DELPHOS — Tucked on Main Street in Delphos is Black Swamp Antiques and Coins, Currency and Collectibles.
Though it appears to be a just storefront, the historic building at 238 N. Main St. is capacious, and even used to house the Capital Theater.
What’s inside, and the amount of items to look at and buy, is a “very well-kept secret,” said store owner Bruce Maag, even from Delphos natives.
Maag loves history, and it’s evident in the items the store carries. It’s been in existence since he started it 35 years ago, but he added the antique selection in 2010 when the store moved into its current location.
“I love antiques, my mother loved antiques and we had a lot of space to fill,” Maag said. “We just love picking.”
Maag takes an annual pilgrimage to northern Michigan each year to find items to sell in the store and also frequents garage sales and auctions. People also walk in to sell items to the store or do consignment, he said.
Black Swamp Antiques is not like a flea market or a thrift store, the items are high end, well-kept and the store is clean, Maag said.
“It’s a very unique and large store. … We have much better quality items than the typical antique store,” he said. “We’re the largest coin store and antique mall in Northwest Ohio.”
The space measures 18,000 square feet and has three floors of antiques.
“We have items they can’t find anywhere else,” Maag said. “We have a lot of unique, one-of-a-kind items.”
The store also carries a lot of costume jewelry, and the retro pieces are popular right now, said Laurie Arnold, manager of the store.
“We don’t have what you typically see in a jewelry store,” Maag said.
The store does a lot of online sales, and three of its five employees do Internet sales at the company, Maag said.
In addition, the store appraises coins, finds coins for people, appraises estates, sells, buys and trades.
The store is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. It’s open on Sunday if Maag is around, he said.
PELLSTON – Community members in Pellston are banding together to launch a new festival over Memorial Day weekend, including live music, beer and wine tasting tents, an antique car show and a Memorial Day Parade over a five-day span.
In all, there are 31 different events planned for the extended weekend.
“We started talking about this back in November, and it just blew up on us,” said Pellston village president Jim Gillett. “I was a little worried that we might bite off more than we could chew, but they decided to go big.”
The inaugural MemorialFest will take place Thursday, May 26, and last through Memorial Day on May 30.
The festival grew from Pellston resident Bill Jewell’s interest to establish an antique car show, according to Bruce Maag, one of the event organizers. A fellow classic car enthusiast, Maag partnered with Jewell to launch a car show in the village in 2014.
“We’ve decided to name the car show after him, he unfortunately only got one in,” Maag said.
After Jewell passed away in 2015, Maag said the interest grew to expand the car show into a larger summer festival.
“As I looked around the area, every small town has a festival except Pellston,” Maag said.
Pellston used to host a festival called Summer Fest in June, but Gillett said it slowly faded over the years.
“One of the reasons that Summer Fest fell off is the same four or five did the same thing every year, and we got burned out. We tried to get more volunteers. But now we seem to have a strong core of volunteers,” Gillett said.
The new MemorialFest will combine elements from the two events, the car show and the previous summer festival, into a larger event for an extended Memorial Day weekend.
Michael Adams, owner of the toy store Jolly Lama, said he hopes events like this will help make Pellston more of a location for people to visit for long-standing festival traditions.
“We’re hoping to raise awareness about the things that are happening in Pellston and around the area. We’re basically pulling out all the stops and using all of our resources,” Adams said.
While the festival lineup is almost finalized, Maag said organizers are always looking for volunteers to help with events over the weekend.
Interview with Bruce MaagRole: Owner of Coins Currency and Collectibles in Delphos
DELPHOS — Bruce Maag, owner of Coins Currency and Collectibles, was born and raised in Ottoville and began coin collecting when he was young.
“An elderly lady on one of my numerous paper routes was into coins and stamps and I collected avidly till about age 14 and then other interests got in the way and I set it aside,” he said.
After graduating from high school he went on to Ohio State and is still a big fan of the Buckeyes.
“We were able to go to Phoenix this year for the Fiesta Bowl and see the Buckeyes beat Notre Dame,” he said.
After college, Maag worked to help disadvantaged youth.
“I was [chief operating officer] of several national foster organizations and had a large involvement with that and in 2010 I sold my company and didn’t want to get too bored so I added antiques and moved the coin store over to its current location.
“I married a girl from Delphos,” Maag said of his first wife who died in 2000. “We had two daughters, Amy and Carrie, together,” he said. He married Teri two years ago.
He enjoys spending time at his cottage in northern Michigan.
“We spend a lot of time there from May to October but I also like to drive a big truck around there and pick stuff up,” he said.
He and his staff work to make this a very different type of antique store.
“We’ve been told it’s more like a museum, it’s not the way antique stores normally are with a lot of old dusty stuff, we have quality stuff that is priced reasonable to sell,” he said. “Everything has a story.”
Coins Currency and Collectibles is located at 238 N. Main St. in Delphos.
The 1,400-square-foot store includes numerous items froms coins and currency to iron skillets and LP’s.
“We have pinball machines, jukeboxes, vintage jewelry, player pianos, a room for Christmas, a religious room, a room just for kitchen items,” Maag said. “We have a lot of good items.”
1. How did you start the store?
After I became an adult and was home visiting around the age of 30 and saw all my coin albums and it piqued my interest again. So I started collecting everything and had a lot of double and triple coins. About four years after I started collecting again an Elida gentleman suggested I go to one-day coin sale events. From there I went to one-, two-, and three-day regional sales and finally four-day nationals.
2. How long has the store been there?
Thirty-two years ago I opened a store. The current one is my fourth location that we moved to in 2010, the others were strictly coins and currency but this is antiques and collectibles too. Collecting was always a passion and a sideline business for me.
3. Do you still collect?
Bruce Maag, owner of Coins Currency and Collectibles, sits at his store work desk
It’s hard to collect and deal at the same time because you want to keep everything. I still have a couple things but for the most part all my stuff is for sale. I have thousands and thousands both from the U.S. and worldwide.
4. What unique coins do you have?
A U.S. coin from 1792 is the oldest one we have. People like foreign coins and currency too like Australian and Cuban and coins from the Far East. We have coins from everywhere. Foreign currency is not our specialty but we do have a lot.
5. How many employees are at the store?
We have four employees and we do mostly Internet sales. We are the largest coin store in northwest Ohio and probably the largest coin and antiques combined. We do a great deal of business on the Internet mostly eBay and Craigslist and coin sites that sell just coins. I have a young person does Twitter and Facebook, the social media aspect.
6. What is a rare thing you have had?
A casket we just sold that dates back to the 1800s. I acquired it at an auction, its wicker and it was what they used to carry people out of the house and sometimes show their bodies, but they didn’t bury them in it. It sold to a guy who has a hearse and is going to put it in the back. You just never know what you are looking at to buy for the store you just have to have an eye for things that other people overlook, know what value is and be able to move it.
Janet Ferguson is a freelance writer and regular contributor to The Lima News. Share your story ideas for Tell Me About It at email@example.com.