What would have been a perfect Labor Day Saturday card show went sour after a series of thefts. At least five dealers were hit. The biggie was a 2017 Bowman Ronald Acuna Rookie, pictured below.
I am still looking to hire a security guard. I want an off-duty or retired police officer. I will be more aggressive and hope to hire someone by the October 2 show. I am also looking for some volunteers who would be willing to take 20-minute shifts to walk around the show and watch for thieves. Please contact me if you would be willing to give me 20 minutes of your time at the October 2nd show.
Most of the dealers victimized by the thefts were younger, newer, dealers that did not have their items protected under a locked display case. I cannot stress the importance of placing valuable card under a locked display case at each and every show. I would also recommend every dealer at every show to be on their toes because thieves are out there. I have observed an uptick in theft since the Pandemic hit as more folks than ever are getting involved in the hobby.
Many at the show said they believe the thieves are working in groups. I just do not know because we do not have a description. The only odd thing I observed was after hearing about the Acuna theft, I walked from the gym into the Fellowship Hall and observed a women, 30-ish, standing a bit back from the dealer tables with her head on a swivel. I mean her head shot toward me as I walked into the room. It was weird and uncomfortable. Maybe she was staring at me because I am so shockingly handsome but I doubt it.
We need a group effort to stop the thefts. We need everyone who attends the show to keep a look out. We have to catch these scumbags and see that they are taken out of the show in handcuffs and incarcerated.
I am just so disappointed in the thefts and don't even know how to express it. I do this for fun. It is never fun being a victim of theft. I know all too well. I don't know what else to say about the thefts other than it just plain sucks.
On a positive note, we had a really great group of dealers at the September show. A great variety of modern and vintage cards. All were professional. For once, I have no issues to report other than the normal no shows -- the guys that fail to show up after reserving a spot. I had two guys that did not show up and did not bother to contact me. I'm just banning guys who no-show me, that includes the guys that contact me less than 24-hours to show time when I can't replace them.
In the weeks leading up to the show, I got into it with a few dealers that had no-showed me in the past. I won't let them back in. I have a huge waiting list and am going to give those guys on the list a chance.
Unfortunately, it is always hit or miss with new dealers. I never know what I am going to get but just hope for the best. I had one new guy argue with me over the price of the table prior to the show. I told him not to show up and I gave his space to someone who was appreciative of the opportunity to set up at the show.
I thought we had a tremendous crowd at the September show considering it was Labor Day weekend and there was another show occurring at the same time in Rosemont, Illinois. I am not sure who operates that show any more. It used to be Fanatics. I don't think they still run it.
I was as a regular dealer at that show, originally founded by George Johnson and known as the Sun-Times show because George always had a big ad in the Chicago Sub-Times newspaper. These new promoters do a lousy job of advertising and attendance has suffered over the years. I stopped setting up after barely making table fee at one of the shows several years ago.
A few guys who attended both my show and that Rosemont show reported that I had more dealers and better attendance at the Sal than that Rosemont show.
Over at my tables in the Game Room at the Sal show, I observed much better attendance since we changed the entrance to the show from the gym to the main front doors. I know a handful of dealers in the gym were not happy with the change but I think it is only fair to the dealers in the other three rooms that the entrance be at the main front doors as customers in the past failed to visit the other three rooms. Each time I went into the gym there was a nice crowd Saturday. For once, none of the dealers in the other three rooms had a complaint! Honestly, I am so tired of complaints because I put a huge effort into operating this card show and each complaint shows that my efforts are not good enough or under-appreciated. It was so nice that there were very few complaints at the show Saturday.
I brought out all of my baseball binders and one display case. Sales out of the binders were steady in the morning then slowed down after 11 a.m. when I had to make my rounds. Once I returned to my tables around 1 p.m., sales slowed to a trickle. I have to give props to Rachel for watching my tables on her own while I was off in the other rooms. Normally, Rachel is assisted by Jason, who ditched us for the Rosemont show. Though he did stop by before heading to Rosemont. Jason is a great kid, I'll give him a little slack this time.
Surprisingly, I did not sell one card out of my display case. Last show, I sold a ton of stuff out of the display case. I had a lot of interest in a 1963 Topps Lou Brock but nobody pulled the trigger. For the October show, I think I am bringing out my football, basketball and hockey binders. I'll probably fill the display case with mid-1960's baseball stars.
On the buying front, I was astounded at the number of extremely interesting items that showed up at my tables from rare Spic and Span Milwaukee Braves issues from the 1950s to scorecards and yearbooks from the 1930's through the 1950's, autographs from the 1930's, and some pennants from the 1950's. Neat stuff! I need to do some research before I make any offers on these items. Hopefully, I can work out some deals down the road. I am just not an expert in this area but really enjoyed having the opportunity to hold and look at these things.
I did buy a bunch of stuff from Jim, the dealer set up next to me, including some 1952 and 1957 Topps baseball and a box of 1973 Topps football. Jim drives up from Indiana and is a stellar vintage dealer. I really appreciate his efforts. Thanks Jim!
Though, we have many stellar dealers at this show, it is overwhelming. I put this show up against any other in the country. With 65 dealers, we have such a huge variety from modern to vintage, to dime boxes, to high end, wax and more. As someone who just loves vintage cards, I pride myself on the number of vintage dealers that set up at this show. I probably have more vintage dealers than any other show in the country other than say the National and the Strongsville, Ohio, yearly vintage show.
I am really thankful for all of the great dealers at my show, both modern and vintage. You guys and gals rule!
Next show at the Sal is October 2, 2021. Former Brewers pitcher Don August will be signing autographs from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. I am probably going to place him in either the front hallway or in the Fellowship Hall, the room behind the gym. Autographs will cost $15. I will have some of his cards available to purchase for $1 each while supplies last. I will accept mail in but they must reach me by October 1, 2021. Send mail orders to:
Attorney Anthony B. Gordon
201 E. Dundee Road, Suite 2
Palatine, IL 60074
I am also setting up at a couple of shows prior to my October 2nd show at the Sal. Next weekend, on Sunday, September 12, 2021, I will be at the Buenavista Banquets show, 7507 W. Oklahoma Ave., Milwaukee, WI. Then the following weekend, on Sunday, September 19, find me at the Orland Park Civic Center, 14750 S. Ravinia, Orland Park, IL.
I look forward to seeing you all soon! In the meantime, stay safe and help me find those thieves!
Below are some photos from the September 4, 2021, Sal show. The first three are photos from the gym while the last two are photos from the Game Room. If you have never been to this show, we also have dealers in the main hallway and in Fellowship Hall. It is kind of a maze. Be sure to visit all four rooms!