The crowd was slow to arrive today and was decidedly smaller than yesterday but more folks than Friday. A new customer got things going for me today by purchasing a nice pile of 1965 Topps baseball. It was great to see Dave today, who purchased some 1963 Fleer baseball, a 1959 Topps Corsair Trio with Roberto Clemente and a graded T206 common.
The Chicago Blackhawks were well represented all weekend, especially today when a few Hawks were signing autos. Tons of Hawks gear throughout the room.
I met the nephew of Dave Koslo, a major league pitcher from 1941 to 1955. A Wisconsin native, Koslo pitched for the New York Giants, Baltimore Orioles and Milwaukee Braves. Koslo was a teammate of Willie Mays during the early years of the career of the "Say Hey Kid." Koslo's nephew said his uncle regularly brought his family to games and events. The nephew said his mother got to have dinner with Mays on many occasions. According to the nephew, Mays was a shy kid in 1952 when he was teammates with Koslo. Neat stuff!
I enjoyed talking with Koslo's nephew. Afterwards, Gary purchased some cards from my 50-cent and dollar box. A new customer purchased some 1958 Topps baseball. Jason purchased a T206 Mordecai Brown and some 1952 Bowman baseball. A new customer purchased some 1972 Topps football. Then I watched a guy go through my binders for about a half hour or so. He pulled out a smattering of cards from my 1970 Topps football binder. I started to suspect some trouble when I saw his hands go in and out of a bag. He walked away without buying any cards. I suspect he stole about $5 worth of cards. I didn't chase him down figuring he needed the cards more than I did. The Stephens Center is a magnet for thieves and scumbags. Luckily, none of my binders walked off this weekend. I was tempted to leave the binders at home but they're such an important source of revenue that I gotta bring them. I'm still on the fence as to whether or not to bring the binders out to the National this summer.
I was more in disbelief than angry when I saw that thief. My mood changed quickly when I saw my friend Joel, who purchased some 1952 Bowman White Sox. For every scumbag there are 25 great customers like Joel. I wasn't going to let the loss of five bucks get me down. A new customer helped my mood when he purchased some 1976 Topps baseball. Chuck, another great customer, purchased some 1960 Fleer football. A new customer purchased some 1970 Topps baseball. Another new customer found some cards in my dollar box.
Then things slowed up and I took a walk around. I noticed the overall number of dealers was down significantly from past Sun-Times shows. Whole rows were gone. I didn't see the guys from New York who sell jerseys and T-shirts. I wonder where they were this weekend? I walked by 707 with their amazing selection of extremely high priced T206s. Though, it was a ghost town over there. Do they ever sell anything? I mean they have the best inventory in the world, hands down. I love looking at their cards. But prices are high and there is something very Adams Family about them. 707 is kind of a mystery.
I saw Mark Smith, he seemed to be doing a brisk business. The guys from Arizona, who have the non-sports cards, were noticeably absent. All the major auction houses were accounted for as well as the grading companies and Beckett. I picked up some supplies from a dealer I have never seen before. There was a guy from Tennessee with new boxes of cards at extremely reasonable prices. I was tempted to buy a box of Heritage. I saw Eddie in his usual spot selling supplies. His lovely wife was absent. Leroy was helping Eddie this weekend and he looked tired. Leroy said he would much rather be buying cards than selling behind a table. I saw Mr. Mint walking around. He stopped to chat with Dave a few times. I saw the two guys from Wisconsin whose tables I took over at Gonzaga. I had thought they sold out but I guess they're still dabbling. I chatted with Bill Nest for a short while. I saw a bunch of the other regular Chicago dealers like Dell and Jeff. I didn't really see anything to purchase. As a rule, cards are priced high at this show.
Back at my tables, I made some more sales. A new customer purchased some 1959 Topps White Sox. There were more Cubs and Sox collectors this weekend than I have ever seen before at this show. I used to bring out a box of Cubs and Sox cards but it never got much action here. Next time, the Cubs/Sox box is back. A new customer finished off my weekend with a purchase of some 1972 Topps baseball.
On the buying front, I picked up a nice grouping of cards from the 1950s. Overall, sales were down so I didn't do a whole lot of buying. I am disappointed with my sales. Friday was horrible. Saturday and Sunday were okay. It's just that, at a show like this, where thousands walk through the door over three days and some of the biggest dealers are here along with some of the most popular athletes of today and yesterday signing autographs, I think my sales should be above average, not below. I told Dave and Bob that I'm not doing the show in November. But the more I think about it, I did have a really good time. The Sun-Times show is the largest show in the Midwest other than the National. I got to talk with a whole lot of new customers and I always enjoy hanging out with my tablemates Dave and Bob. There is a buzz in the room. It really is a fun time. So, I just may set up again in November.
Dave and Bob, unlike me, had excellent shows. They have figured this place out. I'm a little slow and am lagging behind. If I come back in November, I've got to try some new things to increase sales. I think one of the things I should do is skip some of the regular shows I attend prior to the Sun-Times so I can spend more time updating my binders. I brought out a couple of complete sets this time around but they didn't sell. I also brought out more graded cards than usual and they didn't sell much. I even brought out some autographs -- nothing sold. Oh well, C'est la vie.
But I can't really complain (HaHa) because cards are just fun and I'm hopelessly addicted. I'm looking forward to getting back to my regular stomping grounds. Come see me this weekend at Orland Park on Saturday (April 13) and Gonzaga on Sunday (April 14). A huge thank you to everyone who stopped, chatted and bought some cards at the Sun-Times Show. Adios!!