This was my second appearance at this show. I had forgotten how long it took to drive to Lake Station, Indiana. For some reason I thought it was only an hour then, as I was driving to the show, I remembered it took me an hour and a half to get there last month.
It is an ugly drive from Northeastern Illinois to Northwest Indiana. One big pile of road construction. Though, traffic seemed to move even though it was scary as the lanes thinned and trucks didn't leave much room to get by.
About half of the dealers were already set up when I arrived at 9:15 a.m. This show starts at 10 a.m. which gives me a much appreciated extra hour of sleep. Set up took forever. For the life of me, I kept filling up my display cases with the wrong cards and had to start over a few times. I finally finished up around 10:48 a.m.
While I was setting up, my old buddy Dave Frazier stopped by. Actually, he came by a few times, waiting patiently for me to set up. I just could not get my act together this morning!
It was great to see Dave, who I haven't seen since pre-COVID. He said he has been busy taking his kids to their various sporting events. His son had a football game the night of the show so he was taking advantage of a rare free day.
Dave is working on a bunch of sets and found some 1957 Topps football cards for his '57 set. Thanks Dave! Again, I did a football heavy display along with basketball, hockey and baseball. I had some cool stuff out.
ALERT! ANNOYING GUYS BOMBARD MY TABLES!
A couple of early customers got under my skin. One guy, let's call him Purvis, spent a while checking out my hockey cards. I had a 1970-71 Topps hockey card priced at $10. I forgot which player but it high books at $40. I lowered the price according to condition. Purvis offered $5 and started showing me flaws in the card. I responded that I lowered the price for condition. Purvis kept harping on the corners. I explained that I lowered the price already because of the corners and priced it at $10 instead of $40. Purvis would not let it go. I said thanks for the offer but I am going to keep the card.
For hours, Purvis keeps coming back asking to have the card for $5. My answer every time was no. Finally, near the end of the show, Purvis offers $6. I countered with $8. I went home with the card. I'd rather keep my cards than give them away.
Then I had two guys that bugged me even more than Purvis. I brought out two 50-cent boxes to this show. It took me a while to put them out because Purvis was leaning over looking at the hockey display case and placed one hand on an empty spot on my table where I had planned to place the 50-cent boxes.
Anyway, this one guy, who I am going to call "Myron," comes over to my tables. I don't know his name but he seemed like a Myron to me. So Myron spent a lot of time going through the 50-cent boxes but did not pull any cards out. Then his buddy comes by, I am going to call the buddy "Todd." Again, I don't know his name but he seemed like a Todd.
I could hear Myron and Todd discussing the cards. Todd asks what I want for both boxes. I told Todd that I would need five minutes to count up the cards. Todd says no and wants a price now. I said sorry, I need to count up the cards. Todd then offers 15-cents a card. Now, I regularly have excellent sales out of those 50-cent boxes whenever I bring them out. I generally sell them at three for $1. They are already discounted and I do not need to discount them any further.
I told Todd that I cannot sell him the cards at 15-cents a piece. These are commons from the 1960's, all sports. I could probably sell them for $1 a piece. There is no reason for me to sell them to Todd for 15-cents a piece. I might as well just give them away if I am going to sell them that cheap. I won't be giving them to Myron and Todd any time soon.
Todd complained that I just denied his offer and did not make a counter-offer. I responded that I would do a quarter a piece if Myron and Todd took them all. Todd said no then started pulling tricks.
Todd said he does not want them all and asked how many he had to buy to get them at a quarter a piece. I really don't want to deal with Todd any longer but I say 100 cards. He agrees, walks away and Myron started pulling cards.
Here is where it gets weird. After Myron was done pulling cards, Todd came back and assumed control of the pile Myron pulled out of the boxes. He started counting them in a really weird way and ends up making six piles. Todd claimed one pile has 100 cards, four piles have 25 cards each, then the last pile has 48 cards. I probably should have counted up the cards myself but we're not talking a lot of money and I really wanted these guys to go away. I charged them 60 bucks but I just felt dirty afterwards. I'm pretty sure I got screwed.
Then I had another annoying guy. Let's call him Winston. So Winston watched Myron pull his large pile out of the 50-cent boxes, then came over and started going through the boxes. Winston complained that they have been picked through. Well what do you want me to do? Pull out additional cards from thin air? Don't look at the cards if you do not think it is worth your while!
What is the deal with these people? I told Winston, "The boxes were full when I arrived at the show and you just watched that other guy [Myron] pull out a large pile." Winston does not respond but continues to go through the box. He pulled out 12 cards. At least he did not try to get them at half price or less.
I felt like I was working really hard for very little money. Note to self -- don't ever bring any cheapy boxes to Lake Station, Indiana! I was planning to bring out my binders next time but now I'm not so sure, especially if this crowd is going to low-ball me on my commons. Really Todd? You can't pay 50 cents for a 1964 Philadelphia Football common? Ugh!
Thankfully the rest of the customers that day were not smarmy. I enjoyed talking to one guy wearing a San Francisco Giants hat about the first year he started collecting cards -- 1971. He still has the cards but said they are in awful condition because he was just 8 years-old in 1971 and played with the cards regularly.
He said that during the beginning of the pandemic when he was stuck at home, he pulled out the cards and decided to complete the set. I had brought my 1971 stars and high numbers but did not put them out. I dug them out and he found several that he needed.
Another collector was amazed at my 1961-62 Fleer basketball. He said he had never seen them before. He did not think the ones I had in my display case were real. I assured him that I don't buy and I don't sell reprints. Everything I have is the real thing. He ended up buying all of the Fleers.
I had more people buy cards this month than last month but I sold higher end cards last month. So sales were off.
On the buying front, I picked up a near set of 1971-72 Topps hockey. The set was 19 cards short of complete. I just started digging around at home and found six of the cards. I know I have a lot more of those somewhere and think I might be able to complete the set.
I was a little disappointed that they were not serving hot dogs in the bar like last month. They had pizza but I'm lactose intolerant and get sick as hell if I eat any cheese. I munched on some potato chips.
I can't make the November show but booked the December 18th show -- my birthday. I will turn 55 at the December 18th Lake Station show. So come see me but be nice and don't offer me 15-cents a card!
Next up is a double-bill weekend with my Oak Creek show on November 6. Once again, I have a full house of dealers and a hefty waiting list. I actually over booked the show as there are cancellations every month. My good buddy Gary George just cancelled because he came down with COVID. Get well Gary!! Hope Gary is back on his feet soon!!
I have a bunch of new dealers for the November 6th show. The new dealers will be in the Game Room. I will be set up in there as well. I am going to purchases some wax to give away, so make sure you see me in the Game Room for a free pack of cards. I am going to bring out baseball binder's for Saturday's show.
Then on Sunday, November 7, I'm setting at the Schaumburg Hyatt. I haven't done this show since December. Joe said the show is now located in a basement ballroom so once again, I will have to deal with elevators. I am going to make it easy on myself and bring out the baseball binders to Schaumburg.
Hope to see you in Oak Creek and Schaumburg next weekend!