Gold Buyers return with new name but same plan
|Published: Saturday, 06 November 2010 16:21|
By Jerry Jordan
Once again, a group of traveling gold buyers has descended on Southeast Texas, setting up shop in the Holiday Inn-Park Plaza on Jimmie Johnson Boulevard in Port Arthur.
This time it is the Ohio Valley Gold & Silver Refinery group- the one that kicked off The Examiner’s ongoing and award-winning investigations into the misleading tactics used by the people trying to separate local residents from their precious metals, antiques and other collectible items.
Ohio Valley Gold & Silver is also known as the Treasure Hunters Roadshow, which is being sued in federal court by PBS’ Antiques Roadshow for trademark infringement. The group is also known as the International Coin Collectors Association, the International Vintage Guitar Collectors Association, the International Military Collectors Association and THR & Associates.
Treasure Hunters Roadshow (THR) in December 2009 after it set up shop in a meeting room at the Comfort Suites on Walden Road. Using three of its employees and asking help from Mike Fuljenz, one of the leading numismatists in the country, the newspaper determined that THR was offering prices far below the fair market value of the items brought in.
Since that time, The Examiner has investigated THR in five states- Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas- and each time the findings were similar. The most recent time THR visited Southeast Texas, the newspaper again sent reporters in undercover who were offered just $8 for a proof silver coin worth more than $1200. After haggling for nearly a half-hour, the hotel buyers offered $30.
The company is based out of Springfield Ill., and has a multi-million dollar operation that travels the country buying gold, silver and other items for pennies on the dollar, The Examiner’s ongoing 11-month investigation has revealed.
Keith Wann, the manager for the show currently in Port Arthur, had little to say to the newspaper when a reporter dropped in on the first day of their stop. Just an hour before the show was set to close for the day, fewer than 20 people had actually visited, yet the advertisement in the Wednesday edition of the Port Arthur News claimed “dozens cash in yesterday with jewelry, railroad watches and guitars. An estimated $200,000 in Port Arthur!”
To set the record straight, a reporter who was outside watching those people coming and going from the show never observed anyone bringing in a guitar. Additionally, the advertisement claimed that a woman named Claudia McDonald “received $825 for a gold coin minted in 1986.”
A search of the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Drivers License Database showed there are only eight people in the entire state named “Claudia McDonald” and none of them live within 250 miles of Port Arthur.
The Beaumont Better Business Bureau warns against dealing with traveling buyers and recommends that people take their items to local reputable dealers and educate themselves before accepting any offers.