I should have known something was up prior to the show because I was overrun with emails, texts, Facebook messages and calls. Folks, I am just one person, with a full-time job and a family, I just don't have the time to answer all of these messages. I think I might insert a "frequently asked questions" section to this website. Let's tackle some of these questions now:
(1) CAN I BRING IN CARDS TO SELL TO THE DEALERS?
YES! Please bring your cards in to sell to the dealers, just about all of the dealers are buying. I specifically only purchase vintage cards from the 1960's and older. Here is an important tip when selling your cards to dealers: research the "sold" price on eBay, NOT the current listing prices. There are many cards listed on eBay for $150 that will never sell for $150. If you look at the "Sold" listings, you will see that these same cards actually sell for $50, not $150.
(2) WHAT IS THE VALUE OF MY KOBE BRYANT ROOKIE?
As a vintage dealer, I just don't know the value of any cards newer than 1979. I am not the person to ask about modern cards. Again, the best way to determine the value of both modern and vintage cards is to check the "sold" listings on eBay. Also, there are many modern dealers at the Salvation Army show who would be happy to talk about your Kobe Bryant rookies or any other modern card.
(3) WHAT IS THE COST OF A TABLE AT THE SHOW?
Six-foot dealer tables are $25.
(4) DO YOU HAVE TABLES AVAILABLE FOR THE NEXT SHOW?
Usually, we seem to be at capacity right now so contact me sooner rather than later. You can send me an email at email@example.com or call or text at 773-616-3705.
(5) CAN I SELL MEMORABILIA, NASCAR, NON-SPORTS CARDS, AUTOGRAPHS AND THE LIKE?
YES! If you purchase a table, sell whatever you want on it.
(6) IS THE SHOW GOING ON AS SCHEDULED?
YES! I NEVER cancel this show!! Though, I have to say, I almost overslept on Saturday which got me wondering what would happen if I overslept and did not arrive until noon or so. I really think everyone would figure it out and set up without my input.
(7) WHERE IS THE SHOW LOCATED?
The show is held on the First Saturday of every month at the Salvation Army Community Center, 8853 S. Howell, in Oak Creek, WI.
(8) WHAT ARE THE HOURS?
The show runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
(9) WHEN ARE YOU GETTING ANOTHER AUTOGRAPH SIGNER?
I'm working on it and hope to have someone lined up soon.
(10) IS THERE AN AUCTION?
No, and that is by design. I think auctions distract from the show. I enjoy the ability to talk with customers without being drowned out by an auctioneer.
(11) DO YOU CHARGE AN ADMISSION FEE?
No, admission is FREE.
(12) CAN I HAVE FREE PACKS FOR MY WIFE WHO IS OUT IN THE CAR?
No! Come on, really?
(13) WHY DON'T YOU DO A RAFFLE?
Good idea. I may in the future.
(14) CAN DEALERS BRING IN EXTRA CARD TABLES?
Yes, as long as you don't pinch space from dealers around you and as long as you do not block the aisles.
The above questions are the ones asked most often. I also get calls from people all over the country who see my phone number in Beckett or SCD and just want to talk. As I said, I work 50 to 60 hours a week at my real job then have a wife and two kids who need my attention. I just don't have the time to chat. However, if you come out to the show, I would love to talk with you then. I enjoy chatting at the show but prior, it is really hard for me to find the time.
Along those lines, I received a call last week from a guy located in some small town in Pennsylvania. He had some sort of weird accent. I am from Chicago and I know I have a weird accent. The problem is, I can't understand other people's weird accents. I honestly did not know what this guy was saying to me and we must have been on the phone for 30 minutes or so. It might be better to send me an email rather than call if you just want to chat, especially if you are not from the Midwest. I might have to find an interpreter for that Pennsylvania accent.
Needless to say, I was especially busy prior to the February Sal show with all these messages. I also spend a TON of time trying to get the word out about the show. I was especially successful this past Saturday. Wow! Where did everybody come from?
So, I was a little late getting to the show because I over slept. I was only about ten minutes late. I like to get there at 7 a.m. when the building opens so I can organize the tables and place nameplates on each table with a dealer's name. I try to have the dealers show up at 8 a.m. so I can get my nameplates out. But when I arrived at 7:10 a.m. this Saturday, there must have been a dozen dealers already there and loaded in!
I was literally running around the room at 7:15 a.m. trying to get all the nameplates out before the rest of the dealers arrived. I made a couple of minor mistakes. I forgot to give Josh the third table he requested. Then I mistakenly placed each of Bob's two tables in two different aisles. Luckily, I had a few cancellations, so it was easy to move things around. Speaking of cancellations, I do not mind if you cancel after you have reserved a table as long as you give me a call, text, or email. That way, I can replace you and have the room laid out properly on the morning of the show. I had one dealer fail to show up and call. If you are a "no show," and have failed to let me know prior, I will not let you set up in the future. I shouldn't even have to mention it because if you are a responsible adult, you know better and you will call and let me know when you can't make it.
In the week leading up to the show, I had three responsible dealers call me to let me know they could not make it. I had four new dealers call that week and because of these cancellations, I was able to provide tables to the new dealers. I had one guy show up at 9 a.m. on the morning of the show and ask for a table. I am out of tables on the morning of the show, we use every table in the Sal's possession. As I said in previous blogs, I am slowly donating more tables but we do not have enough tables right now to accommodate everyone who wants to set up. Luckily, the guy had his own tables so I found a spot for him to place his tables. Then he wanted me to help him carry in his tables when I had a crowd at my tables and I'm trying to do my pack giveaway. I can only do so much.
As you can see, the show is getting a little overwhelming for me. I never imagined it would grow to its current size and there does not seem to be an end in sight. I need help! So, I am offering $50 and all the Sloppy Joe you can eat for an assistant during the show. All I ask is that you arrive at the show at 7 a.m. and stay until I've loaded out. Your job will be to help me figure out where to place each dealer and to put the nameplates on the tables, give away the packs and answer all the questions from customers and dealers during the show. You will also have to watch my tables when I go around to collect table fee. You will also make our food runs to the concession stand so we can chow down on Sloppy Joe during the show. You will have time to walk around the show and shop, if you like. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you are interested.
Back to my show report, I think I finished setting up around 8:30 a.m. I brought out one display case with graded cards and all of my binders. New binders for the show were 1978 Topps baseball, 1977-78 Topps Hockey, and my binder of scorecards and programs. There were only a few customers in the room at 8:30 and I started to get nervous. George was the first customer, he beat me to the show. George hasn't been around in a long time. He was always the first customer when the show was at the Clarion/Four Points Sheraton. Then came usual suspects Mark, Jerome and Tim. I thought we would have had more people, even though the show doesn't officially open until 9 a.m.
With no customers to help, I opted to hit the bathroom. When I came out, the place was filled! Then they kept coming and coming, all day long. It was a mob scene!! This was easiest our best attended show in the five-plus years I have been running it.
Wow, just wow. I was worried about nothing. I know it is silly but I am always worried that no one will show up even though we seem to grow our crowd each and every show. I am so grateful to every one who came to the show. We had 31 wonderful dealers then an enormous crowd. Most every dealer reported great sales. Some were a bit shocked at the enormity of their sales. As the promoter, I want ALL the dealers to have great sales. I firmly believe that we are getting record attendance because of these great dealers. I want everybody to keep coming back, both dealers and customers.
I am curious as to how everybody learned about the show. Did you see one of my flyers? Did you learn about the show from Facebook? Did you find it in Beckett or SCD? Please let me know so I can make sure I continue to properly advertise the show.
A large number of guys mentioned this blog. It is fun when guys throw out verbatim something I wrote here. It seemed like someone mentioned this blog every few minutes at the show. Thank you so much for following my blog!
Let's get back to the dealers. I have been regularly offering tips to increase dealer sales and would like to continue doing so. Here is some advice for new dealers... check out the show before you set up for the first time. Take note what the other dealers have on their tables. Take note as to which dealers are busy and closely observe the items that are selling. I recommend you then stock your tables when you do set up with the items you observed selling at the other dealer's tables.
It seems to me that most of the customers that attend the show are collecting cards. There are a great many vintage set builders. There are others that collect hall of famers and rookie cards. There are many modern collectors who seem to gravitate toward autograph cards. I highly recommend that you place these types of cards on your tables.
Some dealers sell just vintage memorabilia and autographs, not cards. Sometimes these items sell very well and sometimes they do not move at all. If this is your inventory, be prepared to have some very good shows and some not very good shows.
I do NOT recommend placing modern collectibles on your tables, like things you can pick up at the stadium. You can also find this stuff at any grocery store or even a Walgreens or CVS. It is tough to make a buck with this stuff.
Every so often, I see NASCAR stuff on tables. This stuff does not move in Milwaukee. I have set up at shows in Indianapolis and NASCAR goes great there... but not Milwaukee.
Another age-old problem for some dealers is price. If your stuff is not moving, it is priced too high. Try lowering your prices and you should have better success.
Like I said before, most dealers Saturday were in shock with their sales. We had a huge crowd and we had a lot of customers willing to spend some money. I had a great day! I sold a ton of stuff!!
I sold six or seven of my graded cards including a Bob Uecker Rookie and a Thurman Munson Rookie. Matt bought my 1948 Bowman Charlie Trippi. I sold some of my old scorecards. Then I had guys pulling piles and piles of cards out of my binders. Jim grabbed a bunch of 1960 Topps Braves. Robin grabbed a huge pile of 1970 Topps baseball. I ended up with a lot of money in my pockets. So I went on a buying spree.
A regular customer offered me a Pete Maravich Rookie SGC 5 which I purchased. I picked up a pile of 1961 Topps football from Robin. I purchased a few 1915 Cracker Jack from Tim. I purchased a 1912 T202 Chief Bender from Mark. Then I purchased a bunch of old Sport and Sports Illustrated from new dealer John. I was pleased with my purchases.
While I was crazy busy all day, I did manage to snarf down two Sloppy Joes. Man, what a show! I don't know how we can top that one but let's give it a try!!
I would like to thank my pal Paul who drove up all the way from the far southwest suburbs of Chicago. This was Paul's first time at the show and he was impressed. Paul was a superstar and watched my tables for an hour or so allowing me to collect table fee from the dealers and to do a little shopping.
I try to make this show unique to other shows. One unique aspect to this show is that it is held at the Salvation Army, a charitable organization. I think we have a duty to go above and beyond and contribute to the great charitable work being done by the Salvation Army. I like to think of my card show as a partner with the Salvation Army. Along those lines I have been donating tables. You folks were kind enough to donate funds in November and December for the purchase of soccer uniforms for the youth teams that play at the Salvation Army. Thank you!
I was approached at the end of the show Saturday and told the Salvation Army needs funds to replace the padding along the stage in the gym. You can see when you attend the show that the stuffing is exposed and coming out of the padding. I was asked if we could conduct a silent auction at a future show and donate the funds for the purchase of new padding. I agreed. So friends, I am now looking for donations for this silent auction. I plan on donating some items myself. Get in contact with me for more information. We have the best dealers and customers in the country! Thank you for supporting my show and the Salvation Army!!
The next show at the Salvation Army Community Center, 8853 S. Howell, in Oak Creek, WI, will be on March 7th.
Next up for me is the Gonzaga show this Sunday, February 9. I plan on bringing out five or six display cases of football and basketball cards. I'm probably going to leave the football binders at home. My 1970's football binders took a beating at the Sal show.
See you this Sunday at Gonzaga!!
Please enjoy the photo progression below showing the Saturday crowd grow and grow.