The pay machine at the exit of the Harrah's parking lot frustrated Dave every morning. He seemed to do a little dance with the machine every a.m. until he could get the gate to rise. Once through the unforgiving gate, it was an easy drive to the convention center.
We saw Tim and Susan Payne walking in on Friday morning. Tim cracked some jokes and had us laughing. Once inside, Tim and I tried to find the location of Room 202, where the National's board of directors was holding its dealer lottery for booths for the 2023 National in Chicago.
Tim asked the folks at an information booth just inside the convention center doors who kindly directed us to Room 202. Tim and I walked over there. Tim was let right in while I was stopped at the door. The dealer lottery reminds me of law school where each student was pitted against each other. Just like law school, dealers at the lottery are essentially pitted against each other as they are assigned a number based on the amount of Nationals that they have attended. Tim is a high priority while I am a low priority, even though I have set up at many Nationals. The problem for me is that I only put it under my name a couple of times. The others were under the names of friends, and we all shared the booths. I don't get any credit for all the times I set up under someone else's name.
A board member who I know from the Strongsville show gave me a contract and instructed that I return tomorrow for the low priority dealer lottery. I walked away with my tail between my legs.
Back at the booth, I performed my normal opening routine by filling all of the holes in my display cases from cards that were sold the previous day. As soon as I finished rearranging the cards, a guy who purchased my 1951 Bowman Duke Snider the previous day came back to return the card. He said it had a crease that he did not see when he purchased it. I explained to him that I price my cards to condition and the reason I had the Snider priced so low was because it had a crease. I explained that he cannot purchase a crease-free '51 Bowman Snider at my price anywhere. I returned his money but was pissed off. I am not a library and I do not appreciate returns when I provide customers every opportunity to inspect the cards prior to purchase and, most importantly, I had the card properly priced.
Things brightened up when a father and son team, with a skip in their gate, approached. The dad announced: "I am Rich Sailor from Erie, Pennsylvania, and I am a big fan of your blog."
How cool was that? Thanks Rich! I needed a pick me up after that dealer lottery experience and the return of the Snider. I enjoyed chatting with Rich and his son and I really appreciate their support! I think Rich purchased some cards but I can't remember. As I get further away from the show, my memory has become spotty. I took some notes while at the show but they are not very detailed.
I do remember that Jeff and Max, who bought some cards from me on Thursday, came back Friday and bought some more cards including a 1968 Topps Roberto Clemente All Star. Thanks guys!
I mispoke in my Thursday blog, I see in my notes that I sold a 1938 Goudey to an OBC member, who really beat me up on the price.
I also remember that I had some good sales early on then things sort of died down. I went for a walk and explored the show a bit. I saw some amazing vintage cards. A few folks had commented earlier that there was not much in the way of vintage at the show. I don't know what they were talking about! There was a ton of vintage at the show. I have never seen so many '52 Mantles and '33 Goudey Ruths!! Cool, cool, stuff. I only saw about a third of the room because I can't sell any cards if I am not at the booth.
When I returned to the booth, Dave handed me some cash as he sold some cards for me while I was away. Thanks Dave!
My buddy Bob purchased me a burger from the concession stand. Thanks Bob! It was a decent burger. Surprisingly thick and tasty. Again, no toppings other than ketchup. Wish they had a little onion.
After finishing my burger, I sat around some more as sales lagged. I noticed that the hall was not nearly as crowded as Thursday. While I sat there twiddling my thumbs, a pretty lady, who I'd say was 25 or 26 years old, started viewing my display cases. She made some comments on some of the cards which alerted me to the fact that she was a real customer and not some overly-muscled Jersey-guy's girlfriend. There were so many overly muscled dudes at the show that I decided if I ever return to Atlantic City, I will wear a fake muscle suit so I can fit in and be cool (It sure is nice being back home in Chicago where everybody is short and fat like me!). I think you have to be able to bench press 300 p0unds in order to receive a driver's license in New Jersey which would explain the large number of muscle-bound dudes.
Anyway, pretty lady told me that her father's birthday was approaching, and she was looking for some cards to get him as a birthday gift. She said that she has been buying him cards the past few years and it is brought her and her father closer together, strengthening their relationship. Pretty cool, I thought. I asked her if she would speak to my daughter and encourage her to buy me cards. She laughed then picked out a 1966 Topps Mickey Mantle and a Roger Maris and paid me. Much appreciated.
I wanted to talk to her some more but she drew a crowd to my table -- none were there to buy cards. All the nerdy guys wanted to listen to me and the pretty lady talk and just look at her. There is a reason why so many dealers hire models to stand by their booths. It is funny how nerdy guys flock to these pretty ladies but then don't know what to say to them. Word of advice -- women do not come to card shows to meet nerdy guys. They are usually there to accompany their father, grandfather, husband, boyfriend or kids. Many, actually collect cards and are there to make purchases. None are there to meet chubby Harold from Hoboken with the large mustard stain on his shirt.
The pretty lady and her crowd of stalkers actually lured customers to my booth. Things picked up considerably. Maybe I need to hire some models to hang out at the booth!
There was a father and son team that had visited my booth both Wednesday and Thursday but did not buy anything. On this day, they picked out a nice pile of cards. The dad told me that they flew in from San Francisco. The son, about six or seven years old, carried a wolf stuffed animal. He waved the paw at me. Very cute.
Then another father and son team that visited the booth all three days without making purchases, finally bought some cards as well including a 1962 Topps Mickey Mantle and a 1960 Topps Roberto Clemente. While I was helping these guys, I wondered why the son, about 12 years old, had his arm in a sling. He told me he broke his arm attempting a 720 while skiing. I had to Google 720, having no clue what it is. Google told me that a 720, also called 720 cork, is a type of jump where the skier jumps in the air and sort of half flips backwards. There are all sorts of YouTube videos on it.
Then there was another father and son team that came by for the first time and the son purchased my 1970 Topps Hank Aaron BVG 8. A young guy then came by and complained about a printing mark on my 1967 Topps Mickey Mantle and did not purchase anything. I saw a lot of picky buyers during the course of the show. I think they are initially lured in by my cheap prices but once they see the flaws in the card, they back off. If you want a flawless Mantle, you are going to have to PAY... and PAY, and PAY, for one.
I ended up selling that '67 Mantle to Sean, who I met last year in Chicago. Sean is a judge in Michigan. He also purchased my 1957 Topps Mickey Mantle and my 1961 Topps Mickey Mantle MVP. Thanks Sean!
Umm, after a slow morning, I ended up having a really, really, really good day selling cards. It was awesome!! I sold a TON of cards in the afternoon.
I saw some more people I knew from home like Tommy Larson, who purchased a bunch of T206 cards from the dealer across the way. Tommy sat down there for a while.
After the show, we went straight back to Harrah's and dined at the AC Burger Pub in the casino. Huge, amazing burgers. Though the highlight was seeing childhood hero Bobby Hull eat there as well.
Bob, Dave and I split up after dinner. I went to video poker, Dave went to the slots, while Bob went to the poker tables. I only played about an hour or so then started to walk back to our room. I called my wife to check in. While I was talking on the phone, Jake Boyce came out of the Harrah's sundry shop and said hello. I thought it was pretty cool running into Jake who sets up at my Oak Creek show. He told me he was not set up at the National and drove out with a buddy to check out the show.
I was in bed by 10 p.m. because I had to wake up at 6 a.m. for the low priority dealer lottery for next year's National.
Here are some photos from Friday at the National....