Pretty good crowd today for a Serb Hall show. There was a steady flow of people into the room from 9 a.m. until about noon. At my tables, things were slow early on so I took a walk around the room where I noticed a large number of bobble heads. Another dealer had cards imbedded on plaques. I haven't seen that in at least 20 years. I remember when that was popular in the late 1980s, early 1990s. The guys across from me had a big display of modern cards. There were a few guys with some vintage on their tables along with the promoter PJ, who has a very large vintage inventory. He's the only dealer I know with more binders than me.
Things started to heat up at my table. Jason purchased some '70 Topps football and some '59 baseball. Another regular purchased some '53s and '64s. Another regular bought quite a lot of stuff out of many binders. My one Milwaukee autograph hound was pleased with some of the cards he found at my table. Another customer, who I haven't seen in a while, picked up some '79s. Quite a few other guys dinked through my binders and purchased cards. I didn't sell much out of the cases today, though I had a lot of lookers at the baseball. Nothing doing on my football, basketball and hockey. I was hoping Mark and Jim would be around today but they were no shows. Sales were a little slower than I would have liked but I can't really complain. I haven't been to this show since May and it's hard to have consistency when you're not there regularly.
One of my customers Kevin Gleason purchased quite a few cards today, including a nice pile of '67s. Kevin has been buying cards from me for several years now. When I first started doing the Milwaukee shows, I mistook him for someone from the Orland Park shows because he usually wears a White Sox or Blackhawks shirt. Today, I learned that Kevin is the son of Chicago icon Bill Gleason, who was a hugely popular sports writer for 60 years in Chicago. Kevin explained he inherited his love of sports from his dad, who died two years ago. Bill Gleason, a real character who seemed to be always smoking a cigar, wrote about Chicago sports with the old Chicago American newspaper, the Chicago Sun-Times, and The Southtown Economist, along with appearing on the hugely popular television show "The Sports Writers." Surprisingly, Kevin said his dad didn't really have much in the way of sports memorabilia. Though he did have programs from the '59 World Series and the '63 NFL Championship Game. Cool stuff!
On the buying front, zilch, nada, nothing. No deals on any of the other tables in the room. One dealer had a '60 Topps Mickey Mantle in his case graded 5.5. He wanted $300. I moved on. Later, he started shouting "Where's my card?" and "Give me back my card!" and looking at me from across the room. Was he suggesting I stole his card? He never came over to my table so I'm not really sure if he was accusing me of stealing his card. I never even handled the card. It was in his display case when I was at his table. Most importantly, I don't steal -- period. I spend thousands of dollars on cards every single month and I am a regular victim of theft. I've never been accused of theft before, it was just plain weird. Even though the guy is a serious nutcase, I hope he finds his card.
Later a guy showed up at my table with a 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth. The card was in a thick screwdown holder. I hate the screwdowns because they hide all the flaws in the card. The Goudey Ruth cards are highly counterfeited and I wasn't totally sure the card was legit. The front of the card looked real. A telling sign is the blocks at the base of the card which are not symmetric on the real cards but seem to always be symmetric on the fakes. The card definitely looked smaller than a legit '33 Goudey and may have been trimmed if it is real. I asked for a price and the guy responded that another dealer in the room offered $800. Well, knowing the other dealers in the room, I doubt any of them offered $800, so I'm thinking the card was a fake.
The parade of nutcases continued when a guy came by my table as I was packing up. He had a small stack of cards and I asked him how much he wanted. He wouldn't give me a price. I hate this game. Everybody has a price. Just tell me your freakin' price and save us both a lot of time and hassle. In the stack was a Joe Dugan strip card from the 1920s, three T206s, a T205, a few '75 TCMA cards, some cards I have never seen before like '70s Nabisco basketball and some oddball baseball. I don't make offers on cards I don't know anything about, so I pulled out the Dugan and the tobacco cards. They were beat, torn, frayed, stained and creased, i.e, poor condition. I offered him $40 thinking I can maybe get $50 or $60 for the group. He pulled them away and said he wanted $125. I kindly thanked him for showing me the cards. Unfortunately, this little scene plays out all too often and I have to blame it on the price guides. People who aren't avid collectors get ahold of a Beckett or SCD price guide and look at the Mint, or as most people say "high book," price and ignore the lower VG-EX price. The price guides also fail to explain that if your card is in terrible condition, it's worth at best 15 percent of the high book for a superstar card or 5 to 10 percent of high book if it is a common. Thus, a dealer, like myself, has to buy the low-grade card below 15 percent of high book in order to make a profit. I find it amazing the amount of folks that try and sell me cards and fail to consider that I'm buying the card for resale and I can't stay in business if I buy a group of cards for $125 and sell it for $60.
The nutcases aren't unique to Serb Hall, they're at every show. Luckily, there are far more pleasant people than nutcases at the shows and I've learned over the years to just brush it off and move on. Tomorrow is another adventure. Actually my next baseball card adventure is Sunday at the Schaumburg Radisson, not to be confused with the simultaneous show occurring down the street at the Holiday Inn in Rolling Meadows. I will be set up at Fred Copp's show at the Radisson, just a block or so west of Route 53, on Algonquin Road. I've already priced some 1955 Topps All-American football cards and am working on my 1970s Topps baseball binder. If there is time, I may price up some '69-70 Topps basketball. I've been sitting on a large pile of these cards for a while now. I consider the Schaumburg show my home base and always enjoy seeing the great cast of characters that regularly appear at this show. Sunday should be a great time, though nutcases please stay away!
Below are some photos from Sunday's show at Serb Hall: