Surprises – good and bad – at the card show

I posted on Friday that I was heading out to a card show over the weekend. This would be my first card show in many, many years, and I was looking forward to it. The post generated a couple comments. The author of Crinkly Wrappers wished me well, and the author of The Priceless Pursuit suggested that I not get my hopes too high. Hmm… foreshadowing.

The show had around 50-75 tables for cards/memorabilia and another 50 or more for toy dealers. From my vintage collecting days, I expect to see almost no vintage cards, just shiny crap. Of course, I’m now in the business of shiny crap, so that would be fine by me. To my surprise, there were lots of vintage cards at the show. Sure it was mostly T206s and Goudeys, but it was there.

Another surprise – football cards. I had no clue how widely collected football cards are. Some display cases only had football cards in them. Maybe this is a regional thing. I’m in North Carolina. We have a local NFL team but no major league baseball. Also, despite being ACC county, this area has lots of SEC football fans. So, the football cards at this show might not be typical, but they were huge nonetheless.

My final surprise – if the cards you want aren’t worth at least $5, there is no easy way to find them at a card show. You have to figure that there were some 1998 Pinnacle and 1994 Select inserts at that show, but they were hopeless buried in some Super Monster boxes labeled 10 or 25¢. And these boxes… For the most part they were 100% unsorted. Baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and even racing cards all together. In one box I found cards of women models. I don’t want a 1999 Miss America Evening Gown Relic card.

On the way home from the show I realized my problem. I have chosen to collect cards from the just about the armpit era of cards. Why would dealers spend time to have cards nicely sorted when those cards are just about worthless? Of course that isn’t going to happen. The same goes for boxes of junk wax. Dealers aren’t going to take up table space with boxes that go for $5 or 10 when others can sell for $50 or more.

So the show was a bust for specific cards I wanted to find. Did I buy anything? Sure. I need packs for the weekly pack rips I’m posting. I picked up a couple hand fulls of bona fide junk era wax packs for about 40¢ each on average. All the packs are 1995 or earlier.

I did enjoy the conversations at the show. While I was digging through a large bin of packs, I was listening to two dealers talking about cards. One was a dealer from whom I have bought a number of sports letters through eBay. We talked a little bit. There was also a lot of conversation among dealers about the upcoming National in Baltimore. Are you going? Will you have a table? – things like that. Overall, maybe the best part of the show was eavesdropping on the banter between dealers. Although card hunting didn’t pan out, the show was still worth the $5 admission.

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4 responses to “Surprises – good and bad – at the card show

  1. Any card show is better than no card show! Glad you were able to find something good amongst all the crap actually worth something :).

    My LCS is my junk wax headquarters!

    • There aren’t many shops close to me, and I’m still looking for an LCS home. When I go to my next show, I’ll talk to the dealers more. If I can email them before the show, they might have more for me.

      • Nice selections with the Collector’s Choice! I still love busting boxes of that stuff. It was the peak of the junk/cheap wax era, in my opinion. But it’s still fun to open, so is it even actually ‘junk’?

      • I wouldn’t have picked up so many 1994 Collector’s Choice packs (5 total), but I kept on finding different wrappers for Series 1. I don’t know how many different ones there are. I don’t have them in front of me, but some of the players on the packs were Griffey, Sanders (Prime Time), and Piazza. I’ll probably put all five packs into one post in the near future.

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