I slept horribly Friday night as I generally have a tough time sleeping anywhere but my own bed. I knew I was in for a long day. I struggled to get ready and out the door. I arrived at the show around 8 a.m. and immediately hit the cafeteria for some coffee. I was in there every half hour all day long for some caffein.
Set up Saturday was a little more difficult than I anticipated. Yesterday, I had stacked my display cases. As I struggled to unstack them and rearrange them, of course, folks hovered over me. Some were practically on top of my cases so I could not unstack them. Come on now! You can see that I am trying to get ready, give me some space!
Speaking of space, there was a couple selling wax behind me and they took up way more than their fair share of the space. They even pinched more space on Saturday than Friday. I moved their shite back, so I had enough space to walk behind my display cases and keep a couple of chairs. They did not say anything. I was ready to go off if they did. If I set up at this show again, I am going to request that I am not behind them. Plus, while they were setting up on Friday, they bickered and bickered. It was really unpleasant. Less bickering on Saturday but I did not appreciate all the space they pinched.
After set up, I went over to the cafeteria for some bacon, sausage and more coffee. While I was munching on my breakfast, Johnny arrived and we exchanged pleasantries. Johnny told me I have too much inventory.
So I was expecting a big day Saturday after an excellent day on Friday. Unfortunately, that big day never came and I was bored, bored, bored. I did have some sales but the dollar amounts were noticeably lower than Friday.
I observed that the bulk of the crowd seemed to be in the other room and it took a while for them to get to the back room where I was located.
First sale of the day was to an older collector wearing a University of Tennessee shirt. He purchased my 1978 Topps Tony Dorsett Rookie and my 1966 Philadelphia Bob Hayes rookie. My next customer stopped by a couple of times before he purchased my 1972 Topps Nolan Ryan. I think with so many vintage dealers that a lot of customers scoped all of us out and noted pricing before making a purchase. A lot of customers at the National do this as well.
The guy who beat me up yesterday on my Bradshaw and Green rookies came back and again wanted a discount on my discount cards. Ugh! An older collector purchased my 1965 Topps RBI Leaders with Mantle. That was about it for the morning. If my booth was not located across from the cafeteria, I would have been depressed.
The entre for today was herb encrusted chicken. I got sides of carrots and corn. At first the nice lady gave me a very small piece of chicken. She then went in the back kitchen to talk to the chef who came out and gave me a second piece of chicken. He explained that the price of chicken has gone up and he spent a small fortune stocking up for today. I thanked him and went back to my booth and dined on two of the tastiest pieces of chicken I have ever encountered.
After lunch, my first customer was wearing a T-Shirt stating: You're Killing Me Smalls. He purchased my 1951 Bowman Carl Erskine rookie. Smalls told me that his father's name is Erskine Carl. Yes, you read that correctly -- Erskine Carl. So Smalls now collects Carl Erskine cards as a tribute to his father. He also purchased my 1962 Topps Eddie Mathews, I am pretty sure he has a cousin named Mathews Eddie.
The crowd in the back room picked up but they were mostly window shoppers. I started to get deja vu. This show felt like the last time I set up at the Moeller show in Cincinnati where I had a great Friday and terrible Saturday and Sunday. Though, Moeller was easier to deal with because I knew more people there and had pleasant conversations all three days. In Nashville, unlike Moeller, I hardly knew anybody and just sat there and stared at the ceiling for hours and hours. I was so bored!
I locked my cases and set out to explore the show. Most of the empty tables from Friday were filled Saturday. A huge variety of stuff. Dealer-wise, this was an excellent show and rivals any I have ever attended. Customer-wise, not so much.
I found one booth in the main room that was confusing. The dealer had some really nice vintage. However, the centerpiece of his display was an obvious fake 1934 Goudey Luke Appling. I held my tongue because in the past dealers have gotten real angry when I inform them they are selling fake cards. I did not understand why this guy was selling an obvious fake as real.
I then ran into the nice young guy, whose name I always forget, and who sets up regularly with Nelson Rodriguez. He showed me Nelson's table that was being watched by Nelson's wife. Nelson was off shopping. I never did see him. We talked in Oak Creek a week later and he said he had a horrible show in Nashville. I can understand. If I did not have such a good day on Friday, I would be in trouble.
I also ran into Jason Galleske, sports card dealer extraordinaire from Wisconsin. Jason travels more than any other dealer I know. It is always nice to run into Jason.
Back at my booth, I was bored, bored, bored! A guy checked out my 1954 Red Heart Warren Spahn in the morning. He came back late in the afternoon to make the purchase. A lot of the folks that stopped by my table asked me how the show was going. I honestly replied that Friday was great, Saturday has been slow. To a man, they all said it was slow for me because I was located in the back room. I did not want to argue but I disagreed. I never feel like location at a show has anything to do with my sales. Seemed to me that all of the vintage collectors came on Friday and there were very few at the show on Saturday. I talked to vintage dealers in both rooms and everyone was having a bad day on Saturday.
Though, I did watch Johnny sell a huge stack of "sets" from the 1970's. It was kind of funny to watch. The buyer initially spent a few hours at Johnny's tables pulling cards from his boxes. Apparently Johnny had two numbers on his top loaders. One on the front and one on the back. The number on the back was the actual price. The number on the front was meaningless. My guess is that Johnny was reusing these top loaders and did not bother to scratch out the old price.
When the buyer finally checked with Johnny and learned that the front number was not the actual price, the buyer handed Johnny back a huge stack of cards that he had pulled. Johnny mumbled to himself as he put back all the cards.
So I had a lot of time on my hands. I contemplated the meaning of life but seemed to mostly spend my time having an inner discussion on whether I should go home or stay for Sunday. In the end, I decided Sunday would be a wash and I packed up and moved out.
The show officially closed at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Around 3 p.m. I started to empty my display cases. I emptied two at a time and brought the cases out to my car. When I got to the final two cases and was ready to empty them and get the heck out of Dodge, a guy wanted to look at every single card in both cases. Ugh!
I was tired and wanted to go back to the hotel and sleep! He did end up purchasing my 1934 Diamond Star Heinie Mansush. I was finally on the road back to the hotel around 5 p.m.
I dropped off my cards in the room and set out to find some food. I found a Chinese restaurant and purchased a dinner special of beef and broccoli, with fried rice and egg roll. Very tasty. This time I had no problem sleeping and passed out hard.
I slept until 9 a.m. Sunday and was out the door by 10 a.m. The hotel breakfast was a joke and I did not bother. I was surprised at the heavy traffic on I65. I almost got run over a few times by some jerk offs.
I had some trouble finding a place for breakfast. I pulled off the highway a few times and either could not find a breakfast spot or the restaurants were too crowded. I realized that my only choice was Waffle House but each one I found was crazy crowded. I eventually settled on Arby's. Man, I used to love Arby's but I now realize I cannot eat there anymore. I had the runs real bad after that sandwich and had to pull over a bunch of times. I think I left my soul at a rest stop in Kentucky.
Needless to say, the drive home sucked with an upset stomach and rain the whole way home. I finally made it home around 8 p.m.
Now that I have had time to think about it, I probably would have stayed for Sunday if I had set up with a friend. It just sucked sitting there all day Saturday by myself staring at the ceiling. I also would give this show another try. I am not sure what I could do to increase sales but I think I would like to make a vacation of it next time and take a few extra days to explore Tennessee.
Overall, it was kind of fun to do something different. This was my first time setting up in the south and I would like to do it again. Who wants to join me?
Now for a handful of photos. First one is of the main room on Saturday. Much more activity than the back room but I don't think sales were any better. Saturday was for window shoppers.