Oh my, I was tired when I arrived in Fort Wayne. Craig was kind enough to help me load in. Set up went quickly, I only put out three small display cases and most of my football and baseball binders. A few customers picked at stuff while I was setting up. I advised them to wait until I finished setting up. Once I was up and ready, sales were slow. There were the obligatory eBay sellers looking to buy stuff cheap to flip online. I was not interested in giving away any of my stuff to these guys, so no sales there. I got nothing out of Barber John, who has purchased complete binders in the past.
My best customer of the day was one of the few guys at this show working on vintage sets. Another good sale went to a younger guy with a lip ring who purchased a pile of 1976 Topps Minnesota Vikings. The only bummer was that he pulled three or four more cards and put them back in the binder in the wrong order. I had to go back and straighten out the binder. Another regular customer purchased a T206. A few guys made some small purchases and my day was done. I was hoping for better. There was a really nice crowd in the room so I thought my sales would have been stronger. I probably lost some sales by showing up late.
On the buying front, quite a few guys were offering cards to sell. I turned most everything down, prices were too high. I did end up buying a handful of 1954 Red Hearts and a smattering of star cards from the 1950s and 1960s. The room was abuzz with an older gentleman who brought in his 1949 Bowman baseball set that he purchased from packs back in 1949. He had the cards in an old Hershey candy bar box where he crafted six trays or slots to hold the cards. He said he learned the candy box trick from his brother after he did it with his 1948 Bowmans. The cards are pictured below. I looked over the entire set. Most of the cards were pretty nice. Many had typical corner and edge wear. Not a whole lot of creasing. The seller had a Beckett annual and saw that the set booked at $15,000 and he felt a fair price for his cards was $7,000. I, on the other hand, felt I would be lucky to sell the cards for $7,000 and could not pay anything close. I offered $3,000, figuring I could sell the cards from $5,000 to $7,000. He turned down my offer. I gave him my business card in case he changed his mind. Other dealers in the room offered $4,500 and $3,500. I felt the man should have taken the $4,500 because he will be hard pressed to find another offer that high. As I always say, it is very easy to buy cards but quite difficult to sell them. Some folks need to learn this lesson the hard way.
I chugged quite a bit of coffee. Dined on a delicious burger from the sports bar in the hotel and was on my way home by 2 p.m.
I was up bright and early again on Sunday, August 16, 2015, for the Bloomingdale show. I only had two 8-foot tables at the Fort Wayne show, so it was nice to have four 8-footers at the Bloomingdale show. I had a really nice set up in Bloomingdale which sparked some good sales. A bunch of regulars like Randy bought some cards. A father with two sons purchased quite a few cards and really made my day. I was impressed how well the boys knew the players from the 1950s. They purchased both football and baseball cards. A customer who remembered me from the Elgin show purchased quite a few cards as well. I ended up having a decent day. On the buying front, I picked up a '68 and '69 Ernie Banks. Not much else showed up at my table.
Overall assessment of the weekend, slower than expected day in Fort Wayne; better than expected day in Bloomingdale. I'll take it! I can't knock the Fort Wayne show in anyway. Promoter Brian Mayne is a superstar who works his butt off getting people into the room. He did another excellent job filling the place up. I just did a lousy job selling cards. I gotta get there on time and maybe put out more display cases and less binders for my next visit.
Next up is my show on Saturday, August 22, 2015, at the Clarion, 5311 S. Howell, in Milwaukee. I will have my usual array of dealers lined up. Willie Shabas will be back for this one with all sorts of killer autographs for sale. PJ, the promoter of the Serb Hall show and my neighbor at the Gonzaga show, has just reserved some tables. I'll probably get one or two more dealers before the week is out. My new stock for this show includes 1961 Topps football, 1962 Post baseball, 1974-75 Topps basketball and 1965 Topps baseball. I also will have some new star cards for my display cases. I also plan on pricing some more publications. There should be some great stuff in the room! Come on out!!!