Leading up to the show, all the weather forecasts called for a major snow storm. Admittedly, I was very nervous. I hate driving in snowstorms. I also haven't really driven my new car much in snow so I was not sure how it would handle messy road conditions.
However, over the years, I have learned to take those weather reports with a grain of salt. More often than not, they are wrong. I am pretty sure that it is scientifically impossible to accurately predict the weather. Now, there are some weather patterns that we know as fact, like, weather generally moves across the United States from West to East. Weather can also form in the Gulf of Mexico and move northwest, hitting the U.S. along the gulf states of Texas, Louisiana and Florida. Sometimes those gulf storms move straight north and nail the Chicago area, but they usually are much calmer when they hit us along the shores of Lake Michigan.
Saturday's storm was coming from the West and was supposed to start late morning and go into Sunday morning. I woke up Saturday at 6:30 a.m. and looked outside. All clear. Cool, I thought, and loaded up my car and was on the road around 7:30 a.m. Easy drive into Rockford.
I made it to Rockford around 8:30 a.m. Google maps took me to the union hall. I borrowed one of the carts promoters John and Mike leave for dealers and was able to get my stuff into the venue in one trip.
I thought the room looked real nice. Carpeted floors, wedding decor, nice black tablecloths on each table. The room was already just about filled with dealers. It was a lot tighter than the Rock Church, the former location of this show. John and Mike had to move the show because the church doubled their rate. Mike told me that just like the Woodstock show, there was some old bitties that did not like the show at the Rock Church. It is the church's loss, in my opinion.
I brought eight display cases which usually fills up two tables, as was the case here. I had a little extra space and was able to place out some flyers for my Oak Creek show and a few 1962 Topps football cards. Into the cases went all of my baseball cards while only about half of my football cards.
John and Mike take good care of me, always. I love these guys. This show they placed me next to my pals Tom Mularz and Nelson Rodriguez. Good buddies Jeff Talamantez and Gary George were nearby. I did not get a chance to walk the room but I think Tom, Gary and I were the only vintage dealers. I saw Ray Stoner up against a side wall, who usually has some vintage. I did not really know too many of the rest of the dealers. I did see long-time friend Dell Heyn set up.
So, as I was driving in, I thought that I would be lucky to make table fee if it starts to snow. Boy, was I wrong. Nice crowd! It started to snow around 10 a.m. and I was surprised that so many people were undeterred. Excellent crowd all day long!
It did not take very long to earn table fee and much more. My first customers of the day was a father and son team, who I have met here in Rockford many times. The father is a tough cookie to work with but he always buys a card or two. Today he purchased a 1953 Topps Johnnie O'Brien.
Then I saw my one customer who is a vintage football card nut. Nice guy. I always forget his name. He is a local school teacher. He usually purchases various Packers but on this morning, he purchased a variety of cards from the mid-1950's, no Packers.
Then I saw two guys that are regulars at the Rosemont shows. They always buy a bunch of cards from me at either the National for Sports Spectacular shows. It was nice to see them at the Rockford show and they recognized me and purchased all sorts of stuff from the late 1960's and early 1970's, including my 1969 Topps Mickey Mantle.
An older collector, who is building vintage sets, purchased a pile of 1962 Topps high numbers. He told me he is a Cardinals fan. I always thought folks growing up in Rockford were either Brewers or Cubs fans. I met another Cardinals fan, wearing a Cardinals jacket, who pulled all sorts of cards like 1970 Topps Bob Gibson and a '70 Topps Lou Brock.
I always get guys at my tables who just want to talk and they do not purchase any cards. This happens at every show. Usually, I don't mind, as long as I am not busy helping paying customers. There is one guy who I see at all of the Rockford shows, who is a talker and never a buyer. He is very enthusiastic. Problem is, he interrupts my conversations with paying customers. I have to figure out a polite way to tell him to come back when I am not helping a customer.
I have another regular talker at this show, who sometimes buys cards but clearly has some sociopathic issues. We had a weird encounter early in the morning when my dad called and I was stuck on the phone for a while. My dad and I had some things we needed to discuss regarding my brother Jon's estate. There was nobody at my table when I started on the phone. Shortly into the conversation, sociopath, an older guy, who is very demanding was in my face. I told him I would be with him when I concluded my phone conversation. I figured he would just walk the show and come back later but he just dug in and stood in front of me looking like my dog when he needs to go out.
Problem was that this was an important phone call and could not wait -- I needed puppy dog to wait! Apparently, he became frustrated waiting and took off and never came back, which is fine, he normally does not spend much money and just wants to trade. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I do not like to trade. I am pretty sure it was puppy dog who contacted me prior to the show with a list of 1980 Topps baseball cards he needed. I found a few and was just going to give them to him at no charge but he never came back. Should I hold the cards and bring them out to Rockford on February 11? I don't see why he could not just chill out for a while.
Then there are the talkers who have all sorts of stories they like to tell. They come to the shows just to tell their stories and not to purchase any cards. Usually, the stories told are similar ones I have heard before from many, many guys. To a man, the guys who come to shows just to talk and never purchase any cards have the WORST and most BORING stories. They also lack any semblance of story-telling skills.
As a card dealer, you are kind of trapped behind your table, cannot get away and are stuck listening to tales of guys purchasing cases of 1989 Topps back in 1989, only to find out in 2023 that those cases they saved will not provide that big payday they were banking on and are in reality, worthless. How many times do I have to hear this same story?!! I hear it over and over and over and over and.......
There are some dealers that are very skilled at getting these guys to move on, not me, I just get trapped. I don't have the heart to tell them to bug off. I can tell that some of these guys really need someone to talk to, so I listen.
There were quite a few story tellers at this show. I wonder if it was the snow that brought them out. Weird things happen in a snow storm.
Incessant talkers aside, I was very busy. I sold a nice amount of cards and was very pleased.
On the buying front, a few items were offered. An older gentleman was shopping a 1963 Fleer near complete set minus the Mays. He wanted $2K. I politely declined then went on eBay and saw that the last sale of a 1963 Fleer complete set with the Mays occurred on January 18 for a price of $250. Where did this guy come up with $2K?
Then a younger guy who I met in the fall at the Rock Church show brought me a box of late 1970's football. The cards were beat. I did not even ask for a price because I have soooo much of this stuff. There was a stack of 1973 Topps in there. I must have 10,000 of them at home. I do not need any more There was also a stack of 1978 Topps football. I have three or four complete sets at home along with 5-10,000 more singles. I told the seller I need 1960's and older, I'm overrun with 1970's football, which is the truth. I did not get offered any other cards and made no purchases which is rare at the Rockford show. I usually go home with something.
Overall, a really good day. Unlike the serial talkers, I always have good conversations with fellow dealers Tom, Nelson and Gary. I always enjoy chatting with promoters John and Mike, who do an excellent job. They also operate shows in Janesville and Loves Park. The union hall show is scheduled through April, then starts back in November. I should be at most of them. The next one is coming up quick on February 11. I know a bunch of you wiseacres are going to start telling me about your warehouses of 1989 Topps. Looking forward to it!
So, the weather forecasts were actually correct. It ended up snowing all day, doubling my drive time home. I almost crashed a couple of times thanks to some idiot truck drivers. The new car did well in the snow, however.
Let's talk snow, 1989 Topps, or whatever next Saturday, February 4, 2023, at the Salvation Army Community Center, 8853 S. Howell, in lovely Oak Creek, Wisconsin. I know it is early, but the weather forecast is clear for Saturday. I've got 180 tables once again. A bunch of new dealers and all of your favorite regular dealers.
I still have a waiting list and ask that waiting list dealers be patient. I will get you into the show eventually. No need to contact me EVERY day!
I think I am going to bring out display cases to Oak Creek because I have not done a display case set up in Oak Creek since forever.
Dealers, set up time is 8 a.m. Please pay me in advance for your tables via PayPal at email@example.com. This should be another great Oak Creek show. Let's be vigilant and keep an eye out for thieves! We need to get these suckers!
Have a great week everybody!!
Below are a couple more photos from Saturday's Rockford show.
Come see Nelson Saturday in Oak Creek!