Written by John Starkey
By Alice Canham
A dozen women descended on the home of Anne Pfaff, eager to see how much money they could make from old, broken or unwanted jewelry pieces – and eager to make money for the Main Place, an Irving nonprofit that serves homeless teens.
I was curious too, clutching a few broken chains in the hopes that gold lay under the tarnish, I joined the group sipping wine and nibbling on hors d’oeuvres that were all part of the package.
This particular party was the brainstorm of Jessica Young, a supporter of the Main Place and a member of the Irving Women’s Network.
“Each supporter of the Main Place that’s coming in with precious metal items for us to look at will take a turn sitting at the table with our appraiser,” said Young. “One at a time, we’ll look at their items, give them a cash value for it, and they can accept or decline. Each person that accepts gets their cash on the spot, and their information goes on a ledger that we will total up at the end of the party, and the Main Place gets a percentage commission, based on how much we organizers have spent. Gold bullion, silver bullion, Rolexes and pure items are paid at 5 percent, while all other precious metals are paid at 10 percent.”
For some of the guests, it was an opportunity to get an idea of the value on certain pieces, even if they’d never part with them.
“There’s never an obligation to accept the offer,” said Brenda Siri, who joined appraiser Justin Wing as guests displayed their treasures. “Sometimes the sentimental value is greater than the monetary value.
“There’s a generation of people who always wanted to inherit items from their mother or their grandmother, but increasingly, our children don’t feel that way. Some of our guests may just decide they might as well sell it.
“Here there’s a safety factor, too. If you were taking a piece into a jewelry store, you might be nervous walking in with it. You don’t know who’s standing there watching you, waiting for you to come out.
“This is a comfortable atmosphere, getting together with your friends for a party. It’s very safe.”
The organizers pay 75 percent of the spot price of precious metals, which for some guests was quite lucrative. Jan Moore received just under $2,700 for her collection, which left her gasping in disbelief.
“I figured I might come away with four or five hundred dollars,” she said. “I could not believe…. I’m just in shock!”
I, on the other hand – well, some of my pieces responded to the magnet.
“That’s an easy way to tell they’re not precious metals,” Wing explained. But to my surprise and pleasure, I was offered the princely sum of $60 for my trash. I took it.
Parties are not restricted to nonprofits. A private individual could also reap those same rewards for collecting a group of ten or more friends to participate. Still, it’s nonprofits that bring in the bulk of the business.
“I’ve been wanting people at my agency to do one of these,” said Jeanne Reyer, the Executive Director of Captain Hope’s Kids. “I’m hoping I can tell them about this so they’ll consider it.
“Since our agency supports kids and works closely with the Main Place as a partner agency, this was the perfect time to come and support them, and see what was going on.”
Main Place spokesperson Sharon Johnston confirmed that guests had received a total of $4,749 from the party.
“And the Main Place earned $1088,” she said.
For more information, log onto www.bookyourgoldpartydfw.com.