My last blog was from the Smith & Gordon Show on May 9, 2015. There are some rumors going around that there is some animosity between Mark and I. These rumors are false. Mark and I are good -- he just doesn't want to drive from Detroit to Milwaukee twice a month. He will be an occasional dealer at the show. I'll let everybody know the next one Mark plans to attend. For now, I've renamed the show the Fat Daddy Sports Show. Next one is set for Saturday, June 20, 2015, at the Clarion, 5311 S. Howell, in Milwaukee. I have 8-foot dealer tables available for $25 each. To send me a message, click HERE.
On Sunday, May 10, 2015, I went out to the Wilmot Mountain Flea Market in Wilmot, Wisconsin. I spent a few hours there but never really was able to set up because there was a steady mist and I did not want my cards to get ruined. I lost my $25 table fee. Lesson learned.
On Saturday, May 16, 2015, I trucked down to Indianapolis for the Fishers American Legion Card Show. I spent Friday night in one of the crappiest Motel 6's around. I now know to NEVER stay at the Motel 6 on Shadeland Avenue in Indy. I Pricelined the room for $47. When I arrived at the motel I observed that the regular price was $39. Neither Priceline nor the motel would refund the extra $8 I spent on the room. Can you say RIP OFF! I won't be using Priceline or this motel again.
Anyway, I had a nice show in Fishers, pictured below. My Fisher shows have been regularly starting off with a customer I affectionately refer to as "Stinky" because, he, well, stinks. Nice guy though. If he could just bathe prior to coming to the show. He leaves a foul odor behind. He purchased a bunch of cards out of my 50-cent box and some 1976 Topps football.
A regular customer purchased some 1975 Topps baseball, 1972 Topps baseball, 1967 Topps baseball and some cards out of the 50-cent box. A rather large dude purchased some 1971 and 1973 Topps baseball. A dealer purchased my 1957 Topps Carl Erskine.
A regular purchased some 1976 Topps baseball cards. A father and son team purchased some 1976 Topps football and 1975-76 Topps basketball. A regular customer purchased all my 1952 Topps baseball. A customer wearing an Indianapolis Colts hat purchased some 1969 Topps Decals. A regular customer purchased a large pile of 1956 and 1977 Topps baseball cards.
Another regular purchased an autographed card of Frank Duffy. A regular customer purchased some 1959 Fleer Ted Williams. A new customer purchased some 1976 and 1977 Topps football. Another new customer purchased some 1965 Topps baseball. Then, as always, there was the Bob. He came by when I was extremely busy and started to pull out 1951 Bowman baseball. He had his collection of '51 Bowmans with him in a binder. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him pull out a large pile of cards. When he was ready to pay, he presented a small pile of cards. So it looked like he stole some cards. I went back into my '51 binder and saw that he put back a bunch of cards in the wrong order. Once again, I had to sort cards after dealing with the Bob. Hopefully, he didn't steal any cards but I am very suspicious. This guy just sucks.
Well, with money in my pocket, I went on a little buying spree. I purchased some 1954 and 1955 Bowman baseball from a customer. I purchased some 1957 and 1958 Topps baseball from another customer. Then I bought some 1965 Topps football tall boys.
Some final observations about this show. I think this was my third Fishers show and it had the smallest crowd to date. The small crowd did not affect my sales. The restaurant was closed again. I was smart enough this time to stop at Mickey D's for breakfast and coffee prior to the show. I can't make the June or July Fishers show but I'll be back for August and September. I'm debating on whether to set up at the October Fishers show because it is the same day as Fort Wayne which is an easier drive, I don't have to get a hotel and there is NO Bob! So, I'll probably set up in Fort Wayne in October and skip Fishers that month. A big thank you to everyone but Bob who purchased cards from me at the May Fishers show. See you folks in August!
On Sunday, May 17, 2015, I was at the tremendous Gonzaga Hall show in Milwaukee. I noticed that customers were lining up early for this one. My usual neighbor PJ was absent and in his place was a modern card dealer I recognize from the Orland Park shows. We had a steady flow of customers all day long. A much larger crowd than last month.
A regular customer got the day going by purchasing a bunch of 1959 Topps baseball cards. Another regular purchased some 1981 Topps football cards. Jim found some 1955 Topps and Bowmans. Jason purchased some T205s, 1955 Bowmans and 1956 Topps baseball. I recently reloaded the 1955 Bowmans and 1956 Topps binders and they saw a lot of action. Mark bought a whole bunch of different items including some 1970 Kellogg's baseball. Thanks Mark!
A regular customer purchased some 1959 Fleer Ted Williams cards. Another customer purchased some 1959 Topps baseball. A regular customer purchased some 1975-76 Topps basketball cards. I am anticipating an increase in basketball card sales because the Milwaukee Bucks are pretty good and with a great young core and a terrific head coach, they should be good for a long time.
Jeff, the ultimate customer, purchased a TON of stuff including 1955 Topps and Bowman baseball, 1956 Topps baseball, 1951 and 1952 Bowman football. Thank you Jeff!! A regular customer purchased my 1953 Johnston Cookies Warren Spahn. I had that card for a while and was really surprised it did not sell sooner. I love the Johnston Cookie cards. I think they are the coolest regional issue around. I currently have some up on eBay -- check them out HERE.
My excellent day continued when a regular customer purchased some 1970 Topps baseball. Another customer named Mark pulled out a bunch of Milwaukee Braves from the 1953 and 1954 Topps sets. He told me that he was buying them to turn them into coasters. An interesting concept. However, Mark wanted them extremely cheap. He was offering less than I paid for them. I think some folks do not realize that even lower grade vintage cards do actually have some value. I cannot buy a card that high books at $30 for the $1 you are offering. I never turn down a reasonable offer... I stress the word REASONABLE. We ended up making a deal on the cards but I really sold them too cheap because Braves cards are very popular and easy to sell in Milwaukee, I really do not need to discount them. Though, sometimes as a dealer, it is hard to turn down a paying customer.
Then a new customer purchased a 1957 Topps Moose Skowron without asking for a discount. Yes! Thank you! Jack purchased a bunch of baseball cards from the 1950s and 1960s to send out for autographs. Rob rounded out my day by purchasing a bunch of baseball cards from the 1970s.
As I was packing up, I noticed two guys standing by the dealer table next to mine. The dealer had packed up all his cards and brought them out to his car. He left a nice display case on his table and walked over and sat down at another dealer table across the room. The two guys, who remind me of characters from the film "American Movie," started to debate on whether the dealer left the display case behind and no longer wanted it. Eventually, they talked themselves into taking the display case. At that point, I interrupted them and informed them that the dealer did not leave the case behind and that he was in fact still in the room. I pointed him out. The guys then emptied their pockets of card holders that they apparently took off the dealer's table and high-tailed it out of the building.
On Saturday, May 23, 2015, I was set up at the Fort Wayne show, pictured below. For some reason, I thought this show starts at 8 a.m. like all the Indy shows. I drove two hours from New Buffalo, Michigan, thinking I was really late. Turns out the show starts at 10 a.m. and I arrived in plenty of time. I had the first three tables when you walk into the room. I was able to get out four display cases and all my binders, except for older football which I left at home.
Barber John was my first customer and he purchased some 1970 Topps baseball. A Bengals fan purchased some 1976 Topps Football. A new customer purchased some 1959 Topps baseball. Mark sent over a younger guy who collects old White Sox. He told me his grandfather is from Chicago and he was raised a White Sox fan. He purchased Minnie Minoso cards from 1956 and 1957 along with assorted White Sox from 1970.
Another customer named John purchased all of my 1948 Leaf boxing cards and all of my 1959 Fleer Ted Williams cards. Thanks John! Another customer purchased a bunch of 1962 Topps baseball. David purchased all of my 1951 Bowman baseball. Bob rounded out my day by purchasing a bunch of 1934-36 Diamond Stars. It turned out to be a pretty good day.
On the way home, I started to take Route 30 west but got frustrated with all the traffic lights and thought I could head north and catch I80. Turns out I80 was much further north than I anticipated and I ended up weaving through endless country roads in northeastern Indiana. I knew I was adding an extra hour to my drive home through this maneuver but did not mind because the scenery was absolutely beautiful. I drove through all sorts of hilly hamlets along hidden lakes and green forests. It was an extremely pleasant drive.
On Sunday, May 24, I decided to skip the flea market. A buddy from Los Angeles was coming into town for Mike's funeral. Mike's family had set up a memorial gathering at the one bar in our hometown of Northbrook, Illinois. It was a real nice event. I saw some folks from high school who I haven't seen in 30 years. Folks packed the bar to toast Mike, a true barfly and a guy who had a positive affect on many people, myself included.
Monday, May 25, 2015, was Mike's funeral. His family had his remains cremated. It is hard to believe that someone with such life and energy is now just dust inside a vase. We drank shots of whiskey at his grave and doused the dirt in alcohol -- which was fitting for Mike. I was incredibly lucky to have had the honor to call him my friend. Farewell buddy!
The best tonic for grief is baseball cards!! For me, pricing cards and reloading binders is a wonderful escape for whatever ales me. I have been posting a ton of stuff on eBay. I finally made it out to the Wilmot Mountain Flea Market on Sunday, May 31, 2015. I skipped setting up at a card show on Saturday, May 30. There was nothing locally. I think the closest show was in Ohio, five hours away.
The flea market is an entirely different animal than card shows. Vendors MUST arrive extremely early or risk all the spots selling out or end up at the far end of the market where no customers are willing to venture. It is key to load up the car the night before. I filled my car with card tables, toys, old clothes, some antiques, toys, and sports cards and sports memorabilia.
I couldn't sleep and gave up around 3 a.m. In zombie mode, I ate some breakfast, showered and put on several layers of clothes because it was cold and damp outside. I was out the door by 5 a.m. The Wilmot Flea Market opens to vendors at 5 a.m. so I was late. I got there are 5:45 a.m. The sky was overcast and I was worried that the sky would open up with rain, even though the "accurate" weatherman said no rain. I think the ugly morning kept the multitudes of vendors away and I was able to get a decent spot.
On one side of me was a couple that took up two spots with items for the ladies like clothes, purses, make up and bras. I have never been one to be overly analytical when it comes to women's undergarments but these were the largest and most colorful bras I have ever seen. I snapped a photo, texted it to my wife and asked if she wanted a fluorescent yellow zebra-pattern triple XD bra. She responded with some instructions as to where I should go and some other choice words of which I will not repeat here.
I wish I had brought more stuff because I could have spread out into the vacated spot. Unfortunately, my van is in the shop and I fit about all I could into the Camry.
It was butt cold in the morning. I had longjohns, two shirts, my winter coat, hat, gloves and boots on and I was still cold. I think the cold kept some customers away because they were slow to arrive.
This is my third season at the Wilmot Flea Market and I have developed some regular customers. Each time, like clockwork, my first customer is an older gentleman who likes absolute junk like 1980s baseball cards. He is a very nice guy and the only guy in the world who buys my 1980s cards. The only problem is that he is a chain smoker, which seems to be a prerequisite for attending the flea market. I hate cigarettes and get really nervous when someone has a cigarette dangling from their mouth just a foot or so above my easily damageable cardboard sports cards. I don't think he dropped an ash onto my cards but it sure was a close call there for a while. He bought my 1988 Topps baseball set, a 1990 Score Football set, and some old screwdown card holders. Except for the cigarettes, I love this guy!
Another regular at the flea market is a lady who collects Chicago Bulls cards from the 1970s. She found a bunch at my table. Then Don came out to see me. He first drove down to Wolff's in Rosemont and hung out with Dan Salemme, a sports card dealer and flea market veteran. Don picked up a bunch of 1970s ABA cards from me. It was also nice to have him watch my table so I could take a bathroom break. Thanks Don. Then Kevin came out to see me and purchased most of my 1933 Tattoo Orbits. Thanks Kevin!!
I sold some cards to a guy who has a thrift shop. I also sold some cards to another flea market vendor. The rest of my sales were toys, comics and antiques. It turned out to be a pretty good day. The weather even warmed up and by the end of the day my face and neck were sun burnt.
I'm heading down to Indy today for Seth Murray's show at the La Quinta on Saturday, June 6, 2015. After Seth's show, I'm trucking to St. Louis for the Orlando Gardens show. I'm hopeful, I can catch Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals. I'm staying near the Orlando Gardens banquet hall. If any St. Louis folks have any suggestions as to where to catch the game, please let me know.
I just finished reloading my 1958 Topps baseball binder and am looking forward to the shows this weekend. One final note on my buddy Mike. He drank heavily, smoked filterless cigarettes, did not eat right and never exercised -- a recipe for death. Life is too precious to piss it away. I know I am going to take better care of myself and I hope everyone that reads my blog reevaluates and decides to cut out the drinking, smoking and sedentary lifestyle. Hell, maybe some of us fat guys need to start getting some pick-up basketball games together after the shows. Stay healthy!! Be healthy!!!