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Charly Haley, Published March 31 2013

It's My Job: Metal buyer turns scrap, old jewelry into business

MOORHEAD – Jack Seaman is in the business of silver and gold.

Seaman is the owner and operator of MinDak Gold Buyers, which has been in the Moorhead Center Mall for about a year.

What do you do here?

We purchase gold and silver or any other precious metals items of all types. So coins, bars, necklaces, earrings, nuggets - even gold teeth.

Do you ever travel to purchase gold?

No, people just bring stuff in here, and I take a look at it and I tell them what they have – what grade of gold it is, what karat it is, and I make them an offer to purchase. And if they accept, I pay them right on the spot, and if they don’t, there’s no charge; it’s free appraisal.

When you buy these items, where do they go?

The scrap jewelry and stuff gets sent to a refinery and it gets melted down and turned into gold things like bars and coins, you know. It gets converted back into 24-karat gold, (which is then used to) make gold coins, gold bars – investment grade.

How were you educated in this field?

I worked for another gold and silver company and learned about gold and silver, and I’ve always wanted to be my own boss, so this was my golden opportunity.

What would you say is the craziest thing that someone’s brought in?

The craziest thing that I see are (gold) teeth that still have the teeth in them. Like they extract the entire tooth and then want you to remove the tooth and buy the gold.

Do you do it?

I do. That one kind of is a little weird.

What’s the most common item that comes in?

Gold jewelry. Most everyone, especially women, have some old jewelry items that they never wear anymore. … A lot of times it’s broken, or a mismatched earring set where they can’t find the other earring, or something they just don’t wear anymore, and they bring it to me to determine if they can turn it into cash.

Do people ever expect you to take items that you won’t?

A lot of people bring in items that are gold- or silver-plated, and they don’t understand that plating is not real gold or silver, it’s just a fine layer over the top.

Have you ever had anyone extremely surprised?

The biggest surprise I had was I had a lady come in, and it was quite a bit of old gold jewelry, and through the course of looking at it, I said, ‘You’re going to have a nice payday here,’ and she interpreted that – she told me later – that she thought that meant she was going to get maybe $500 or $600 and I wrote her a check for over $5,000. And she almost fainted. I had to reach across my counter and grab her by the shoulder and ask, ‘Are you OK?’ ’Cause her eyes kind of rolled back in her head and she kind of tipped back.

I’ve had people jump, yell, scream, grab me and shake me, give me hugs, high five me, you name it. Everybody’s really happy 99 percent of the time.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Charly Haley at (701) 235-7311