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Gold fever hits DL man hard

Gold fever isn't anything new.

From prospectors sifting through silt in bone-chilling temperatures in rivers and streams to today's version where people meet in hotel convention halls to barter, someone is out to make money.

Allen Schoenberger of Detroit Lakes isn't any different.

Through his business, Lake Country Gold and Silver, Schoenberger is a modern-day prospector.

At least it's inside work, since his business is mostly about buying and selling the yellow metal.

Schoenberger has had the fever since he was little.

"When I was 11-years-old, I collected coins," he said.

That hobby turned into the Apple Valley Coin Company when he moved to Detroit Lakes in 1973.

The coin business can be tough, since it depends on how good you are at finding rare coins and selling what you have to make a profit.

"The pressure was too much," Schoenberger said.

So he decided to harness the Internet to do his trading.

Nowadays, Schoenberger buys gold and silver in all shapes and forms.

This past year has been a boon to the industry, with the price of an ounce of gold reaching $1,030. Schoenberger thinks it can go much higher than that in the next few months.

"It will probably go up to $1,200 this winter," he predicted.

Lake Country Gold and Silver isn't a solo operation. Schoenberger needs a crew to help him travel the state.

"We hit three different cities at the same time," he said.

From various hotels around the state, Schoenberger said that he hears interesting stories of why people need to sell their heirlooms right now.

They sell everything,including wedding rings, necklaces and bracelets.

"People are selling everything," Schoenberger said.

It's not an easy time in some cases as he hears sad stories.

However, Schoenberger said that he pays a fair price and helps out people in need.

"They need money badly right now," he said of sellers.

The price that people get isn't the going price for gold on the market. Melting down and retrieving the gold has to be factored in.

"There has to be a profit made," Schoenberger said.

The business itself can be competitive, but for the most part he sees other gold buyers treating customers fairly.

"I see a lot of companies who pay close to what we do," he said.

While some may think that his business is preying on those who are in need, Schoenberger sees it differently.

He said that metal buyers pump cash into a local community.

"We provide a need," Schoenberger said.

There is only one type of business that he said probably doesn't care for what he does.

"Probably the only ones that don't like us are the pawn shops," Schoenberger said.