen many more customers in recent months. Most sellers are folks 30 years old and up, she said. They come in with bags of jewelry, silverware and coins and some take the jewelry right off their necks.

But a word of caution came from a local goldsmith of 30 years as resellers trumpet the near $1,000 an ounce mark. Though gold is hitting record highs, Christopher Gillis of Gillis Studios in Salem said people may want to think hard before selling their jewelry for scrap. Middlemen, the cost to melt it down and the purity of a piece of jewelry can greatly reduce the price people can get.

‘‘If you have a nice ring, you’re better off putting it on E-bay,’’ said Gillis.

Or people can head to an area pawn shop to get cash in.

Denise Talstein, owner of Larry’s Super Pawn in Warren, said the store has seen the number of customers go up, especially in the last month or so since gold values have been rising.

‘‘Jewelry is the most popular,’’ said Talstein. ‘‘And it’s not a certain class of people. It’s everybody from every walk of life.’’

Thursday, Bristol resident Bonnie Young showed up with boxes of items. She’d just watched an episode of ‘‘Oprah’’ that talked about decluttering one’s life and went on a cleaning binge. She brought along silver flatware and tea sets — though she couldn’t sell them because they weren’t sterling silver.

Coin and Jewelry Buyers of America buys broken jewelry, coins made before 1964, watches, silver dollars, wedding bands, and sterling silver tea sets and flatware. They’ll buy anything that’s precious metal, she said, and more than just plated with either silver or gold.

If a particular piece of jewelry is in good condition, said Bonner, they might resell it. Gold, she said, is melted down and sold in bulk to refineries, which then sell it to manufacturers.

‘‘It’s kind of a way to recycle gold,’’ said Bonner.

There were a few things Shiley couldn’t sell Thursday like costume jewelry.

‘‘I came home with about 50 percent of what I took,’’ she said. ‘‘But now I know I can put it in a garage sale.’’

Tribune Chronicle reporter Bill Rodgers contributed to this report.

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