By Matt Goodman
Killeen Daily Herald
In a small conference room tucked away in the Killeen Comfort Suites, Barbara Wright threaded a broken gold chain through her fingers. She scratched the chain onto a small testing stone and dropped an acid solution onto the shavings to test the quality.
Wright is a buyer with Ohio Valley Gold and Silver Refinery, which is buying gold, silver and collectables for the rest of the week at the Comfort Suites.
The chain, which was being sold by Harker Heights resident Robert McDonald, broke into three pieces after McDonald's 7-month-old tried to hang from it.
"With the price of gold as high as it is, we've been telling folks to bring their used gold in," said manager Keith Hammons. "That's anything from things broken in jewelry boxes to old coins."
The price of gold has more than doubled in the last five years; in 2005, gold was worth around $400 per ounce, while it now hovers around $1,100. That's largely because of the declining worth of the American dollar, which has pushed many residents to comb through their jewelry boxes to search for something to sell.
"We get people that really need the money," Hammons said. "They're just trying to make ends meet."
This is the second time that Ohio Valley Gold and Silver Refinery has come to Killeen this year. Last time, the refinery bought close to $280,000 in gold, silver and collectables from residents; this time, the company expects to eclipse $300,000.
"We're taking our refinery … directly to the road," said Matt Enright, spokesman for Ohio Valley. "It allows people to get more money for their items … because they don't have that middle man."
Typically, Enright said, gold sellers don't have a direct connection to a refinery. When Ohio Valley does weeklong stays, the seller can have direct contact with the buyer. And not all of what Ohio Valley buys goes to the refinery.
On Monday, guitars and World War II-era officer swords surrounded the gallery table. These items, including certain coins, are sold to collectors, who give Ohio Valley a commission.
"That way, the more we can give someone for their item – whether that's a guitar or a piece of currency – the more the company makes," Enright said. "It's a win-win for everybody."
The refinery has 35 traveling buyers in America and about six teams in Europe and Canada. McDonald and his crew will be at the Comfort Suites from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Friday.
"Last year (in Killeen) I wrote an $87,000 check to someone," McDonald said. "So you now you see why people should bring their gold in?"
Contact Matt Goodman at email@example.com or (254) 501-7550.