Man, I like driving into Holland. What a beautiful town. It is one of those places that time forgot, it sort of feels like you are in Bedford Falls from the movie "It's A Wonderful Life." A young Jimmy Stewart is bound to appear at any moment. The promoters of the Holland show, Mark and Bill, could easily be Burt and Ernie. These guys are so nice and welcoming, I can't say enough about them. It is awesome to be around really good show promoters who just love what they are doing. Mark and Bill greet everyone who comes in the door. They give each person a raffle ticket and try to give baseball cards to all the kids that come in.
I was pretty excited on this morning. My pal Mark Smith gave me his usual spot which is the first table on the left as you walk in the door! It is a three-table spot with room for some additional card tables. I had my little Camry packed floor to ceiling with stuff, including extra tables. I forgot that I had made plans to purchase a display case from a dealer I met last month. I was able to incorporate the display case into my set up but was worried on how I was going to fit it into the car after the show. Anyway, I had a real nice set up with 10 display cases, 46 binders, my 25-cent packs, some Sporting News from the 1960s and a 1979 Topps baseball complete set. My set up got a couple "Wows" as some folks walked by. There was a real nice crowd but they seemed to be mostly window shopping.
However, I did make a few sales. My first customer purchased a large pile of 1973 and 1972 Topps baseball. Then I met a Cubs fan from Peoria who purchased some 1978 Topps football and some 1965 Topps baseball. A younger guy purchased a 1970 Topps O.J. Simpson and a 1974 Topps Hank Aaron. Then I had some down time and ran over to the concession stand which seemed to have a smaller menu this time around. Once again they had some delicious looking doughnuts from a local shop. These were no garden variety Dunkin Donuts, instead, they are the hefty homemade type that are oh, so good. I also picked up my first of many cups of coffee. I went back to the concession stand two more times where I purchased a hot dog and a "Polish hot dog." I thought I was getting a Polish sausage but the "Polish hot dog" was just a larger hot dog that was grilled instead of steamed. Unfortunately, the nice lady who runs the concession stand is retiring and this show will no longer have concessions. Mark and Bill seem pretty certain that the City of Holland is going to tear down this amazing civic center. As I said last month, this place is a throwback and so incredibly cool and special. You can feel the history in this place. In my opinion, it is irreplaceable.. which got me thinking. There is so much empty space outside of Holland. Why can't the city just build a new recreation center on the outskirts and keep this wonderful piece of history intact?
After stuffing my face, I had a few more sales. I traded some 1961 Topps baseball for some 1961 Post baseball. The same guy also purchased a 1961 Post Richie Ashburn. When he first approached my table, I asked what he was collecting. He said I would laugh when he told me. I said try me. When he said Post Cereal, I said that is no laughing matter. I love the Post Cereal cards. He said a lot of dealers laugh at him when he asks if they have any Post Cereal cards. First off, I can't understand why a dealer would belittle a customer for collecting any type of cards. Second of all, the Post Cereal are so incredibly cool, why would anyone laugh? Weird.
Next up, I sold some 1971 Topps Coins. A customer I remember from last month, wearing an OBC hat, purchased some 1972-73 Topps hockey and some 1969-70 Topps basketball. Oddly, this was my only repeat customer. The one guy who purchased a bunch of hockey from me last month, didn't even look at my table. Another guy who bought quite a few cards last month, window shopped and walked away. The dealer who purchased my dime box last month did come by and purchase some 1975 Topps for a set he is building. So basically, almost all my sales were to new customers. I sold some 1952 Bowman baseball. A younger guy picked up some 1979 Topps baseball. An extremely tall guy, oddly purchased some 1965 tall boy football. I wondered if the tall guy only collects the 1965 tall boys because he is so freaking tall.
A customer with two young sons in tow purchased a 1966 Philadelphia Mike Ditka, a 1970 Topps Bubba Smith Rookie and a 1984 Topps Eric Dickerson Rookie. An older guy purchased some 1960 Leaf baseball and some of my 25-cent packs. I met a nice family where the young son inherited some terrific old cards from his grandfather. He had a list of 1952 Bowman baseball but did not purchase any cards.
Quite a few people came by and observed that I was not Mark Smith. They asked if I was selling Mark's cards. I had to tell quite a few people that the cards on display are not Mark's but mine. Mark was set up at the Gibralter show on this weekend, thus, I was able to get is cherry spot. In an effort to increase sales, I think next time I am going to tell people that I am Mark's cousin Mike Smith and I am indeed selling Mark's cards.
I walked around the room a few times. There weren't nearly as many dealers as last month. There was a pretty nice inventory of vintage cards in the room but not quite like it was last month. I thought guys had pretty reasonable prices marked on their cards. I talked with several of these dealers who told me their sales were slow as well. It seemed like the modern card dealers were doing a lot better than the vintage guys.
On the buying front, only one guy came to my table with cards. He had a tremendous collection of post-War vintage. He did not have a price in mind. I was not sure what to offer him. I thought about it for a while and when I calculated a price that would work for me, he was gone. I had given him my phone number and hopefully he calls. Sometimes I'm too hesitant to throw out an offer because it seems like most guys want way too much money for their cards. I always like them to throw out a number first so I know whether they are reasonable in their pricing. Another guy came by and wanted to trade me a beat up 1958 Topps Ted Williams All Star for my 1979 Topps set. I declined.
Overall, sales were a little slow. I thought I would do much better with all the cards I brought out. I would like to set up at this show again next year (it is only held in December and January). The show draws a big crowd. I think I need a large number of cheapy boxes on my table for next time. I wonder if publications would do well at this show? I definitely need to bring out some different items next time around. I may want to go back down to one table.
Anyway, the weatherman was calling for a big snow storm and I was eager to hit the road in the afternoon and beat the storm. The new display case made loading the car very difficult. I had to stop outside of Holland to rearrange everything because I felt like it was all going to tumble on my head. Once everything was secure, it took me about three hours to drive home.
When I took the dog out around 10:30 p.m., I noticed there was at least an inch of fresh wet snow on the ground. I woke up at 6 a.m. and out the window was nothing but white. I checked my phone and saw a text from Willie letting me know Fred cancelled the Schaumburg show. I can't remember Fred ever cancelling a show. My car was packed and I was going to brave the weather. But in reality, Fred did the smart thing because that was one of the worst snow storms I have ever seen. My wife and I went out a few times to shovel the driveway but gave up late in the afternoon when the winds really whipped up and it was scary out there.
I posted on the Fred Copp Facebook Page and this website that the show was cancelled. I forgot to contact Ryan C. who was going to meet me at the show to purchase some cards. Ryan went to the hotel. Ugh! I am so sorry Ryan! Dingbat move on my part.
I spent much of the day working on a new 1974 Topps baseball binder. My wife woke up early Monday and shoveled the mounds of snow off the driveway. My wife is incredibly awesome! The news stations reported that my little burg received 22 inches of show! The house is caked in white stuff. They are also reporting snow and rain for next weekend when I am planning to be in Indy on Saturday and St. Louis on Sunday. This should be interesting....
Pictured below are some more photos from the Holland show.