When I arrived at the hotel around 7:30 a.m., I knew something was up because the parking lot around back near the Rembrandt Room was filled up. That parking lot is never filled up this early. I observed that the main ballroom had a dozen or so electronic dartboards set up, so I figured there was some sort of dart tournament going on there. By 8 a.m. there were folks in the parking lot doing jello shots. By noon the hotel was filled with hundreds of highly inebriated 20-somethings. I was a little uncomfortable. The worst part was the hordes of drunks hanging out just beyond the hotel doors to the parking lot, chain smoking and engaging in loud demonstrative drunken banter. Customers to my card show had to weave their way through this mayhem to get into the hotel and into our show. Our attendance for the show was quite good and no one complained, thankfully.
The crowd for the dart tourney was more like one for a rock concert. Yet, as drunk and stupid as they were, they did not bother any card show customers. I have had too many experiences in my younger days being in drunken environments where knuckleheads just wanted to fight once the drink strained their brains. No issues here but I am sure there were multitudes of hangovers Sunday morning.
Like I said, attendance to the show was good, once again. I had two dealers that were no shows. One was Mike J., who I cut some slack because I know he was up late running his tavern. He did eventually arrive to the show, paid for his table, and showed me some cool 1953 Topps he picked up earlier in the week. The other guy was not heard from. These guys missed out because collectors were spending money. I had an excellent show. Brent, a new customer, purchased a large amount of 1959 Topps baseball. Brent brought his two teenage sons, pictured below, who were interested in cards and sports and very engaging.
Mark was the first customer in the room and purchased some 1965 Topps and Philadelphia football out of my newly reloaded binders. Thanks Mark! Our pal Jim arrived a short time later and found a few 1955 Topps. Thanks Jim. Many regulars were in attendance. I am so bad at names, I wish I could remember everyone's name. I sold quite a lot of football cards. One customer purchased all of my Bart Starr cards. Quite a few guys purchased piles of stuff out of my binders. A customer purchased my 1948 Bowman Pete Reiser.
I nice contingency from Illinois attended the show, including some new faces. One customer, who I met years ago at the Sun Times show, spent the weekend in Milwaukee attending my show on Saturday and a toy show at Serb Hall on Sunday. I really appreciate all the guys who make the long drive from Illinois or from Northern and Western parts of Wisconsin to attend my show at the Clarion.
Once again, the other dealers in the room reported good sales. Jerry said he sold quite a few T206s.
On the buying front, I had another excellent day. I purchased a binder of about 300 late 1950s and early 1960s baseball cards that included a '54 Bowman Rizzuto, a '58 Mays, '58 Kaline, three '59 Sniders, two '59 Nellie Foxes, '62 Tresh and McCarver rookies, among lesser stars like Wilhelm, Lemon and Richardson. Some of the cards are pictured below. I also purchased several thousand cards from the late 1970s through early 1980s. This last group, I really didn't want to buy because I already had a large inventory of this stuff but the seller has been regularly bringing me much better items and he threw in a nice stack of 1965 Topps baseball. So, if anyone is looking for an 1982 or 1983 Topps set, let me know!
I ended up taking Wisconsin Route 31 south all the way to Illinois in the quest for cheap gas. I paid 1.79 a gallon for gas somewhere along the way home. The price of gas near my house in Illinois was up to 1.99 a gallon. I stopped at Luke's Hot Dogs on Waukegan Road and picked up dinner for the family. I am a big fan of the Luke's chain of fastfood restaurants in the Chicago area.
After a nice night with the family, I was up bright and early Sunday morning for the Madison show. I initially set my alarm for 5 a.m. When the alarm went off, I remembered the Madison show did not start until 10 a.m., so I set the alarm for 6 a.m. and enjoyed an extra hour of sleep. Madison is about a two-hour drive from my house. I arrived around 8:45 a.m. There was an unusual amount of knuckleheads on the road at this early hour on a Sunday, tailgating my vehicle, making the drive most unpleasant. Though, all was right with the world once I was set up and open for business at the card show.
There was another nice crowd, pictured below, at the Madison Clarion, as is usual for this show. There were a couple of empty tables where I was able to spread out, which is always nice. I probably had more items out than I ever had before in Madison. Many customers took notice.
I also ended up buying some cards in Madison. I purchased a large pile of 1976-77 Topps basketball. I lot of folks seem to dislike the postcard-size cards. I remember buying them as a kid when they first came out in 1976-77 and always liked them. The Artis Gilmore is a particular favorite of mine. I remember it like it was yesterday when Gilmore was dunking over opponents for my Chicago Bulls. Gilmore is the best scoring center around the basket I have ever seen. Overall, Kareem is the best scoring center I ever saw. That hook shot was indefensible and deadly. Gilmore, on the other hand, was a certain dunk or layup anytime he had the ball in the paint. He made defenders look silly. Hakeem Olajuwon is another great one, I remember appreciating. I am not all that impressed with any centers in today's game.
Anyway, I had a much more pleasant drive home. I stopped off at Fuddruckers in Janesville. Oddly, the doors were locked around 4 p.m. A young family approached the same time as I did, they would not be denied. The father called the restaurant and asked why the doors were locked. The person on the other end of the phone replied that they were short staffed. What? I have never heard of a restaurant closing because they were shortstaffed. I bussed at a steak house when I was in high school. We were always shortstaffed, it was just a fact of life and you dealt with it. The man was able to get someone to open the doors for us. I saw plenty of employees. These folks have a far different definition of staffing than I do. Anyway, my 1/2 pound burger with grilled onions and mushrooms was quite good.
Up next, is the March Gonzaga show this Sunday, March 13, 2016. Paul Hornung is scheduled to sign autographs. At the moment, I am not planning to set up anywhere on Saturday, but am on the fence. I may end up somewhere on Saturday. I am currently working on reloading 1976 Topps baseball. I also have a tremendous amount of goodies up on eBay. I am going to really hustle these next few days to finish that '76 binder and work on some other stuff for the show on Sunday. Hope to see you this Sunday at Gonzaga!!