Business offers new coin for old

In town through Saturday, it also buys gold, watches

By Courtney Sherwood, Columbian freelance writer

Published:

 

When a for-profit business that travels the nation buying coins, precious metals and paper currency made a stop in Vancouver this week, Ed and Mary Ann Statler decided to check it out.

“There were old coins that we had been carrying around for years,” said Mary Ann Statler, 67. “I went on the Internet to see what they were worth.”

Then she and Ed, 70, headed to the International Coin Collectors Association event, where the Battle Ground couple sold several historic coins and some silver.

Despite concerns posted online about the coin-collecting business and its parent, THR & Associates, Mary Anne Statler said she felt she got a good deal on the trades — selling old pennies for two cents that have a resale value of three cents, for example.

Online criticisms primarily focus on THR & Associates’ approach to valuing goods, which is done without the use of an appraiser, and on the fact that the company does not allow sellers to reclaim merchandise, which is often required of pawn shops and other physical stores.

The company often is able to return goods when people experience “seller’s remorse,” though there are no guarantees, said Matthew Enright, vice president for media at Illinois-based THR & Associates. “It depends on the piece and how long it takes them to call us back,” he said. “But if a collector immediately purchases a coin we buy, it’s rare that we can get it back.”

Enright also said that THR believes hiring on-site appraisers would create a conflict of interest with sellers. “If I’m buying a house and I’m an appraiser, it’s unethical for me to appraise my own house,” he said. “We connect collectors with these coins. We’re not in the business of appraising. We’re in the business of buying.”

He also said that while THR and International Coin Collectors Association try to offer fair deals, sellers should do their own research if they’re concerned about the value of their goods.

THR & Associates rates a B-plus grade from the Better Business Bureau.

Statler said she was more interested in clearing out the house than turning a quick profit, in any case.

“I’d never done anything like that before,” she said, adding that she was surprised by the range of items the company would buy. “My husband has old watches that we could dig out. Maybe I can find some more stuff around to clean out and we’ll do it again.”

In a press release, the company said it hopes to spend an average of $50,000 per day during its five days in Vancouver.

The International Coin Collectors Association event continues 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Quality Inn, 7001 N.E. Highway 99, Vancouver