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Barry Schrader


I currently write a column each Tuesday for the DeKalb Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website each week and be added to the archives.

The Articles started December 2007.


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Coin shop leaves Sycamore

By Barry Schrader.................................November 3, 2009

A mom-and-pop coin shop that has operated on Sycamore’s main street for 35 years is closing for good and the owners Bob and Sue Rozycki are moving to Arizona for some time in the sun.
The Sycamore Coin Gallery came about as an extension of a coin collecting (numismatists, they call them) hobby that began for Bob as a child. His grandparents gave him a small box of coins which intrigued him. As a teenager in DeKalb, he used to frequent Secors Drug Store and one time noticed a special display case commemorating National Coin Collecting Week. Included in the display was a “rare” nickel worth a dollar and that got Bob excited so he bought a blue coin folder, which started him on the path to more serious numismatic endeavors.

Bob and Sue Rozycki closed their Sycamore Coin Gallery for good on Oct. 31

After graduating from DeKalb High in 1964 he found employment with Wurlitzer and stayed for 15 years. In the mid-1970s, he decided to try opening a small coin shop part-time on State Street in Sycamore. After being laid off by Wurlitzer, he expanded it into a full-time business and now owns the building where he has been located for 25 years. His wife, Sue, also a DeKalb High grad (Class of 1962) worked in the phone business, lastly for ConTel, some 25 years, then joined her husband in the store and has been there ever since.
They have sold the building, plus the store fixtures, but a large inventory of coins will go with them to Arizona since they also have a longtime coin show and convention side to their business which takes them all over the country. They have traveled as far as Hong Kong and Mexico for major shows. Bob said he will maintain his sales Web site but doesn’t plan to pursue that aspect very aggressively. They also have a place at Lake Geneva where Bob thinks he will finally find time to buy a boat and try some fishing.
His advice for newcomers to the hobby: “Start out with something you like – go through a catalog and pick out coins that look interesting. When you can’t find any more in that category go on to other coins that look good to you. But don’t try to collect everything at once.” Right now the most popular coins are the new Lincoln pennies, presidential dollars, and states’ quarters.
His own collecting interests have changed over time. Just a couple years ago he decided to seek out coins from the American colonies minted before the country gained independence from England. He found that many colonies coined their own money and a number of those pieces are still available. Asked about Confederate Civil War currency he said there is a lot out there but beware of bills that aren’t signed in ink, as there are many reproductions of Confederate money and much of it is just printed, not hand signed. He added that no American currency was ever printed on parchment but a lot of reproductions are.
In addition to his coins and stamps inventory he also has sort of a “State Street Museum” as he calls it, inside the store. Over the years he acquired considerable local area collectibles and memorabilia that came from business and industries, some now defunct, and purchased numerous things. Among the hundreds of items are ashtrays, logos, company signs and printed material. The Joiner History Room and Sycamore History Museum will be the beneficiaries of much of that collection, he said.

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Barry Schrader
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115