The March Sun-Times show is especially troublesome for me because March is an extremely busy month at the real job. Luckily, the boss gave me Friday off of work. The Friday show officially opens to VIPs at 3:30 p.m. and to the general public at 4 p.m. I got there around 10:30 a.m. When I got to my spot, my usual Sun-Times Show partners, Dave McDonald and Bob Downing, were already set up. Dave even had dealers going through his stuff and was making sales.
The three of us have a terrific set up. We have three spots. Dave is a stickler in that he has to have one table along the aisle. At the end of Dave's table, I go back with my tables about 10 feet. Then we have a back row where I got one card table this time around and Bob took the rest of the space. Then along the far end of the back row, Bob sets up tables heading back to the aisle. I then put five card tables in the middle of our space. I realized I needed one more table and ran out to Target to pick another one up. Once I finally set everything up, about four hours later, I had to go move my car out of the building. I don't quite understand why the folks that run this show, Mounted Memories, don't allow dealers to keep their cars in the building. There is plenty of room for all the dealers. Bob thought that maybe the Village of Rosemont doesn't allow the cars in the building to force everyone to park across the street and pay the $13 parking lot fee. I always park down River Road at the CTA station where parking is $5 a day. It's about a six-block walk to the CTA station but I don't mind.
Dave sells high-grade vintage and absolutely kills it at this show. He was mobbed from the minute I got there until we left for the night around 9 p.m. Bob has an eclectic mix of vintage cards and memorabilia. He had five or six display cases filled with ticket stubs, schedules, odd-ball items and Chicago-themed cards. He fills up his side tables with a terrific assortment of old programs and magazines. At the end of the side tables he had gumball-machine size mini-football helmets. He always sells a great deal of these mini-helmets. i didn't have enough space to put out all my display cases. I got them all out except one. I brought out my graded cards for this show. The graded rarely sells at the small shows so I don't normally bring them out. I was also able to get all my binders out on the six card tables in the middle. We had a really nice set up and I was hoping for a decent weekend.
Dave made us some salami sandwiches. I was much appreciative because I was starving by the time I returned from the CTA lot. Bob brought his brother Bill along. I met Bill once before but this was the first chance I had to sit and talk with him. What a neat guy! He recently retired from the U.S. Post Office and is selling cards for Bob on eBay along with old vinyl record albums. My cousin Mark is big into collectible record albums. Bill knows my cousin. They see each other regularly at estate sales. Bill explained the finer points of buying and selling records. It was interesting. Bill is also the former owner of a baseball academy which I thought was really cool. I enjoyed talking with Bill all weekend.
Once the doors opened, the crowd was light. Probably one of the smallest crowds I've ever seen on a Friday night at this show. I did see a few people I know walking around like PJ, Don, Terry, Junior and Harry. Card sales, however, were at disaster levels. I drop a pretty penny to rent the space and I need to make a certain amount on Friday to have any chance at a profitable show. On this Friday, I wasn't even close. I had a whole bunch of 50-cent and dollar sales that didn't add up to much.
A dealer bough some hockey cards. A new customer purchased a 1968 Topps Tommy John. Another new customer bought some football cards from the 1970s. A new customer bought a 1958 Topps Bill Mazeroski. Another new customer purchased some White Sox from the 1972 Topps set. A new customer purchased some 1961 Topps baseball. Harry purchased some 1963 Fleer baseball. Thanks Harry! Normally Harry spends a couple of days at the Sun-Times show but this time around he had to go to Germany for work. I'd love to go to Germany sometime. It's one of the few European countries that I haven't visited. A guy who spent most of the night buying cards from Dave, picked up some 1959 Topps baseball as I was shutting down. That was all she wrote for sales on Friday night. While I appreciated everyone who purchased cards, I probably could have made more money sitting outside with CTA station with a tin cup, asking for help to buy a sandwich.
I had one mope show up at my portion of the booth and ask if I would sell him cards at 7 percent of book. Now why in the world would I do that? I'm there to make money, not give it away. I'm happy to give a discount but to discount the cards so much to where I'm losing money is absolutely asinine.
On the buying front, I picked up some nice groupings of cards including some 1972 Topps football with a Staubach rookie, and about five different Dr. Js from the 1970s.
That was a long day! I was tired as hell when I left. When I got home, I was all wired and couldn't fall asleep. Ugh!
Below is a very short video from Friday night at the Sun-Times Show. I shot this video while sitting behind my table and it features the activity in my booth.