CHASSELL - Todd Van Kleeck makes a living playing with his hobby. More importantly, he's making people smile in the process.
"It's been very satisfying and a lot of fun," said Van Kleeck, a professional numismatist who this month is celebrating his first anniversary operating U.P. Coins out of his Chassell home. "It really is the best of both worlds."
U.P. Coins is a coin collection appraisal service. Specializing in all U.S. gold and silver coins and currency, in addition to some foreign coins, Van Kleeck said he will buy collectable coins and currency - dimes, quarters, and half-dollars prior to 1965 - and modern mint collectables. He is also interested in, and can appraise or buy, pennies prior to 1959, nickels prior to 1938 and all odd denominations from the 19th century.
Todd Van Kleeck of U.P. Coins stands behind the counter at Miller’s Jewelry in Hancock recently.
Van Kleeck will appraise or purchase 10-, 14-, 16- and 18-karat gold items, for example, old jewelry and pocket watches.
"There are more and more people that have collections and accumulations of coins and old jewelry that's worth value but they're unsure where to go or who to trust," he said. "I'm a very trustworthy individual who loves coins and loves to help people. This gives me the chance to do both."
To get an appraisal, customers can call Van Kleeck (523-4206) and he'll meet with them at their convenience, whether it's at their home or the bank. On Wednesdays, he can be found at Miller's Jewelry on Quincy Street in Hancock between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Van Kleeck said he and Miller's Jewelry owner, Mike Shanahan ,share the same mindset when it comes to doing business. That's why they decided to work together.
"We both have the same mindset and that is making the customer happy whether you're buying or selling," Van Kleeck explained. "If you don't treat people properly you're losing not only that customer but a whole lot of other customers."
Miller's Jewelry is also celebrating an anniversary, Shanahan said. Seventy years, to be exact.
On April 30, Van Kleeck and Shanahan will kick off a three-day buying event at Miller's Jewelry. Customers are invited to bring in coins, currency, scrap gold and silver, diamonds and anything else they want to know the value of.
"Maybe you're cleaning out your attic and you find old toys, crystal, pottery, lighters, buttons, or whatever it may be," Shanahan said. "You have it, people collect it."
The hours for the buying event will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 30 and May 1, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 2.
There's no better time than the present to take advantage of the opportunity to get rid of old gold and silver items, whether it's jewelry or that sterling flatware set, Van Kleeck added.
"Especially with the way the economy is," he said.
Van Kleeck prides himself in offering customers an honest and trustworthy appraisal service.
"I've had people tell me they were offered, from an outside source, 20 to 30 percent of what I paid for their coin collection, gold or silver," he said. "I've had situations where people break into tears."
And, he understands the level of sentimental value each collection holds.
"If someone inherits something, it's a grieving process," Van Kleeck said. "What I do is I'll pick out mementos so that each family member leaves with a piece of the collection."
Van Kleeck said he's looking forward to another year in business and he's hoping to be even busier.
"It's just really fun for me. I still get asked, 'Hey, aren't you that coin guy?' when I'm out in public, so the word has gotten out there," Van Kleeck said. "I really do have the best of both worlds."
For more information, call U.P. Coins at 523-4206 or visit upcoins.coms
Editor's note: This feature is part of a paid advertising package purchased by U.P. Coins of Chassell. Businesses interested in being featured on the Business page may call Yvonne Robillard at 483-2220.