MANSFIELD – Willard Coin Exchange closes on April 3, with the historic business having been open in a few locations for around 40 years.
The business is shutting down because Bob Hoebake, the founder and owner of Mansfield’s Willard Coin Exchange, passed away in November. No one in the family is interested in taking over the business, which started around 1980 in Willard, said longtime friend and auctioneer Marshall Snyder.
Hoebake told the News Journal in 2019 that he moved from the Kingsgate Mall (where the Park Avenue Kroger store is now located) where he operated for 12 years, to his West Park Mall site, in 2003.
“We’re lucky because we have a loyal customer base,” Hoebake said of being the only business open on the west side of the mall, which unfortunately is now largely vacant.
Hoebake, from Chicago, told the News Journal earlier that he went to college to study political science, but got into the business because his father was traveling for RR Donnelly in Willard. and always brought him coins, which he found he appreciated.
The Willard Coin Exchange rose to fame for making an official commemorative keepsake medallion – a limited edition for the Ohio State Fair from 1990 to 2003, according to Snyder.
The medallions featured designs including a cardinal (the state bird) in 1991, Christopher Columbus in 1992 and a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Ferris wheel in 1993. The 1996 coin featured a horse-drawn plow, in commemoration of the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s 150th anniversary.
Inventory to meet auction block
A myriad of collectible gold, silver and older coins will be sold at three auctions at the Richland County Fairgrounds, 750 N. Home Road, starting at 10 a.m., including Saturday, April 11 and May 22. The screening begins at 9 a.m.
The auction will also include coins, including collectible books, Snyder said. The jewelry will not be auctioned but will be sold in stores until April 3.
Snyder said he wanted the public to know that the store will not be open after April 3 to prevent a customer from going to the historic store remotely, unaware of the closure.
Marshall said some unique items will be up for auction, including an 1879 Carson City Morgan dollar, valued at between $ 800 and $ 1,000.
One collectible at Willard Coin Exchange is a $ 5 First National Bank of Shelby note from 1929. The note is valued at $ 475, said Melinda Ames, who worked at the store on and off for 16 years. Her uncle Richard Bright also worked at the store for 27 years.
“My mother Sharon Snyder works here and so does my nephew Jonathan Snyder,” she said of the family affair. Her brother is Marshall Snyder.
Since the onset of the coronavirus in March 2020 and the presidential elections of 2020, more and more people are buying gold and silver wholesale for their financial security, Marshall Snyder said.
He said collecting coins is still a popular pastime for many and some young people.
Matching items on the April 11 auction listing include a 1919-D Buffalo Nickel, 50 assorted wooden nickels, and an 1867 3-cent nickel.
Ames, one of the store managers, said she will miss her longtime customers.
“One of the most interesting things is seeing the old bills and the old coins,” she said.
She said the work was fun, and the company valued old coins found in the time capsule found at the Ohio State Reformatory, when it opened a few years ago.
The store will remain open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. until April 3.