Darrell Bruner spent the early 60s in the U.S. Army as a medic in a tank outfit. While in the service, he learned a lot about coins from a fellow medic and developed enough interest to know he wanted to be a collector when he returned home.
After learning about coin shops from his friend, Bruner launched Bruner’s Collectables in 1964 in a vacant shop at the intersection of Breckinridge and 15th St. Fast forward nearly 60 years, and after much evolution and expansion, he’s passing the torch to his son Kevin.
“He told me when I got out of the Army, I should start a coin shop, and well, a little seed was planted in my brain,” Bruner said. “The more I thought about it, I really didn’t know what I was going to do, so I decided to give it a shot.”
That initial location was actually in his father’s antique shop, who had recently retired from Glenmore and motivated Bruner to take the first steps. He encouraged him to get a showcase and sell the coins from his shop. Bruner was reluctant at first.
“I told Dad, ‘Hey, I’m a collector. I don’t want to sell; I want to collect more,” Bruner said. “He said, ‘Well, you’re always going to Louisville and Evansville and paying their price, and if you open a store, you could pay what you want for them.”
He took that idea and ran with it.
“I had one showcase inside the old building at the very end. My dad had the rest of it full of what he called antiques, but I called it junk,” he said. “He passed away while we were there, and the city wanted to tear it down, so I had to move.”
That location is where Lizzie’s Diner sits now. Bruner said they tore down his initial storefront and two homes at the time. His next stop, while briefly, was a brand new building on Lewis Street, now J.R. Miller Blvd, where a friend rented him a section.
A mere two years later, he moved into his current location at 1628 Triplett St., which was already a coin shop. He spent the next five decades adding showcase after showcase to house his ever-expanding collection.
“We started from almost nothing, and here we are, 59 years later,” he said. “In the meantime, I also worked for the Western Kentucky Gas Company, which later became Atmos Energy. My wife and brother-in-law cared for the store while I worked.”
Bruner retired from Atmos 27 years ago after 32 years with the company to focus on his coin shop. And now, at 87 years old, he’ll pass it on to his son, still offering his expertise.
“This has been here for a long time, and there’s a lot of people who have been coming here forever,” Kevin said. “I’m going to have some big shoes to fill. It’s always good to keep it in the family when you can.”
Kevin has worked off-and-on at the shop for most of his life, whether as a teenager, during summers at college, or now as an adult. He boasts nearly 50 years of experience in the industry.
“I would like to thank all of our great customers that we have, and we have some super great customers,” Bruner said. “We have some people that come here three or four times per week, every week. We’re very thankful to the community.”
Click here to learn more about Bruner’s Collectables.