It is that time of year again -- Strongsville time. Dave and I set up at the Strongsville vintage show every year. We hit the road on Wednesday and stopped off near New Buffalo, Michigan, so I could water the plants at my parents' place while they were away in Florida. Afterwards, we went over to the Four Winds Casino, a first for us both. I started out on video poker and was able to play for a while but not win any money. I lost $40 before I moved over to the slots.
There are so many new-fangled slots these days. I just wanted an old-time classic slot machine. Found one and proceeded to win. Woot! I was up and down for a while. When all was said and done, I was up $315. Woot! Dave did not fare as well.
We spent the night at my folks' place and hit the road around noon Thursday. It was nice starting out from Michigan and being past that crazy Chicago traffic. Smooth sailing most of the way. We did get stuck in some construction traffic just inside Ohio and sat for a while.
In traffic, I started to feel my blood sugar drop. Once we were back moving, I pulled over and ate some Burger King, hoping to kick up that blood sugar. Dave took over driving and I progressively started to feel very ill.
I am on some new meds for high blood pressure and they require a lot of water. I tried to hold off drinking water because I did not want to have to stop to pee. Big mistake. I got extremely dehydrated and had Dave take me to a hospital.
At the hospital, a nurse checked my blood sugar and saw that it was extremely high, probably due to the candy bar I ate. The nurse then placed me back out in the waiting room where I suffered greatly. I was surprised they did not give me any fluids or insulin. After an hour or so, I asked Dave to leave. I realized I was not going to receive any treatment at this hospital. Note to self, don't get deathly ill in Cleveland.
We got to the hotel and I passed out. I felt better Friday morning but still a bit under the weather. I decided to hold off taking some of my new blood pressure meds until I returned home. No health issues the rest of the weekend.
Dave set up his stuff Thursday night while I was passed out in the room. On Friday morning, Dave slept in while I set up my stuff.
The dehydration and blood sugar issues left me a little loopy and I had a tough time concentrating and setting up. Set up took a very long time.
It was nice to see my neighbors Tim and Susan Payne. I love those guys and look forward to hanging out with them in Strongsville every year. I also have a nice family set up to my right. I forget their names but they are very pleasant and excellent neighbors.
SGC was supposed to be set up across from me but severe weather in Fl0rida forced them to miss the show. Which is just as well because I was worried their customers would block my table.
In SGC's place was a dealer I know from Minnesota wh0 even once set up in Oak Creek. He is a nice guy with unique stuff and it was great having him there.
Also while setting up, I got to catch up with Mike, my local pal, who regularly sets up to my left, across the aisle. Mike told me there was a competing show this weekend which may have caused our attendance to be down a bit. Still nice crowds all three days but not as packed as previous shows.
I also saw long-time pal Mark Smith. As I told Mark, everyone in Milwaukee and Chicago still asks about him. You guys will be pleased to know that Mark is doing well but down to one or two shows a month and not traveling our way. Maybe one of these days we can lure Mark back to Milwaukee! Mark was set up with his right-hand man, Hockey Greg.
When I finally did finish setting up, Dave arrived, and I had a real nice sale to a dealer. Nice way to start out the show! The VIPs entered into the room around 11 a.m. Both Dave and I had steady sales all day.
I was able to take a few walks around the room and was blown away by what I saw. There definitely was an uptick in the quality of material since last year. A lot more big cards like '52 Mantles, '33 Ruths and Gehrigs, and Cobbs galore.
The dealer down the end of my row, actually attended the show as a customer but was able to obtain the Minnesota dealer's original space when he moved over to the SGC spot. This dealer was from Atlanta and told me he is a huge fan of the Georgia Peach. He borrowed a display case and filled it up with Cobbs, pictured below.
The modern cards looked out of place. I would be amazed if any sold during the show. The vintage was so strong that it was hard to even notice the modern. I hope Leland's does not add any full-on modern dealers for next year. It will be the beginning of the end of this show, if they do.
There also were four auction houses set up including Leland's, Mile High, Memory Lane and Heritage. My recommendation is to move the auction houses out into the hallway and leave the main room for card dealers. It is not a big space and seems like a waste to have the auction houses there.
Rounding out the show was JSA who was busy all weekend authenticating autographs. There were a large number of autograph guests and, thankfully, they were all located in additional rooms out in the hallway.
The real celebrity here and the real reason people come to this show is the massive vintage sports card inventory. This show may have surpassed the National in terms of high dollar vintage cards. There was some fire in the room!
I saw Wisconsin's very own Jason Galleske walking around. He was set up at the other show which did not start until much later. He seemed to really like the Strongsville show.
I had an excellent day selling cards on Friday. The show ended at 7 p.m. and I was tired! I ate a hamburger earlier at the concession stand for lunch. For dinner, I went out with Dave, his brother Frank and nephew Shawn. Frank and Shawn live locally and it was nice to meet them.
Shawn recommended a place called Timber Lodge... my kind of place with woodsy decor and steaks and chops on the menu. I dined on some delicious prime rib. I could see the family resemblance between Dave, his brother and nephew. I really enjoyed the dinner conversation.
As you know, I am a music aficionado as well as a vintage sports card addict. I spent my teenage years hanging out in punk rock clubs in Chicago in the early to mid-1980's. Though, I was not old enough to go to the very first one that opened around 1976 and was called La Mere Vipere. I also never met anyone who went to La Mere Vipere. It is the stuff of legend. Frank went there... often. I enjoyed the stories.
Turns out Shawn is a 1980's punk rock fan and I enjoyed telling him about all the bands I saw back in the day. What a fun night!
Back at the hotel room, I fell asleep watching "16 Candles," which is a bit more nostalgia for me as half my high school from 1982 is in the movie, filmed in the Chicago area. Dave had never seen it. I think he enjoyed it. He didn't seem to mind me calling out the names of all the extras.
I woke up first, showered and had some crappy hotel breakfast before opening up for the day. Sales were much slower on Saturday. I spent more time chatting. I saw a few more people from home like Tommy Larson and Steve Wilson. Tommy arrived Saturday morning, shopped around then went to the other show. He came back later in the afternoon. Steve was carrying around a box that looked like it contained a pizza. He showed me the contents, not a pizza, instead, a stack of large autographed photos featuring a boatload of Cubs like Ryne Sandberg and Andre Dawson. Steve drove out to get the autographs authenticated by JSA. He also purchased my 1961 Topps Billy Williams rookie. Thanks Steve!
The show ended at 5 p.m. and Leland's threw a pizza party for the dealers across the street at an ice rink. Dave and I grabbed a few slices and a couple of local brews. Dave and I are admittedly pizza snobs. We have so much amazing pizza at home in the Chicago area. It is hard to eat pizza outside of Chicago. It never tastes good.
The beer, on the other hand, was excellent. We enjoyed hanging out with Mike, always a highlight of the Strongsville show. After the pizza party, we went back to the hotel bar for more beer and some wings. The wings were excellent.
Again, I was first up on Sunday. I was too late for breakfast. I ended up with a hot dog from the concession stand. Like pizza, I am also a hot dog snob. That was not a good hot dog.
Sales again were slow. I think Dave and I were the only ones in the room with slow sales. Everyone else reported excellent sales. I seem to have a lot of shows where Friday is excellent and Saturday and Sunday are slow. I am not sure what I can do to fix that. I thought I had some nice material in Strongsville. Quite a few folks went through my stacks of cards but did not find the ones they needed.
With just one six-foot table, it is really tough to figure out what to bring out. I am not sure if Dave is going to come back next year. If not, I'll take over his table and place out my graded cards along with some binders.
I had a lot more low-ballers than in years past. I know my prices are reasonable. I could have had a lot more sales if I was willing to give my stuff away. Not!
On the buying front, I tried to negotiate with a sickly old man who had some low-grade post-war stars. He was much too high. I was able to purchase a 1960 Topps Mickey Mantle from another guy, my only purchase of the weekend.
Overall, sales were better than the Sports Spectacular, so I will take it! This show is always fun. I have such a great appreciation for the dealers here and their amazing cards. There is no other show quite like this one. I think Leland's is really missing the boat by focusing their marketing on their autograph guests. They do not realize what they have here.
I also think the Cleveland area does not realize what they have in this Strongsville vintage show as I thought attendance should have been much better. Bottom line, this show has an amazing group of vintage dealers with amazing inventories. It is a sight to behold.
Anyway, I will be back next year. In the meantime, I am setting up in Orland Park on Sunday, April 23, 2023. I just finished reloaded my 1963 Topps baseball binder. I started on my 1982 Topps football binder and may have it completed by Sunday. I am bringing out all of my binders Sunday. I will also have two display cases. Hope to see a nice crowd in Orland!
Next Oak Creek show is coming up fast on May 6. I am way behind responding to messages. I hope to get to them by the end of the week.
Below are some more photos from the Strongsville show. The first photo is of dealer Tim Payne, right. Tim has an amazing inventory. He operates a show in Des Moines and will also be set up in Rosemont this summer for the National. All the cards pictured below are from Tim's cases. Check him out!