I was like a kid on Christmas morning today. I popped right out of bed. No snooze needed. No coffee. I gathered all the binders I had reloaded and my newly reloaded cheapy boxes and began placing everything into the car. My early morning drive to Rosemont was quick and smooth. Our space this year is located on the northwest corner of the room. I pulled onto Bryn Mawr and parked and loaded through a side door which was right by my spot. This was the easiest load in I have ever had at a show held at the Stephens Center. Usually, I'm fighting through other dealers and convention center workers and stuck with a long walk to my spot.
Once I had everything in, I had to figure out how to set it up. As usual, I brought more than double the amount of inventory I actually needed. My main table in the aisle was a no brainer -- display cases. My tables going up the inside of the booth were another matter. I could have filled them with more display cases and that would have been a safer route to go because theft is rampant at this show. However, I decided to fill these tables with binders. New for this show, I brought out two binders filled with autographs. I also did not put out any binders that were heavily depleted of cards. So I ended up with baseball binders from 1952 through 1962. I put out my 1965 binder along with 1970 through 1976. I put out my 1952 Topps football binder and my other football binders from the 1970s. My 1960s football binders are in dire need of a reload, so those stayed in the bin. I also put out my basketball and hockey binders and the cheapy boxes.
To avoid another theft incident like the one in 2010, I taped all the binders to the table. The tape job was very time consuming. Overall, set up took a few hours. I was set up and ready to go around noon. I then had 3 1/2 hours to kill before the show opened to the public. I dined on some Italian sausage in the cafeteria adjoining the room then walked around and marveled at all the amazing memorabilia. I think the thing I like most about this show is the tremendous amount of professional sports artifacts. There are ancient jerseys, gloves, bats, hats, pieces of long-gone stadiums, old footballs, old basketballs, old advertisements, photos, old football gear, and more. This place is absolute heaven!
Back at the booth, it looked like my tablemates had some dealer sales. None for me. Dave did especially well selling all of his graded cards to a dealer out of Boston. Once the gates opened, traffic seemed a little lighter than at past Nationals. From 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. I only had three paying customers -- Larry, who I know from the Orland shows; Jason, who I know from the Milwaukee shows and new customer Javier, who flew in from San Francisco. Larry and I did a cash and trade deal where I picked up a 1961-62 Fleer Bill Russell and an Oscar Robertson. Jason pulled a large pile of '62s and Javier purchased some pre-War. These sales actually added up to a decent amount so I can't really complain. Though, tomorrow I'm hopeful I get more than three paying customers.
I didn't buy anything today even though I saw a ton of stuff I would like to buy. If sales are good, I might do some buying tomorrow. The day went quickly. I'm usually tired out after the first day but I feel pretty good and am looking forward to day two of Christmas, I mean the National, tomorrow. The photo above and the ones below are from the show today. More tomorrow. If you're coming out to the show, stop by and say hello.