Collection Agencies!

The title is a play on words. :)

This past week two collectors organizations sent out their crews to scour the land for valuable coins and antiques. The Canadian Collectors Roadshow was in Merritt last week (their website doesn't appear to be finished) and this week The Treasure Hunter's Roadshow is here and they are buying, among other things, jewelry, toys, silverware and coins based on silver and gold value.
Generally they offered 5 to 7 x face value on my silver coins (depends on the year and consequent silver content) but one surprise was a little elephant that was assessed to be worth 400 dollars ( as a collectable) by the CCR.
NO WAY DUDE! (or words to that effect regarding the worth of the little silver elephant)
The THR didn't look beyond the silver content of the elephant which kind of surprised me but overall I enjoyed the experiences- especially talking with other people prior to having my items evaluated...I had the good fortune to talk to a coin collector before the CCR folks looked at the coins I had brought in and he gave me quite a few good tips on determining coin worth.
One lady brought in a miniature ladies razor...the box was just over an inch long.

Ephemera from the past...
Today I finally found a tin of old coins I had been looking for but the contents weren't that exciting so I decided to hang onto them for a bit longer but did get all my old and broken jewelry together. I felt quite a bit of relief to be rid of them as I'm not a fan of jewelery to begin and finally had an opportunity to get rid it.

It should be mentioned that foreign coin is purchased in 'bulk' by these groups when they do determine there may be gold/silver present I was told. While I have chosen to hang onto my few coins I don't think it's the worst idea to get rid of silver and gold in this way- providing you know that you are not potentially selling a collectible coin for just it's metal's worth!
The two following photos show the type of items the Canadian Collectors Roadshow looks for.

Before going to one of these types of venues it would pay to invest in some time to evaluate your collectables- write down the denominations and years of your coins and make a note of their condition and then find a coin catalog at the library or online. There are key dates for almost every coin- some are scarcer than others or may have aberrations that make them uniquely valuable.

Treasure Hunters Roadshow Display
Jewelry and ornaments are another matter as well- look for maker's stamps to find out more about your pieces. Likewise toys that have manufactures or makers labels attached- sometimes you can find information on your piece by describing it with key words using a search engine like Google.
This photo was taken quickly, outdoors. I wanted to focus in on the absent number. The man who wanted to sell it at one of the venues believed it to be a rarity... but the assessor claimed to be able to see a number. I sure couldn't. After I came home and looked at the photo at full resolution it is plain to see that there are scratches beside the 2...but not in the area where the fourth number should be which is very smooth. It's a curious piece...there also appeared to be a lump of additional silver between the 9 and the 2 but I obviously can't tell for certain.
And if you decide to take photos of your pieces to post online here are some tips:
Have your item well lit but not so that there is glare on it.
Get as close to the item with your lens as the camera allows to still maintain sharp focus. Use a tripod or otherwise stabilize the camera.
Photograph each piece from a few angles- especially if there is a 'good' and 'bad' side. Coins naturally have two sides. If  you have a laptop it's quite convenient to set the coin on the monitor frame with a white background and shining a light on it.