I arrived home yesterday from Fort Wayne around 6:30 p.m. I found some grub, stuffed my face then fell asleep till 9:30 p.m. I was then up till 2 a.m. Ugh!
My alarm went off Sunday morning at 4 a.m. I continually hit the snooze till 5 a.m. and peeled myself out of bed. By the time I had cleaned up it was 5:50 a.m. Pitch black out. I chugged down a Diet Coke and hit the road for Appleton.
The drive was not nearly as pleasant as my drive yesterday morning from New Buffalo to Fort Wayne. It is a much more urban scene driving from the Chicago suburbs up through Milwaukee then through many towns on I41 with their token Walmarts along the highway and into Appleton. I always marvel at the billboards on the highway in this part of Wisconsin, There is just no rhyme or reason to them! You will see a billboard with a bible verse next to a billboard for a sex shop. Then there are the anti-abortion billboards that depict fetuses set alongside billboards for strip clubs. Also, why are there so many strip clubs in this part of Wisconsin?
Anyway, I arrived at Fox Cities Stadium around 8:30 a.m. and was worried I was late. Though several dealers loaded into the building along with me. I also observed that most dealers were still setting up. I worried for nothing.
Inside, I was greeted by a tall skinny dude, who I assumed was one of the promoters. He let me pick out my spot. I decided on a spot across from the bar so I wouldn’t have to go very far for food and drink.
My two tables were divided by a steel post which made me feel like I was at old Comiskey Park.
There were three dealers behind me, one was a total doosh who took up more than his fair share of space. He had several TV trays filled with cards that he set up behind his tables. Then he stood behind the TV trays almost the whole show, making it difficult for me to access my display tables.
I think it is okay for dealers to place additional tables behind their regular tables when there is ample space. There was not ample space between me and the doosh. The room is small, tables were jammed in, dealers were back to back at this show with little breathing room. Only a supreme A-hole places TV trays in that limited space. I bumped into the doosh all day long and had to listen to him tell everyone that walked by — “I’m looking to move some cards today.” Really? No s&$# Sherlock, so is every other dealer in the room.
Thankfully set up next to the doosh was wax dealer Brian Christopherson, who I have known for years. Brian is such a good guy and I enjoyed chatting with him all day long. Next to Brian was a young couple selling modern. They were very nice and did not pinch any of the space like doosh boy.
Doosh boy aside, I was able to layout 10 display cases. It took me quite a while to fill up all the cases. Customers started to ask to see cards while I was setting up, which just drives me nuts. I wish there was some way I could set up in a bubble and not be disturbed until I complete set up.
The place was jam packed by the time I finished setting up around 9:30 a.m. Not many people at doosh’s table but Brian and the nice couple had a crowd. I obtained a cup of coffee from the bar and was ready for action.
There was a steady stream of customers at my tables all day long. Some kept coming back over and over. A young father started things off by purchasing my 1954 Topps Billy Martin and a few other cards. Then an older gentleman arrived carrying a tattered notebook. Aaahh, a set builder. My people! He purchased my 1964 Philadelphia Fran Tarkenton and Herb Adderly.
I was really impressed with the crowd. I never expected to see so many people on Super Bowl Sunday. Brian said this show is normally not so crowded.
I had a lot of tire kickers early on and broke away and ordered a hamburger from the bar. My food arrived quickly. As it always happens, I could not eat the burger as customer after customer wanted to see cards in my display cases. When I finally got to munch on it, I decided that it was good but needed some garnishments like onion and tomato.
Sales were steady and I was busy pulling cards. My memory is faulty when sleep deprived, so I am not exactly sure what I sold. I do remember this rather large man sporting a long goetee who purchased a bunch of Warren Spahn cards. I only remember him because he was accompanied by two extremely cute kids about 4 and 6 years old. I could not help but wonder how such an ugly guy has such cute kids. I’m bad, I know.
Then there were the three guys who kept coming back to my tables all day long. I think they may have been brothers all aged in their 60’s, I am pretty sure this was the first time they left their bomb shelter in decades. I’m bad, I know.
Did I say I was surprised at the size of the crowd? Man, this place was packed and busy all day long! Sales topped Fort Wayne. I think my success may have been due to the fact that I was the only vintage dealer. Promoter Scooter G had some neat vintage mixed in with modern at his tables but other than that, it was just me for vintage.
Usually when I am the lone vintage dealer, sales suffer because there are not many vintage collectors in attendance. Today, however, was pretty good. I’ll take it! Also, I would have been rich if I had some Bob Uecker cards. Everybody and their mother asked me for Bob Uecker… which got me thinking, I should have walked the room yesterday in Fort Wayne looking for Uecker cards to bring back to Wisconsin. Uecker cards are probably cheaper in a place like Fort Wayne where they could care less about the Brewers announcer.
On the buying front, I had an excellent day with a steady stream of folks offering cards to me all day long. With so many people trying to sell me cards, I found myself explaining over and over that I just purchase vintage cards. I don’t buy modern cards, I don’t care for them, I don’t want them. Nobody understands me! I am so lost! I gotta find a therapist that specializes in vintage card addicts.
I find it funny that even after I explain my dislike of modern cards, guys still show me their modern cards. Yes, your duel autograph is lovely but I never heard of the players and they certainly aren’t Mickey Mantle or Yogi Berra so I have no interest in them.
I had difficulty explaining to several older couples that their cards from the 1980’s are not vintage, have no value and I do not want them because I and just about everybody on the planet have thousands of them.. Often these people don’t believe me when I tell them that their 1989 Topps sets are worthless.
I always get excited when I first see these older people with a box of cards in tow. I automatically think they are bringing me their childhood collection from the 1950’s when more often than not it turns out to be a box of junk from the 1980’s. Yes, there is Cal Ripken in there but it is not his rookie and his 1988 Topps card is worth a quarter at best but I wouldn’t give you a penny for it because I have hundreds of them collecting dust in my basement that I cannot sell. Nobody, I mean absolutely nobody is looking to purchase a 1988 Topps Cal Ripken.
Thankfully, Mike arrived at my tables, breaking up the 1980’s conversations with his T206’s. He gave me a nice price as usual. Thanks Mike. There went all the cash from my morning sales.
Luckily sales continued and I quickly had more funds to buy cards. A kid, about 12, gave me a nice price on a 1961 Topps Billy Williams rookie. I then saw the legendary George Husby, who I met years ago at the old Gonzaga show in Milwaukee. George is one of the original members of the Wisconsin Sports Collectors Association and has been setting up at shows since the 1970’s. He lives near Appleton and said the WSCA’s new location in Racine is too far of a drive. What a shame. He always has good stuff and I used to enjoy buying cards from his table at Gonzaga. We exchanged contact info and I hope to keep in touch.
A buddy of George’s, who remembered me from the Gonzaga show, offered to sell me some slabbed PSA 7 Paul Hornungs including a 1961 Lake to Lake, a 1961 Fleer and a 1964 Philadelphia along with a raw 1962 Post. I really wanted that Lake to Lake and was happy we were able to work out a deal for all of the cards. Again, my pockets were devoid of cash.
While the crowd stayed strong into the afternoon, my sales slowed down considerably. As I was just starting to pack up, a guy on his 20’s approached with a Pokémon tin filled with baseball cards from the 1970’s and football from the 1960’s. He wanted to trade for some of my basketball but I explained that I do not trade. We were able to work out a deal where I purchased his 1966 Philadelphia Mike Ditka and his 1968 Topps Ditka. There went my remaining cash.
I was a little disappointed to leave the show with no cash for my efforts but was really happy with my purchases.
Late in the show I chatted with promoter Scooter G who explained it was difficult to pin down the venue for dates for shows. The next date he was able to secure is April 14. I told him to sign me up. I’m coming back, what an excellent show!!
in the meantime, I have another double bill weekend scheduled with Woodstock on February 17 and Orland on February 18. I am going to put the display cases away and bring out binders. I finally reloaded my 1969 Topps baseball binder and will be bringing out a near set for your perusal this weekend.
Next Oak Creek show is March 2. As usual, I have a steady stream of new vendors that want space. I am going to try and get as many of the new guys in as I can but I have limited space because most vendors return show after show. As Leroy told me years ago when I wanted to get tables at Gonzaga, “You’re going to have to wait until someone dies because I have no tables!”
Well, I don’t want any one to die but you get my drift. Have a great week everybody and see you this weekend!
A huge thank you to everybody who bought and sold me cards in Appleton. Even though I was tired, I had a really fun day!! Below are a couple more photos from Appleton.