We had an interesting "date night" last night. We made a trip to Centralia, Illinois which is about an hour from us. Centralia is one of those towns in South Central Illinois that I've always heard of, but I'd never been there. So, why would we pick a small town an hour away to go to dinner on a Wednesday night? We went, because I cleaned out my jewelry box!
During the process of sorting through things at my in-law's home, my husband and his sister found some old coins tucked behind paint cans in the garage. This really wasn't a good idea on my father-in-law's part...we almost missed finding them. My sister-in-law took them to a local jewelry store and they bought them. It was at that moment I started paying attention to the prices of gold and silver right now. We also had some blue books of coins in the auction on Saturday and as we watched a few books of dimes, quarters etc. (face value-not much) sell for over $200, my wheels started spinning. You see, I worked in a bank many years ago. On the rare occasion a silver dime or half dollar would pass my way, I'd buy it and throw it in a bank bag at home. I knew there wasn't much money in that bag, but I wasn't sure what I had. I hadn't looked at it since the early 80's. I also decided it was a good time to dig out some of those silver chain necklaces that I also hadn't worn since the 80's. Throw in a couple of old gold crowns, a couple random sterling spoons and off we went to visit Centralia Coin, Stamp Etc.
When researching where to take our small little bag of treasures, I found Dan and Blake Griffin's website. I knew that I wanted to find someone who had been in business a long time. Locally, we have a few of those "We buy Gold and Silver" places, but that wasn't going to work for me. I like dealing with people I can trust, even if we aren't talking about a lot of money. The Griffins didn't disappoint us. They are both friendly, informative and they know what they are talking about. They made us feel very comfortable and they not only answered questions about our silver, they answered questions about the town and sent us to a great place for dinner. I highly recommend making the trip to see them if you live anywhere in the area.
So, I'm sure you are wondering if we made enough money to pay for the gas and dinner. Our trip was absolutely worth our while. For example, 2 old gold crowns...$75. I'd forgotten the dentist sent me home with them years ago. Six silver chains, 2 bracelets and 2 spoons...$144. The silver coin was paying over 20 times the dollar amount. So, if you have $10 in silver coins...you will come home right now with over $200. I had done my homework and I knew the actual value of the coin I had and I knew that we would be offered less because they have to be able to make a profit. I had a figure in mind that I thought would be fair to both of us and they were exactly where I thought they should be.
While in Centralia, a little town of 13,000 located in 4 different counties in Illinois, we took a little time to explore. The Griffins told us to make sure we took a drive by the Centralia Recreation Complex. What an impressive 60,000 square ft. facility for such a small town.
We also drove past the Centralia Carillon (the 8th largest Carillon in the world). They have weekly concerts and their Carillonist is from the Netherlands.
We had dinner at Jerry's Corner Grill & Bar and it was great! This is one of those places that we would have never found if the Griffins hadn't sent us there. In fact, I probably would have driven by if I did see it. It is a slightly dark place, with blue twinkle lights covering the ceiling. Our waitress said she had been working there for 29 years and that they had been open for 40 years. Evidently they are famous for their steaks, but the menu also had Asian, Mexican and Seafood. I had a Lo Mein dish that was delicious and my husband ordered the chicken strip dinner. It came with homemade soup, the best and largest dinner salad I've ever seen with homemade dressing and 5 huge pieces of chicken and fries. His chicken may have been the best I've ever tasted. Needless to say, we brought part of our dinner home.
So, if you find yourself with a few silver chains and coins...hungry...and interested in exploring an old railroad town-make your way to Centralia, Illinois. You might just be as surprised with what you see as we were!