Friday, February 10, 2012

On the eve of the card show, a post about...card shows

I've mentioned it in a few of my previous posts, but barring any unforeseen circumstances, I'll be attending a card show tomorrow as an early birthday present from my mom. (Thanks, Mom!)

It will be the first show since I started this blog in December. Hopefully, I'll come back with some good stuff to show off to my fellow readers!

In honor of the event, I thought I'd share a couple of my most interesting card show experiences.

I can't say for certain what the best card show I've ever attended was. There's the time I met Mark Fidrych. There's the time I bought my coveted 1971 Topps Thruman Munson card.

But most of them just blend together for me, in a good way. I come home with a big bag of cards, sort them, admire them, store them away in the binders, and repeat.

I can't remember ever attending a bad card show. Getting shut out at a garage sale that advertises baseball cards? Happens all the time. Going to a new flea market for the first time, but coming home empty-handed? Sure.

But as far as actual card shows, I can't remember a time where I came home disappointed.

There was the one time it was a sick card show...and I don't mean "sick" as in "Check out this sick patch card!" (An expression which I hate, by the way.)

Nope, I was actually feverish and sick one of the days I attended a card show. But I went anyways. My dad and I did the usual pre-card show routine of going to IHOP for breakfast (although I didn't eat much), taking the bus to the train station, getting on the train, and walking the block or so to the card show. Now that's dedication.

After all, that card show only comes around twice a year.

Walking around made me a bit dizzy, but once I sat down I felt better. It would be nice if all the dime/quarter/dollar box vendors at card shows put out chairs for potential customers, but that's not always the case. I did have to stand at a few of the tables.

I specifically remember one of the tables at that show that had boxes upon boxes of dime cards. My dream table. They had chairs, but they were all occupied by the time I got there. I was starting to worry that I'd have to pass this table up, because there was no way I'd make it standing up.

Luckily, someone got up a couple moments later and I got the chair. And I'm pretty sure I looked through all those boxes. One of the crown jewels that I can remember was the Ryan Freel rookie card you see at the top of the post. Freel spent just one year as a Blue Jay, so it's a great addition to the ol' "short term stops" collection. Not only that, but it's numbered, too. Numbered cards in dime boxes are few and far between, for the most part.

In terms of just cards, that show was just another great one. I still came home with my sack o' cards and everything.

I ended up getting even more sick the next day due to all the action at the card show. But it was worth it.

Or maybe I'm just crazy.

As I said before, I couldn't really tell you what the best card show I've ever attended was.

But I can tell you what my best collecting weekend was.

Two summers ago, I somehow scrounged up enough money to go to two card shows on consecutive days. The twice-a-year one that I just mentioned, and another one that's about a half-hour away.

I was in full health for the twice-a-year show this time (although they held it three times that year for some reason). I've said this before on this blog as well, but this card show is in the same convention hall that they hold the National in when it comes to Chicago. They hold a couple other card shows every year when the National isn't in town.

It was actually the one time I worried that I'd come home from a card show disappointed. I got about three-quarters of the way through and didn't have a whole lot to show for it.

Luckily, all the dime and quarter boxes seemed to be hidden in those last few aisles. I still came home with a whole bunch of cards.

There's always a dealer at these shows that has a gigantic bin of lower-grade vintage cards just scattered about, all individually (and very reasonably) priced. The only way to search through the box is to just grab a handful of 'em and sift through them. And do it again. And again.

I go to almost all these shows with my dad, and that bin is always fun to go through with him. As far as newer stuff goes, only I know what I collect as there's just so much different stuff out there. But my dad's got a great handle on the vintage guys I like, so he knows what to add to the "pile" and what to put back.

I'd found a 1959 Topps Bobby Thomson for fifty cents and a 1963 Topps Ron Santo for a buck in the bin at previous shows.

This time, I found the 1960 Topps Podres and Zimmer cards you see above for a mere fifty cents a piece.

Another success.

The next day, me and my dad attended another card show. This time, I had to drive there. No train or anything. (More on that later, though.)

I'd never attended this particular show before. In terms of the size of the show, it was pretty much the opposite of the humungous one I attended the previous day. It was held in a hotel, so it was only a couple of rooms, which is about was I was expecting.

The first room was mainly just packs and boxes and whatnot, not something I'm interested in at shows. One of the guys had a box of early '80s cards for a dime a piece, so I ended up with about a hundred cards I needed from that.

The other room was sheer paradise. There were only about seven or eight vendors, but they all had dime boxes. I remember it was right around when 2010 A&G came out, and a couple of the dealers had stacks of the base cards for a dime a piece. I was able to knock out most of my base needs from that set right then and there.

I found a ton of great dime cards (about as much as I did at the gigantic card show I attended the day before), but the find of the day wasn't one of them.

One of the dealers had three huge boxes filled with dime cards, and I looked through every single one and came up with a few hundred cards I needed. He also had some other stuff on display next to the dime boxes, including one single silk card from 2010 Topps. As I moved in closer, I noticed who it was. Casey Kotchman. The guy only had one silk card for sale, and it's Kotchman! Quite possibly my favorite card from the 2010 Topps set!

Casey Kotchman is one of my favorite players in the game right now, and he was my second-ever player collection, after Hoyt Wilhelm. At the time, I thought this 2010 Topps card would be his last, because he had an atrocious year for the Mariners that year.

He shocked us all with his fantastic 2011 season, and he's now a viable first-base option for a lot of teams. I wish him the best of luck in Cleveland in 2012.

I usually don't even ask about cards that don't have price tags on them, but I made an exception for the Kotchman card. I was almost afraid to ask for a price on it because I worried that the guy would tell me something that was out of my range. It would've hurt me to have to leave that card behind.

My worrying was for naught, because he priced the card at just three bucks, which is more than reasonable for a silk card. It's still the only silk I own and it might just be my favorite Casey Kotchman card.

It kind of represented the whole card show that day. Going in, I wasn't expecting too much, but I came home with tons more than I would've ever expected.

The only downside was that we got lost on the way home and ended up about an hour away from home. Needless to say, it's the most driving I've ever done in one day.

The card show I'll be attending tomorrow is the first time I'll be checking it out.

I love reading everyone else's card show posts, and I'll definitely be letting my readers know what I find.

The days I attend card shows are among the greatest days of the year for me because they're so few and far between.

Tomorrow will be no exception.


moremonkeys138 said...

Great stories! Can't wait to see what you come out with.

Spiegel83 said...

Those are some nice Dodger finds. Podres was one of my all time favorites. Game 7 in 1955!!!

Mike said...

I have a GPS on my phone now!,no more getting lost!..haha!...have a great time today!

AdamE said...

Good luck in your search...