16 June 2014

Showing Off 2: Getting to a Second Card Show

One of the local shop owners hosts a card show a few times a year (probably quarterly, I don't know) at a hotel, with probably about 20 tables set up. I made it to the show in October, but wasn't able to make the last one for some reason. I vowed to go to this one, though, but I almost didn't make it. There was some failed communication between me and my wife regarding plans for the day, and so we wound up having a rather heated discussion about whether I would be going to the show. Of course, the argument wasn't really about the day's scheduling conflict, but in reality was more about both of us feeling a bit overworked and under-appreciated in our current roles. Once we started listening to each other and rooted out the underlying issue, we were able to work it out peacefully and I went to the card show.

I wandered around for a little while to check things out and decide whether I was even in the mood to look at cards. My first purchase was not the Randy Johnson card shown above, but I knew that if I led off with a basketball card no one would click through and read this post. My first purchase was a pack of 2013-14 Panini Crusade basketball. It was a waste of money. I didn't even bother scanning the cards from it, as thinking about the $13.00 I spent in the hopes of pulling something good just makes me feel bad. I need to put an electrode in my clothing that shocks the ever-lovin' out of me any time I think about buying basketball wax. The most notable thing about the pack was the incredible amount of powder all over the cards. The latest Panini Prizm baseball product also had this issue, with a ton of white powder coming out of packs and being stuck all over the cards. Panini says it is an organic press powder designed to make Prizm-technology cards stop double-feeding through the printing machines. I say it is a mess and I don't think I'll be buying more of their products until they find a better solution. I participated in a Prizm group break a little while ago, and those cards were also covered in powder.

After the powdery pack of cards, I continued my show tradition of paying too much for Hakeem Olajuwon cards. In this case it was a '96-'97 Topps Stadium Club Top Crop insert featuring Olajuwon and Shaquille O'Neal. It's a nice shiny card, but not really worth what I paid for it. At least the guy gave me 50% off the sticker price. One thing that really gets me was the sellers' reliance on 'book' prices, which may or may not be relevant. A couple of savvier guys were pulling up the recent sold eBay listings as justification for their prices, which I think is probably much closer to reality than whatever Beckett is printing.

Next I talked to a guy who was wearing a John Elway jersey and a Denver Broncos hat. We talked a little about the Broncos, and I asked him if he had any Shannon Sharpe cards. He didn't have any on the table, but he had a small box of them in his pile by the wall. I sorted through them and picked out 18 cards that jumped out at me. Was there a consistently better product in the late 90's than Collector's Choice? I don't think so.

I held back a little because I hadn't brought a lot of cash with me, but when I handed him the stack of cards I had chosen he told me he'd let them go for $2. Well heck, of course I'll take them for $2. I should have grabbed a lot more of them. Although Sharpe is probably my favorite Bronco of all-time, I don't have a lot of his cards. In high school I was all about the basketball cards, and I didn't accumulate much football or baseball stuff at all. This little stack of cards makes a pretty good start to a Sharpe player collection. There were one or two cool cards picturing him as a Raven, but I am not ready to cross that bridge.

Because he had made such a low offer to me for the Sharpe lot, I decided to also pick up this Tim Tebow Rookie Card from him, which is a photo variation of some kind. His career never really took off, but he had that crazy run in 2011 that was hugely exciting for me as a Bronco fan. I'll probably always have a bit of a soft spot for Tebow and his cards because of that.

After purchasing the Tebow and Sharpe cards I grabbed that Randy Johnson Upper Deck card at the top of the post from a table across the aisle. Could I have gotten it cheaper at some point in my collecting career? Probably, but now I have it and I don't have to worry about it. At least I didn't buy the graded copy I saw with a $60 price tag on it.

As I headed for the exit I had $5 left in my pocket, and I saw a guy set up with a ton of vintage stuff. He had a box showcasing low-grade vintage stars at 80-95% off book. I thought I might have a look at that. The first card that caught my eye was that one up at the top, with Goose Gossage and Rollie Fingers on the front. It's too bad Gossage hadn't grown his handlebar out yet, or that card would probably take over the world. Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver on a card together? I'll take it. I'll even take Nolan Ryan and J.R. Richard on a card together. There was another card with them together on it, but it would have taken me over $5, so I had to put it back.

Here is another bunch of cards from that box. You can see especially in this scan that these cards were in rough shape. But I got a Killebrew In Action card and a psychadelic bat barrel shot. A PSA 10 graded copy of that psychadelic 1972 card sold for $1235 on eBay, and I got my well-loved copy for less than a dollar. A similarly-graded In Action Killebrew card went for $400 on eBay. I may never get my $0.83 back from these cards, but I have probably already got my money's worth in intangible benefits from owning the cards. I like that Rollie Fingers card in the middle, too. This year's Archives set has sparked my interest in the 1973 set design, so all you old curmudgeons who dislike Archives can at least take solace in the fact that it has driven some collectors into taking a closer look at the vintage sets you love so much. I had to put back a couple of other Fingers cards and a very miscut 1975 Harmon Killebrew card, but I imagine most of that guy's cards will be there at the next show. It would be kind of fun to put together a vintage set, even a low-grade one. I am not sure which one I would try for, though. Right now it would probably be a toss-up between 1973 and 1975. That is something I may have to look into in the near future.

After handing over my $5 bill I headed for the exit and went home. My stack of cards wasn't very big, but I feel like I did all right. There were a couple of cards I had to leave behind because I wasn't on the market for high-dollar stuff, and I really wish I had spent the $13 from that pack of basketball cards on something else, but overall I feel okay about the experience.

1 comment:

  1. It's always fun to go to a show, and you got some great cards there, Raz. Great post.