Davidson Treasure Hunt

Berry Hill business launches treasure hunt

Gold coin worth $500 to finder is hidden in citywide contest

By NICOLE YOUNG | nyoung@tennessean.com | 259-8091 - August 8, 2008.

If this scenario sounds like something out of a pirates-and-buried-treasure-hunt movie or book, it's because it is exactly that.

Cashville Gold & Silver Buyers, 2528 Franklin Road in Berry Hill, is launching a citywide treasure hunt on Aug. 8. The reason, according to planners Josh Levine, Cashville's president, and Julie Schoerke, owner of the JKS Communications public relations firm, is mostly because of the economy.

"Lots of contests have started in giving away $50 gas cards, but we thought it was much more fun to have a $500 real gold coin to give away," Schoerke said. "With the economy suffering, what could be better than to win a prize that could pay some significant bills, and the winner gets to decide just how to use it, and they aren't just stuck with a gas card if they'd rather spend it on utility bills or something fun that they've always wanted."

Cashville builds on 'gold fever'

Levine said that he came up with the initial idea by observing customers at Cashville, stating that many customers often come in to sell, then develop "gold fever."

"I thought a hunt would be a great way to expand on that gold fever, and, at the same time, it would also be a way to get people to realize that they could also go on a treasure hunt in their own homes," Levine said. "Sometimes, they have gold or silver that they don't even wear anymore, and it could be worth as much, if not more, than this gold coin we're hiding."

At Cashville, it doesn't matter what kind of shape gold or silver is in, Levine said. The metal is purchased based on market value. Currently, gold is worth about $1,000 per ounce.

For the treasure hunt, Levine decided to use a half-ounce gold U.S.A. Eagle coin, but that's not what people will find if they discover the location of the treasure.

"We're using a replica," Levine said. "It will be an obviously fake coin. We want people to purposely find it and bring it back here instead of accidentally finding and keeping a $500 gold coin out there."

Hunt will be first of several

If the first hunt is a success, Levine and Schoerke plan to do subsequent hunts and keep doing them as long as they're popular, they said.

That's music to the ears of Ted Clayton, a West End resident who recently found out about the contest through a friend.

Although he is not a customer of Cashville, Clayton said he'd "love to find the coin so (he) could become one."

"All we read about in the newspaper today is doom and gloom," Clayton said. "This is new and different, and it's just positive and fun. Besides, who doesn't love a scavenger hunt?"

Clayton, who owns Ted Clayton Interiors in Green Hills, says he's planning to go out and search the minute the first clue is announced.

"I've already thought of 50-some odd places where it could be hidden," he said. "This is such a breath of fresh air in these economic times. It brings new meaning to 'there's gold hidden in them there hills.' "