COVINGTON - Locals streamed into the Holiday Inn Express in Covington on Monday carrying their valuables and their hopes.
It was the first day The Great Treasure Hunt Roadshow set up shop in Covington, its team of appraisers at the ready to evaluate items and possibly make an offer.
About two dozens folks came in the first hour and a half. Most walked away empty-handed, but there was one close call.
Conyers resident Doris Colbert and her family brought a painting by French Art Nouveau painter and printmaker Theophile Alexandre Steinlen they acquired from a nursing home.
One appraiser got excited after doing some online research and called his colleague over to examine the piece. But it was determined to be a very good reproduction. If it had been an original, the Colbert family would have walked away $40,000 richer.
"We would have went home and went shopping," Colbert said.
Mary Fuller of Covington brought a sterling silverware set she inherited from an aunt. The set was purchased for $500 about 50 years ago from Rich's in Atlanta.
"It's just sitting there collecting dust," she said, before selling it for $300.
Bob Wise of Conyers appeared to have a treasure trove of items: a coin collection, an antique typewriter circa 1870 and a piece of artwork known as scrimshaw, an elaborate carving on the tooth of a sperm whale.
"I may sell it. My kids are not interested in it, and my wife thinks it's junk," he said.
But an offering of $75 for the typewriter wasn't worth it, Wise decided, and the scrimshaw was found to be a souvenir piece and not an original.
Phil Dew of Conyers brought Elvis Presley memorabilia, including an unopened "Moody Blues" album and commemorative magazines and newspapers published after the singer's death. He also brought vintage Playboy magazines, china and a stamp collection acquired by his mother's uncle while he was a Merchant Marine. He found many of the items while recently cleaning out the garage.
"I didn't sell one thing," he said with a shrug as he walked out the door.
But there are still three days left, and the next big sale could be hanging on an unsuspecting person's wall or stored away in a basement.
The Great Treasure Hunt will remain at Holiday Inn Express, located at 9159 Access Road N.W., through Friday. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. There are no fees to attend and no appointment is necessary.
Based out of Kernersville, N.C., The Great Treasure Show has been traveling the country for 22 years buying vintage sports memorabilia, guitars, antiques, comic books, gold, silver and other items to resell to a network of collectors.
Appraisers do online research to determine the market value of items and the seller is paid on the spot.
"It's a great way for folks to make extra money off stuff they have in their attics and basements," spokesman Jon McNeill said.
Items of most interest usually date back to at least 1970, or pre-1964 in the case of coins, McNeill said.
Recent big purchases include a 1940s Stan Musial game jersey worth more than $50,000 and a rare F5 Gibson Mandolin worth more than $100,000.
For more information about The Great Treasure Hunt, call 1-800-344-9103 or go to www.webuytreasure.com.