Phelps Jewelry & Coin

Robert Baker and wife Sandy of Norfolk purchased Phelps Jewelry & Coin in Norfolk about two years ago. Since then the business has grown to become the largest rare coin and gold and silver bullion dealer between Sioux City and Denver. The store recently moved to a new location near Frontier Bank on Benjamin Avenue.

Phelps Jewelry & Coin has a new location.

The full-service bullion and rare coin store relocated from its spot at 311 W. Norfolk Ave. in downtown Norfolk to 1106 Benjamin Ave., next to Frontier Bank.

Owner Robert Baker said the move to a larger location was necessary as the business has grown rapidly in the roughly two years since he purchased it.

“We moved from 700 square feet to 2,000 square feet,” Baker said. “The business has grown by tenfold in the last two years.”

Baker — who worked as a real estate developer in California and Grand Island before retiring and moving to Norfolk — said he became interested in rare coins and bullion after the stock market crash in 2008.

Baker purchased the store from its original owner, Kevin Phelps, on what he said was “almost a fluke.”

“I was trading with him one day. He wanted to move back to Missouri, where he is from, and he wasn’t making much money. I said, ‘Why don’t you sell me the store?’ ” Baker said. “We had that conversation and four hours later, we changed the locks, and he was gone.”

Since that time, Baker said, the store has transformed into the largest rare coin and gold and silver bullion dealer between Sioux City and Denver.

The additional square footage in the store allows Baker to display a greater selection of merchandise. The larger selection has played a big role in the reason the business has grown, he said.

“In the case of rare coins, if they can’t see it, they’re not going to say, ‘Let’s order it,’ ” he said. “We have to have it. We have a real good supply of rare coins and a stock of gold and silver bullion all of the time.”

Baker said collectors and investors in rare coins and precious metals are more common than most people might realize and bullion makes up the “real bread and butter of the store.”

“The real appeal is inflation and monetary insolvency that is scaring people into wanting to park their money in gold, silver and rare coins to preserve the wealth they have,” he said.

The store offers free appraisals and cash-on-the-spot for anyone who is interested in selling. It is open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. weekdays; from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday; and by appointment.

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