Published: May 22, 2012
To The Editor:
Rocky Coffin, a longtime antiques dealer, entrepreneur and general Renaissance man, passed away shortly after his 88th birthday. Born and raised in the frigid state of Maine, he grew up in the Depression and learned to be self-reliant at an early age. A natural-born engineer and statesman, he made his way by sheer willpower and determination to run a large national insurance chain. After sustaining a huge physical injury, he was unable to return to the fast pace and drive required to manage a corporation. During the recovery from his injury, he worked out a way to support his family consisting of a wife and four children in the best way he could, using his wits and trading in “junk.”
He would go to neighbors’ houses and ask to buy the contents of their attics and barns. He learned how to value at a glance and sell or auction off his purchases. He gradually built up an inventory and clientele. His business acumen and skill allowed him to winter in Florida and summer in Maine, buying and selling in his travels to sustain and allow his family to flourish.
Rocky owned Copper Kettle Antiques in Maine and eventually moved permanently to Florida. He elected not to build a bricks-and-mortar shop in Florida, but to continue to buy and sell on the fly. He would work from local flea markets and personal collections, always trying to keep the deal honest and both parties feeling like they got a great deal. No one I have ever met has had harsh words to say about him and all had a personal story of how he had touched their lives. It was my great honor to have known him and wish that everyone who knew him would perform a small act of kindness in his memory. He would like that.
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