I first attended this show in 2015 and had no intention of waiting four years before returning but somehow did not make it back until now. I tried to get a table in 2016 but was told the show was sold out when I called the promoter, who was actually kind of rude about it which really turned me off, so I did not put much effort into reserving a table.
My pal Dave McDonald, pictured above left, has been talking about the Moeller show for a while now and I told him that I would accompany him if he reserved some tables. Dave and I partner up regularly for the bigger shows. He had some customers from Cincinnati at the National and Strongsville shows who recommended Moeller. As fate would have it, Dave's Cincinnati customers did not show up at this year's Moeller Thanksgiving show. He was disappointed.
I should have read my 2015 Moeller blog before attending the show. I brought out five display cases and three binders this time around. I wanted to bring out all of my binders but most of them are in desperate need of a reload. I just read my 2015 Moeller blog where I mentioned that this is a dime-box sort of show. Man, I wish I would have brought out my dime and quarter boxes because it is still a dime and quarter box show!
Anyway, I rented a car the day before Thanksgiving. I drove my own car in 2015 but I am now trying to save on wear and tear and have been renting cars the last few years.
I made it to Dave's house around 11 a.m. I felt terribly guilty ditching my family for Thanksgiving. I received quite a bit of grief from the wife as well. About noon, Dave and I made it to Crown Point, Indiana, on I65 and stopped off at a Bob Evans for some grub. I am usually a big fan of Bob Evans but was disappointed this time around. I guess they stopped giving free banana bread. They also had an abbreviated menu for Thanksgiving. Dave and I both wanted breakfast but there were very few breakfast options on the abbreviated menu. Dave was especially disappointed that they would not serve him pancakes. I was especially disappointed when I received sausage patties when I specifically ordered sausage links. I hate sausage patties but love the links. I thought I would give the patties a try instead of returning them. Big mistake! They were gross. Overcooked, dry, with a hint of cardboard. All in all, it was a lousy meal and our prospects for a better meal were bleak.
We made it to Moeller around 8 p.m., Ohio time. A handful of dealers were in the room setting up. Our tables were located in the middle of the room. I was greeted by Brandon, who was wearing a Pittsburg Penguins jersey. He was set up with a bunch of guys at the end of the aisle. I recognized his tablemates from Strongsville.
I spotted trouble right away on the table next to mine. Dealer Curt, who is originally from Minnesota and now lives in North Carolina, had a big ole bin of dollar cards, pictured below. The bin flared out and invaded the air space above my table. I knew I would have trouble opening my display case during the show, which I did. Curt was nice enough to move the bin initially but it seemed to have legs and kept creeping back over my display case.
I also knew that Curt's customers would place their cards, bags, and lists on top of my display case, which they did all three days. To his credit, Curt was vigilant about informing his customers to keep their stuff off my display case. Even though his dollar bin caused me grief all weekend, I really enjoyed being next to Curt, who turned out to be a very nice guy and an incredibly knowledgeable dealer. He bought a card from me and I bought a pile of cards from his pesky dollar box. A 1956 Topps Minnie Minoso first caught my eye in Curt's dollar box. When I finally fished it out, I observed that some trouble-making child had drawn glasses, a moustache and beard onto poor Minnie's face.
Dave and I finished setting up around 9 p.m. and went to the Red Roof Inn to check in. I have stayed in many Red Roof Inns over the years and found this one particularly dumpy. Though, the bed was very comfortable. After dropping off our suitcases, Dave and I set out to find some food. We found nothing, nada, zilch. Being Thanksgiving, everything was closed except a few taverns. I did not want to drink beer for dinner. We ended up finding an open gas station and purchased a pile of Slim Jims and pre-made boxed sandwiches. Yum... not! I had a stomach ache all night and did not sleep very well.
We woke up around 9 a.m. and I jumped in the shower which had a trickle of water pressure. Most of the water hugged the wall and ended up on the floor. It was a difficult shower, to say the least.
Across from the hotel sat another Bob Evans and we decided to give it a go, hoping the Cincinnati Bob Evans would be better than the one in Crown Point. It was, thankfully. I ordered sausage links and received sausage links, which were delicious. Dave got his pancakes and was very happy. Though, no free banana bread.
The show opened at 10 a.m., we arrived at 10:05 a.m. and missed out on free tickets to the concession stand that the promoter had passed out to the dealers earlier. I was not all that concerned because the price of food was about one tenth of what they charge at the Stephen's Center in Rosemont, Illinois. I think it cost only $3.50 for two hot dogs, chips and a pop at the Moeller concession stand.
As soon as we uncovered our tables, we were mobbed. There was a huge crowd. I was selling cards like they were going out of style. It was awesome! Set up next to Dave was JD, who has double the amount of binders that I have. JD has an impressive set up. He was also mobbed and so was Curt. I was thinking this was the greatest show on Earth and wondering why I waited so long to return.
I was pretty tired when the show ended at 8 p.m. It was a long busy day but I was flush with cash and looking forward to dinner with Mark, Craig and Greg. You would be hard pressed to find a better group of guys.
Greg is the man with the plan and is in charge of finding our dining spots. After some research on Yelp, he came up with Flipdaddy's. Upon hearing the name, Dave figured out that it was a burger place. I had no clue. To me, the name Flipdaddy's can mean just about anything.
We arrived the same time as Craig and were greeted by Phil, an autograph collector who is originally from Detroit but now lives in St. Louis. I observed that Phil was drinking a pint of what appeared to be a stout. I then observed an ocean of tap handles and was impressed and eager to try some local brews. I may have mentioned this in the past, but there was a time when I earned my living by writing about beer and bars. I still enjoy trying new beers and bars, though am thankful that I no longer am required to go to six or more bars a day, as was required for my old job as a "Barfly."
Mark and Greg soon followed and we were seated by John, our excellent waiter. I ordered a Storm Golden Cream Ale, brewed by the Braxton Brewing Company of Covington, Kentucky. I received a pint of a gold brew with a slight head. I actually like to see some foam at the top of my glass. I have learned over the years that a foamy pour results in a greater expression of flavor. This beer, however, did not need a foamy pour, it was delicious. Smooth as silk with a sugary aftertaste. I could have drank those all night but I saw that Mark and Greg ordered the Yuengling Hershey's Chocolate Porter, which is what Phil was drinking when I walked in. The Chocolate Porter came in a brandy sifter and looked so cool that I had to try one of those. Wow! What an amazing beer!! I was expecting a heavy sludge stout type brew but received the smoothest beer I ever tasted. Did I mention that I used to write about beer for a living? I have tasted many, many beers over the years and have never enjoyed a beer quite this smooth. Then there was the chocolate flavor. Oh my. Prior to my first sip, I assumed that the "chocolate" in the name of the brew referred to the color of the beer and was surprised to learn through my tastebuds that the beer had an actual chocolate flavor. In fact, the Chocolate Porter does not taste like a beer at all. Greg was spot on when he said that all that was missing was a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Wow, what a drink!!
So Yuengling is a brewery located in Pennsylvania. Illinois readers, correct me if I am wrong, but I do not believe Yuengling is available in the Land of Lincoln. I have never had a Yuengling before. On their website, they boast that they are the oldest brewery in the country. Having researched the history of beer for past articles, I know they are making quite a claim because brewing beer was one of the earliest and most successful businesses in the U.S.
The Chocolate Porter represents a first-time collaboration between Yuengling and fellow Pennsylvania company Hershey's and is only available for a limited time. Greg brought his growler to take some home. I was doubly impressed that Greg has a growler and was savvy enough to bring it to get some of that Chocolate Porter for home. Now a growler was something that was popularized in Victorian times and was used by beer drinkers to bring home beer from breweries and bars. After disappearing during Prohibition, the use of growlers has become popular again with the explosion of craft breweries. I have one buried somewhere in my kitchen. I don't use it as often as I should.
Growlers aside, I quickly learned that Flipdaddy's, which has four locations (two in Ohio and two in Kentucky), is a serious beer palace. I then learned that Flipdaddy's is a phenomenal burger restaurant. They have about 30 different burgers to choose from. With names like "Bean Me Up Scotty" and "Jive Turkey," it was hard to choose which one to order. I ended up going with the Oktoberfest which consisted of a thick pile of flavorful meat covered in Cheddar, grilled onions, sauerkraut, Guinness, pickles, bacon Dijon mayo and served on a pretzel bun. Oh my! Oh freakin' my!!! This may have been the best burger I have ever eaten and I have eaten many a burger in my 52 years. All those flavors made the perfect combination. I practically licked the plate clean.
With good company there is always good conversation. We continued our discussion from the April Strongsville show about Jim Rivera and Ed Bouchee. While out for dinner in Strongsville, Dave had spun some disturbing tales about these two former ball players that were sexually deviant in nature which jokingly brought some questions to Dave's character. The guys started right in on Dave with some good nature ribbing.
After a long but successful day at the show and a very fun dinner, we made it back to the Red Roof around 10 p.m. We watched some TV and passed out. We were up again on Saturday morning around 9 a.m. This time around the water pressure in the shower was much better, thankfully. Once again, we hit Bob Evans and arrived at the show around 10 a.m. After uncovering our display cases, we sat, and sat, and sat, and sat, then sat some more, then sat, and sat, and sat, again we sat. While there was a decent crowd in the room, hardly anybody visited our tables. Our neighbors Curt and JD seemed busy but Dave and I couldn't give a card away. Wow! What a contrast a day makes!!
On Friday I was thinking this is the greatest card show on Earth. On Saturday I was thinking this was the worst card show on Earth. With no customers to assist, I wandered the room. There was a tremendous selection of vintage cards. Vintage outnumbered modern two to one. As I noted in my 2015 blog, it seemed the dealers with the dime boxes had the most crowds. Why didn't I read that blog before the show and bring my cheapy boxes!!!
I was also amazed by the number of dealers that had inventories solely dedicated to the Cincinnati Reds. Luckily, I had reworked my Reds binder from 2015 and my few sales of the day came out of that binder. I was surprised to see that most of these Reds dealers had very high prices. I have been getting into old programs and scorecards lately and have really upped my collection. I was hoping to add an old Reds scorecard/program from the 1940's or older to my collection but could not find one for under $50 which is much higher than I normally pay for old scorecards. Then there was one dealer with some Reds Goudy team sets with a value, in my estimation of $200, selling them for $800, crazy.
Needless to say, it was tough to buy cards at this show. I had much better luck buying back in 2015. I did end up buying some autographs from Craig and some hockey cards from Greg. Thanks guys for the nice deals! I only had one guy come up to my table and offer me cards. When I saw a fake 1940 Play Ball Joe Jackson and a fake Ted Williams, I stopped looking.
So Saturday was flat out depressing. I had one of my worst days ever at a three-day show. It was shocking after having such a nice day on Friday. The highlight of the day occurred mid-morning when one of the few guys to approach our table seemed fixated on Dave's display cases. With a look of extreme seriousness, he asked Dave if he had any Jim Rivera cards. Dave began to speak and looked over at me. The guy then asked Dave if he had Ed Bouchee. We all started cracking up. I looked across the room and saw Mark flush with laughter. So we weren't selling any cards, at least we had a good time.
The show ended at 5 p.m. on Saturday and we scheduled another night of dinner with the boys. This time we went to the Montgomery Inn. I had eaten there with Craig and his son Brian back in 2015. Dave was very excited to go there. His friend Sandy had told him about it and he had Montgomery Inn on the brain for days.
We were told that the wait for seating was an hour and a half. I initially wanted to go somewhere else but the place smelled so good, I was glued to the floor. We actually waited about 45 minutes before being seated. On Mark's recommendation, I went with the grilled pork chops, which were delicious. It was another great night.
Sunday morning was a carbon copy of Friday and Saturday. Decent shower pressure. Bob Evans. Arrival at the show around 10 a.m. You could hear pin drops at 11 a.m. I actually had a few more sales than Saturday but nothing to write home about. One of the highlights of the day was seeing Terry, who I had met at the Sharonville show in 2014 and saw him again at Moeller in 2015. Terry bought some cards then gave me some money for dinner! Thanks Terry! I wish you lived in Chicago or Milwaukee!!
Dave and I spent much of the day Sunday slowly packing up and were out the door and on the road home by 2 p.m. We arrived at Dave's house around 7 p.m. Chicago time. Dave drove the whole way and we didn't stop once!
My overall sales were down from 2015. I would like to do this show again but it may be another four years.
Coming up next is my show at the Salvation Army Community Center, 8853 S. Howell, in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, on Saturday December 7, 2019, from 9 .m. to 3 p.m. I have Packer Hall-of-Famer Dave Robinson signing autographs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. I have 33 dealers and 64 tables. I bought some wax at Moeller to give out at the show. Oddly, there was only one wax dealer at Moeller. I have never been to a show that large with just one wax dealer. I have three wax dealers scheduled for my show on Saturday. I hope to see a large crowd. This should be an excellent show!! See you Saturday!!