I have driven through Holland in the past but never stopped -- big mistake, what a neat town! There are old Victorian homes and buildings, a quaint Downtown and some of the nicest people around. I had a really pleasant day. There was a farmers market outside of the Holland Civic Center but I did not get a chance to check it out. Next time I will have someone watch my tables so I can wander the farmers market for a spell.
The Holland Civic Center is a time capsule. It is an old, large gymnasium with a big stage and balcony seating. I observed that the floor had many layers of wax or whatever that stuff is that they put on the wood in gymnasium floors. The wax was layered so deep that there were divots in it. An old man tripped on one of the divots in front of my table and fell to the ground. He caught himself and did not fall too hard. He popped up pretty quick for an old guy. I think he was more embarrassed than physically hurt.
This was a pretty large room and there were a TON of dealers. The vintage selection was outstanding. I saw everything from T and E pre-War cards, to Salada Coins, Exhibits, Post, to mega-amounts of post-War. There was some modern cards and wax but that stuff was in the minority here. There was also a large amount of jerseys, autographs, pennants and other sports-related memorabilia. The dealers were very friendly. It seemed like everybody in the room knew each other and were close friends. They all made me feel at home as well, especially the promoters Mike and Bill -- super nice guys! The highlight of the show for me was the concession stand. Mike's sister-in-law had her own mini restaurant with doughnuts, homemade brownies, pig in the blanket, hot dogs, Polish, chili, sloppy Joe, pulled pork, coffee and assorted drinks. I stuffed my face all day!!!
The only bummer was the "Debbie Downer" set up next to me who did nothing but complain all day. I think someone needs to go back to dealer school and learn how to put on a happy face. Luckily, the guy on the other side of me was enjoying himself like me and we got along great.
On the sales front, I only had one six foot table to display my wares which is trouble because I have inventory for five eight-foot tables. So it was difficult to pare it down. I was able to put out four display cases. I brought out my regular dime box along with a 1970's football dime box, my box of skeds, my hockey binders and a few autograph binders. I sold a 1953 Topps Bob Feller, a 1960 Topps Early Wynn, a 1951 Bowman Football Doak Walker, a bunch of cards out of the hockey binders and my entire dime box. I was pleased.
My pal Mark Smith was there and he had the best set up in the room with his own booth by the front door. Mark can't make the next Holland show, so I'm taking his booth on January 31. The show only runs twice a year -- once in December and a second time on the Saturday before the Super Bowl. I will have two six footers, an eight, with room for two card tables for that Super Bowl show. Needless to say, I will have a much better display for that show.
Apparently, this was the first show in a while that did not occur during a snow storm. So I am a little worried about the Super Bowl show. I may head up there early if snow is in the forecast.
Mike told me that nearby Hope College used to play their basketball games in the Civic Center before the college constructed its own stadium on campus. The gym is now used for high school games. Mike said the town may tear it down which would be a travesty because there was so much character and charm in that place.
After the show, Mark and I and a local dealer Bill were going to go get steaks but Mark had car trouble. Maybe next time. Mark, if you are reading this, I hope you made it home and are still not stuck at the Crazy Horse Saloon in Holland!
Tomorrow I'm setting up at the Best Western Plus is Schaumburg. Quite a few guys have sent me emails stating they will be at the show. Can't wait! See you guys tomorrow!! Below are some more photos from the Holland show.