It takes a trained eye to spot a treasure. Summerlin resident Andi Goldstein has found an 1843 signed chest that she bought for $8 and sold for $1,000. She’s gotten a crate of plates from England for $3 and sold it for $500. A diamond ring cost $10 and sold for $2,000.
Now Goldstein, who was an antiques dealer and auctioneer in the Nashua, N.H., area, can be heard on the AM 720 radio program “Pawn Talk Live,” which airs from 2 to 3 p.m. Fridays.
Goldstein had a table at the most recent Sun City Summerlin Garage Sale. That’s when her business savvy caught the attention of Michael Mack, president of Max Pawn of Las Vegas.
“They looked like professionals, like they knew what they were doing,” he said of Goldstein and her husband, Jeff. “We started talking and hit it off. One of the biggest things I think you need to be successful in this business is to treat people fairly. They do.”
Mack was so impressed, he invited Goldstein to join him on “Pawn Talk Live.”
How did she get to this point? Goldstein grew up in Maine, where the homes of her grandmothers, Minnie Anderson and Martha Finch, were filled with furniture and household goods passed down through generations.
“There was no such things as yard sales or garage sales,” she said. “When someone passed away in New England, you went to your family, your friends, ‘Would you like this?’ ‘Would you like that?’, and people’s homes filled up. Growing up, as kids, you learned there were certain rooms you didn’t play in.”
One of her first jobs was working at an antique weekend business run by Ted Langdell of Wilton, N.H., who is well known in such circles. He noticed Goldstein had an eye for the business and gave her more responsibilities. After graduating from the Missouri Auction School, she began refining her knowledge while working alongside others in the field. The late George Michael, an author on antiquing, was another early mentor.
“He taught me how to appraise things, how to approach a sale,” she said. “He taught me how it was better to walk in (to an auction preview) and take everything in, not get stuck on (one thing).”
Goldstein became so proficient, she appeared on an Emmy Award-winning antiques show for five years with Michael. It was aired on her local PBS station in New Hampshire, before the nationally televised “Antiques Roadshow” came to be. She played a comedic role, opening boxes with a flourish, tossing packing papers in the air and then diving in, so to speak, only to emerge with the treasures in hand.
In the 1970s and ’80s, she went to work for Frank Kaminski, another big name in the business. She set up his auctions for more than 10 years.
“Every time I did something, I learned something more,” Goldstein said. “So, I’ve had an education in it that’s just kept going and going.”
Goldstein ran her own antiquing business, traveling far and wide to seek out items to refurbish and sell. Not all of her discovery trips were glamorous. When people died, she’d be called in to comb through their items. One trip took her to a three-story row house in an area of Boston where early immigrants found housing.
“They were fire traps, these places. There were rats and bugs and garden snakes and fleas,” she recalled. “But you’d find old clothes, treasures from the 1800s, 1900s. A lot of it was broken, so we’d have these big dumpsters outside, and you’d go over to the window and try to aim for them.”
Her husband, Jeff, and daughters, Francine and Michele, often joined her as she attended swap meets and garage sales. Some trips took them to Canada. Their truck would be weighed down with antiques strapped to its back and the sides.
“We looked like ‘The Beverly Hillbillies,’ ” she said. “The state troopers all knew us.”
Goldstein said the U.S. Customs officers at the Canadian border knew them, too. The officers would spot the family’s overloaded vehicle, throw a hand over their eyes in a joking manner and blindly wave them through.
In 2004, she and Jeff moved to Las Vegas. Goldstein continues making antique finds and doing estate sales. She has a spot in the Charleston Antique Mall, 560 S. Decatur Blvd. She said it’s different out here, with more items regarded as “throwaways” than valuable. She paid $40 for a chair that she said would bring $400 to $450 on the East Coast.
Another difference from the East Coast?
“I always tell people going to auctions for the first time back east to sit on their hands,” she said, “because the moment you do this (brush away your hair), you could be bidding.”
For more information, visit kdwn.com/pawn-talk-live.
Contact Summerlin Area View reporter Jan Hogan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2949.