First up was Corky's show at the Holiday Inn in Elgin, Illinois. For those unfamiliar with the Chicago area, Elgin is an older suburb located far northwest of Chicago along the banks of the beautiful Fox River. Elgin is a bit of a drive from my house in the north suburbs but usually not too bad on a Saturday morning. However, on this Saturday, February 14, 1015, the winter winds were howling. My little car was blown all over the road. I drove Interstate 90 west out to Elgin. At one point the entire eastbound lanes were closed off for an accident. My normal ½-hour drive stretched to about 45 minutes.
In addition to wreaking havoc on the roads, heavy winds wreak havoc on loading into a card show. Everything goes flying from box tops, loose cards, carts, and display cases. Because of the wind, I decided to bring in only two display cases. I have had display cases crash to the ground in the past from heavy winds. I also brought out my football binders. Last month, I put out four display cases and my baseball and basketball binders. This month, I had the two display cases, the baseball, basketball, football and hockey binders. I was pretty happy with my set up.
Noticeably absent was big Tom who normally sets up across from me. In Tom's place, was a father and son team that sells exclusively modern cards. Their set up is pictured above. I believe they run a card shop somewhere in the area. There are several young guys that set up at this show with modern cards. I'm a bad judge of age but I think they are high school age. I appreciate having the young guys set up because it bodes well for the future of the hobby. One of the younger guys had a T205 that came with a collection he recently purchased. The T205 was the only vintage card on his table. He tried to sell it all show then offered it to me at the end where we were able to work out a deal. He was a real nice kid and I hope he made a lot of money and continues setting up at shows. Also in the room were several older dealers along with one wax guy, John who sells comics and non-sports, Gary who I met last month, and old friends Ted, Don and Willie. There was a real nice selection of cards in the room. I thought that crazy wind might affect customer attendance but we had a steady stream of folks in the room all day long.
I was soon greeted by Bill who brought me close to 3,000 football cards, pictured below, for a cash and trade deal. It was nice to see Randy, another regular customer. Randy found some 1962s for his set. Gary purchased my 1953 Topps Whitey Ford and Johnny Mize for his set. Jon, who I met at a previous Elgin show, purchased some 1963 Topps Football and 1961 Topps baseball. A father and son team purchased some 1970 Topps baseball. Angel found a few more 1965 Topps baseball for his set. I saw the Dodger guy in the room, who I met at the November show, but he did not stop by my table this time. Overall, I had a decent show but not like last month.
I have conflicts with this show the next two months and can't make it. I also learned that Corky shuts it down over the spring so I won't be back at the Elgin show until September. I am so bummed because there are no other Chicago-area Saturday shows. It looks like I will be spending the majority of my Saturdays in Indiana for a while where there are nothing but Saturday shows.
After the show, Willie and I went across the street to a place called Alexander's Cafe for lunch. From the outside, Alexander's looks like a typical Chicago Greek diner. It turned out to be an upscale restaurant. I was in the mood for sandwich and ended up getting a burger with goat cheese. Willie had the best looking meatloaf I have ever laid my eyes upon. See picture below. We ended up having an exceptional meal. Then I was off to spend Valentine's evening with my honey.
Noticeably absent today were Jim and Mark. Also a few other regulars did not purchase any cards from me. Luckily, I still had decent sales. An older collector who told me he recently completed a 1956 Topps baseball set started work on a 1959 Topps set. He found quite a few of them at my table. Jeff pulled his usual large pile of cards. Thanks Jeff! It was great to see Bruce and his grandsons. The kids are grade-school age and are incredibly knowledgeable about older cards and players which got me thinking that kids today seem so much smarter than when I was a kid. One of Bruce’s grandsons purchased a 1952 Topps Larry Doby and correctly stated that Doby was the first African-American ballplayer in the American League. The only thing I knew at that age was that White Sox broadcaster Harry Caray drank a lot of Falstaff beer. Bruce’s grandsons also picked up a T206, some T205s, and a 1940 Play Ball Hal Trosky. I am wondering if I can be adopted into this family.
Flea market Bob was an early visitor to my table. I haven’t seen Bob in a while. He purchased some 1971 Topps Super, some 1979 Star Trek Movie non-sports cards, and some 1951 Bowman baseball. A new customer purchased my 1959 Topps Paul Hornung. An older customer purchased some 1959 and 1964 Topps baseball. One of my regular customers was kind enough to sell me a large quantity of 1970 and 1971 Topps baseball. I probably should have kept the cards but Tim observed the deal and offered to purchase them. It is really hard to hang on to cards when a buyer is staring you in the face. Oh well, c’est la vie.
I then sold some 1951 Bowman baseball to a customer wearing a Brooklyn Dodgers cap. Terry and I made a trade. Eric purchased some 1967 Topps baseball and some 1971 Topps baseball. An older White Sox fan that I met last month purchased a few cards from the 1970s. An older customer purchased some 1965 Topps baseball.
I would now like to pause this blog for a little rant. Today I want to discuss knuckleheads. Not just any knucklehead but the knuckleheads who are seemingly oblivious to basic courteous conduct at a baseball card show. Knuckleheads come in the form of both dealers and customers. At this past Sunday’s show, there were quite a few knucklehead customers. I seemed a little more susceptible to them this past weekend because I was not as busy as usual. Thus, the knuckleheads took over the space in front of my tables normally occupied by serious card collectors sifting through by binders to complete there sets.
There is one guy in particular at this show who walks around the room with a briefcase and tries to sell cards or memorabilia to customers in the room. I pay a fee for the right to sell cards to customers in the room. This guy pays nothing and worse yet, he uses my table or other dealers’ tables to display his wares. Come on! At one point, he placed his briefcase on a box of cards at my neighbor Ken’s table. He covered the box so no customers could access it. Then he tried to sell an item to a guy who was looking at cards in Ken’s display case. So Ken lost a sale from the customer who may have purchased something from his display case and may have lost multiple sales from customers who would have liked to view the cards in the covered up box. There is a four-letter word that best describes this guy.
Next up are the customers who seem to move in and act like my display cases are their own private sorting tables. They place boxes on my display cases so no one can see in the case and I can’t sell any cards. They sort stuff out of their boxes without a care in the world. Hey knucklehead! I paid for the right to place that display case on the table for the sole purpose of selling cards from the case. I can’t sell any cards when you cover it up and spread out your cards! I watched one guy come over and do this on three occasions on this day. Another guy commandeered one of the chairs I place out front for customers to sit and view my binders. He placed his derriere in the chair and blocked two display cases while tooling around on his iPhone. I couldn’t take it and asked him to leave. One of the dealers across the way came right over and used an explicative to describe the guy. Come on people! The dealers pay a fee to display cards on the tables. We can’t sell any cards if you block our tables!!
The vast majority of customers at this show and at other shows are absolutely terrific. However, there is a fraction that need to find a new hobby! End of rant and now back to the blog.
It was a weird show for me. I am usually extremely busy at this show but just didn’t have the usual amount of customers even though the room seemed pretty crowded. With few customers, I had a chance to walk around the room. I saw quite a bit of vintage but no deals out there. The highlight of my day, as usual, was the piece of cake from the concession stand. This show is worth the visit for the cake alone. I was on the road home by 2:15 p.m. The drive was long and painful because of heavy traffic. Oddly, there was heavy snow just a few miles from the highway exit to my house. Snow like this can only mean one thing – lake effect. If you live close enough to Lake Michigan, several times each winter you will get hit from snow storms that form over the lake and hit the surrounding areas. It seemed like it was just snowing over my town and nowhere else. Traffic slowed to a crawl and in a mile stretch I saw five cars that had spun off the road.
Next week, I’m back on the road. I’m hitting the Fort Wayne show on Saturday and I am setting up in Canton, Ohio, on Sunday. My project this week is a reload of the 1975 Topps baseball binder. I’d love to reload the 1975 football binder as well but I don’t think I will have enough time to get to it. Also, the next Smith & Gordon show is approaching quickly. We are in the bigger room this time around on Saturday, February 28, 2015. We currently have five open tables. Table fee is $25 per table. If anyone is interested in setting up at the show, please let me know. That's all for now.