John Torbic shows off the top of a “stupa” — a religious Buddhist monument which contains Buddhist relics — that he bought 30 years ago from a curator in Pakistan. Great Canadian Roadshow manager AJ King said it was possibly the most rare item that had been brought into the show all year.

Show attracts an eclectic mix of items rare and not-so-rare

People from all over the West Kootenay are bringing their treasures and collections to the Great Canadian Roadshow this week hoping to turn a hefty profit.

  • Jul. 13, 2011 4:00 p.m.

People from all over the West Kootenay are bringing their treasures and collections to the Great Canadian Roadshow this week hoping to turn a hefty profit.

Similar to the PBS program Antiques Roadshow, items are assessed for value and history, then either bought by the company or turned away.

“We have 70,000 collectors around the world,” show manager AJ King said. “If we have a collector for something we can purchase it, if we don’t have a collector we can’t purchase it.”

Each staff member with the Great Canadian Roadshow has a specialty, King explained. Some are trained in coins while some are trained in comic books. King is an expert in military memorabilia.

“I’m starting to sense that there’s a lot of veterans in this area,” King said of the items being brought to the Castlegar stop.

“We all work together because you can’t know everything about everything,” he said.

Coins have been a big item this week, King said, but also a lot of mining materials, Olympic coins and broken jewelry.

“Some people have a number stuck in their head that [their item] is worth thousands,” he said, explaining that the age of an item doesn’t necessarily correlate with value.

Items on display at the roadshow included a mammoth tusk (picked up recently in Stony Plain, Alta.), old Coca Cola trays as well as various coins, guitars and military medals.

King said they do free assessments on items if a person isn’t ready to part with it, and they also have a gold recycling program (as gold is worth quite a bit right now).

On Tuesday, John Torbic brought in the top of a “stupa” (a religious Buddhist monument which contains Buddhist relics) that he bought 30 years ago from a curator in Pakistan.  King said it was possibly the most rare item that had been brought in all year. Torbic said he decided to sell it now as he’s getting up there in age.

“It’s time to let it go,” he said.

King didn’t know how much it would be worth, but said they were waiting on word from the Royal Ontario Museum to see if they wanted to snatch it up.

Others weren’t so lucky, however.

One hopeful brought a variety of centennial coins, hoping to make some quick cash. But because of when the coins were made, they only contained half silver and weren’t rare (49 million quarters and 65 million nickels were made at that time), so he was out of luck.

King said he’s happy to see people in the area embrace the roadshow.

“It’s pandemonium,” he said. “We couldn’t be happier to be here.”

The Great Canadian Roadshow is taking place at the Sandman Hotel from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. this week, except Friday when they wrap up at 4:30 p.m.

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