02 October 2013

Showing Off 1: There's a First Time for Everything

The somewhat local card shop hosts a card show every few months. I hadn't ever been to a card show, so I thought I might try it out. I got there about an hour before the doors closed, so probably about half of the dealers had already closed up shop. There were still a fair number of tables occupied, though, so there was still a decent amount of stuff to look at.

The first thing I bought was the last two packs from a box of Topps Chrome on the table of the guy running the show, so I could get change for my $20 bill. The thumbprints on the cards all came from me. Not much to say about the base cards. Here they are:

And here are the two horizontal cards from the packs. I think my favorite thing about Topps Chrome cards is the smell that they have. It's a plasticky chemical scent that probably causes cancer in the state of California. I have just confirmed that Panini Prizm cards have the same scent.

I did not pull either of the two autographs allocated per box, and I had to settle for two base Refractors as my inserts. At least they are Refractors of decent players; Joe Mauer and Yasiel Puig. I guess I ought to put the Puig on eBay. It's going for upwards of $10 right now. That just seems a little ridiculous to me. But I guess the demand is there. I've picked up a little bit of Chrome here and there so far, but I didn't think I wanted to try building the set, as you only get about 3-1/3 base cards per pack. At $2.99 per retail pack and assuming perfect collation, it would take me 67 packs to build the set, or $200.33 + tax. Boo! Sure, there is the off chance that I could hit some kind of crazy hit and be happy, but especially on the retail side the odds are against me. So I ordered a complete base set from a case buster on eBay for $25.00 and am calling it good. Now I can pick up a pack here or there without feeling driven to buy Moar! and Moar! in an attempt to finish a set. In looking at my Bowman set I finally decided to do the same thing, as I have busted a lot of that product and still was quite a bit short of a full set. I enjoy building a set just as much as anyone else, but I like to keep my sets mostly achievable, like Opening Day or the flagship set, stuff that offers 7 or 10 cards in a lower-priced pack. That is probably enough rant for now. I should just be happy that I pulled a Puig Refractor and not some scrub base card.

I think I read a blog post a while ago that warned against wearing team- or player-specific clothing to card shows because then that's all people will try to sell you, but I forgot about it until just now. I wore my Marshawn Lynch Seahawks jersey to the show, and everyone tried to sell me Russell Wilson? cards, even people who had Lynch cards visible on their tables. I had to explain to them that I am mostly a Denver Broncos fan, and I don't think any of them believed me. Next time I will have to wear something neutral.

The guy I bought the next batch of cards from really tried to push a Ronnie Hillman (one of this year's Broncos Running Backs) relic card on me, but this is the card I was interested in:

The card says something about this being a Veronica Mars card, but I don't even know what that is. This is a card signed by the actress who played Deb in Napoleon Dynamite, Tina Majorino. I don't think there were ever any Napoleon Dynamite autograph cards released, so this is about as close as it gets for fans of that movie.

I also got this Panini Prestige die-cut transparent acetate card of Marshawn Lynch from the same seller. It is a pretty good addition to the collection, although I don't know why the guy didn't lead with it, as I was wearing the jersey featured on the card. Same colors, same player, everything. I don't know.

The guy was pretty frustrated by the lack of business he'd had at the show and told me he wouldn't be coming back in December for the next one. I don't know what card shows generally look like, but there can't be a lot of collectors in this area anyway, and the guy didn't exactly have a table overflowing with stuff that would pull in piles of cash.

Many of the dealers had two tables covered with 5000-count boxes of singles, maybe some display cases for bigger hits, and a couple odds and ends like bobbleheads, magazines, or complete sets. Most of them seemed to be pretty happy with the amount of business they'd seen. This dude had probably 50 cards laid out on a small table, and I didn't see anything mind-boggling among the selection. I would imagine a show is what you make of it.

He tossed in these two Elway cards. I guess that's pretty cool. I didn't even notice them on the table until he added them to the stack. I want to know why Elway is so flippin' orange all the time. He's like a human carrot. I was watching the Denver game this last week and the camera kept zooming in on his face. It was scary. I guess this explains it.

The last table I lingered at had some player-specific boxes of basketball cards. I overpaid for six Hakeem Olajuwon cards for my long-neglected player collection. Don't get me wrong, these are all the nifty insert cards I wouldn't have been able to purchase at the card shop in my youth (I could only afford base cards because I am terrible at saving my money) and I like them, but I overpaid.

When I was a kid, Olajuwon signed a deal with Spalding to release a shoe that kids could afford. The internet way-back machine tells me the MSRP on those was $35.00. I had a pair of them and still store part of my Olajuwon collection in the box they came in, but they didn't really have any staying power. Just a few days ago he released a new shoe as part of his DR34M SHAKE fashion line. The price on it is $185.00. It is also butt-ugly. I guess even our heroes can have flaws.

I may already have this base card. I may even have a picture of it on this blog. I don't know.

 After I got the Olajuwons I felt a little bad about the price I paid for them, the show was just about to close, and my pocket was pretty much empty of cash, so I left. I think that if I go again I need to give myself time to dig through the cheap boxes and work toward my want lists rather than just running around at the last minute without a plan.

The highlights of the show were probably the Majorino autograph, the Puig Refractor, and the two Olajuwon Flair Showcase cards.


  1. Nice pull on the Puig! And, yeah, I try to stay away from wearing any team-specific jerseys to shows nowadays. The sales pitches never seem to end.

    1. Yeah, a jersey or team shirt does seem to force you into a pigeonhole that the dealers are unwilling to let you out of. I guess they intuitively feel that if you can be convinced to shell out money for clothing featuring a team/player, that is the easiest avenue of pursuit for them to sell you some cardboard.