Christina O'Haver, The Union Democrat

After Calaveras Coins & Collectibles lost its founder, Howard Wesely, to a heart attack in January, the 20-year-old Angels Camp business closed up shop.

But overwhelming encouragement from the community led the Wesely family to reopen the store within less than two months and carry on the coin collector's legacy.

"Our goal is to run this business that would have made Howard proud and keep our clients coming back again and again," his wife, Merinna May-Wesely, stated in a press release.

Calaveras Coins buys, sells and trades various collectibles including coins, beer steins, bottles, silverware, glassware, signs and lanterns.

However, May-Wesely, and her son, Scott May, are planning to move the business in January from its 900-square-foot location at 1263 South Main Street to the historic Angels Camp Hotel, which is about three times larger.

The new space will allow the business to display more of its collectibles and start a pawn shop, which would be the only pawn shop in town, according to employee Gerad Slayton.

The shop will continue to provide free evaluations of antiques and collectibles to curious collectors, a service Wesely was known for. Many merchants said he "helped keep everyone honest" by offering the service for free and paying people the true market value for items they wanted to sell.

Seven-year employee Berlene Horne said Wesely started collecting coins at age 4 and opened his first shop when he was 12-years-old. Slayton added that he heard stories of Wesely sitting on phone books to conduct transactions.

Wesely, a Modesto native, was on his way to Montana around 1993 to open a coin shop when his car broke down in Angels Camp. He took it as a sign and set up the shop in the Calaveras County town instead, Horne said.