Roadshows: Here today, gone tomorrow |

Roadshows: Here today, gone tomorrow

Allen Rowe
For the Nevada Appeal

A few years ago PBS discovered a new phenomenon, “The Antiques Roadshow.” This now famous show travels from city to city offering appraisals for antique items. The appraisal event is recorded and edited into a television show that is aired on PBS. As experts describe the items, owners and the audience wait with baited breath for the final conclusion. Is this item worth a lot of money? Some items look very plain and are worth small fortunes. Others look expensive and turn out to be reproductions worth very little. Either way it is engrossing to watch as items are appraised.

“The Antique Roadshow” is not a forum for selling one’s items. In fact, “The Antiques Roadshow” prohibits any of its appraisers from using “The Antiques Roadshow” name to solicit business from the public.

Why is this fact important? There are companies that travel around trying to buy old items that use “roadshow” in their name. Do not be confused, these people are not “The Antiques Roadshow”.

“Roadshow” buyers enter a town, advertise heavily to buy for a few days, and then are gone. These buyers play on the fact that you only have a few days to see them before they leave town. This scenario entices many people to rush to visit these road buyers before they leave.

These companies spend enormous amounts of money to operate in a single area for just a few days. What does this mean? These road buyers must make very large profits to cover their expenses. The question is, at who’s expense?

Checking with local buyers may often produce much higher payouts for the same items. Antique stores, coin shops, and pawn shops most often beat the prices offered by out-of-town buyers and the profits even stay in your own local economy.

If you are visiting an out of town “roadshow” and they offer to buy your items, they are not “The Antiques Roadshow” you see on television. If you end up visiting their show, take the time to get a second offer before selling. You may just be surprised at how often a local buyer pays much more than these road buyers.

But remember, it is impossible to get a second offer after you have already sold your items to out-of-town buyers.

• Allen Rowe is the owner of Northern Nevada Coin in Carson City.