Here's the low-down, starting with Orland: There is a small piece of real estate in the back of the room that is mine. It's my corner. When I set up at Orland, I'm always in that corner. I like my corner. Though, for most of December and all of January, as others commented, I was noticeably absent. My December absence was due to a decision to set up at Serb Hall instead of Orland because I have been having great Serb Hall shows, so it's hard for me to miss that show. I missed the January 11 Orland show because it was my daughter's birthday. Then I missed the last show in January because I had the flu. I actually had the flu all month long. I missed the January Schaumburg and Serb Hall shows as well because of the flu. I only recently started feeling better.
Back at Orland, I was told there was a NASCAR guy in my spot in December. For the January 11 show, there was a guy selling toys in my corner. Then there was the second January show where the spot was just plain empty. That was the show I had a severe sinus infection. I called John on Thursday to let him know I wouldn't be there on Sunday. I had hoped he would have enough time to fill my spot. Unfortunately, my tables were bare. Guys were telling me how weird it was to see my tables empty. Though, I think having a guy selling NASCAR in my spot is weirder than it being empty.
Anyway, I cannot remember the last time I missed three Orland shows in a row. Man, I was chomping at the bit to get back to Orland this weekend. Even so, my expectations were low because snow was in the forecast.
The drive from the north burbs to the south burbs went smoothly. It started to snow as a I drove past Carl Sandburg High School. It started to snow a little harder as I loaded into the Civic Center. The room that houses this show has quite a few windows and I watched the snow fall harder and harder all day long. Half the tables were empty. There were also large gaps in the middle of the room where the promoter did not bother to place any tables. I told my buddy Jim, who sets up next to me, up the aisle, that I didn't think we'd get much of a turn out today. Early on, it seemed I was right. Though by 10 a.m. we had a crowd and I had a steady flow of customers at my table all day long. Most of my regulars were there like Rick, Chris, Will, Joe, Larry, Paul, Joel, Gil, Dennis, Willie, Steve and Corey. I sold a TON of cards today!! I can't say one year or one sport sold more than any other. It was one of those perfect days where most guys were working on sets, they had their lists in hand and were pulling cards.
The best part of having a good day selling cards is that I get go hog wild buying cards -- and buy I did! I picked up over 300 1961 Topps baseball, a nice grouping of 1953 Bowman Color and black & white baseball, a solid group of 1957 Topps football, a terrific group of 1953 Topps baseball, a smattering of pre-War like a 1933 Goudey Moe Berg and some 1940 Play Ball White Sox commons, I also picked up some 1970 Kelloggs, and a group of random stuff that had some 1972 highs, some 1966s, and '64s. I had to turn down a group of 1965 Topps football, which I absolutely love but the price was just too high.
The topper of this day was just hanging out talking cards, sports, food, music, and the Three Stooges with an amazing group of guys. I laughed a lot today. I was truly humbled by the large amount of people checking up on me, inquiring about my health, and giving me good wishes. That was just incredibly cool!!! You guys are all right!!
It made me realize I have a second family. I attend these shows every weekend and see a lot of the same people. We have a great time with the cards but we also share most everything that's happening in our lives. We all seem to have a lot of the same experiences. Everyone has some great stories. I really enjoy the camaraderie. I'm truly blessed and extremely lucky to be apart of such a great hobby filled with even greater hobbyists. I promise to do my best to attend each and every Orland show this year. We can't have a guy selling NASCAR in my corner! That spot is for vintage and the former fat guy. I think I'm even going to put that spot in my will and last testament with specific instructions that it is manned by someone selling vintage once I go off into sportscard heaven. No NASCAR, please!
Like I said, we sportscard nuts are a second family. Unfortunately, an important member of the Orland family was missing on this day -- Chuck T. While I had a really good day, it can't be a great day without Chuck. Chuck's knowledge and enthusiasm for vintage sportscards is hard to top. He has become one of my best friends over the years and I hope he heals up soon! In addition to Chuck, I want to mention another good friend and fellow vintage sportscard addict who has been laid up for a while -- TJ. I first met TJ about 15 years ago when I shut down my publishing company and got back into vintage sportscards big time. TJ was working on a 1969 Topps set in those days. He's long since finished that set and many others. Once his twin girls were born, I understandably saw him a lot less. Though, he still makes an effort to comes see me four or five times a year. TJ has been laid up with some serious health issues for the past six months. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family during these rough times. I hope to see him out soon working on his pre-War Red Sox sets. I know he still needs a Seaver rookie to finish his '67 set. Hopefully, I can surprise him with that card one of these days. Get well soon Chuck and TJ!!
Now for the second half of the double-bill weekend in Bloomingdale. This was my first Bloomingdale show in months where weather was not an issue. As the sun shone while I loaded in, I figured I could have a really good day. I did not expect to have an excellent day! I was so busy on this day that I never even finished setting up. Like Orland, I had all sorts of set builders with lists in hand, pulling piles of cards. Also like Orland, we had a good time just talking about nonsense. Good company. A really good day. Once again, I found myself with a pocket full of cash. So I went on a little buying spree again. Between Orland and Bloomingdale, I had quite a haul this weekend. I think some of the cards I bought this weekend will find their way to eBay. Most of the cards will eventually go into my binders. I've got a lot of work to do.
Next weekend is Gonzaga. The last two Gonzaga shows were tremendous. Hopefully, we have more of the same next weekend. I plan on filling my 1975 Topps binder which should take most of the week to complete. I also plan on pricing up some more star cards for my display cases. In a perfect world, I would have more time to reload another binder but I don't see it happening. I may bring out my dime box, just to have an additional new item on my table. It's been a while since I brought the dime box out to Gonzaga. It is fully reloaded and ready to go.
Pictured below are some of my pick-ups from this weekend. What a great time I had! Thanks everybody!!