My drive out to Canton on Saturday was uneventful, until I arrived at the show site around 9 p.m. I pulled off the highway and noticed right away that both sides of the street were covered with people sitting in lawn chairs like they were waiting for a parade or something. I drove past the hotel where the show was slated toward the cheaper Motel 6. The whole ride, same thing, tons of people on both sides of the road. There was police activity at a stoplight and traffic came to a halt. Next thing I knew, fireworks were popping overhead. Not just a few bottle rockets, but full-on fireworks show. There were people everywhere watching these fireworks. The Motel 6 was all booked up. So was every other hotel in town. I got back on the highway where cars were pulled over to the side watching this lengthy fireworks show. I had to drive another 15 miles or so until I found a hotel with rooms available. I ended up paying double for my room than I would have paid at Motel 6. I also learned that the "Soapbox Derby" was in town and was the cause of all the hub bub. I now have one question... WHAT THE HELL IS A SOAPBOX DERBY? Second question... Why does it attract everybody and their mother?
With these questions in mind, I drove the 15 miles back to the show site around 8 a.m. on Sunday and observed that the countryside around Canton is beautiful. Rolling hills, streams, lush vegetation, nice. Load in went smoothly and the nice lady that promotes this show gave me two primo tables in the front of the room. The only drawback was that a large flat-screen television blocked my way to the back of my tables. Worse yet, the TV was tuned to golf. I hate golf. I don't mind playing golf but I think there are few things worse than watching golf on TV. Might as well watch knitting. I just want to pull my hair out when I'm stuck watching golf. I try to respond nicely when people ask me about Tiger Woods but I never had an interest in his career. These guys just swing a club. They don't have to throw, catch, shoot, skate, run, jump, dive, tackle, or do much of anything except swing that club. Snooze.
Snooze was the theme of the day. If it wasn't for a few customers, this would have been a total disaster. A kindly older fella purchased a good number of cards including a 1952 Topps Warren Spahn and a 1953 Topps Spahn, some '52 and '53 commons, a 1954 Bowman Pee Wee Reese, along with some '54 Bowman commons. I then sold some cards to an older couple. The wife held the list and called out numbers while the husband pulled the cards. The pair purchased some nice stacks of 1972 Topps football and 1972-73 Topps basketball. I then made a cash and trade deal with Tom, who I remember from March. Tom gave me some 1952 Bowman baseball commons in exchange for some 1959 Topps commons. Tom also purchased my 1959 Al Kaline, Don Drysdale and Roger Maris. Then he went out and picked me up a sandwich from Jimmy Johns. Thanks Tom!
A collector wearing a Cleveland Indians hat purchased some 1960 Topps commons. A customer carrying a Cincinnati Bearcats folder purchased some 1960 Fleer football and some 1964 Philadelphia football. A customer I remember from March purchased some 1954 Topps commons and a 1952 Bowman Mike Garcia. Another customer I remember from March purchased some 1960 Topps baseball, 1954 Topps baseball and some 1953-54 Parkhurst hockey. My last customer of the day picked up some 1965 Topps baseball.
In addition to trading with Tom, I made a trade with Tom's friend Gary, thinking Gary was going to buy some cards. But as my day went, Gary said he already spent his limit elsewhere. Though I enjoyed chatting with Gary, Cleveland's table-tennis champ. He promised to buy some cards from me upon my return to Canton. I'm holding him to it. With nothing but tumbleweeds in front of my table for most of the day, I had plenty of time to walk the room. I purchased some autographed 8 X 10 photos from Jane, the promoter. Jane has a large inventory of signed mini-helmets, photos and postcards at reasonable prices. She gave me a nice deal on the photos, which I really appreciate.
On the other end of the room was my old friend Mark Smith, who drove in from the Detroit area. Mark had four tables featuring some items I've never seen him carry before like old magazines and programs. There was a tremendous selection of cards, autographs and memorabilia in the room. Closer to my set up was a local dealer named Jack who has a phenomenal selection of vintage cards. On one end of his group of tables he had an old, tall table-top watch display case filled with drool-worthy old cards. There was another local vintage dealer who outnumbered my binder set-up two-to-one. He had an absolutely amazing selection of commons. He also had a neat display where he put velcro on the back of toploaders and attached them to large boards on either end of his tables. It was a really cool display and he was very busy all day. I would have to rate this show as the best selection of vintage commons I have ever seen at a one-day show. This was a set-builders paradise.
Even though my sales were off, I like this show. I like the promoter, the dealers and the locals. Canton is a real pleasant place and I'll give this show another try sometime in the future. For now, I'm going to stay close to home. It's tiring traveling five to six hours to shows. I think I'll stick to the short drives to Schaumburg, Orland and MIlwaukee for a while. At some point I'll get the travel bug again and hit the road for shows. I'm actually taking the next couple of weekend off from shows. I want to spend some time with my kids before they go back to school. My youngest is turning 7 tomorrow (July 25) and my 10 year-old is growing like a weed. We're going to have some fun and goof off the next couple of weeks.
My next shows are scheduled for August 11 in Orland and August 12 at Gonzaga in Milwaukee. I'm still going to put some time in updating my binders. My 1962 binder is my next big reload project. I'm very jealous of those going out to the National in Baltimore the first week in August. I'm going to set up next year at the National when it is in Rosemont. If anyone wants to submit a guest blog over these next two weeks, I'd appreciate it and post it here. I'll also post some photos. A quick shout out to all the guys who have found my eBay auctions. I really appreciate your purchases! Thanks everybody! Take care!