1. Where 7-Up was invented;
2. Where the ice-cream cone was invented;
3. Was the first American city to host the Olympics;
4. Once was the largest shoe manufacturing center in the world;
5. Iced tea was invented at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis;
6. The city was founded in 1764 by Auguste Couteau and Pierre Laclede;
7. The St. Louis Cardinals were founded in 1892 and originally called the Brown Stockings. They became the Cardinals in 1900;
8. At its peak, more than 800,000 people lived in St. Louis around 1950. The current population is closer to 400,000;
9. Famous Route 66 goes through St. Louis;
Famous People From St. Louis:
1. Cool Papa Bell
2. Chuck Berry
3. Daniel Boone
4. Miles Davis
5. Redd Foxx
6. Ken Holtzman
7. Elston Howard
8. Vincent Price
9. Leon Spinks
10. Earl Weaver
I drove down to St. Louis from Northern Illinois on Friday, April 1, 2016. Traffic on I55 was fairly heavy in the afternoon. It took me about six hours to get to the Motel 6 in Bridgeton, just outside of St. Louis.
I drove up the road and found the China House Restaurant for dinner. The food was excellent. I dined on Chicken with broccoli and pot stickers.
I had two 8-foot tables in one corner of the room. I brought along a little card table and was able to get out three display cases and most of my binders. Ray was my first customer of the day and purchased my 1951 Bowman Joe Garagiola. Man, I wish I had a million Garagiola cards. People asked for him all weekend long.
I was reacquainted with some customers from the Orlando Gardens show who stopped by my table with lists in hand. One customer purchased quite a few early 1980s hockey, late 1970s baseball and basketball. He also bought some football. The other customer purchased some 1955 Bowman baseball. I also sold some non-sports.
My pal Tony Schaefer stopped by and bought a bunch of stuff. Thank Tony! Tony was also kind enough to let me crash the night on the spare bed in his hotel room. He left Machinist Hall to meet a customer and we made plans to meet at the hotel later.
Having never set up at this show, pictured below, I was a little worried I would not make table fee but I ended up having a real nice day. Another customer bought some 1958 Topps football. I sold some 1957 Topps baseball and some 1965s. I brought out my 50-cent boxes which received some action. Quite a few guys dinked around my binders. The young guy set up next to me bought some cards. His father dropped him off early, helped him set up, then came back for him at the end. It reminded me of how I started when my dad would drop me off at the flea market in the late 1970s, help me set up then come back late in the afternoon.
Other than the braggart, I thought the room was filled with pretty good dealers. There was a tremendous vintage card inventory in that room. I was really impressed. There were a couple of strange set ups like the guy behind me who had autographed posters, photos, cards, and notecards of both vintage players and current. He had some graded cards laid out one table featuring both vintage and modern. He also had boxes of cards of both vintage and modern. Nothing was priced or in any type of logical order. I really didn't give this dealer much of a thought until a customer showed up at my table with a handful of 1939 Play Balls that he bought real cheap from this guy behind me.
I went over there and pulled a pile of cards including some 1960 Fleer, some strip cards from the 1920s and some 1958 Topps baseball. The guy gave me a real nice price. I also ended up purchasing some non-sports cards from a customer and ended up with a nice day on the buying front. I found myself really liking this show and hope to hit it again in the near future.
I was the only customer at about 4 p.m. on a Saturday. About half of the washing machines did not work and had become shelving for some healthy-looking potted plants. In fact, the room felt more like a greenhouse than a laundromat. My load of laundry cost $1.75. I didn't get the guy's name who was running the place. He looks like a Clem, so I'll call him that. Clem measured out some liquid detergent in a cup and charged me 50-cents.
As I was folding my clothes, a young couple came in with four large bags of dirty clothes. Clem advised that they put all their clothes in this large George Jetson machine, pictured below. They took his advice and in minutes that machine belched and wined like it was alive.
Tony and I arrived back at the Double Tree at the same time. We watched a biography of Mean Joe Greene and a little bit of the North Carolina-Syracuse game. When my alarm went off around 6 a.m. on Sunday, April 3, 2016, Tony was already gone. I took my sweet time, stopped off at Micky D's and arrived at Orlando Gardens around 8:15 a.m. There were more dealer tables at this show than I remember. I'm guessing more than 100 dealer tables jammed into the room.
Oh, it was a tight squeeze in the aisles and between the dealer behind me. I jammed most of my stuff on two 8-footers, also stuck my card table in there. There appeared to be a no-show next to me and I slowly took over one of the other tables.
With Lou Brock, Red Schoendeinst and Whitey Herzog signing autographs, the room was a mad house -- jam packed. Unfortunately, folks were not all that interested in my wares. It sort of had a Sun-Times show feel where the vast majority of folks just walked around and window shopped. Needless to say, sales were slow. I could sound off like the braggart from the Machinist Hall show and blame my slow sales on any number of things but I have been around long enough to know that when sales are slow and there is a large crowd, it is more of a reflection on me, the dealer, meaning I just don't have the right merchandise on my table. This show has a large number of "trinket" dealers which were not at the Machinist Hall show. Maybe I need to place Cardinals trinkets on my tables. I definitely think I need more Cardinals cards. I think I will start to pick up more Gibsons and Musials and see if that can help my sales next time around.
Mike also follows this blog, which is much appreciated. I have another blog follower in St. Louis that stopped by. I really appreciate all the kind words folks have about the blog. It is fun for me to do.
Other sales included a guy who purchased all the Cincinnati Reds from my 1972 Topps binder. I also sold a large number of 1967 Topps baseball to a customer wearing a St. Louis Blues cap. I sold a 1950 Bowman Frankie Frisch to an older gentleman who hales from Chicago and is an alum of Lane Tech High School, located just up Addison Street from Wrigley Field. A father and son team that I have known for a while purchased a 1934 Goudey common. Another customer I remember from previous visits purchased a 1962 Topps Tim McCarver.
I did see a few things to buy but held back because sales were slow. I am more apt to spend money when I am making money. One table I thought was pretty cool was the St. Louis Browns Historical Society and Fan Club. They had the Browns mascot at their table along with four different styles of Browns caps for sale. I really wanted a Browns cap. They were going for $30. Next time around.
Overall, I had a really fun weekend. The Machinist Hall show was much better than expected while the Orlando Gardens was off. I think I may head back to St. Louis for the Machinist Hall show on a Saturday then hit something else besides Orlando's on Sunday.
Next up is Gonzaga Hall on Sunday, April 10, 2016. I'm taking the day off Saturday. I'm just completed the relaod of my 1977 Topps baseball binder, which took forever. I am currently working on 1966 Philadelphia football. If there is time, I'll fill 1960 Fleer Great of the Game baseball or 1950 Bowman baseball, I'm not sure yet. I also plan on pricing cards for my display cases. Please send me want lists as soon as possible because it is hard for me to get to them on the day before the show.
Mark your calendars for my next show at the Clarion in Milwaukee on Saturday, April 16, 2016. Former Packer great Gilbert Brown is staying at the hotel Friday night and agreed to stop by Saturday morning to sign autographs. He can't stay long, so if you are interested in obtaining Gilbert's autograph, you need to be there at 9 a.m.
Just a quick shout out to one of my all-time favorite NBA basketball players Jerry Sloan. News is out that Mr. Sloan is battling Parkinson's. I would like to extend my best wishes to Coach Sloan and his family. I attended high school with his kids. He also was a regular visitor to my table at the old Twin Drive In Flea Market in Wheeling, Illinois, back in the late 1970s. I really enjoyed the Bulls teams from the 1970's. I was lucky enough to attend many games. The Bulls were pretty good in the 1970's. Sloan was also the Bulls coach during the 1981 season, in which I attended a few playoff games. Great memories.
Take care everybody and see you Sunday at Gonzaga Hall in Milwaukee!
Pictured below are some additional photos from Orlando's. The cool pre-War cards are from Tony Schaefer's table (Monster Cards). Click on any photo for an expanded view.