Treasure hunters make stop in Ponoka

Treasure hunters make stop in Ponoka Treasure hunters make stop in Ponoka

Paul Pearson with the Canadian Treasures Roadshow inspects a coin May 18.

Paul Pearson with the Canadian Treasures Roadshow inspects a coin May 18.

Treasure has always been a word to stir the imagination of striking it rich and living on a secluded island in the Caribbean; people often live vicariously through shows such as A&E’s Storage Wars or History Channel’s Pawn Stars to see what pecuniary value those treasures hold.

Residents of Ponoka had a chance to see what their treasure was worth May 18 to 20 at the Canadian Treasures Road Show in the Super 8. Gold and silver buyers were on hand to inspect jewelry, and gold and silver coins. They offered cash on the spot for those items.

Paul Pearson, a third generation coin appraiser, has been looking at coins for the last 30 to 35 years and buying gold and silver for the last six.

Pearson said they offer stock price for the precious metals so he tries to keep track of the stock prices on an hourly basis.

Pearson and his four daughters make custom jewelry for shoppers looking for something different. Some of his customers include Garth Brooks, Shania Twain, and MP Justin Trudeau.

The family lives on a ranch in Kelowna, B.C. where they send the valuable metals to make jewelry. While they are looking specifically for gold and silver to melt, clients will bring in other coins for appraisal.

“We go through literally thousands and tens of thousands per week,” he said to one client.

Pearson will often give an appraisal of the coins but does not buy them. “An appraiser should not be a buyer. Ethically and morally it’s wrong.”

If there are enough clients with valuable coins, Pearson will usually contact coin collector societies and recommend they set up a show to entice coin sellers. Coin collectors may come from all over Canada.

“We’ve made the decision that we’re not going to buy the rare coins,” he said.

He uses electronic gold testers to check the quality and type of gold a person wants to sell. Pearson also uses an earth magnet, if it picks up the jewelry, then Pearson said it is not silver or gold, but gold-plated.

Karen Read was one resident who brought some coins and other valuables to the show.

She received some cash for her gold and was given advice on the coins and an antique watch. “I got some good info on an antique watch and was told to save the coins for my granddaughter.”

Mona Fraser brought her old jewelry that was either broken or unused; she wanted to use the money toward family needs.

“I’ve been holding onto this stuff most of my life,” Fraser explained.

She walked away with $300. She also brought some garnets to see what they were worth.

“I can’t help with garnets. I can help you with diamonds, sapphires and rubies,” said Pearson.

There were not too many people waiting in line on Friday morning, but Pearson said usually word of mouth will bring more people throughout the weekend. He plans on returning to Ponoka to conduct in-home appraisals.

By Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye