Man, it sure was nice having Dave pick me up and drive me to the show last month. Dave said he might set up again in Madison in the fall. I was back to driving my wife's car. I would like to start visiting some local car dealerships and purchase a car but I just can't find the free time right now. I continue to be without a car.
So, there I was, on the road to Madison at 6 a.m. The drive was difficult because I was battling a cold. My son brought home a cold from summer school this past week for me and my family. At least it wasn't COVID, but I was not feeling very well.
I arrived at the hotel at 8 a.m. Load in was tough because it was raining. There is an overhang by the front doors of the hotel but only a few cars can fit in there. I parked just outside the overhang and enjoyed a second shower while loading in.
After moving my car, I stopped at the hotel's faux Starbucks for some coffee and a little breakfast which included bacon and sausages. I munched on the food while I was setting up.
I brought out all of the binders after doing display cases last month. I observed that attendance was much better than last month. I had a nice number of guys digging through the binders early on.
One customer started going through my binders while I was setting up. The show does not open until 9 a.m. but some customers like to arrive early. This guy arrived the same time I did at 8 a.m. I would think he would want to get to the show when all of the dealers are set up instead of walking around while they are trying to set up. Customers who arrive early are really a nuisance to the dealers. I, for one, would like to finish setting up before customers start going through the binders. I know other dealers feel the same way.
When customers start going through the binders or ask to see cards in my display cases before I finish setting up it causes a huge delay in set up and I feel like I lose sales because all of my cards are not out yet. Sometimes I tell customers that I am not open yet and they should come back when I finish setting up.
I have tried in the past arriving at shows extra early so I can set up before the early birds arrive but I have found that there are early, early birds who seemingly spend the night in the show room because they spring out of nowhere and start going through my stuff no matter what time I arrive at the show.
I have even resorted to leaving some stuff at home that I know the early birds like so I can avoid them and freely set up without distraction.
Back to my Madison early bird. I have known this guy for years and he was actually my first customer ever in Madison back in the day and I appreciate that he continues to buy from me, so I let him go.
He is a talker! He has lots of stories, lots of memories to share. It is hard for me to engage while I am setting up, so I was not all that talkative. He did end up buying a bunch of cards, which I did appreciate. He now comes with his son, who bought some cards as well.
A guy wearing a Jay Cutler Bears Jersey pulled out quite a few football cards. His buddy was wearing a USFL hat and, like his buddy, he pulled out a bunch of football cards. One of my regular customers pulled a stack of 1975 Topps baseball.
I was glad to see that I sold some hockey and basketball cards. I was not sure if I have ever brought out those binders to this show. So, the morning was pretty steady with guys pulling cards from the binders. By noon, things started to slow which gave me time to walk around.
Nice amount of dealers in both the room on the first floor and the room on the second floor, where my tables were located. I saw a nice amount of vintage spread out between both floors. I was surprised at the amount of pre-War cards. Much of it was not priced. I usually take a pass when I don't see a price.
The day went by quick. As I was starting to think about packing up, Tom Smith sat down and went through a number of binders. Tom has bought from me before at this show but this was the first time we had an opportunity to chat. I learned that he raised his family in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. I told Tom that I was real familiar with Glen Ellyn having covered it as a reporter for the Daily Herald Newspaper. Turns out Tom worked for the Daily Herald as well, just a few years before me.
Tom is retired now and moved to Madison to be near his kids and grandkids. He is a regular at the Madison card show and is working on a number of vintage baseball sets. He purchased some 1968's, 1971's and two large piles of 1972's. Thanks Tom!
Also, the dealer set up behind me, Mark, was kind enough to purchase more cards from me. Mark is upgrading some sets and found a few cards in my binders.
Overall, sales were down, even though attendance was up. I think the problem is many of my binders are bare. I just can't keep up with the demand! I was hoping to have my 1979 Topps Football binder reloaded but this head cold slowed me down. I should have it ready to go for Oak Creek and Janesville this upcoming weekend.
I am probably going to start reloading my 1961 Topps baseball binder next. I am not sure when I will have that one done. Hopefully soon!
On the buying front, I was offered a box of 1957 Topps and 1962 Topps baseball. The '57's had a handful of stars and some of the tough semi-high series. The 1962's had some high numbers. The seller wanted $500. I would have been a buyer at $300. The seller said he would bring the box back to the next Madison show and add some more cards to try and entice me. I just may do it next month.
A dealer, who knows I live in a Chicago suburb, tried to sell me some Chicago Bears refrigerator magnets. I was not interested. I pretty much restrict my buying and selling to vintage cards and don't wander much outside this area. I really don't know what I would do with a bunch of William Perry refrigerator magnets (pun does not go unnoticed).
Not much else to report. I had a really nice day. I had some down time and enjoyed chatting with Mark, Gary, Vince and Beau.
I had taken some Day Quill in the morning but it had worn off by the afternoon and I was not feeling well. The drive home took a little longer, about 2 hours and 15 minutes. I was beat when I got home and passed out.
When I awoke, I saw a message from Beau, the promoter, who told me he had a problem with a dealer regarding a card that a customer accidentally left at that dealer's table. The customer contacted the dealer to ask him to hold onto the card. Apparently, the dealer sold the card and refused to compensate the customer. Not cool!
UPDATE: The dealer did eventually compensate the original owner of the card but was apparently a big jerk about it.
Folks leave stuff at my table all the time. I always hold onto it until it is claimed. I actually have a box of stuff people have left at my Oak Creek show. I am just holding onto it until it is claimed.
So this happens, customers leave stuff at your table. Dealers have a responsibility to hold onto these items. Don't sell them! Return them to the customer!! Beau said this dealer is banned from future shows. Thankfully, he does not set up at my show.
I was set up in Racine on Sunday. Racine blog coming soon.
Reminder: Big Ass Show coming up Saturday in Oak Creek with 84 dealers and 126 tables. I am also setting up in Janesville on Sunday which is also a good sized show. Hope to see you this weekend!
One last note, I noticed a larger number than usual of visits to this website. I had 890 in the past week. I usually have around 600. Welcome! Thanks for visiting!
Below are several more photos from Saturday's Madison show.