When you consider shopping in Fort Myers, visions of flamingos, bathing suits and watercolor paintings might come to mind. But rare coin collectors and jewelry enthusiasts will find a literal gold mine at Gulfcoast Coin & Jewelry.
For years, Owner Mike Joyce traveled the country with coin shows and auctions before opening his first store in the mid '70s. Although his focus was on rare coins, he did have an eye for jewelry. And during the so-called gold rush of the '80s, he began to expand into higher-end and finer things with bling.
Considered one of the oldest coin shops in Florida and among the oldest jewelry stores in the Fort Myers area, the business has expanded to four locations.
At Gulfcoast Coin & Jewelry, twice-a-month auctions bring excitement and offer amazing finds — Photo courtesy of Gulfcoast Coin & Jewelry
Joyce has steadily recruited some of the best jewelry designers, salespeople and watch repairmen from other family-owned stores that are no longer in the business. He calls them his “dream team.”
It’s not easy to find a good collection and nice selection of watches, but you will at Gulfcoast Coin – both newer lines and well-established brands like Rolex. Many of the high-end timepieces here are refurbished, sold on consignment and even at auction for considerably less than brand new.
The twice-per-month auctions are a big draw for the jewelry and coin store. One of the two events focuses on jewelry, collectibles and fine art, while the second is strictly for rare coins, paper money and stamps.
The auctions have taken on a life of their own, thanks to technology. While it’s exciting to be there in person, computers make it possible for collectors to participate from anywhere in the world.
“I sold items in 17 different countries in the last auction," Joyce says.
You never know what items you'll find in these auctions, but you'll almost always find superb deals on distinct pieces.
His auctions are not only full of unique jewelry, rare currency and collectibles, but also furniture and antiques.
“People move from big houses in the north to smaller beach condos here, and they have all kinds of stuff to sell,” he says.
It’s a good thing he’s got two 10,0000-square-foot showrooms to fit so many treasures in.
While the inventory is ever changing, one thing that doesn't change is the wide selection of coins and bullion. While bullion buyers tend to care more about weight, coin collectors are interested in history and love to share the stories behind the currencies, according to Joyce, who gushes, “It’s very interesting to me; it turns my light on.”
In fact, he taught his kids the alphabet through his coins, along with information on countries around the world, states and capitals. In past decades, coin collecting was a family tradition in more households than in current times, with grandparents giving young ones those recognizable blue books, slotted for coins and real silver dollars.
The excitement for those bygone days is still alive at Gulfcoast Coin & Jewelry.
And if you have a rather expensive and rare collection, be it coins or diamonds, this purveyor of jewels has a depository, a private vault for customers to store their valuables. Joyce says many people are uneasy with keeping their personal treasures in a federally funded bank.
“Banks don’t offer insurance, but I do," he adds.
Gulfcoast Coin has numismatists on staff at each location: Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Bonita Springs and Naples. Auctions take place on Saturdays, with preview parties the Friday night prior.