By Paul Post, The Saratogian
Winter Storm Nemo couldn’t foil the grand opening of the Spa City’s newest business location Feb. 22.
Businesspeople and elected officials gathered to help Anthony and Gloria Swiatek cut the ribbon at Minerva Coins and Jewelry, located on the first floor of their new Italian villa-style building at 63 Spring St.
The couple’s residence is on the top two floors of the three-story, 5,000-square-foot structure that overlooks Congress Park.
“Maybe the snow brings good luck,” Anthony Swiatek said.
A leading authority in his field, he is past president of the 32,000-member American Numismatic Association and was on its board for 10 years. Recently, he authored the 712-page “Encyclopedia of the Commemorative Coins of the United States.” He also lectures and is an expert witness for the U.S. Attorney’s Office on coin fraud and coin grading.
During the Clinton administration, Swiatek was invited to Washington, D.C., for White House ceremonies to mark the striking of the Sacagawea coin.
He also met presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and gifts from them such as special White House pens, golf balls and matchbooks, are part of his highly prized presidential collectibles.
Handsome display cases feature numerous coins, bills and commemorative articles, including a coin, pin and framed baseball card marking the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s rookie season in the big leagues — 1947 — when he broke baseball’s color barrier.
Most people have never seen a $1,000 bill. Swiatek has one from 1934.
Whose picture is on it?
President Grover Cleveland, the only U.S. president elected to two non-consecutive terms.
Groundbreaking for the new building was early last April, and Bonacio Construction had completed construction in time for the Swiateks’ Nov. 27 wedding anniversary.
However, the couple waited until after the holidays to move in, last month.
Gloria Swiatek said her favorite feature of the new building is the balcony view it affords of Congress Park.
“It’s so beautiful at night,” she said.
Paul Lambert was Bonacio’s project manager for the job.
“They really invested a lot to make this building as energy efficient as possible, from spray foam insulation to mechanicals such as the furnace, hot-water heater and appliances,” he said.
The exterior of the wood-frame structure is a stucco-type covering called Sto, and black wrought iron railings were custom made in Bonacio’s metal shop.
The building’s flat-roof design is unique for the Northeast because of snow. However, Lambert said a layer of insulation was put down on top of the roof and covered with rubber membrane to keep heat in.
“It’s more expensive to build that way, but I bet this building has less than 5 percent heat loss,” he said.
Swiatek couldn’t wait to welcome guests to the site.
“I love this entire building,” he said. “It’s really special.”
This report was reprinted with permission from The Saratogian, Sarasota Springs, N.Y.