From trash to treasure

Published 9:18 pm Monday, January 3, 2011

Madesta Robinson of Niles gets her collection of Indian Head pennies appraised during the Treasure Hunters Roadshow at the Niles Inn and Conference Center Monday. (Daily Star photo/AARON MUELLER)

Even at age 90, it’s easy to become a little jealous of siblings.

As a child, Madesta Robinson was given every Indian Head penny her father collected at his gas station, while her brother received every silver dollar.

After what she found out at the Treasure Hunter’s Roadshow Monday, it would be understandable for the 90-year-old Niles resident to feel a little gypped.

The appraiser told her that her 572 Indian Heads were worth about $200, but he would have been much more interested in the silver dollars, which are more valued by collectors.

“At my age I have little use for them,” Robinson said of the coins. “They’ve been sitting (at home) for years, so I decided to bring them in.”

The roadshow, which began Monday at the Niles Inn and Conference Center, is appraising and buying gold coins, jewelry, antiques, old currency and other collectibles through Friday this week.

More than 75 people brought their personal treasures and old junk to the collectors association on Monday, hoping to cash in. The lines and waiting periods were long for many of the hopeful visitors, some of whom had to sit on the floor during busy parts of the day due to lack of seating.

Jim Sayer of Dowagiac had been waiting for about two hours to have his collectibles appraised.

Sayer had a large collection of 19th century coins, including an 1853 one dollar coin he got from his grandmother.

He also had two swords and a dagger from World War II that his father’s friend gave  him.

Even though he has a large collection of coins and old weapons, Sayer doesn’t consider himself a collector.

“They’re just things I’ve picked up over the years,” he said.

He said he had no idea of the value of his collection.

“I don’t have a computer, so I figured I’d come here to find out,” he said.

Bart Humphreys of Buchanan brought in some old dolls, toys and a traveling trunk, hoping they might have some value.

“I got these from a cleanup job for a Realtor. I got four truckloads out of that,” he said.

Humphreys has collected a variety of antiques over the years and plans to bring more items to the road show later in the week.

Asked if there was anything he wouldn’t part with, he replied with a smile: “Everything’s got a price.”