The main difference between driving in these two states is that Michigan drivers are so much more aggressive than Wisconsin drivers. I was tailgated and often left in the dust as cars flew by me on I94 in Michigan. On Route 41 in Wisconsin, I was not tailgated once and I seemed to be the aggressive driver going a big five miles over the speed limit. Needless to say, it was a much more pleasant drive through Wisconsin than the one I had through Michigan a few weeks ago.
It is about a three-hour drive from my house in Northern Illinois to Appleton, which is in the middle of Wisconsin. I found my trusty Motel 6, easy enough. The room at this Motel 6 was much nicer than the others I have stayed recently, i.e. St. Louis, Canton, Indianapolis. I Pricelined the room so I wouldn't have to drive around town in the middle of the night looking for a hotel. The only drawback is that I did not get a chance to see Appleton. I would have liked to check out the town a little bit since I have never been to Appleton before. I'm coming back to Appleton in June and I think I'll leave home a little earlier so I can take a look around town.
On Saturday morning (April 11, 2015), I plugged the address to the Northland Mall into my GPS and arrived at the mall in what seemed like two minutes. It was only 7 a.m. and the show did not start until 9 a.m. I figured I was too early and looked for a place to have some breakfast. I found Mary's Family Restaurant, established in 1958. I was quickly seated near a couple of guys discussing cars and the Bible, again I don't see the relation. Anyway, my eggs and sausage were pretty good. I chugged some coffee, paid 11 bucks and arrived at the show around 8 a.m.
The Northland Mall is like an old mall near my hometown called Deerbrook Mall. I'm assuming Northland, like Deerbrook, was the first mall built in the area sometime in the 1950s. Northland is a small mall with a dozen or so shops and a few big-box stores. The Deerbrook Mall has been consumed by Big-Box retailers and not much of the old mall exists anymore. I think Northland may have been larger at one point and was consumed by the giant Shopko of which I was set up across from its mall entrance. The remaining portion of the Northland Mall is much more vibrant than old Deerbrook which no longer has any shops in the mall area. The Northland Mall is a small L shape of shops. I was set up between the Shopko and the China Buffet.
And yes, I was in Appleton for a card show where I did indeed have some customers. My first customer Mark, recognized me from the National. He said I always have a nice selection at reasonable prices. Thank you Mark! He picked up a large pile of 1951 Bowman baseball and 1954 Bowman football. Then he had to run because he is a CPA and it is tax season. I have many customers who are CPAs and they are usually AWOL during March and April.
My next customer was Ken who told me he collects Packers from the Lombardi era. Ken purchased a 1964 Tom Brown baseball card because Brown also played football for the Packers. Another customer, who I recognized from the Gonzaga show, purchased some 1969 Topps Deckle Edge baseball cards. Then Todd and his teenage sons spent much of the day at my table. Todd is working on sets from the 1970s. He pulled cards from 1974, 75 and 77 baseball along with 1977 football.
Next up, I had a customer working on 1972 Topps baseball and he found a few in my binder. Dealer Mike Johnson came by and purchased some autographs. An older collector purchased an Andy Pafko Exhibit. Then I had a customer who collects players from Panama. I have had customers in the past who collect players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic but this was my first customer who collects players from Panama. I was surprised at the large number of players from Panama including Rod Carew and Chico Salmon. This customer patiently went through my binders and pulled a large number of cards.
I spent the rest of the day chatting with a customer who is working on 1961 Topps baseball. He said he started working on the set after his girlfriend dumped him and he put his newly found free-time to good use on eBay. This customer has been collecting cards for a long time. He told me a terrible tale of how he consigned his 1984 Star Michael Jordan rookie card to a local card shop in the early 1990s. He then went away to college for his first semester and when he came home, the card shop and his Jordan card were gone. Ugh! I hate hearing stories like that!!
Around 1 p.m. the other dealers started to pack up. I followed suit then loaded up on sweet and sour chicken at the China Buffet. I was on the road home by 3 p.m. The drive home was pleasant once again. I love the Wisconsin country side. There are some beautiful farms and small towns dotting assorted hills and valleys. It is a really nice ride.
Once home, I priced a bunch of cards for my display cases in preparation for the Gonzaga show on Sunday, April 12, 2015. After load in, I noticed that a few of the regular dealers were absent like Ken, Del and Jeff. There were also a few no-shows. As I've said before, no-shows are the worst. If you book a show, you gotta show up. With some rare nice weather outside, I think a few dealers and customers alike chose to do outside activities instead of the card show. Customer attendance was down which is really unusual for the Gonzaga show where attendance is generally strong. As a result, my sales were down. On the upside, I had plenty of time to eat cake.
An older customer purchased a pile of cards. My next customer purchased some cards from the 1950s. A customer wearing a Brooklyn Dodgers hat purchased some Exhibits. A regular customer purchased a T206 Fred Clarke and a 1962 Topps Bart Starr. Jeff purchased his usual mound of cards. Thanks Jeff! An older customer purchased some 1959 Fleer Ted Williams cards. A regular customer purchased a pile of stuff. Another customer purchased a 1964 Topps Jim Fregosi. An older customer rounded out my day by purchasing some 1979 Topps baseball.
On the buying front, I picked up a nice group of 1959 Topps baseball cards. It was nice to purchase something after being shut out yesterday on the buying front in Appleton.
It seemed like half the dealers were out the door by noon. There were not a whole lot of customers in the room once the auction concluded. I was out the door by 1 p.m. which is crazy early for a Gonzaga show. I expect this show to rebound in May.
Next up, I am making a quick trip to Indianapolis on Saturday for the Fishers American Legion show. Carl Erskine is signing autographs. I'm hoping the autos are reasonably priced because I would not mind having Oisk's signature. On Sunday, I'm setting up at the Fred Copp show at the Hyatt Place Hotel in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. I have not done a whole lot of Illinois shows lately and I hope to see a lot of old friends in Hoffman Estates on Sunday! Come on out guys!!