Another tough night of sleep but I was able to make it out of the house by 7 a.m. It sure was nice not having to load up the car. I did not unpack after Rockford so I would be ready to go to Orland.
Here is a detailed account of my drive to Orland for my friend Mike Slinkman... It was an easy drive to O'Hare but weird to see empty space where the O'Hare Road Oasis once stood. Just past the former spot of the Oasis, road construction kicked in and lasted all the way to I57. I arrived at the Civic Center around 8 a.m. and happily observed all the Christmas decor. They do a great job decorating both the outside and inside of the Civic Center for Christmas.
Load in went smoothly. I'm usually blocked getting into the room by big Brad who was noticeably absent. Someone said he was recovering from COVID. Get well Brad! Blocking the aisle instead of Brad, was Terry, who quickly moved out of the way.
On my second trip in, the dealer at the front tables to the left stopped me to let me know we had a mutual friend in Bill from Antioch. Any friend of Bill's is as friend of mine! If Bill is reading this blog, you now have two reasons to come on down to Orland!
So those first tables to the left have been occupied by many different dealers over the years. This was the first show where Bill's buddy had the tables. Those tables are usually occupied by a modern card dealer I refer to as the "Tall Guy" because he is literally like seven feet tall. When I first started setting up at the Orland show some twenty years ago, those tables belonged to vintage dealer John Melcher. John was a big guy as well and unfortunately passed away many years ago.
After John, Gary occupied those tables for years. I think Gary moved to Florida some time ago. I can't remember the last time I saw Gary, a real good guy who sold modern cards.
I am going to assume the Tall Guy will be back for the December 26 show. I observed that many regular dealers were absent at this show like Steve Zinn and Jimmy C. Someone said Jim has COVID. If so, I hope Jim recovers quickly and is back at the next show. I just saw Steve last week at my Oak Creek show and was surprised he was not set up.
Another surprise was seeing Dave Frazier at the Orland show. I saw Dave at the Lake Station show in October after an absence of several years. It is nice to get Dave back into the fold!
The modern card dealer from Downstate who I met at the October show was next to me again on my right. He said he had my tables at the November show while I was in sunny California. He told me he grew up in California and that is where he learned how to cook. He currently works as a cook at some ma-and-pa type place located in a tiny town outside Champaign, Illinois. I'd like to try his cooking some time. I'll have to write down the name of the restaurant next time I see him. Nice guy.
Another group of nice guys, younger, were set up on the other side of my tables. One of the guys was bummed I did not bring out my cheapy boxes like I did in October. I thought about it but did not have the time to reload them prior to the show. I like to have the cheapy boxes reloaded before I bring them out.
It was a late-arriving crowd on this crisp December morning which seems to be the norm at Orland this past year. Not much doing at my tables during the first hour of the show. Around 10 a.m., Eddie spotted my display case filled with graded cards. I don't think I brought out any graded cards to Orland this year. My main man Eddie went to town and purchased eight or nine graded cards including all of my T206's, a 1934 Goudey Kiki Cuyler, a 1958 Mickey Mantle All Star, a 1968 Mantle and my Walter Payton rookie.
After pulling all the cards, Eddie reached into his pocket and pulled out a large stack of hundreds and started peeling them off. Woot! What a great way to start the show! I was ready to go home afterwards but it was only 10:15 a.m. I figured anything else I sold the rest of the day would be gravy.
My pals Will and Joe arrived shortly thereafter bringing me a much needed and a much-appreciated cup of coffee. Will also purchased quite a few 1956, 1958 and 1971 Topps baseball cards. Thanks Will! He was just starting on his '56 set. As we discussed, the '56 set is not a bad set to attack because there are no big rookies. Unfortunately, the Mantle and the Jackie Robinson have shot up in value this past year. The second-year Clemente and Koufax have always been expensive cards, at least in recent years. When I first started to attend card shows back in 1978, you could buy either of those cards for a mere twenty bucks. Currently, 1956 Topps Roberto Clemente PSA 5s are consistently selling on eBay for $800. It has been crazy to watch the price of cards grow from 1978 to today. If I only had more money back in 1978, I'd be filthy rich today! I might have mentioned this before, but in 1979 I got my very first job with the sole purpose of earning money to buy cards!! I was a janitor at a day camp. I think I was paid $1.25 an hour. Not much money but just enough to buy some cards which were crazy cheap in 1979 when compared to 2021 (gawd, I'm old!!).
Sales were consistent the rest of the day. No more monster sales but quite a few that added up. I was able to pay off a large debt I owed another dealer for some cards I purchased recently on credit.
On the buying front, Mike offered me some low grade stars that I had to take a pass on. As I told Mike, I can sell low grade cards but only at a low price. He offered me the cards at a price about what I would sell them for. I do appreciate the offer.
I picked up a 1963 Topps "Bombers Best" card featuring Mickey Mantle, Mike Tresh and Bobby Richardson. I probably have several of these already but when a Mantle comes to my table with a reasonable price, I snatch it every time. Not much else doing on the buying front.
Chicago Blackhawks legend Bobby Hull was signing autographs all day in the front hallway. I forgot to bring something to get signed. Then I thought about getting a photo with him but I had spilled coffee on my white shirt and did not want a picture with my all-time favorite hockey player while I was wearing a large coffee stain. Will got a Hawks St. Patrick's Day jersey signed by Bobby Hull, pictured below. Photo by Joe Schwenn.
This was my second best show at Orland, thanks to Eddie, who was a major player in my best show at Orland back in April. Thanks again Eddie!
It was a pretty fun day. Real nice crowd that seemed to thin out around noon. During football season, most card shows clear out around noon as everybody wants to watch football and see how their fantasy teams are performing.
So Rich is running two shows this month in Orland. The next one is December 26th and I plan on bringing out showcases to that one. I don't know if I have ever done just a showcase set up in Orland so this should be interesting. I have a good number of regulars in Orland that like the binders, I hope they can find some cards in my showcases. I'll be set up with 10 showcases with vintage baseball. I don't think I'll have enough space for football, basketball and hockey. If the showcase set up goes well, I'll do it again in January and then bring out the football, basketball and hockey. If I don't sell much out of the showcases, I'll go back to the binder set up. So no binders on the 26th, if anybody wants to see one, let me know and I'll bring it out for you. I've been working on reloading 1977 Topps football and hope to have it done shortly.
That was quite a weekend with Rockford on Saturday and Orland on Sunday. I'm revving it up again next weekend with the Lake Station VFW on Saturday and Root River on Sunday. Hope to see everyone next weekend. Make sure you bring me some cake on Saturday as it is my birthday... turning 55.
I've kind of been feeling bad about getting older when a new client walked into my office on Monday and asked me in a snotty tone, "How old are you? 40?"
"Turning 55 on Saturday," I replied.
"Really, I thought you were between 35 and 40," she said.
"Awesome," I thought.
In my mind, I'm still the long-haired 11-year-old little leaguer playing shortstop for the Glenbrook Insurance team. That's me, pictured below, top row right, next to Mr. Minus. The photographer made Mr. Minus sit in and look like a coach as our coach did not bother to show up along with most of the team. Good thing we did not have to play a game that day!
Pictured along with me, back row left, is Armen Klujian whose family operates Klujian Rugs in Chicago. Armen did not go into the family business and currently lives in LA with his wife and kids. Next to Armen is John Rice, who currently lives out in Las Vegas. Next is Adam Kosh, who lived behind me growing up, just up the street from John. There were epic Whiffle Ball games at John's house and epic basketball games at Adam's house. Adam lives near me now and operates Antioch Wine and Liquors. Front row is Corey Fertel, just how I remember him, a little scrawny kid. Today he is 6'4" or 6'5" and operates United Process Servers in Chicago, a company I regularly hire for service of process at my law firm. Lastly is Paul Fleschler (I think that is his last name, memory is fading). I don't know what happened to Paul, lost touch. He was a great athlete as a kid.
So that was our 1977 little league team. We all collected 1977 Topps baseball cards. Somone always brought a stack of cards to the games. There was lots of card trading amongst teammates.
Man, 1977 seemed like yesterday. It is just crazy that we are heading into 2022! Come see me this weekend! Let's talk little league!!