Our Story

How it all began in 1972:

It all began In 1972 when Master Sergeant Art Arbutine retired from the Air Force. He had collected British Crowns for 20 years while in the service and decided that he wanted to pursue the coin business full time. He opened a small 700 square foot store in Belleair Bluffs, Florida and named it Belleair Coins. He turned his once hobby into a full time profession. In the first years, he enlisted his wife Patricia Arbutine along with his three sons Greg, Chris and Jay into the business. He later hired his brother Gil Arbutine and nieces Beth Arbutine Race and Kathy Arbutine Edwards.

The little coin shop started to diversify over the years and branched off into jewelry, silverware, collectibles, watches and other areas of fine art. Art's wife Patricia Arbutine became especially interested in the estate sterling flatware and holloware and recognized that these items were worth far more than just the scrap out prices that the family had been previously selling them for. She decided to do a spin off company and thus The Silver Queen Inc. was born.

From 1978 to 1986:

Patricia began aggresively buying and selling sterling silver flatware and initially was just selling to other wholesalers but eventually started branching out by advertising nationally in "The Antique Trader" and other magazines. She established a firm retail and wholesale mail order business and customers started calling her and her right hand person Beth Arbutine Race to help assist them with matching their patterns and to find the pieces missing to their flatware services.

In 1983, a few years after the 1980 gold and silver rush created by the Hunt Brothers, the store needed to move out of its cramped quarters and so we purchased the property next door and built a 1,750 square foot store front.

Eventually the store would expand in the 1990's to around 5,750 square feet taking over the adjacent tenants next door in the strip plaza.

1987 to 2002

After graduating from The University of South Florida in 1987, the oldest son Greg Arbutine also caught the passion for silver and went to work full time for the two companies. Made the President and CEO of The Silver Queen Inc. in 1990, Greg made the business grow by leaps and bounds through his aggressive national marketing, internet and computerization skills, catalog designing ability, buying expertise, improvements in efficiencies, and excellence in customer service throughout the years. From 1987 to 2002 the store experienced expansive growth and eventually more room was needed.

Pictured: Savannah Sterling by Reed & Barton. In the 1990's The Siver Queen Inc. did a lot of made to order sterling patterns in bulk orders of 200 or more settings that were exclusive to us. We marketed: Savannah, Florentine Lace, Debussy, Lion, Lancaster and a few others.

Our new building in year 2002

After 4 years of planning, CEO Greg Arbutine and his Partner Alan Johnson procured the land (an old AmSouth Bank building), developed the building plans, designed the showroom layout, personally financed the down-payment money, and re-located the businesses in year 2002 to its current location at 1350 West Bay Drive, Largo, FL 33770. It was especially gratifying because we had a failed attempt at another property in Belleair Bluffs that didn't work out. Greg drove by the bank property for sale in Largo one morning and said "Hey that for sale sign wasn't there yesterday." We immediately pounced on it and gleefully beat out the Doctor's Group who was also considering making an offer, but it was too late for them.

The move was a huge success overall for the businesses. This phenomenal location has 10 times more drive by traffic then where we were in Belleair Bluffs, and the building has become a local landmark with its bold dome design. Greg once referred to their design as the capitol of silverware. Many locals describe the building it as the "Taj" of Largo. Also, business wise, with the increased exposure and visibility of the building, the companies didn't need to do as much advertising and were able to save money over the long haul, which was a great thing economically.

2003 to Present:

The Retail Jewelry Department blossomed in the new location growing from a former sales of $350,000 annually to a now $1,750,000 per year, after having added jewelry repair, appraisals, and much larger showroom and incrediible jewelry inventory. Manager and Cousin: Kathy Edwards Arbutine has also been a key player in the success of the jewelry department with her upbeat and happy attitude, expertise and extraordinary attention to customers.

Jewelry Flyers
Greg also contributed greatly to the growth of the jewelry department starting in 2003, with the introduction of full color direct mail jewelry flyers that he produces inclusive of the photography, graphical layout and conceptualization. They are sent out 7 times a year mostly to our local customers and feature our sale events inclusive of Valentine's Day, Spring Sale Events, Christmas in August, our Annual Garage Sale, Thanksgiving it away sale, Black Friday, Christmas and more.

Belleair Coins, Gold and Diamonds
Under the direction of Greg's brothers: Chris and Jay Arbutine who are experts in buying and marketing, they grew the jewelry and gold buying operations in the new building at Belleair Coins, Gold and Diamonds from a previous annual sales of 4 million per year to a now staggering annual sales amount of between $30,000,000 - $50,000,0000 per year. The new building was huge factor in the increases and gave the business a lot more credibility in the community and also enabled a larger capacity for parking which was especially needed in the gold rush days of 2007 to 2013 when the metals prices sky-rocketed.

It also didn't hurt that in this same time period of the gold rush, Chris Arbutine became the Mayor of Belleair Bluffs, Florida which is only one mile from the store and with his 10,000 plus contacts and respected political clout, this really got the word of mouth out there about the businesses which is the kind of indirect advertising and promotion that money can't buy and is essential to almost any successful business model. Chris was also a genius at overseeing the production of our local quirky Television commercials that have proven to bring in the customers.