While I'm pleased that I finally figured out how to make money when the Sun-Times show is in town, I'm also a bit saddened by the demise, in my opinion, of the Sun-Times show. The Sun-Times show was once terrific for me but my sales have disappeared over the past several years. I used to have many regular customers who flew in for the show from places like Las Vegas or Los Angeles. These people have disappeared. It also seems like most people attend the show to get items signed by the autograph guests at extreme prices... leaving few funds left over for cards. The guys that just collect cards and not autographs don't go to this show any more. Figure in the excessive table fee, parking fee, and over-priced convention center food, and the Sun-Times show has become the worst show around. Mounted Memories, the promoters of the Sun-Times show, need to wake up before it is too late and their show fails completely. I'm not going anymore and I know many others who opt out as well.
On the other hand, one of the best shows around is the monthly show put on by the St. Louis Sports Collectors Association at the Two Hearts Banquet Hall, on the southwest Side of St. Louis. This was my fourth time down for this show and I was able to convince my wife and kids to come along. I took Friday off from work and we drove down to a hotel near the show and spent the evening in the swimming pool at the hotel. Like Chicago, St. Louis is experiencing a heat wave and it was HOT all weekend. Saturday was 105 degrees and we nixed our plans to go to the zoo in favor of the air conditioned science museum in beautiful Forest Park. This area of town is unlike any I've seen in the world. It is a tremendously large park with a golf course, trails, hills, fountains, sculptures, mansions, and museums. The science museum had all sorts of hands-on things for kids to do and my troupe thoroughly enjoyed themselves. After the museum, we went back to the hotel for more swimming. On Sunday, the family dropped me off at the show and they went down the street to a children's museum called the Magic House. The troupe reported that the Magic House blows away the Chicago Children's Museum and the suburban Kohl's Children's Museum.
I got off to a rocky start while setting up. I left the keys to my display cases in my luggage, in the car with my wife and kids. I called and called the wife but she would not pick up her cell phone. Apparently the kids shut off the ringer when they were playing games on her phone. After about the 13th call, the wife picked up and I pleaded with her to bring me my keys. Twenty minutes or so later, she brought the keys and I was able to complete set up but the show had already begun. I few guys started going through my binders. Other guys wanted to look at cards shortly after I placed them in the display case. Then wham-o, MOB SCENE! I was slammed in the weeds. I struggled to get all the cards in my cases. I was down two cases because table fee at this show is kind of high and I only took two tables. Customers started asking for cards I didn't put out like late 1960's baseball, all years in the 1970s, along with football and basketball. I was running ragged for two hours or so. Every inch of space in front of my tables were filled with customers. Guys jammed into each other to get at my cheapy boxes. I started directing guys to come around the back by me to look at cards. Whoa!!
Around noon, things started to lighten up and I was able to hit the washroom. I had to go all morning. That was tough! I had customers at my tables until about 2:15 p.m. It was dicey getting bathroom breaks and a food break. I tried to write down the cards I sold, but I was helping several people at once, most of the day, and I'm sure a few slipped by. This is what I have:
a father and son team that has visited me at each show I've attended here in St. Louis started my day by purchasing some 1964 Topps Giants and some 1974 baseball commons. Then I had one of my best customers ever in Tim Horton, who just happens to be the running backs recruiting coordinator at the University of Arkansas. I meant to ask him if he needed a 45 year-old, 5'6", 170 lbs., recruit who hasn't played any football since the early 1980s. I'm the greatest running back ever... in my own mind. With my discretion in tact, I didn't mention any of this to Tim, who is an extremely nice guy. He purchased a pile of 1956 Topps baseball along with my '56 Jackie Robinson and Yankees team card. He came around again and bought my 1955 Topps Willie Mays and Ted Williams. Thanks Tim!
Sales continued with a regular customer purchasing some 1969 Topps baseball commons. Another regular purchased some 1967 Topps baseball commons along with a Willie McCovey. A new customer picked up a pile of 1977-78 Topps basketball. Another new customer bought some 1961 Fleer baseball. A husband and wife team picked up some 1975 commons and cards out of my 50-cent box. A new customer also hit the 50-cent box. A regular customer purchased some 1957 Topps baseball commons and said to me: "You're the best in here, bud." I didn't get a chance to walk around the room but I don't think there was a whole lot of vintage around. My buddy Tony, the "other Tony," skipped the show for a Jimmy Buffet concert. I suspect other vintage dealers skipped the show for the Sun-Times show. I think I benefited greatly from these absences.
Another regular purchased some 1961 Fleer Great of the Game. A new customer picked up some 1977 and 1978 Topps football. Another new customer purchased some 1975s. My 50-cent and dime boxes got a work out from another new customer. A regular customer pulled a pile of 1965 Topps baseball. A new customer purchased my 1934 Goudey Leo Durocher and Rip Collins along with some 1940 Play Ball and some 1955 Topps baseball. A regular customer purchased some 1959 Topps commons along with my 1948 Bowman Bobby Thomson. A regular customer, who brought his two daughters along, purchased my W560 Will Sherdel strip card. One of his daughters picked out some cards from my 50-cent box.
A new customer purchased a pile out of my dime box. Another new customer purchased my 1961 Topps Hank Aaron MVP along with some commons. Ken decided he was going to start the 1953 Bowman and Topps baseball sets with me on this fine Sunday morning. He purchased a nice pile of cards. Thanks Ken! A father and son team, who have visited me on each of my St. Louis appearances, purchased a 1938 Goudey Rudy York and a 1935 Goudey 4 in 1, depicting White Sox players. Another father and son team purchased some 1963 Topps baseball commons from my binder then some cards out of my dollar box. A regular customer purchased a pile of 1962 Topps football. The last customer of the day purchased some 1960 Topps baseball.
On the buying front, I finally had people show me some cards at this show. One guy came by with some 1971 Topps baseball but my inventory is pretty solid and I declined. Another guy had a pile of cards including a 1968 Topps Mickey Mantle, graded by a no-name grading company. There was also a beat 1966 Mantle and some stars from the '60s and '70s. He wanted $300. I offered $150, which I think was generous. I didn't really trust the card slabbed by some oddball company. A kid had a 1961 Post Roger Maris for 12 bucks but it was kind of beat and I passed. Another young guy had a beat up 1958 Topps Whitey Ford that I purchased for 10 bucks. Another guy had a mint 1968 Sports Illustrated poster of Bob Gibson that I purchased. That one isn't for resale. It's going up in my CardCave.
I told a bunch of people that I'd be back in September but I realized that the show is the same day as Gonzaga, so I can't make it back to St. Louis until October. I will definitely be back. I'd like to do October, November and December. I'll probably skip January and February. I'm not too hip to driving five hours in the dead of winter. Anyway, I had a GREAT weekend with my family, exploring St. Louis, seeing my old buddy Andy and all my new friends at the Two Hearts show. Thanks everybody for such a terrific show!!
My next show is Sunday, July 8, 2012, at the Embassy Suites Hotel on Meacham Road in Schaumburg, IL. This is a new location for promoter Fred Copp. I've started to get a nice little following at Fred's shows and hope to see all my regulars on Sunday. I just finished reloading my 1972-73 Topps basketball binder and am working on 1960 Topps baseball. If anyone needs anything special, drop me a line. Below are some photos of some sites in St. Louis, my kids, and the Two Hearts show. The photo in the middle of the top line is my tables when the madness began.