This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Shopping at Elk Investments

Two months ago I had a post about a new business, Elk Investments, opening on West Washington across the street from CVS. Last Friday I had some spare time so I stopped in to see what they had. How can one resist advertising saying that they buy and sell fine jewelry, gold and silver, old coins, antique militaria, and Indian artifacts? There is something there for both men and women.

The small boy in me immediately noticed the swords on the wall. Most are Japanese samurai swords and they were really nice, but they were out of my price range.
Almost as much fun were the arrow heads and other stone tools.

This area had Indian settlements for thousands of years and they left behind many artifacts. I do not know where to hunt for them, but a number of local people collect them and have respectable collections. (That brings me to a pet peeve--Rensselaer has nothing to acknowledge the thousands of years of human habitation in this area that preceded the arrival of Europeans and their descendants. Lafayette has Prophetstown State Park and Fort Ouiatenon, Winamac is named after an Indian chief. There should be something in Rensselaer that connects us to those former inhabitants.)
Steffens Jewelry now has a bit of competition.
I have collected a bit of old money, mostly for use in the classroom, but it is more fun to spend it.
While I was in the store, two people came in to sell old gold jewelry. Elk Investments assesses it and pays cash. They then ship it off to a smelter who melts it down for ingots.

One of my older relatives has sold all the old gold jewelry she can find, probably to pay for her trips to the casinos in Gary. Is this a good time to buy or sell gold? Gold rises in price when people fear inflation. Normally we do not worry about inflation during a deep recession, but the Federal Reserve has created a huge amount of bank reserves, which could, if the Fed does not handle the situation correctly, be the source of future inflation. Plus, government spending is out of control and while the politicians in Washington sometimes talk about the problem, they seem unwilling to actually do anything about it. I worry about inflation because it is one of those things that could hurt me a lot and I do not trust the people in Washington to do the right thing.

They also buy silver. If you have a dollar in silver coin, it is worth $11.00 as metal. I think this box was a week's purchase by them. (They could also be buying old copper pennies because they are worth more as copper than as pennies, but I think it is currently illegal to melt them down.)
A few years ago there was an impressive auction at the fair grounds. A lady from Morocco was moving and selling a huge collection of Japanese and Chinese pottery and rugs and a lot of really nice stuff. There were a lot of dealers attending. One thing up for bid was a set of silverware. Someone bid $1 per piece. I knew that was low, so I bid it up to either $1.25 or $1.50. The original bidder then topped me and I decide that because I did not know what I was doing, I should not be bidding more. I asked the people at Elk Investments what the going rate for a piece of sterling silverware was and they said $7 or $8. So I dropped out of that auction way too early.

Behind the counter they had three old bank notes issued by Rensselaer banks in the 19th century. These are very rare and I do not think they were for sale.
If you are interested in the history of U.S. money, visit the on-line American Currency Exhibit at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and you will learn why banks issued paper money like that shown above.

Elk Investments is an interesting place to browse. (In case you are wondering, at the end of each business day, they collect all the merchandise and put it in a safe.)

1 comment:

Gene said...

When I was the oldest "Chambers kid" in the 1940s we knew an old Indian from the area named Kiki Rizensun. I think he was Cherokee or Potawatamee. Not sure. He lived in the Old Folks Home out by the airport. Some of the older Rensselaer folks probably remember him and could tell you about Indians in the area. We used to find some arrowheads in the sand hills up around Kniman and Teft.

Gene