ESTEVAN - Rolan Quaife has long had an interest in coins and other forms of currency and valuable metals, as he often ponders the history of the items.
Now he has parlayed that interest into a successful business.
He and his wife started Quaife Coins about 18 months ago. Located in the Wicklow Centre, they buy and sell all types of gold and silver, old paper money, old coins, old jewelry, collectible coins and more. There is a lot of merchandise moving in and out of the store
“It’s gone from a little tiny hobby business to growing concern in such a way that we can’t keep up with the demand,” said Quaife.
One day they might be busy, or someone might drop by with five ounces of pure gold just before closing time on a Friday. The next day it might be quiet.
But their sales have grown as more people have become aware of their services.
“I never dreamed this would be such a positive response. The friendliness of the business and the community. I’ve had people tell me it’s very much needed. The community’s been great. They’ve been very supportive. They bring stuff to me to look at,” he said.
Quaife says there’s no charge for him to look at something. If the customer is interested in the value of an item or want to know what it is, the Quaifes will tell them.
Quaife stressed that they won’t purchase part of a collection. If they enter a home to purchase a collection, they’ll purchase everything, even if some items aren’t of value.
“We’ll buy everything you have, because we won’t leave anybody with stuff they can’t get rid of. That’s what happens in this industry. If you take your coin collection to Regina, they’re going to pick this and they’re going to pick that,” said Quaife.
The company just bought what Quaife believes is one of the rarest notes in Canadian history – a 1911 Weyburn Security $5 bank note. Quaife believes there are 15 or 20 left in the world, and it is quite a feat for a small business to make this acquisition.
“We can’t find a value on it quite yet, because nobody sells them. It’s a one-off thing. We’re kind of proud about that, that we could acquire this from one of the original owners. It’s a 110-year-old bank note. That’s the kind of things we purchase,” said Quaife.
The family that had the bank note previously reached out to him. They met and came to an agreement, in which Quaife agreed to keep the note for a specified period of time.
“It’s such a unique bill that it’s going to be our own personal bill for a number of years. And then when the wife and I are done with it, we’ll decide to donate it to a museum. It’s that rare. And that’s the kind of stuff that’s around the country.”
Weyburn Security was a bank started by six businessmen in the Saskatchewan city. It had 32 branches at one time. The bank was purchased by the Imperial Bank of Canada in 1931.
Quaife’s interest in coins goes back to when he was a young man. When he found something, he would learn about the history.
“The history of coins and paper money is phenomenal. You get a penny from 1858, which was the first penny that we ever built, made for Canada and produced in Canada.”
He wants to know what that penny has used for in the last 160 years, especially during the early days.
“Not everything’s about the money. It’s about the history,” he said.
Quaife noted that in 1967, the price of gold was $200 an ounce. Now it’s $2,000 an ounce.
Both Quaife and his wife were born and raised in Estevan, and they’re committed to the community.
Quaife Coins is open Tuesdays to Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by appointment. He and his wife will meet with people at virtually any time of the day, and they will go to people’s homes to view their collections.