The clerk at the Super 9 was very chatty. He told me he once lived in Wheaton, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago. My room was nicer than expected though the bathroom was kind of crusty and had a large spider on the wall. I was a little concerned the spider would bite my behind while I went poo poo on the toilet. Thankfully, I have no insect bites to report.
I had a very difficult night of sleep because the Super 9 is located right on the highway. It felt like trucks were driving into my skull all night. I was pretty drowsy in the morning of Saturday, June 27, 2015. I found a Mickey D's and picked up two large cups of coffee and a sausage McMuffin. I drove about 25 minutes in the rain to the VFW Post in Jackson. I loaded my large array of quality merchandise into the hall. Luckily, my tables were located next to the ever-friendly Seth Murray. Set up across from us was the super-cool Brian Mayne, the promoter of the Fort Wayne show. I knew one more dealer -- Bill O'Connell, who I met at the Holland show last year.
Abel, the promoter of the Jackson show, said he placed a guy named Jason next to me because he is from Illinois and said he knows me. It took me a while to figure out just who this Jason was. I had an epiphany when an hour into the show Jason had not arrived. I remembered that I spoke to "Jason" in May. I believe he said his name was Mark Lasano. He called and requested a table at my Clarion show. I told him I was booked up. So he then called Mark Smith and asked him for a table. Mark also told him that we were booked up. When dealer Scotty cancelled because he had to work, I made the mistake of offering Scotty's tables to "Jason-Mark Lasano." Jason claimed he had all sorts of high-end cards like 1933 Goudey Ruths. I was like, yeah, whatever. I went John Leary, just thinking about the table fee we needed to pay for the room -- a big mistake. Mark sniffed this guy out right away and told me I should not have given him tables. Mark was absolutely correct because "Jason-Mark Lasano" and his 1933 Goudey Ruths never showed up. To make matters worse, I turned down other dealers because I thought we were sold out. It ended up being an extra $50 Mark and I had to shell out to pay for the room.
So, Jason-Mark Lasano has struck again and no-showed Abel's show in Jackson, Michigan. The moral here is that if you promote a baseball card show and some guy name Jason or Mark Lasano calls and tells you he has Babe Ruth cards and wants to reserve some tables -- get the table fee up front! This guy is a serial jerk off!!
Anyway, we had a nice crowd at the Jackson show, pictured below. Much better attendance than my June show at the Clarion. I have yet to set up at a Michigan show that was not well-attended -- the trouble is getting folks to spend some money at my tables. My first customer of the day purchased a 1976 Topps Football rookie card of Brad Van Pelt. This customer collects NFL players that attended Michigan State, such as Van Pelt. Quite a few folks in Michigan have Michigan State and University of Michigan collections.
Next up, an older customer purchased some 1959 Topps baseball cards. I remember this customer from my last visit to Jackson. He admired my 1968 Topps Johnny Unitas and assumed it was a reprint. The card is original. I do not sell reprints -- I hate them. My next customer was wearing a baseball all-star game T-shirt and purchased some 1953 Topps baseball cards. A customer wearing a Michigan State shirt purchased a pile of cards from my 25-cent box -- which received a lot of action.
A customer wearing a hat with a U.S. Marines logo purchased a 1978 Topps Eddie Murray rookie. An older customer pulled some stuff from my 50-cent box. Jackson's resident Bear fan purchased a 1954 Bowman George Connor. The customer said he became a fan of the Bears during the 1985 Super Bowl season and still follows them closely. He said he has a huge collection of Bears memorabilia.
My next customer requested I reduce the price of the cards in my 25-cent box to 10 cents a piece. I declined. He then proceeded to pull a large pile of cards from both the 25-cent and 50-cent boxes. Next up was a customer that collects Pittsburgh Steelers cards. I regularly meet guys that became Steelers fans during the "Steel Curtain" days of the 1970s. Back then, it seemed like the Steelers were always on TV either playing a game or in a commercial. You could not help but be a fan of those teams with all those great players and great characters. As a result, I sell quite a few Steelers cards from the 1970s wherever I go.
Former Tiger pitcher Dan Petry was signing autographs at the show. He seemed pretty busy all day, signing and posing for photos. My sales ended up being off. I have another Michigan show slated for September in a mall in Grand Rapids. Hopefully, I fare better at that one.
Back in Jackson, it rained all day long and I had to load in and out in the rain. While, I was packing up, the dealer across the way started going through my binders, saying he was looking for cards to sell on eBay. He pulled out a pile of cards and I gave him a price. He pulled a "Bob" and said he did not want them all. So I had to pull out my binders that I had already packed up and place the cards back in the binders. He proceeded to pull more cards from the binders I had not yet put away. When he finished, he had about $40 worth of cards. I offered him a nice deal on the cards. He pulled out a bill-fold and counted out $120. He said he needed the $120 for rent and stuffed the money into his pocket. He then pulled out six singles and said he needed the $6 for gas. He stuffed the six bucks into his pocket. He then showed me three fives and said that is all he had to spend and wanted my $40 worth of cards for $15. I was ready to punch him. I remember the last time I was in Jackson, when I asked him for a price on a card and he offered me a measly 10% discount. So when I want to buy his cards I only get a 10% discount but when he wants to buy my cards I must give him a 60% discount? I had a few choice words for this guy. What a #$%&*#$!!!! Needless to say, I will not be doing business with this tool again.
Another vintage dealer in the room pissed me off as well. I also tried to buy a card from this other dealer last time I was in Jackson. This guy would not discount his cards at all! He was set up with his brother. The brother came by my table a few times and looked at my 1959s. He stopped me when I was walking around and asked if I buy cards. I told him that I tried to buy from his table last time and his brother would not give me a discount. He started giving me some line on how dealers come to their house to buy cards. I flat out told him truthfully that I only buy cards for resale and I need to purchase them at a price where I can make a little profit on reselling them. A glazed look engulfed his face. He offered me cards from the 1960s at a price higher than I could sell them for. He then said he wanted my 1959s for $1 a piece. Well, I have quite a few $8 cards in my 1959 binder and I am not selling them to this joker for $1 a piece. Then he sent a buddy over who wanted my T206 Johnny Evers for 40% of my sticker price. I declined.
I was a little frustrated when I left the Jackson show. While I have met some really great people in Jackson, including the promoter who is a superstar, my sales are too low and I can't deal with some of the knuckleheads in the room to make it worth my while to attend this show. I will never say never, but right now, I do not plan to return to Jackson. I have found Michigan in general to be a tough place to sell cards.
A short while out of Jackson, the rain finally ceded. The drive home was far easier than the drive out. It was nice to spend Saturday night in my own bed with no truck noise. I was up early for the show at the Indian Lakes resort in Bloomingdale, Illinois, on Sunday, June 28, 2015.
After a disappointing day in Jackson, I had an extremely pleasant day in Bloomingdale. I tried a new set up to change my luck at this show. I only brought out one bin of binders when I normally bring out seven bins. I put out quite a few display cases along with some cheapy boxes and publications. The new set up worked! I had my best Bloomingdale show of the year!!
A new customer got things going by purchasing a 1970-71 Topps Bill Bradley. A long-time customer purchased my 1961 Milwaukee Braves program and my 1964 Chicago White Sox scorecard. A young couple purchased my 1962 Topps Ernie Banks and pulled some cards from my 50-cent box.
Randy purchased some 1960 Topps baseball cards. Another customer purchased some 1970's basketball cards. Mike also purchased some 1970's basketball cards. A young customer purchased some cards out of my Cubs/WhiteSox box. A new customer purchased a 1975 Topps Hank Aaron. Not a whole lot of sales in terms of volume but the dollars added up. I was really happy with the show.
I did not purchase anything at the Jackson show. I was able to pick up a nice grouping of 1969, 1971 and 1972 Topps football cards in Bloomingdale. Willie and I went over to Portillo's after the show to top off a perfect day.
So, I was supposed to set up on the following Sunday (July 5, 2015) at the Wilmot Flea Market. I am so sorry to anyone that showed up to meet me there. I was stuck in New Buffalo, Michigan. I went out to Michigan on Thursday, July 2, 2015, to help my dad with his annual garage sale. The plan was to head home on the 4th. Well, my pop is extremely difficult to deal with and I was stuck there until the 5th. You see, he has four garage-size storage lockers filled with junk. At age 78, he still collects junk and stuffs it into these lockers. Pop is a throw-back to old-time Chicago. While he was in high school in the 1950s, he was a regular Sunday vendor at the famed Maxwell Street Market. For the past 60-something years, he's never given up that Maxwell Street mindset. He does not care if he sells anything. He does not need the money. He just enjoys negotiating and bartering over junk with customers.
He somehow pulled out a ton of stuff from his storage lockers on Thursday and started his sale. My brother and I arrived in time to help him close up shop for the night. We put most of the stuff back into the lockers. The rest we covered with tarps. He got us up at the crack of dawn and Friday and Saturday. We pulled out a ton of stuff from the lockers but there was just too much of it. We allowed customers to rummage through the lockers and pull stuff out. Pictured below is a selfie taken inside one of the lockers.
I have been working feverishly this week to get cards priced for the Gonzaga show this weekend (Sunday, July 12, 2015). I have reloaded by 1960 and 1961 baseball binders along with 1973-74 Topps basketball. I have a nice stack of newly priced cards for my display cases. I am also working on pricing some publications. I should have a lot of new stuff ready to go on Sunday. Also, don't forget that my show at the Clarion in Milwaukee is the following Saturday, July 18, 2015. I have so much new material right now and will have a lot of new stuff ready and priced to go at the Clarion. I also am running an ad in the Milwaukee Journal for the Clarion show and am hoping for a real nice turn out. Hope to see you in Milwaukee!!!
Check out my eBay store HERE. I have some great items up right now like a 1971 Topps baseball complete set and 1974 Topps stamps and albums complete set -- a tough test issue to find.
Below are more photos from pop's sale.