WILMINGTON -- After years of coin collecting, Mary Williams has decided to cash out. "I had been saving those over the years and I said well, if I need it I can always buy something with it," said Williams as she waited in a long line to have her coins appraised. "Now this way I can get even more for it." Perhaps more than she ever will again. An ounce of pure gold is currently worth more than $900 -- the highest it's been in almost 30 years. Financial planner Ross Marino says high gold prices are a sign of tough times. "As the dollar goes down, the price of gold and other commodities goes up," said Marino. "If you look at the last couple of years, oil has increased, natural gas has increased [and] gold has increased at the same time." Reasons why so many like Mary Williams waited for more than two hours at Perry's Emporium in Wilmington on Saturday. They brought old jewelery, silverware and coins, hoping to strike it rich. "Probably the main reason people are bringing it in is to turn it into cash," Emporium owner Alan Perry said. "I mean, good god, gas is three dollars plus a gallon, so you know, every bit helps." It helped Rocky Point resident Leon Lewis. He walked in with a bag of old jewelery and walked out with nearly $2,000. "I done fine, it was worth the two hour trip," Lewis said. "I'm fixing to go and give my wife the check." Mary Williams, on the other hand, said she'd be happy to walk away with a few hundred. "Well, it'll be some help, I'll put it that away," she said. Jewelers who buy gold turn around and sell it for a profit. Financial planner Ross Marino says even though it's valuable in tough financial times, gold is not a good investment. He says it usually loses value over time.
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