I have been meaning to get back to Madison all year long but it just did not fit into my schedule until this past weekend. Admittedly, Madison is a tough show for me because of the two-hour drive there and the two-and-a-half-hour drive home — it is a long day with a lot of driving.
I woke up at 5 a.m. Saturday morning and it was pitch black outside and a little chilly when I went out to load up the car. I didn’t get on the road until 6:18 a.m. It was a relatively easy drive. Upon arrival around 8:20 a.m., I found Madison show promoter extraordinaire Beau Spencer who directed me toward my tables next to my pal Tom Mularz.
Load in and set up went smoothly. I placed out most of my binders. New for today was 1954 Topps baseball and 1978-79 Topps hockey. By 9 a.m. the room started to fill up with customers. In true Madison form, my first customer was the football collector I met years ago at Daren’s old show. He comes out with his son these days and both purchased some cards.
Next I had a run of new customers dinking through the binders. Things started to cook when one new customer purchased all of my 1961 Golden Press. A husband and wife team purchased a pile of 1965 Philadelphia football cards. Madison sales have been traditionally football heavy.
It was nice to see some of my Madison regulars like Gil who added to his San Francisco Giants collection. After the shock of seeing me in Madison, Ken found some cards. He told me he sold all of his unopened wax to Baseball Card Exchange. I wish I could have seen that collection.
A couple of my other set-building regulars attacked the binders with lists in tow. I know I am going to have a good day when the set builders attend the show. So nice to see everybody!
A few guys were disappointed that my 1970’s binders are so bare. I hope to get them reloaded soon but I just had them reloaded and am focusing on the 1950’s and 1960’s binders right now. I am amazed at how quickly cards flew out of those 1970’s binders.
Oddly, I did not sell any of the newly reloaded ‘54 Topps. I have a near set in there right now. One guy, who had low-baller written all over his face, threatened to buy them all. I knew he was a low-baller when he told me a tall tale about a dealer recently selling him a near set of 1953 Topps baseball for just $25. Yeah, right.
Overall sales were good, much better than my last few Madison shows. I thought the show was well attended. Surprisingly, I didn’t really know most of the dealers. I know first hand that dealers come and go.
It was nice to see big Mark who always has one of the best inventories around. I was surprised to learn that he no longer promotes a show in Iowa. He said the building was sold and there are two newer shows in town, so he did not feel the need to find a new venue. We both agreed that it is so much easier and much more pleasant to be a dealer rather than a show promoter.
It is always great to chat with Tom Mularz, who has great stories to share. Today Tom shared some tales about working as an Andy Frain usher in Wrigley Field during the 1968 and 1969 seasons. He told me about Billy Williams Day in 1969 when the war between the left field and right field bleachers took a frightening turn. So the Cubs handed out buttons with a photo of Billy to fans attending the game. Tom said the bleacher bums pulled the pins so the sharp end was facing out and hurled them at each other. Some fans were wounded in the melee. Tom also gifted me one of the buttons. Thanks Tom!
Tom also told me that the Rutgers University women’s soccer team was staying at the hotel today. I saw them during load in and thought they were a high school team. They looked so young. I guess I am just getting old.
Mark sent one of the Rutgers fans over to my table. The fan lives in New Jersey and follows the team across the country. He told me that he has been a New Jersey Nets season-ticket holder since the 1980’s and is pictured in the background of the 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan card.
There are always interesting tales and tidbits told at card shows - which is one of the reasons I enjoy card shows.
Back to the business at hand, buying and selling cards, I was surprised that so few cards walked up to my tables. In the past, I have purchased quite a few cards at this show. I did end up purchasing a nice grouping of Hostess cards from the 1970’s. Also, the dealer behind me offered to sell me some sets from the 1970’s. He said he is going to bring them to Oak Creek on Saturday.
Overall, an excellent day. I bought and sold some cards, had great conversations, and most importantly stuffed my face with bacon and sausage from the faux Starbucks in the hotel lobby. I even had a pleasant drive home.
I can’t make the November Madison show because it conflicts with Orland but will be back for the December show. A big thank you to Beau for putting on another great show!
Next up for me is Oak Creek on Saturday, November 4, 2023. Like the numbskull that I am, I overbooked the show. Right now, I have 190 tables when the most I have ever done is 184. I am not sure where I am going to put everybody. Anyway, this Saturday’s show is going to be a little cramped! Hope to see you there!