I have attended quite a few mall shows in my day and the Woodland Mall is one of the nicest ones to house a card show. Promoter Lou Brown has a tremendous card shop in the mall. The shop has cards, fan gear, man-cave items, supplies and more. I thought the shop was pretty cool. It is one of the largest card shops I have ever visited. Understandably, the prices in the shop were high. Lou must have tremendous overhead but I observed a steady flow of customers coming in and out of that place all day long.
I was set up against the outside wall of Sears next to Mark Smith. I recognized a few of the other dealers. As far as Michigan shows go, this was probably the smallest show I have attended there to date. My guess is the hefty table fee (50 bucks for an 8-foot) keeps some dealers away. Also, attendance wasn't quite like the other Michigan shows. It was not bad but not nearly as good as the others. Mark said we had less customers than usual.
I had some sales, nothing spectacular. I sold a beauty of a 1962 Topps Hank Aaron to a customer. I sold some 1972 Topps baseball to another. A collector purchased a bunch of 1962 and 1963 Post Cereal. I sold all of my 1940 Play Balls to Ken, who I know from the Sun-Times show. A bunch more guys dinked around my binders and purchased cards. I only had one table, though I had room for a card table which I luckily brought along. I only put out two display cases and most of my baseball binders. I probably could have had more sales if I had the other binders. Though it is a tough call trying to balance expenses when doing a card show on the road. If I do this show again, I think I'll bring two card tables and my football binders. I think this may be it for me in Michigan for 2015. I'm sure I'll set up in Michigan next year but I do not have a show planned there for the rest of this year. I have yet to have a really good show in Michigan so I'm in no hurry to head back there. However, I have met some really tremendous people in Michigan over the past year and appreciate the new friendships.
No buys today. Mark, who is a regular dealer at the Woodland Mall show, had quite a few guys bring him stuff to peruse. I really did not have anyone bring me cards other than one guy who looked through all my 1953 Topps then wanted to sell me his. If he would have purchased a few cards from me I might have reciprocated but I have a large overhead when I am on the road and am less apt to buy or trade unless sales are pretty good. Mark showed me some of the potential deals that came his way. One was for a group of ugly 1953 Bowman Color baseball. There were some stars in there but almost all the cards either had writing or staining. I will purchase cards in that condition if the price is right. Both Mark and I felt the price was too high. Another guy brought Mark 10 Mickey Mantles and he wanted $1,000 for the group which is normally a pretty good deal. However, these cards were in absolutely horrible condition. There were creases on top of creases, paper loss, major corner and edge wear. I can't sell cards in that condition for much, even if they are Mickey Mantle. A better price for those cards would have been $250 to $300. Mark passed on the deal.
My favorite group that came to Mark were some Red Man's that had visible rat bites on them. Amazingly, Mark bought the cards then was able to flip most of them. I have seen some cards in my day with nibbles from vermin but these cards had huge bites taken out of them. I should have gotten a photo!
Speaking of eating, for lunch, Bill, the promoter of the Holland show, picked us up some Chinese food. I ordered some Orange Chicken and Sweet & Sour Chicken. When I got my food, it looked good, tasted okay, but I noticed that there was hardly any chicken inside the fried dough. If I would have purchased the food myself, I would have taken it back but I did not want to make any waves with Bill. I have experienced this phony sweet & sour chicken once before at a Chinese restaurant when I lived in a ghetto neighborhood in Chicago years ago. There was a Chinese restaurant on my block of battered apartment buildings and storefronts. It was take-out only. You walked in and ordered your meal through bullet-proof glass -- which tells you a little something about the neighborhood. I learned to never order the sweet & sour chicken at this place because you actually received sweet & sour fried dough -- no chicken. I was surprised a Chinese restaurant located in a nice mall pulled that ghetto crap. I now know to avoid the Chinese restaurant at the Woodland Mall.
Back to the business of selling vintage cards where sales were better than my last two Saturdays in Indianapolis but they still weren't up where I would like them to be. The best part of the show was just kicking back with Mark and having a good time. We had lots of laughs so that makes it a good show!
Most dealers stuck around until 3 p.m. I was on the road by 3:30 p.m. It took me about four hours to get home. I stopped a few times for food and gas. I filled up in Grand Rapids where gas was $2.28 a gallon. A few hours later, I stopped off in Michigan City, Indiana, where gas was just $2.09 a gallon. Back in the Chicago area, gas is around $2.65 a gallon.
I slept in on Sunday, September 13, 2015 -- I woke at 5 a.m. I wanted to get to Gonzaga early because I figured we would have an early crowd due to the noon Packers-Bears game. I was correct, there was a nice crowd early on. Pictured up top is the crowd around the live auction at Gonzaga Hall. I did observe some empty tables which is unusual for this show. I noticed Larry wasn't there and I know he has had some health issues -- I hope he is okay.
I was very busy early on. Most of the usual suspects were there like Mark, Jason, Jim, Jack, Rob, and a host of others. These guys purchased a ton of cards! THANK YOU!!! This was easily my best show since, well... my last Gonzaga show. I had an awesome day.
The folks that attend the Gonzaga show are some of the most knowledgeable collectors and sports fans. Last month, a few of us were talking about the day Warren Spahn and Juan Marichal each pitched nearly 16 innings of scoreless baseball against one another. This month, one of my customers brought in an account of the game and said it occurred on his 12th birthday on July 2, 1963, in Candlestick Park.
According to the article, Spahn shut out a line-up that featured Harvey Kuenn, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Felipe Alou, Orlando Cepeda and Ed Bailey for nearly 16 innings until Mays homered in the bottom of that 16th inning. On the other side, Marichal shut out the Braves for 16 innings with a line up that featured Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, and Del Crandall.
While pitching 16-innings of shut-out ball is an amazing feat, this particular event is even more amazing when you consider Spahn was 42 years old while Marichal was only 26. Spahn threw 201 pitches that night!
Speaking of amazing players from yesteryear, I was not planning on purchasing any cards but ended up buying some stuff when a gentleman approached my table with his childhood Ted Williams collection. He had some LIFE Magazines with the Splendid Splinter on the cover. He told me that they were listed for $50 on eBay. I have found that publications are difficult to sell on eBay and I am not confident that I could get anywhere near $50 for those magazines at a card show so I took a pass. I did purchase some beater 1962s, a well-loved 1954 Topps Ted Williams, a 1958 Topps All-Star Ted Williams and a handful of 1959 Fleer Ted Williams. My other purchase of the day was a nice grouping of 1964 Topps Giants that a purchased from a dealer who brought them over.
As is the norm during football season, most everybody cleared out the room by noon. I was on the road home by 1 p.m. I listened to the football game on the way home. I was surprised the Bears kept the game close. They have a really lousy team this year. I am not expecting much from them. I forgot how lousy the Packers are on defense. I don't think either the Packers or the Bears are going to be very good this season. However, with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, the Packers are at least in every game. The Bears, on the other hand, have Jay Cutler who will throw a pick when the game is on the line every time. These are dark times for Bears fans.
Next up is my show at the Clarion in Milwaukee on Saturday. Please, please, come out to my show. I could really use the support!! I started reloading 1967 Topps baseball and should have it done by Saturday. I still have some tables available if any dealers are interested in setting up. Hope to see you Saturday!!!! A big thank you to everyone at Gonzaga for another terrific show!!!