Guided by my GPS, I made it to the show around 8:15 a.m. I love driving through St. Louis. It is a beautiful city with rolling hills, big old trees, neat Victorian buildings, and lots of open space. St. Louis is just a terrific place. The Two Hearts Banquet Center is a terrific place for a show, though a little difficult to load in and out.
The morning started out slow. I started to worry that I wasn't going to make table fee. Something I observed about the Two Hearts customers, which is unique to this show, is that they'll make two or three trips to my table before they make a purchase. So when guys came back for the third time, purchases started to come in. I sold a T206 Nap Lajoie PSA 2 to get things going. I sold another T206 common. One customer pulled quite a few '55 Bowmans from my binder. Another guy was collecting '54 Bowmans and found some. I sold some '57 Topps to another customer. A customer I remember from last month bought some '61s. Another customer I remember from last month, who sends out cards to get signed, bought a bunch of cards from the mid-60s. I had a father and son duo pick out quite a few cards from the '60s and 70s for their sets. Another customer from Michigan, who is in St. Louis for a few months for work, went through most every binder and pulled quite a few Detroit Tigers cards in addition to Jim Kaat cards. He was telling me that Kaat went to the same high school in Michigan where his son currently attends. Another customer found quite a few '70 Topps for his set.
One customer was eyeing a 1964 Topps RBI leader card in my '64 binder with Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda and Roberto Clemente pictured on it. He walked away, came back later to buy the card, but someone had already purchased it. Luckily I had another one, much nicer in my case which he picked up. My favorite customer of the day was the lady who bought my '56 Topps Ernie Banks PSA 6 for her husband as a Christmas gift. She made the purchase while her husband was in the washroom. She is going to surprise him with the card on Christmas. Like I told her, I wish my wife would buy me cards for Christmas. Another customer picked up my 1961 Golden Press Frankie Frisch PSA 8 which lead to a discussion with another customer about Golden Press cards. The customer was telling me how he had the Golden Press booklet as a child and has not seen one since. I sold quite a few 1967 Topps cards. One customer went through my '67 binder and pulled out all the Cardinals. Overall, a decent day but sales were down from last month. Two customers who spent a nice amount of money with me last month, were no shows this time around. I was surprised sales weren't stronger. I thought St. Louis collectors would be fired up to buy after the Cardinals amazing run through the World Series. There was definitely a lot more people in attendance than last month. I'd say about 250 people went through the room. There were more people at this show than I've seen at a small show in a long time. Though, quite a few people just walked by my table. I'm guessing they were modern card or autograph collectors.
The crowd was decked out in Cardinal wear. I was amazed at the variety of World Series garb. When the White Sox won the World Series in '05, I didn't see much of a variety of shirts and hats around Chicago. I must have seen a dozen or so different types of hats, shirts and jerseys. I thought the variety was pretty cool. One guy had a table selling solely World Series shirts. Though the shirt of the day for me, being from Chicago, was a Chicago Blitz T-shirt. I attended the very first Blitz USFL football game in 1983 at Soldier Field in Chicago. I was a fan of the Blitz and watched a lot of their games. I rarely see anyone wearing a T-shirt from the now defunct Blitz in Chicago these days and was surprised to see one in St. Louis.
While I'm discussing my observations about people at the show, I have to mention the banquet hall guys working the bar. What's with these guys? Fairly creepy and smoking cigarettes. I really didn't appreciate the cigarette smoke. I can recall the days when I used to suffer through cigarette smoke at card shows. There used to be quite a few dealers at some of the old hotel shows that chain smoked at their tables back when smoking was legal in public places. I hated it then and didn't like those creeps smoking away behind the bar on Sunday.
Though the vast majority of the dealers and customers at this show are kind and considerate and not creepy. Tony Schaefer was set up near me along with his friend, I think his name was Todd. Another friend of Tony's went out to Jimmy John's and got us sandwiches, which was much appreciated.
The buying front was a little soft when compared to the boon at Orland last weekend. One guy offered me a Cal Ripken rookie. I avoid all cards from the mass-produced 1980s, even Cal Ripken rookies, because they're a dime a dozen and worthless. A lady came to my table with a small pile of cards from the 70s and 80s. She told me that she pulled out the '74 Tony LaRussa card, thinking it had value. I sadly informed her that the LaRussa is only worth about one dollar. The vast majority of the cards she had were nickel and dime cards. I told her she should try eBay or get a table at the show herself. I wasn't going to make an offer on the cards because they had very little value and I think she thought she had some real money there. I picked up a smattering of 1960s Philadelphia Gum Company football cards from Tony Schaefer. Another dealer Phil sold me a '79 Walter Payton real cheap. There were a couple of other vintage dealers set up at the show but they didn't have anything I could use. This show has a ton of autograph dealers with reasonable prices. Though I didn't buy any autos because I don't know the dealers and there's so many fakes out there, I'm wary of being burned. If I ever get to know some of these guys and can trust them, I'll buy some autos.
I was out the door around 3 p.m. and got home around 9 p.m. I drank a few Mountain Dews and Dr. Peppers during the drive and had to stop quite a bit. I know quite a few dealers who regularly drive 300-plus miles to set up at shows. I've done it now three times in the past five weeks and I have to give those other dealers a lot of credit because I don't like sitting in my car for
10 or 11 hours in a weekend. I think I'm going to take a break from these road trips, it's too mind numbing. The group that puts on the Two Hearts show has a three-day show in February at another venue. I may do the three-day show. I'm not interested in driving in for the single day show for a while. It was really tough to get back in my car this morning to drive to work. I'm really sick of being in my car.
Luckily, next weekend is Gonzaga in Milwaukee which is only an hour away from home. Former Brewer Don Money will be at the show signing autographs. I love the Gonzaga show. It is consistently my best show on the sales front. I've got all sorts of cards I want to price and have ready for the show like '78-79 Topps Hockey, 1970 Topps football and 1968 Topps baseball. I've also been picking up quite a few star cards that I hope to have priced and in my display cases for the show. While the Two Hearts Show in St. Louis is an excellent show, and I will be back sometime next year, I'm looking forward to sticking closer to home for a while.
Below are some photos from central Illinois and the Two Hearts Show.