Coin collecting is viewed by many enthusiasts to be a form of modern day treasure hunting, as shops in South Beloit and Beloit continue to do well as collectors come seeking rare finds, or simply to make an investment in precious metals.
The unique hobby leads people to take interest in all aspects of coins, from historic or artistic value, while some collectors seek out foreign coins from trips or rare coins found by chance. Coin collecting is a pastime for all ages, and for some the hobby grows into a business.
John Galvan, co-owner of J&G’s Coins, Rings & Things with wife Gaia Galvan, started collecting coins as a hobby when he was a kid living in Chicago, and his passion grew from there.
“A lot of collectors start our interested in specific types of coins, certain eras, mint errors, and so forth,” John Galvan said. “To me, as a kid, I would go through coins and I would want to collect them all. They are fun.”
But the hobby didn’t just stop at coins.
After years of collecting and selling valuables at various locations in public, the Galvans new they wanted to open a brick-and-mortar shop. So, they opened J&G’s in Janesville before moving to Beloit in 2017. The shop is currently located at 419 E. Grand Ave., and now boasts collectables of all kinds.
“I never knew I would have a shop,” John Galvan said. “We needed a place with security after I was doing some pretty large transactions. We never thought it would explode like this.”
He said no coin collector he sees at his shop is the same.
“Everyone has their niche,” John Galvan said.
Ben Kasberger, owner of L&B Coins & Collectibles in South Beloit, said he was exposed to coin collecting as a kid through his late father Larry Kasberger.
“My dad would tell me stories about how he grew up in Marshfield and they would go into town and he’d go to the bank and sort through coins,” Kasberger said of his father, who passed away in May of 2017.
Kasberger said working at L&B was “like a treasure hunt every day.”
“Every day brings a new adventure and uncovering rare or unique coins that have been stored for years is amazing,” Kasberger said. “It’s like a modern day treasure hunt.”
Some of the most rare finds Kasberger has found have come by chance. Each year, American Silver Eagle silver coins are released. In 2014, Kasberger and a friend were going through coins and found a 32 coin run of misprinted American Silver Eagles.
“It was amazing to see the progression of the misprint through the roll,” Kasberger said. “We turned those coins from $30 to coins worth $500. It takes the certain person to appreciate the uniqueness of them, though. The odds of him grabbing that roll, it’s all random. That could have been traded or sold to the next person and the next person.”