Monday, October 12, 2015

Reporting from the Card Show: A Contest?

Based on the resounding lack of readers for yesterday's post, perhaps I was wrong about being missed last week. Work sucks in that it takes us away from the stuff we enjoy doing, but generally we are unable to do things we enjoy doing without working to get money to allow us to do what we enjoy.  It's a vicious cycle.

Today on Twitter, the blog world's favorite marketing communications manager at Topps, Sooz, held her usual 3 PM Monday #CardChat.  The topic was card shows. 

Question 1:
My answer was Sunday, October 4.  As I mentioned before I left town, I stopped at my local card show for a couple of hours and picked up some random finds. How random? Let's start with Gary Carter random:

1989 Donruss All-Stars

1992 Pinnacle

2015 Diamond Kings
I know I'm a logo snob, and I have commented previously about the Diamond Kings set not being a favorite, but the more I see the cards, the more it grows on me.  Quality like this -- and not those crappy cartoon cards that Panini put out in 2012 and 2013 under the guise of being "Triple Play" -- makes me not miss the logos.

Here's an idea as to how to control parallels while still having the hits and the parallels and getting fully licensed cards from people other than Topps.  MLB should issue a license for exactly one set per card manufacturer per year (other than Topps...again, we're not affecting their contract here). That licensed set can include up to 500 base set cards, of which one team may not have more than 17 cards and no fewer than 15 cards.  Any teams that no longer exist can have up to 20 cards in the set, and those cards don't count against the 500 limit.  

With me so far?

There can be up to 8 parallels (to make collecting a rainbow on one binder page possible) for each card, and each parallel may not be serial numbered any less than out of 99.  Why? To make collecting a rainbow possible for up to 99 collectors.  It's an attempt at being egalitarian.

There can be up to 5 insert sets.  One insert can be autographed, one insert may have relics, and one insert can combine the two. All of these must be serial numbered to no fewer than 25 -- to give some scarcity -- and they cannot have parallels.  The other two insert sets are the more common ones -- 1 in every 2 packs, say -- and can include any assortment of players and teams that the card company wants to include.

Then, collectors get to vote on which of those fully licensed sets sticks around for the next season.  It'll be like All-Star voting.  You get to vote on which base set wins, which insert sets win, which parallels win, and which auto/relic/combo set wins.  The following season, the company that created the most winning sets gets to create two licensed sets -- one higher end, one of the same base-type set -- and we do it all over again as to the voting.

Too complicated? What do y'all think?

Sooz's question two:

Again, I'm very lucky. Within a twenty minute drive, there are between 20 and 25 card shows a year for me to attend. The downside is that many of the same vendors attend. The upside is that I have gotten to know a bunch of the vendors so they look out for me and bring Brewers cards when they otherwise might not.

Because, to be fair, there really is no reason that any of these cards should appear at a card show here:

Sure, ten years ago, the Rickie Weeks Huntsville Stars card would have been in some demand, and maybe a 2001 Topps Stars Ben Sheets or UD Game Face Promo of Sheets might have had some pull when Sheets was the next big thing in the early 2000s.  But the Gallardo Bowman Heritage Prospects card? A 1990 Teddy Higuera Sportflics?  I feel like the folks at the show know I will scarf these up.

Now this one is a softball question for me.  I mean, where else could I find these cards for 10 cents without any postage or shipping fees?

Perhaps when COMC has its Black Friday promotion with free shipping you might be able to find these there, but even then the card will not be a dime.  For instance, I can't find the Molitor 1989 Topps Big on COMC, but the cheapest Brewers available from that set currently are Don August and Juan Castillo, each for $0.45 a card.  The 1995 Molitor Zenith is $0.50 a pop, the 1998 Fleer Tradition is at least $0.75 a piece, and the only copy of the Just Minors Just Prospects Prince Fielder available on COMC as of 10/12 is an encased version of it at $9. I got two copies of it -- one for the team collection, one for the player collection -- for a total of $0.20 including shipping.

Seems like the relative cost and deals that are available at card shows provides a big plus for those of us who do have them long as you have good vendors.

Sooz's next question was a bit more difficult.
Some of the responses to this question were interesting. Ideas such as making dealers stay to the end (not sure how you do that other than hold people hostage, perhaps), having shows at night at a bar or restaurant, themed weekends (80s cards one weekend, 90s cards the next), or getting listings of the dealers attending and having WiFi available all were listed out. 

Once again, I'm pretty lucky on many of those counts. Our shows aren't at night, but the gentleman who promotes the show, Frank Moiger, sends out an e-mail prior to the show with the vendors who are attending and what the vendor is planning to bring. These folks go all over and buy cards and are collectors themselves, so they tend to have new stock every show.  And, because the shows are at a hotel with free WiFi, that's not an issue either.

The WiFi is great too because it allows me to check my want lists on this site at the show so I can see that I need cards.  My problem this time was that I didn't have anything up from 2015, so I guessed -- correctly, I'll add -- that I needed these cards:

Since these are from this year, I had to pay 15 cents for each of these.  Highway robbery!

Now, I'm out of cards to show you, but I did want to bring up the last question Sooz asked (skipping over the "what killed card shows" and the obvious answer of eBay/the internet):

I know it wasn't from this show, but I think, for the price, that this was my best card show find.  It's from last June, and I paid a shiny quarter for it.  

Considering how much I love oddballs, it should come as no surprise that I would pick one of these MSA discs from 1976 (minimum COMC price: $2.94) as my favorite.

How about any of you? Have a favorite card show find to show off?

If you do, how about we make this a little contest? For everyone who puts up a favorite card show find -- whether the show took place last week or in 1983 -- and then puts a link to your blog post in the comments section, you'll be entered into a randomized drawing for a $10 gift certificate for my local card show. In other words, I'll spend $10 buying you cards for your collection at my card show.

The contest will close on October 31 at midnight, and I'll get the winner picked out in time either for a November or a December show (I'm out of town that weekend, so I may not make the November 1 show).

Thanks for reading!


  1. For me, I have no card shows near me. The closest I get is the county fair which happens once per year. There is one guy who usually has a stand who sells cards there (typically located near the homemade pies and jams). He basically only sells singles...but one year he had a bunch of Barry Larkin cards that I needed - nothing spectacular but I'll happily drop a quarter for a new Larkin card any day of the week.

  2. I loved the 95 Topps Jose Valentin in your last post. Favorite set of mine, favorite player of mine back then (I think just because I pulled a lot of his cards) = so good.

    As for card shows, that "getting dealers to stay until the end" piece hits a vein for me. We do the craft show circuit which, albeit, is different, but there's still a lot of vendors who peace out early when they're not having a great show. If the thing ends at 5, stay til 5. I don't care about traffic, I don't care about sales, it looks bad for fellow vendors and it definitely looks bad to buyers when you leave early. So vendors who leave early...I shake my fist at you!

    As for my best all time card show buy, I've shared this story a few times but I'll share it again - a Mike Schmidt 1973 Topps RC for 75 cents. It had 7500 marked on it but was in a quarters box, and even back then (I was like 12) I knew it was underpriced. I inquired on it and the guy said 75 cents was fine, and it existed as my best card for many, MANY years. I later traded it for a bunch of custom work and made a set collector fairly happy, which was cool!

    1. That is definitely a cool story. I hear you about dealers leaving early. I personally understand it if there is literally no one in the building but other vendors, but is almost never the case.

  3. Not a single I bought but the Junior Griffey auto/triple relic I pulled from a box of 2014 Panini Classics is the best card I've ever gotten from a show.

  4. Here are my best pickups and a steal at that!

  5. Hard to pick one, but finding a '72 Clemente for five bucks was pretty darn sweet.

  6. I haven't been to a show since the mid 2000's so this is a bit dated. Mark from Battlin Bucs talks about this a lot, but the regular card shows in the Pittsburgh region are not very good. Flea markets are the much better option. I did however buy a nice Mario Lemiuex triple jersey at a mall show for around $20. The card turned out to be a non numbered parallel that was much more valuable.

  7. Mine would be a couple of Cabrera cards I bought for my wife to add to her collection. (Yep she's starting out with a small collection of cards) at a Jackson Card show. Also had Dan Petry sign a couple of cards too. :D

  8. Earlier this year grabbed a signed Yaz exhibit card.

  9. I do have card shows around me, I just don't really go. I haven't been since 2007 or 2008. Plus, I collect Yankees, and living in the area of the team means that Yanks cards are usually more overpriced than usual.

    I have a few favorite card show cards (none have ever been posted on my blog, actually...thanks for the idea!), but all revolve me going to shows as a kid. I remember I bought a Shaq card when I was 9. I only had 2 dollars of my own money and I was with my mom, and we didn't even know there was a card show at the mall. We went for another reason. I went back and forth between these two tables, trying to pick the Shaq I wanted. I finally chose one, and when I got home, I found out there was two of the same card in the case! That Christmas, I got a ton of basketball cards, so my mom clearly took notice how interested I was.

    The second, I spent some time at a dealer's table when I was probably 12 or 13, and he gave me this ridiculous six-card OJ Simpson Hertz card set. I still have it somewhere.

    1. Care to tell me about the local card shows you mention? I live in the Hudson Valley of NY and we have nothing I know of.

  10. I have gotten some pretty good stuff over the years at shows, but my favorite is probably the 1961 Topps Carl Yastrzemski that I got earlier this year for $7.50

  11. The 1955 Bowmans I got last year made for a pretty good card show experience.

  12. I haven't been to a card show in at least a decade. However the flea market that I hit up every once in a while actually calls it's card area a "card show" - as in a sign that says "Baseball Card Show on Mezzanine". If that counts then I've picked up a lot of good stuff over the years, mostly large boxes of commons. Here is the most recent:

  13. No real card shows here in Southern California so I am going to go back to the mid to late 1980s where I picked up a Joe Montana rookie for $3.50 to finish my 1982 Topps set. I remember that paying that much for a card was very difficult for me to do but I really wanted to finish the set. I am glad I am not looking for that card now as the price has increased greatly.

  14. Q1 - A few weeks ago

    Q2 - Three or Four

    Q3 - Card shows give collectors an opportunity to hang out and talk cardboard. Plus you can actually hold and smell the card before you purchase it.

    Q4 - I'd have them around more area more often.

    Q5 - My 1956 Topps Jackie Robinson.

    1. Here's my post...

  15. I go to a monthly card show plus any others that pop up around Tampa.

    Any time I pick up a new Chipper card or a nice vintage card for a quarter that's a win for my cheap ass.

  16. I mourn the loss of frequent card shows yet I love the convienience of finding everything I need online.

    My most memorable card show find was my first 'White Whale card, the '67 high number Mark Belanger (and Bill Dillman) rookie card. Here is what I posted about it back in 2013.

  17. i went to my first card show in 1979, pretty sure i was at the national in 1980, definitely went to the national in 1991, and have attended card shows here in the twin cities fairly regularly since at least 2003. i've found a lot of good cards at these shows, but one card i found was one that i never really thought i would own.

  18. Here's my post (I couldn't pick just one):

  19. Very difficult to determine (which is why I've taken so long to post anything here). I like that I found a '53 Topps Pee Wee Reese when I thought I was all out of money to get something like that. (There were a lot of good deals at that show).

  20. I can't believe I haven't shown this card off yet on my blog. One of my favorites in my collection.
    Great idea for a contest. Thanks!

  21. I finally made my post for the contest:

  22. The last local card show here was 2003. I sure miss them. Not entering the contest, as I don't have enough stuff scanned to make up the post proper to tell about my favorite card show find. It was a dealer, who wanted to retire, and sold me a bunch of vintage- I'm talking complete sets- for well under normal prices because he just wanted to get rid of them.

  23. Here's the best thing I got at the closest thing to a card show to happen around here since the end of the '90s:

  24. Mine would have to be my Michael Jordan Rookie, I traded a Puig autograph from Topps Chrome for it after negotiating for about 2 hours. I haven't posted yet but I just got back from vacation!

  25. Tony, thanks for the opportunity to share some of my favorite cards!

  26. I almost forgot to post my link: