Gold teeth, wedding rings and broken bracelets put some extra cash in the pockets of local residents this week -- and simultaneously generated money for Corona del Mar's longtime toy store.
On Thursday night, a group of Newport Beach residents brought their unwanted gold to Toy Boat! Toy Boat! Toy Boat!'s Cash for Gold Fundraiser. Customers kept 100 percent of their payout, while LA Gold Parties donated a portion of its projected profits to help Toy Boat cover an upcoming rent hike and pay down debt accrued during the recession.
Overall, customers cashed in about $4,000 in gold, and raised $700 for the toy store.
Toy Boat "has been a legend in Corona del Mar and when we heard it was in trouble, a lot of us freaked out," customer Sue Conner, a CDM resident, said. "Everybody could use extra money, so I thought I'd get rid of my old gold and help them out."
Conner sold a broken bracelet, necklaces and rings, one of which was valued at $1,400.
"That was a wedding ring I should have got rid of long ago," Conner said. "It's just like turning junk into money. I was very surprised at what it was worth."
Larry Yadan, president of LA Gold Parties, said he was caught off guard by one particular item.
"Earrings, bracelets and chains are things I see on a day-to-day basis, but one of the most interesting things I saw tonight was a grill that goes in the mouth with teeth," he said. "To most people, these things could be gross, but they are not gross to me. They are money!"
Bob, a Newport Beach resident who didn't reveal his last name, also made some extra cash, but said that wasn't his chief reason for coming.
"Supporting the store was more important to me than making the money," he said. "We don't want to see any more banks move into CDM, so we have to support the businesses. I wish them the best of luck."
Yadan said LA Gold would melt down the items purchased Thursday night, then turn them into custom pieces to sell at their jewelry stores.
"It's always fun to see what we can create," Yadan said.
Toy Boat owner Lori Curtin said she was thankful for everyone's help: "The support we have received from the community over the last several months has been a blessing. We really appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts."
The treasured CDM toy store has been in business for more than 50 years. Over the summer, Toy Boat fell behind on some bills after seeing a decrease in shoppers, but received a boost from KFI AM 640, which hosted a Cash Mob to help the store stay afloat.
Curtin said another gold fundraiser is in the works for next month.
See adjacent video of Larry Yadan giving gold estimates at Thursday night's Toy Boat Cash for Gold Fundraiser.
Toy Boat is at 3331 East Coast Highway in CDM and can be reached at 949-673-3791 or on Facebook here.