I'd even say collectors today are much more informed than those from days gone by because multiple guide books are available now along with multiple web sites featuring prices like vintage card pricer or eBay. Yet, I still regularly get folks that come to shows with the same idea about prices I had back when I was a skinny, pimple-faced teenager. They want to sell me creased up cards for high book price. So, I regularly explain that the price of a card is not only based on the player, but also scarcity and most importantly -- condition. Some guys will argue and refuse to let go of the idea that their creased up card isn't worth the price of gold while others will comprehend what I'm saying and sell me their cards at a reasonable price.
Today, I had a guy come in with a pile of cards to sell, each was a star like Mantle, Ted Williams, Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron. I'm pretty sure this guy looked up the value of these cards in the price guide or got some ideas from eBay. Trouble was, almost all the cards were dinged up, creased or trimmed. He thought he had about $5,000 worth of cards. I looked at the group, noted the condition, and figured the value at $1,200 to $1,500. He came down to $3,000. I explained that value is based on condition and that I only buy cards for resale and can't buy cards for more than I can sell them for. He understood, though I don't think he was very happy, but I purchased the cards for $1,000. Once I got the cards home, I noticed they were in worse shape than I originally thought. There is a 1955 Bowman Hank Aaron that high books at $250 but I observed that the card is trimmed, so the value is only about $30. There are a couple more that looked trimmed. Many are creased. Others are terribly off-center, miscut or diamond cut. Back in the old days, I wouldn't knock off much for a card that was offcenter, miscut or diamond cut, as long as the corners and edges were sharp and there were no creases or other flaws. Though, with the emergence of "professional" grading companies like PSA, who knock down the grade for cards that aren't cut and centered perfectly, I've started to knock down my prices as well. Actually, I've been forced to do so because customers now-a-days won't pay much for cards that are off-center, miscut or diamond cut. Seems like most everyone wants their cards perfectly centered.
Getting back to my purchase, there was a '56 Topps Mantle in the group that was real nice. So even though many of the cards were worse off than I had originally thought, I still think the group is worth between $1,200 to $1,500. As a result, I won't get rich off the cards but I should make several hundred dollars and I'm happy. I hope the seller is happy as well.
I was in a good mood Sunday, because I made my purchase early in the day and I love buying cards. I'd rather buy cards than sell them. Selling can be a grind. Buying is fun. I also love seeing old-time sports heroes. Early on, former Packer from the Lombardi years, Jerry Kramer walked into the room. He was there to sign autographs at 20 bucks a pop -- a reasonable price for a local legend.
The show opens at 9 a.m. but I didn't finish setting up until 10 a.m. Keith gave me an extra table because my usual neighbor Ken couldn't make it to the show. I noticed that quite a few regular dealers didn't set up today. I knew that a few guys were down in Orland Park for the Civic Center show but nobody seemed to know where the other dealers were today. There were even some empty tables in the room which is really unusual for this show where there is often a waiting list for tables. Along with dealer attendance, customer attendance was down. It seemed like we had half of our usual crowd. I'm assuming we lost people to the absolutely beautiful weather in addition to the Brewer game which was a sell-out, according to Bob Uecker on the Brewer's radio network. As a result, my sales were down. Yet, that doesn't mean I didn't have a good time.
It was great to see my friend Mark for the first time in months. Mark works for the Miller Brewing Co. and has had to work seven-days a week for quite a while. In protest, I'm going to stop drinking Miller Beer until they start giving Mark more time off. Well, if I wasn't a diabetic and actually drank beer, I would stop drinking Miller Beer in a one-person protest. Anyway, Mark picked up some 1960 and 1961 Topps football along with some 1962 Topps football today. My next two customers purchased some 1965 Topps baseball commons. Jason picked up my 1941 Double Play Ted Williams. It was tough to let that one go because it is a COOL card!! A father and son team picked up some 1967 Topps baseball. Jeff bought a large pile of cards including 1956 and 1957 Topps baseball, along with a 1969 Topps Jim Palmer. I sold my 1955 Topps All-American Sid Luckman to another customer. A new customer purchased some 1973-74 Topps basketball cards along with some 1969 Topps football. A dealer came by and bought some 1965 commons.
A regular customer purchased a 1956 Topps football card. Patrick bought a bunch of 1971 Topps star cards including a Dave Concepcion rookie, Steve Carlton and Reggie Jackson. A regular customer bought some 1955 Topps baseball. A new customer bought a 1954 Bowman Bob Lemon and some 1955 Bowman commons. A father and son team bought my 1958 Topps Al Kaline and 1962 Topps Hank Aaron along with an assortment of commons. A new customer purchased my 1958 Tony Kubek rookie. And a regular customer capped off my day by purchasing some 1961 Topps Greats of the Game. I know there were a few more purchases but I had some busy spells and wasn't able to write them all down.
I was out the door today by 2 p.m. I usually don't leave the room until 3 p.m. Most guys today were gone by noon. I think the auction ended at 11 a.m. when it normally goes until 1 p.m. A very unusual day at Gonzaga.
I'm taking next week off. I'll probably take a few other weekends off this summer for family time. I'll be back at it the following Saturday at Orland and Sunday at Indian Lakes Resort in Bloomingdale. I've started to reload my 1957 Topps baseball binder and may get '58s done as well before Orland. I've been buying a ton of cards as of late and should have a nice big pile of star cards new for my display cases at Orland. A big thank you goes out to everyone at Gonzaga today. I really appreciate everyone who took time out of their day to visit the show and purchase or sell some cards to me. I had a real nice day and am looking forward to my upcoming double-bill weekend. See you then!!