I bought quite a few cards as usual. I picked up a nice grouping of '67s, '69s and '72s from Jim; a small grouping from Terry that included an early 1950s Johnston Cookie Warren Spahn, and a small group of late '60s commons from a dealer that normally sells autographs. I purchased a 1956 Topps Roy Campanella from Bill, who owns a card shop up in Milwaukee. Bill and I also did a little trade, I gave him a fairly nice 1957 Whitey Ford and a '58 Lew Burdette for a 1956 Topps Hank Aaron in Fair Condition and a 1958 Nellie Fox All Star.
I turned down a couple cards. Pre-war collector Tony had an oversize card of Bill Terry. I had never seen the card before and didn't have the money to purchase the card. If he brings it next show, I may pick it up. Another guy who I had never seen before, brought me an odd stack. There were some modern basketball cards, some 1950s baseball then a 1933 Sports Kings Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb along with a 1934 Goudey Lou Gehrig. I've probably said this before, when a guy comes to my table with cards, I know he has a price in mind that he'd like to receive for the cards. Oddly, some guys won't tell me their price and insist that I make an offer. I practically begged the guy to give me a price. He wouldn't. I offered $1,000 for the group. He got really offended. If he would have just told me his price at the start, which was $5,000, we could have had a quick conversation where I would have said thanks but no thanks but we had to drag this on for 20 minutes or so until he'd tell me his price. Now the cards were all in Good Condition. No creases but wear on the corners, edges and surface. Each card also seemed to have a light layer of dirt/smudge. The guy told me the Gehrig books at $2,800 and he thinks he should get close to that because there are no creases. Well, like I said, there was wear on the card and he'll never get $2,800. If it books at $2,800, I would price it at $700 because of the wear and dirt/smudging. The guys just wasn't realistic. Another problem I found was that the cards were not graded and those cards are heavily counterfeited, so I'm really hesitant to buy those cards from a guy I've never seen before. I told him to come back and I'll make another offer at the next show. I need to look up the Sports Kings. Also, my customer Rick has more experience with those cards than I do and he offered to look them over for me. Though, I don't see a deal getting done on the cards, the guy just isn't reasonable.
While I'm ranting, another thing that bugs me are comments that the economy is hurting the card business. I've been selling cards since 1979 and have been through quite a few recessions and NONE of them, including the current one, has affected my sales. I had a very good year selling cards in 2010 and 2011 has been the same. My card sales are always consistent no matter what the economy is. When the economy is humming, like during the Clinton years, I fared no better than I do now. It's consistent no matter what is happening with the economy. People seem to spend the same amount on cards no matter what. It just bugs me that so many people make these assumptions based on no other fact other than the economy is in turmoil so cards sales must be in turmoil. Nothing can be further from the truth. I think a few things account for the stability of cards, especially vintage cards. The majority of people involved in sports cards, do it as a hobby, myself included, and don't rely on it for living expenses. I haven't lost my job and neither have 90 percent of Americans, so there is plenty of money out there. Those involved in sports cards are very passionate about the hobby and rely on it as stress release and a diversion from work and family. There is also a great sense of camaraderie at card shows and people consistently show up because they enjoy the company. You also don't have to spend thousands of dollars to collect cards. You can work on building a set of vintage cards by spending just $100 a month and really enjoy yourself. The economy does not affect cards because it is a great hobby that can be enjoyed by young and old and shared between generations. So please stop telling me that card business is dying when I go home with a pocket full of money after each and every show, each and every week. The vintage card market is just fine.