NAUGATUCK – On it’s third show in the area, the Ohio Valley Refinery & Road Show entertained a steady flow of traffic, but didn’t receive as many antiques and collectibles as they did on previous trips, according to Kristina Shrewsbury, the show manager.
The company tours the nation, stopping in towns for a week at a time to buy gold, silver, and other valuables from local residents.
“Snow is kind of keeping people away today, but we’ve been very steady,” Shrewsbury said on Jan. 20, after another storm dumped about a foot of snow on Naugatuck.
After four days in Naugatuck, about 75 people had visited the show, Shrewsbury said. They usually get 150-300 people over five days.
Despite the weather, the company bought items from about 90 percent of the people who came in, Shrewsbury said.
“A lot of people have left here very happy,” she said.
With the economy the way it is, people are looking for things they can cash in on, Shrewsbury said.
One local resident brought a collection of coins and jewelry to find out what it was worth.
Martha Tillmann, of Goshen, collected the items over the years from her father, in-laws and various sources, she said.
“It’s just taking up space,” she said.
She handed the silver dollars, a gold chain she found in a parking lot, and some other items over to David Whisman, the field buyer.
He sifted through the coins, looking for key dates that would make them more valuable, but didn’t find much.
One 1926 British penny was worth about six cents, Whisman said.
He offered Tillmann $185 for the lot.
“I expected more for the coins,” Tillmann said, but took the check anyways.
The first time the show came around, people brought old toys, antiques and war memorabilia, but this time people mostly brought broken jewelry and a lot of coins, Shrewsbury said.
There was, however, one noteworthy item.
One local resident brought in a 1930s baseball signed by Babe Ruth, Ed Barrow, Jacob Ruppert and Lu Gehrig, said Rick Washburn, who works with the refinery.
Although a lot of people have baseballs signed by these legends, this one was authenticated, which made it easier for the refinery to find a buyer.
The company has a database of 10,000 collectors to buy unique items, Shrewsbury said.
“The collector lets us know what they were willing to pay,” Washburn said.
The Ohio Valley Refinery bought the ball for $1,500. It would have been worth more if the signatures weren’t really faded, Shrewsbury said.
A similar ball in better conditions sold for $3,000 in Columbus, Ohio, she said.
Still, $1,500 isn’t too bad for a bit of leather and string.