So, as most of you know, I work as an attorney in real life while selling sports cards is my hobby. When I moved my law firm into a new office in September, I had in mind that I would use part of the office as a show room for sports cards. Around the same time, I put the word out to see if there was any interest in coming to my office to purchase cards. The response was poor so I shelved the idea for a few months until the Schaumburg, Illinois, show was cancelled, leaving me with just my Salvation Army show as my only outlet to sell cards.
Well, actually, the Sal show has not been much of an outlet for me as I have given up my tables because I am overrun with dealers. Tables for the January 2nd show were pretty much sold out after the December show. I still had a waiting list of dealers left over from December and am now up to 30 or so guys that I have no room for at the show. It is crazy! So, I will bring some stuff Saturday in case there is a no-show but most likely won't be able to set up.
Essentially, I have no place to set up my wares -- not even at my own show! So back to the show-room idea. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to turn my office into a pop-up vintage sports card shop for one day on December 27th. I posted my plan here and on Facebook. I spent weeks organizing the office and stuffing files away in a closet. My office desks became tables for cards.
I brought in eight card tables from home that I have left over from my flea market days. Then I went out and purchased three 6-footers.
My office consists of two rooms with the front room slightly larger than the back. I had 11 tables in the front room and five tables in the back room. I placed publications and cheapy boxes on my co-workers desk. I brought out some complete sets including 1969 Topps Football, 1975-76 Topps Basketball, and baseball sets from 1975, 1977, 1978 and a dozen or so boxes of lots from various years and sports, and placed all that stuff next to the cheapy boxes.
I then brought in 15 display cases, three of which are new. So this was the first time I have ever put out 15 display cases. I then proceeded to fill the cases, worried that I would not be able to fill them all. Well, I have purchased a ton of new inventory in 2020 and have priced much of it. Needless to say, I worried for naught because I could have filled up another three or four cases of stuff.
I had a case and a half of graded cards. It has probably been a year or so since I last brought out graded. I think it was at Orland and I sold most of it. However, I have since restocked and had a whole bunch of good stuff. In the other half of the graded case, I placed basketball and hockey cards.
I filled two cases with pre-war then 10 cases with post-war baseball, lots of stars, high numbers and some odd-ball stuff. I was only able to do one case with football, mostly 1948 Bowmans. I have a ton of other football that I just was not able to get out. I also was not able to put out my Exhibits which I have a ton of right now as well. I have a ton of everything right now! My inventory is the strongest it has ever been!! So now I realize I need to purchase more display cases!!
In the back room, I placed out all my binders. The entire room was filled with binders. It was quite a sight to see. In fact, the whole deal was quite a site to see. I did not realize that I have so much stuff! Maybe I need to stop buying cards... not!!
I spent all day Saturday setting this crazy thing up. My pal Willie came by for an early-bird perusal. It was nice to have the company and great to see Willie who I have not seen since March. Thanks for the purchases Willie!
The office looked pretty cool once I finished setting every thing up. I was like a little kid and could not sleep Saturday night. I arrived at my office around 7 a.m. Doors opened at 9 a.m. I worked on drawing up some signs for the parking lot. My office is in a weird spot at the end of the building and can be tough to find.
I had some time to kill so I went to Mickey D's and Walgreens. I cleaned the bathroom and thought about taking a nap but there was no place to lie down. After some caffeine, I worked on cleaning the glass on my display cases. I started to get nervous that no one would show up because there are usually a lot of early arrivals at a card show but not at my pop-up shop. I decided to take video of the cards in the display cases. I got through five or six cases when I heard the door and shut off the camera phone. It was my brother, who volunteered to help out and display some stuff on a table. I had no idea what he was bringing out. The last time we set up together was in 1989 and he was hawking Jerome Walton rookies. I was surprised to see a bunch of graded T206s and T205s. He also had four or five graded Johnny Unitas cards along with six or so Christian McCaffery rookies.
It was about 8:45 a.m. when my brother began to set up. At about 9 a.m., customers began to trickle in. Thankfully, everybody was good about wearing their masks. Big Tim was the first to arrive and he purchased a whole bunch of stuff, including my 1969 Topps football set. Thanks Tim!
Bill showed up bearing gifts, including three boxes of publications and a box of 1973 Topps baseball high numbers which were exchanged in a cash and trade deal. Thanks Bill. Then Bill's buddy Phil showed up and just about cleaned me out of Mantles. Thanks Phil!
Ricky, who I know from Orland, came by and purchased a bunch of T206s and T205s. Thanks Rickey! My main man Angel came by and purchased a stack of 1958 Topps baseball. New customer Ed, who said he lives down the street, purchased a whole bunch of stuff, including several Sandy Koufax cards and a 1950 Bowman George Connor football card. Donny came by and purchased publication. Thanks Don!
I have known the rest of the guys, who attended the pop-up shop, for years but I am so bad with names. You guys gotta come back and let me know your names and I will do my best to finally memorize them. The name disease has been a life-long affliction.
Anyway, these guys purchased a ton of stuff, quite a bit of cards out of the cheapy boxes, binders and display cases. Once again, I just about sold out of my graded cards. Man, what a great day! Actually, one of my best days ever selling cards!! I can't thank you guys enough!!
My final customer left around 1:30 p.m. My brother raced out and grabbed us some Taco Bell. I spent a few hours putting all the cards away. I was dead tired when I got home. I have a lot of work to do now pricing more cards and getting ready for my next pop-up shop on Sunday, January 17, 2021, at my office, 201 E. Dundee Road, Suite 2, Palatine, IL.
The next one should be easier to do because I left all the tables and most of my display cases at the office. I am going to change some things up so I can have a large number of new items out. I have a ton of cards to price for the display cases. I probably won't bring out any graded cards this time. Instead, I would like to get out all of my football cards but will need some additional display cases. I probably won't bring out the publications, cheapy boxes and sets. I am going to bring out some new binders that I have been working on that include vintage post cards, wrappers, autographs, and team-issued photos.
On Monday morning, after my pop-up shop, I met a long-time collector at my office who is selling out. I spent several thousand dollars with him and picked up some great stuff for the next pop-up shop like 1952 Topps high numbers, some 1948 Leafs, 1955 Bowman baseball, 1952 Bowman Large Football and some 1955 Topps All-Americans. I should also have several of my regular binders reloaded by Jan. 17. Hopefully the weather cooperates and the next pop-up shop is as successful as the first one.
In the meantime, my Salvation Army Show, 8853 S. Howell, in Oak Creek, WI, is coming up this Saturday, January 2, 2021, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Once again, I will have 40 dealers on 65 sold-out tables. I am overwhelmed with calls for tables. Sorry guys, I just don't have any more space.
Hope everyone had a great Hanukkah and Christmas. Have a healthy and safe New Year and see you January 2nd at the Salvation Army and January 17 at my pop-up shop!!
Pictured above and below are a sampling of some of the cards I had for sale at the pop-up shop.