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Elburn store sees green in old coins, toys

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT
(Sandy Bressner – sbressner@shawmedia.com)
Scott High owns Tri County Coins in Elburn.

ELBURN – Schaun Blakeslee laid out rolls of quarters and dimes on the counter of Tri County Coins & Collectibles.

“Wow, you are going to have a good payday here,” said Silvia High, who owns the store with her husband, Scott.

Blakeslee had plenty of pre-1964 coins in her collection. Quarters minted before 1964 contain 90 percent silver. Blakeslee smiled as Scott High handed her $1,007 in cash. She was happy to give her coins a new home.

“I was tired of storing them around at home,” she said.

Tri County Coins & Collectibles is at 111 N. Main St. in the heart of Elburn’s downtown. Scott High opened the store five years ago.

“I just always had an interest in coins,” he said. “We help people get what they want out of their investments.”

High said he sees people cashing in their coin collections these days, given the surge in silver and gold prices.

“Silver prices are almost at their high for the year, $35 an ounce,” he said. “It’s been as high as $50. When I opened the store five years ago, silver was selling for $12 an ounce. We see people mostly selling coins, currency and jewelry.”

The store buys a variety of coins and currency, including commemorative coins, proof sets, mint sets, old U.S. paper currency, confederate notes and gold certificates. Collecting coins can be a tricky hobby, he said.

“It’s not always about how old something is,” Scott High said. “Many times, it’s how many they make of something.”

For example, a 1928 Peace Dollar in good condition is worth about $800.

“They didn’t make a lot of them back then,” he said. “There were only 360,000 made. Nowadays, they make 300 million coins.”

Walking around the store, people may be reunited with a toy from their childhood, such as a 1950s wooden Popeye or a Donny and Marie Osmond doll set from the 1970s. Toys, including a Casper the Friendly Ghost toy with “eye-popping” action and “The Nightmare Before Christmas” lunch box, fill the store’s shelves.

“One man’s junk is another person’s treasure,” he said. “I just try to have the better junk.”

The couple scours flea markets, yard sales and auctions for items that will interest customers. But Scott High isn’t a collector himself.

“I’m not a pack rat,” he said. “My wife wouldn’t let me.”

The store also sells items such as an antique wooden barn drill that was used to make peg holes for barns and wooden clothes wringer. Those looking to redecorate their house might find something at the store.

“We have a fair amount of people who come in and know they can pick up decor items at a decent price,” he said.

Tri County Coins & Collectibles has a presence beyond its 670-square-foot store. The store has a presence on eBay, which appeals to local residents and those not living in the area.

“Local people have seen our ads on eBay and then have come in and bought the merchandise,” Scott High said. “It saves them on shipping costs.”

Information is available by calling 630-365-9700 or online at www.tricountycoins.com.

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