A new Bellingham shop is combining a couple of popular hobbies — coins and estate sales.
R.B. Wick and his business partner, Kelly Harrison, recently opened Bellingham Coin Shop, which also carries the name Irongate Estate. The 4,000-square-foot store is at 1806 Cornwall Ave., near Bellingham High School. The store also has a 2,500-square-foot warehouse in the back that the owners open up once a month for customers.
Along with coins, the store sells an interesting variety of items found through estate sales, from a 1950s pinball machine to an old camel gun (a long-barrelled rifle once used in the Middle East, typically mounted on or shot from a camel). The store also has traditional items like furniture and clothing.
Wick got his start in coin collecting when he was 9 years old after seeing a newspaper ad for a coin auction. He joined The Stamp & Coin Shop in 2003, working at that downtown Bellingham store until 2013. That’s when he decided he wanted to have his own business. He met Harrison, who is a fan of estate sales, two years ago and together they put together a plan to have a coin store that also deals with estate sales. Having two businesses in the same store is a plus for couples, Wick said, because typically the coin enthusiast can focus on that while the other person looks over the rest of the store.
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Helping people with estate sales can be tricky, requiring plenty of discretion as well as empathy, Wick said, whether someone is just downsizing or dealing with the death of a family member.
“I handle it like I would want it to be handled,” Wick said. “It can be hard to deal with your parents’ stuff, so it’s good to bring in someone else.”
Even as an outsider, Wick said, it can be tough to handle.
“The hard part for me is seeing how fast life goes by,” Wick said. “But I still enjoy it because everyone has a story to tell.”
With Bellingham Stamp & Coin closing its downtown store last week to focus on online sales, Wick said it’s important to have a coin storefront for the sake of the hobby, because people want to be able to go somewhere and get an opinion on the price of a coin or to just talk about collecting.
Coin collecting is one of the more popular hobbies, and he sees children and adults participating. Some look at it as an investment, while others enjoy the different designs. One factor that has really helped the industry is the issuing of different U.S. quarters, first with the states and now the different designs highlighting the national parks.
Plus, there is the joy of randomly finding a treasure. One example Wick remembers is a customer who was given a 1914 penny in change in Fairhaven. It turned out to be worth around $150.
The store is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends, as well as by appointment. Details about the business can be found on its Bellingham Coin or Irongate Estate Facebook pages.
COMCAST TO OPEN NEW STORE JAN. 19
Comcast is scheduled to open a much bigger store in Sunset Square on Tuesday, Jan. 19, offering a variety of Xfinity products.
The new store will have nearly 3,000 square feet of space at 1145 E. Sunset Drive, Suite 105, about four times the size of its current Bellingham store off Cordata Parkway.
The cable service company will employ 10 people at the store and have five flat-screen televisions to show its entertainment operating systems. Customers will have a chance to do things like test Internet speeds and use self-service kiosks for paying bills.
The old Cordata service center’s last day is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 18.
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