It's been 11 years years now since I fell into this routine of weekend card shows. Prior to 2001, I would set up occasionally. Though there was a period in the early 1990s when I was setting up most weekends. Since I attended my first card show in 1979, I've lost track of the total number of shows I've been to -- I'm guessing 800 or so shows in all. I can honestly say that each and every show is completely different. I can NEVER predict how a show will go. I've learned to NEVER go into a show with high expectations because it eases the pain when the show doesn't go so well. And it is painful when a show doesn't go well because I spend a TON of time prepping for each show. It is a good 5- to 6-hour job reloading one of my binders. I have to dig out all the cards which are scattered amongst a hundred or so boxes. I have to put the cards in numerical order, usually a thousand cards or so. Then I have to grade and price each card -- all before I load the card into the binder. I'm also multi-tasking while reloading the binder by taking excess cards and dropping them into either my dime box, quarter binder, 50-cent box or dollar box. It is quite an operation.
Today started out looking bad. Early on I wasn't sure if I'd make table fee. The room was almost completely empty when I arrived around 8 a.m. The tables slowly started to fill up with dealers but more than a few remained empty throughout the day.
Jim seemed to have a nice crowd early on but the rest of the room was filled with air. So I was thinking, holy crap, this is going to be a loooong day. A small number of guys visited my table early on. By 11 a.m. things started to pick up. I don't think there were a whole lot of people in the room but I started making sales, good sales. It started to feel like a Homer Simpson cartoon dream sequence where he opens a can of Duff Beer and rainbows and unicorns pop up overhead. I had a crowd and sales were coming left and right. Those sales make all that work prior to the show worth it. I also really appreciate everyone who takes the time and effort to dig through the endless binders of cards on my tables -- you guys made my day!! Thank you!!
A regular customer got things going early on with a purchase of a 1955 Topps Stan Hack. Another regular pulled a pile of 1961s. My guy who collects Mets, pulled a few from my 1965 binder, which I reloaded new for the show today. A long-time customer purchased my 1952 Bowman small George Halas. He's been asking me for 1964 Topps coins for a while now and I keep forgetting to bring them. I'll definitely have them for next show. Rick, another long-time customer, just got back into town from Phoenix. Unfortunately, it wasn't pleasure trip, Rick's sister passed on. My thoughts and prayers are with Rick and his family. Rick never fails to buy some cards from me. Today he picked up some 1965 and 1959 Topps baseball along with some 1965 Philadelphia football.
Another regular pulled out a nice pile of 1973-74 Topps basketball. Chris pulled a large stack of 1965 Philadelphia football along with some 1965 Topps baseball. A new customer purchased my 1934-36 Diamond Stars Kiki Cuyler and my 1933 Goudey Babe Herman. A regular customer purchased my 1954 Topps Ted Williams card #1. Topps put two Ted Williams cards in that 1954 set, the first and last cards in the set. Another regular customer purchased my 1970 Topps Tom Seaver. Joel picked up my 1953 Bowman Nellie Fox, 1960 Topps Early Wynn and 1965 Topps Hoyt Wilhelm.
Earl picked up some 1971 Topps commons and an Al Kaline along with a 1973 Topps Roberto Clemente. One of my regular autograph hounds picked up some 1963s. Chuck found some 1974s. A regular customer purchased my 1975 Topps Jim Rice rookie and my 1977 Topps Bruce Sutter rookie. Aaron found some 1965 Topps. I know there were some other purchases but when I got busy, I forgot to write them all down. Will rounded out my day with a nice purchase of some 1957s and 1964s. Will also went out around noon and picked me up a Whopper from Burger King, which was much appreciated.
I wasn't really looking to buy today because my inventory is pretty solid right now. So I turned a few guys down. Jim was persistent and found some 1968 Topps football that I needed along with some interesting oddball cards like 1950 Parkhurst minor league baseball cards. I've never seen these before. They look like 1948 Bowmans.
There is one guy who brought cards to my table today that I have to mention. He had some decent looking cards like a 1964 Topps Willie Mays, a 1965 Topps Ernie Banks, a 1956 Topps Nellie Fox, a 1958 Topps Nellie Fox and a few others. When I asked him for a price he wanted a hundred dollars for just the Mays and the Banks. Will was sitting at my table and watching. It wasn't long ago when Will was telling me he found a '64 Mays on eBay for just $15. The guy at my table wants $50 for his. I've also never seen that Banks priced over $25 and the guy wants $50 for that one. The thing Will enjoyed the most was when the guy told me the cards were rare. I kindly declined to purchase the cards and didn't ask for a price on the others.
I find it amazing how many guys, who don't know a thing about the hobby, regularly come into shows and attempt to sell cards for far more money than they're worth. I tried to tell the guy that I don't pay a lot of money for cards because I have to make a profit on each card when I resell them. He said he was going to bring the Banks card down to Wrigley Field and sell it there. Good luck, my friend. I have a feeling you'll be back at the show when you learn that you can't get anything close to $50 for the card ANYWHERE. Sometimes I think major news stories, like the one recently where a guy found some rare and valuable cards in his grandfather's attic, do more harm than good. These types of stories lead the uninformed to believe that ALL baseball cards are rare and valuable. The reality of the situation is very few baseball cards are rare and valuable. The cards this guy showed me today were certainly NOT rare and valuable. I'd only pay about $30 for the Mays and Banks in the hopes of making an extra $10 bucks or so once I sold them. So if I bought them at his price of $100, I'd be out $60. I wouldn't be in business very long if I followed this model. I see this sort of thing over and over. I think I just may put together a little pamphlet for these types of guys explaining the basics of buying and selling vintage baseball cards.
Anyway, I had a solid show today and a really good time. But my work is not done. Tomorrow, I'm up at the crack of dawn again and off to Gonzaga Hall in Milwaukee. It's no secret that I LOVE the Gonzaga show. I had an outstanding show last month at Gonzaga. I don't think I'll hit those numbers tomorrow but I'm hopeful I'll have the same type of show I had today in Orland. The Packers don't play until after 4 p.m. so hopefully we'll get a decent turn out. Though with it being the first Sunday of the NFL season, I'm sure quite a few guys will be watching football all day. I know I would if I wasn't doing the show. I LOVE football and am looking forward to the season. It was nice to see the Giants go down on Wednesday night. I've got to attend a birthday party tomorrow after the show so I'm not sure I'll be able to take in a game. Hopefully I can watch the late game tomorrow night. First things first, some sleep, then Gonzaga. Rock on!!