I had my last doughnut of the week. I observed that the doughnut room was decidedly underpopulated when compared with the previous four days. The reason for lack of fat guys stuffing their faces with chocolately delights was that many dealers had packed up and gone home already. Other dealers opened up for a few hours in the morning and packed up and left.
I also observed that attendance was decidedly down compared to the previous four days. I started to get some sales early on and thought my luck might change. An OBC member purchased a pair of 1953 Bowman Color baseball that I have literally been carrying around for 10 years or so. These cards look like they have been through the wash. I probably would have given the cards away if anybody had asked.
A father and son team, clad in Cardinals gear, purchased a 1955 Bowman Tom Alston. They told me that Alston was the first black player on the Cardinals. I then sold some 1953 Topps baseball cards to a customer wearing a new-wave-looking purple hat from the 1980s. The OBC guy with the dirty hat from the other day came back and offered a better price for my 1949 Bowman Ralph Kiner. I appreciated the more reasonable offer and sold the card. My last customer of the day purchased a 1933 Goudey Milton Gaston.
With time on my hand, I finally walked around the whole show. I saw some cool stuff, pictured below. I did not buy anything other than a Beckett Basketball Annual from the Beckett booth. All Beckett annuals were half-price at the show. I had been using a 2006 basketball guide.
Overall, my sales were okay. I had a phenomenal day on Wednesday. A good day on Friday and lousy days Thursday, Saturday & Sunday. If I could have done anything on the three down days, I would have had a great show. I did enjoy myself. It is always great talking cards and sports and being in the most amazing environment for card collectors. The National is worth the price of admission, even if you don't purchase anything, just to see all the amazing items for sale and up for auction.
I was very impressed with the attendance for the week. I think this was the best attended National in Chicago in more than 10 years. It was pretty cool to meet collectors from all over the country. Quite a few folks who stopped by my table had flown in from California and Texas. Seems like a tremendous amount of people drove in from Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. I also heard many New York and Boston accents all week long and decided I would really like to have either one of those accents instead of my Chicago accent, which people remind me is very apparent. I also met customers with heavy accents from the deep south, places like Louisiana and Arkansas. Cool stuff!
As a result of the large crowds, I find it apparent that the hobby is very healthy. Folks were shelling out big bucks for Dave's high-grade vintage. It was nice to see that collectors are willing to occasionally leave the comfort of their computer keyboard and come out to a show and purchase cards in person.
I was surprised more stuff did not show up at my table for sale. I have bought way more cards at past Nationals. Also, those that have been following my blog for years know that I was a victim of a serious theft at the 2010 National. Thankfully, nothing walked away at this show. I also did not hear a single report of theft at the show which may be a first.
I decided to start packing up around 3 p.m. I was tired and ready to go home. Vacating the premises was very easy since my booth was located by a side door. I parked on Bryn Mawr and quickly shuffled my stuff out the door. Scott soon followed. Dave and Seth, two superstars, were still open for business and making sales. I made it home by 5 p.m..... another National under my belt.
I was up bright and early on Monday, representing a client in criminal court in Chicago. Back to reality. I was in court all week and found it hard to work on cards later in the day. I was a little burnt out after the National. I am setting up at Gonzaga on Sunday and have now rebounded nicely. I loaded up some 1960 Fleer football cards and 1964 Topps baseball cards. I really love the small shows that I do each weekend. They are so much easier to handle than the National. I am looking forward to some fresh baked cake at Gonzaga on Sunday. Hope to see a lot of folks at the show!
A huge thank you to my boothmates Dave, Seth, Scott & Jim. It was a great week with you guys!! Also, a big thank you to everyone who stopped by my booth to buy cards or to chat. I really enjoyed seeing so many familiar faces and obtaining many new customers. So who is going to volunteer to drive me to Atlantic City next year?
Below are some more photos of cool stuff I saw at the 2015 National.