by Paige Wiren
Meet Bob Campbell: owner of All About Coins and professional numismatist. Bob has almost completed Utah’s largest coin gallery in Sugar House.
“The romance of history,” Bob Campbell shares with a bard’s storytelling prowess, “is in being lead on a pathway of adventure. One coin can take you that distance.”
Bob’s pathway of adventure began when, as a school-age boy, he discovered his father’s coin collection. The tangibility of the possessions created a bridge between Bob’s yearning to know more about his father, who had died when Bob was five, and his natural inclination to collect things. Bob’s curiosity about a particular piece, a 1935 diamond jubilee Pony Express medal, took him to Wally’s Coin Shop on 2100 South, just east of the 1100 block, where Bob purchased another Pony Express medal, thus beginning a lifelong career in numismatics (the study or collection of coins) tokens, paper money, and. . . medals. Bob now owns the largest collection of Pony Express medals, and also participates in the annual Missouri-to-California Pony Express ride. “All that,” Bob muses, “from one medal.”
Even as a youth Bob saw potential in the storefront All About Coins will soon occupy. Walking with his mother past the space adjacent to Wally’s, Bob recalls saying, “This would make a good coin shop some day.” 40 years later, that vision is becoming a reality with the expansion of All About Coins “from 10 feet of retail window space to 70 on the busiest east-west, non-highway road in Utah.”
Taking over and remodeling the commercial space adjacent to the original All About Coins location “feels so right,” Bob affirms, “every aspect of it,” even down to the fact that the number of square spaces above the window on the building facade, for which Bob commissioned a well-known stained glass artist to design pieces, is the exact number of spaces to spell out the name of the business.
“I was looking to expand, but didn’t have the space to move,” Bob explains, meaning immediate, in-the-same-block space. But why not just move to a different location? “I’m a Sugar House product,” Bob proudly announces. “My father had a jewelry store over on Wilmington Avenue. I grew up about a mile from the current shop. All my life I’ve been in Sugar House.”
Bob’s collections include Mormon gold coins, some of which he will display in his new shop. He also has large collections of paper currency, trade tokens and medals, much more than he could show in the Lilliputian store which, he quips, “is so small you have to go outside to change your mind.”
Campbell and his crew of local tradesmen (some of them collectors themselves) have restored the tin ceiling and brick walls in the turn-of-the-century structure, originally an automobile showroom and service center. “I love old things,” Bob says, his words infused with genuine reverence, “and I wanted to restore the old building to new,” and Campbell has spared no currency improving the retail and showroom space which he anticipates opening in October. The architectural details of the remodel match the classical aesthetic of coin design and artwork, and Campbell has also taken care to make the space comfortable for shoppers and their possibly not-as-avid-about-coins companions.
Within this new, luxurious shop Bob will offer the same quality customer service on which he has built his reputation. “The challenge,” he shares, “is to make every customer feel like they were treated special and want to come back.”
But will the fancier store mean higher prices? “No,” assures Bob. “We’re going to be more efficient. We may even be able to lower our prices.” §
Grand opening of the new location will be held on Saturday November 6th.
The public event begins at 10:00 with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
A genuine gold coin will be given away as a door prize.
All About Coins is located at
1123 East 2100 South in Sugar House
Salt Lake City, UT 84106