The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

January 24, 2008

Traveling buyer pays cash for precious metals

Gold prices: Record highs make for easy buys

NORTH MANKATO — There’s gold in them thar ... motel rooms. And Mel Manning wants to buy all he can from strangers stepping in from the cold.

“A little extra cash don’t hurt nobody,” Manning said Thursday as he held court in his Super 8 lodgings.

Early that morning, Manning had purchased some silver from a man and some old World’s Fair metallic mementos from a female seller. But it’s gold he’s especially after, and the current market puts sellers in the driver’s seat.

Prices are at record highs — $900 an ounce on Thursday — which tends to make people think again about hanging onto those old class rings and scrap gold.

“A half-decent size class ring, you get $100 for it,” said Manning, who buys for Lake Country Gold & Silver, a Detroit Lakes company that sends representatives throughout the state to pay cash for precious metals in whatever form, even dental gold.

Manning will be at his post until noon today, his trusty 15-year-old manual scale at his side. He also owns a digital model, but prefers the old-school look.

“I like it. It’ll never lie to you, that’s for sure.”

Nor will Manning on occasions when he must tell hopeful folks what they don’t want to hear.

“Sometimes, people bring in a big bag of stuff and think they’re gonna be rich. But they don’t have anything. Once, we made a house call on a woman who said she had all these rare silver dollars.

“It sounded kind of strange, so we went there and she had 500 Eisenhower dollars, each of them worth a buck.”

Other times, Manning must tell someone their old coins would have been valuable, had they not cleaned them under the illusion their value would increase.

“There’s a mint luster on coins that needs to be retained. (Buyers) don’t want them clean; they want them the way they are.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News