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At Rare Coin & Jewelry shop, stories just part of the magic

On a quaint corner of Franklin Street lies a true gem to Norwich. It sits there peacefully with its cute teal doors and with a pleasant wood sign that reads Norwich Rare Coin & Jewelry.

The adorable building and sign even has engraved roses to represent Norwich being the rose of New England. They have been on that corner for 34 years.

Owner Jackie Quercia says they’ve been in business for 39 years; the first five they were located in Groton. They were always Norwich residents, so when they saw the building in Norwich was up for grabs they didn’t waste a second getting that storefront.

The rest, as they say, is history because they’ve been there ever since. Jackie loves collecting treasures, especially ones with true historic value. They buy and sell coins and coin collections, of course, both large and small. They buy scrap gold and silver, buy and sell jewelry, do jewelry repairs, engraving, and remounting.

As she puts it: “You name it, we do it!”

She even sells small collectibles. It is a place that constantly sees so much history and rare relics.

Jackie has been a big asset and supporter of the Norwich community, working on the boards for WinterFest, Light Up City Hall and the Design Committee, to name a few.

She recently had to stop being involved with so many projects when her husband’s health took a turn for the worse. She has plans to get back soon because she loves the city and volunteering.

Quercia in her 39 years has seen so many rare and unique pieces face to face in the shop. Gems, jewelry, nostalgia, these are all beauties that make their grand appearances there. The most unusual piece she’s ever seen was a shoebox full of letters between a family during the Civil War.

“It was a shoebox full of letters from the Civil War. It was a local family. It was the two sons writing to their father, and the shoebox was completely full, I mean FULL. And the last letter was (that) one of the sons had died, and it was a letter that the father had written his dead son. That was really emotional.”

Quercia said she ended up donating the letters to a museum for all to see such an intense firsthand view of the time period. She of course made copies for herself before doing so, a way to preserve the memories on her own.

“It was definitely the most interesting thing to come through our doors because it was so personal. To be able to touch those letters, and see those feelings. Wow.”

Quercia has seen such a vast amount of one-of-a-kind pieces in all those years. Stories about rare coins, gems and even more Civil War nostalgia.

Another piece Quercia remembered was a medal from the Civil War out of Cold Harbor, Virginia.

“It was from a battle fought down there. It was a large, large ornate medal. We ended up selling it to a doctor in Guilford and he ended up donating it to the Smithsonian Museum.”

Cold Harbor, just 10 miles north of Richmond, became the focal point of a series of bloody battles in 1864, involving Union forces that were onward to Richmond that spring. The Confederate army bested Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s troops at Cold Harbor in a devastating two-week fight that saw more than 17,000 lose their lives.

Quercia has amazing reviews anywhere you look online even though the shop doesn’t have its own website.

A five-star example:

“Wonderful store with a really great collection of US coins! Even had a couple foreign coins, but the collection of US coins is awesome! If you need to fill holes in your collection, come here! Jacqueline was very helpful and very pleasant to chat with!”

And another:

“Awesome place to find that piece or coin you been searching for. Lots of cool antique jewelry and coins.”

Another mentioned “competitive and fair pricing. ... I wish my schedule allowed me to stop by the store more often.”

That one says it all. The list goes on and on but that one really encompasses how welcoming and unique this store is. It is a rare gem like the ones that pass through its doors every day, a unique reminder to not forget about the hidden treasure in your own hometown, whether it’s physical precious stones or the treasure of seeing a beautiful store that loves its city.

The shop is at 35 Franklin St.; call (860) 886-2730 to check hours or set up a private appointment.

Brian Barganier is a touring comedian and writer from Salem.

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