Bittersweet waking up on Sunday. My last look at our glorious view from the 41st floor of the Harrah's Casino Resort. Our last walk around the casino. Our last time getting lost in the casino.
We left our room then walked around looking for a spot for Bob to pick up a cab to the airport. We had a great time. Bob bought a ton of cards. I love all the T206s he purchased. Cool stuff. We bid farewell to Bob. Dave and I then drove one last time to the convention center.
Pictured above is a partial shot of Harrah's as we drove away for the last time on Sunday morning. What an amazing place!!
We talked all week about how we were going to exit the convention. We essentially had three options. One, wait until the end of the show and move the car to the loading dock at 5 p.m. Two, move the car to the parking garage at 5 p.m. and take a freight elevator down to the garage. Three, load out to the dealer parking lot on the far end of the building and across the street.
We did not see how option one could work with the tiny size of the loading dock and hundreds of cars attempting to fill that tiny space. Dave seemed to like option two but I felt there would be a long line for the freight elevator. Option three seemed like our best bet. It was a bit of a walk but we only had two trips to take.
The show was dead on Sunday. It seemed like all of the air had gone out of the room. We met Matt who grew up in Cicero, Illinois, on Saturday. He purchased just about all of my 1971-72 Topps hockey. He also purchased a pile of cards from Dave. Matt now lives in Houston and we enjoyed talking about all the old hot dog and beef joints in and around Cicero.
Matt came back on Sunday and purchased more cards from Dave. I was shut out Sunday morning. I sat and sat and sat. No customers. A few lookers. Some that I had seen all week but did not make any purchases.
I started to get depressed. I have never been shut out at the National. I was on my way to having my best National ever. It all came to screeching halt on Sunday. Around 1 p.m., I started to pack up my graded cards. Dave packed up all of his cards quicker than you could say Philly Cheesesteak.
Dave loaded all of his stuff onto the cart and set out for the dealer parking lot. I moved my remaining cases to Dave's primo spot in the main aisle. I then attempted to pull my cards out of the display cases but, out of nowhere, I was mobbed with customers. All of the sudden I was helping three, four customers at a time and they were all buying cards.
In the hour it took Dave to walk his stuff over to the parking lot, unload and return, I sold a TON of cards. I was still selling cards when Dave returned. When Dave saw that I had hardly packed up, he blew a gasket. I was not going to fight with him. We drove all the way out to Atlantic City to sell cards. After being shut out in the morning, I needed these sales.
He kind of pushed me aside and tried to help the customers so I could pack up. I tried to pack up but the customers kept coming. Frustrated, Dave took off. I don't know where he went. I tried to pack up. Gavin, who visited my booth all five days without buying any cards, wanted a deal on a bunch of cards as I was packing up. At this point, I just wanted to pack up. I did not need to give away my cards. We finally agreed on a price which was lower than I wanted but I needed Gavin to go away so I could pack up.
A little after 2 p.m., I was finally able to load the cart and head out. Many other dealers nearby and done the same thing. Dave was still hot and did not accompany me to the car. He sat at the empty booth while I slowly maneuvered out of the building. As Dave warned, it was hotter than Hades outside. That heat sucked.
I made it to the car, no problem. Broke a sweat loading my stuff in. As I was finishing up, Dave came out and we hit the road for home.
A few hours into the drive, we pulled over at some random rest area along the Pennsylvania Turnpike and ran into Jeff Talamantez, also driving home to Chicago.
This was one of only three stops on the way home. Dave, a madman, drove straight through while I slept. We pulled up into my driveway around 5 a.m. on Monday morning. I was and still am amazed that Dave was able to drive all that way.
My final thoughts on the 2022 National:
The hobby is alive and well. My sales just fell short of 2021 but I am more than pleased with the results. I wish I would have had more time to walk the show. I only saw about a third of it.
As I previously stated, the National is being taken over by the corporate and breaker booths. I feel like something is being lost. There is definitely a need for more vintage shows on a national level. I would like to see a time where vintage dealers make a break from the National and have our own vintage-only shows. However, in the meantime, I will continue to set up at the National, as long as I make it through the dealer lottery alive.
I hope to have my own booth at the 2024 National, wherever that may be. The time has come for me to set up on my own and not deal with the idiosyncrasies of others. The few times I moved my cases to the primo spot in the main aisle, my sales took off. I think my sales will definitely improve with my own booth.
So in 2023, I will be setting up with Dave, Scott and PJ for the last time. It has been a good run but it is time for me to spread my wings and present the full Fat Daddy's Sports experience in my own booth.
I really enjoyed meeting so many people from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. A lot of great folks attended the show in Atlantic City.
We never came across the crime that so many people warned us about. We were insulated from it thanks our good friend Gregg Klein and his wonderful Harrah's Casino Resort. I cannot say enough about Harrah's. What a wonderful place! The room, the view, the restaurants, the casino, it was all amazing! I hope to head back with my wife for a vacation.
A huge THANK YOU to Gregg Klein and everybody who attended the show and purchased cards from me. Let's do it again in 2023 in Chicago!!
I did not walk around the show on Sunday. I took one photo, below, as I walked to the concession stand. This was an old carnival game used by some outfit called "WhatNot." The kids played the horse race and the winner received a pack of cards.
Anyway, thanks for following along on my little adventure!