What do you do?
Bernie Durance

Where do you work and what is your title?
       I am the owner of Cents of the Past, a coin and antique gallery at 2716 W. Colorado Ave.
What do you do there and/or what are you responsible for?
       I am a one-man show so I have to do it all – open the store and hope I don’t set off the alarm system, remember the combinations to all the safes, vacuum the floors, take out the trash, and clean all the glass displays. Oh yeah, I also get to play with coins all day long and look at some really neat ones that people bring into the store. It’s almost like having your own Antique Road Show.
How long have you been doing this kind of work (total)? How long on the Westside?
       When I was 9 years old, my mother was in the antique business and one day she found an old large cent dated 1839 in a dresser drawer. She gave the coin to me and I was so impressed with it that I started collecting right then and there. When I was 13, I found a coin shop in the Southgate Shopping Center called Collectors’ Haven. It was owned by a nice elderly lady, Gretchen Dempster, who took a liking to me and asked me if I would be interested in a summer job. I couldn’t believe my luck and wound up working for her all through high school, college, and even a few years after that. We opened in this location in March of this year after moving from Adobe Walls Antique Mall where we had been for nine months. We are a very small store but then coins don’t take up much room.
What do you like best about it (other than quitting time)?
       I enjoy meeting other people, answering their questions, and sharing my love of coins with them. I also enjoy being involved in the antique business. I guess it comes from a long-time love affair with history.
If you could change one thing (other than pay), what would it be?
       I have owned some amazing coins over the years. If I could change one thing, it would be that I hadn’t sold all my gold coins in the late 1960s. I can remember buying $20 gold coins for $55 and having a hard time getting $60 for them back then. Those same coins are selling today for up to $800 each.
What part of your work did your training/education never prepare you for?
       Dealing with people in general is something that you have to learn on your own. Hardest thing for me was learning how to sell to friends and relatives.
What makes working on the Westside special?
       The Westside of Colorado Springs (Old Colorado City) has always intrigued me. It has to be the rich history: this is where it all started 150 years ago. The Westside has managed to hold onto that yesteryear ambience. I can’t imagine living or working anywhere else.

“What do you do?” is a regular feature in the Westside Pioneer. If you know someone who has an interesting job on the Westside (but doesn’t live here), he/she might be a candidate for this column! If you know someone who might qualify, give us a call at 471-6776.