The morning came early — very early, especially after a night when I had trouble falling alseep. . . My mind was racing, which was unusual for me — don’t forget this, did I remember to load that in the car — eventually sleep did come, but it was restless. We were out of the house early — partially, again from not being able to sleep.
I planned an hour to unload the car and set the table up, we arrived an hour and a half before the show started and got to our table and unloaded immediately. I tried to be conscious of all the things that annoy me as a collector at a show, and one of my biggest pet peeves are cards without prices posted, and while I did work feverishly to get everything set up and priced I didn’t quite make it. . . I’d say I got 98% of what was in the display case so that was acceptable. Another thing that drives me insane is the way that some tables price cards at shows. I understand that dealers need to make profit and they have expenses, but when a card that routinely sells for $15-20 on eBay is priced at $75 I scratch my head. I made a conscious effort to price the pieces of my collection at a price I would think was reasonable if I were on the other side of the table.
My pricing strategy must have worked. Before the doors even opened to collectors one dealer started scooping up a stack of my sets. Before they got too far I stopped them and told them I’d prefer to sell to dealers at the end of the show. It dawned on me immediately after speaking that the dealers intention was to literally take two steps from my table and quadruple my asking price. Our table was SLAMMED from shortly after the doors opened until the room started to clear out. We didn’t really make much money at all, but we had a lot of fun, and lightened some boxes considerably, and the more I thought about it the fun and making people happy was more important to me that selling a few extra sets. So when the dealer came back at the end of the show I decided not to sell — I’d rather sell the sets to people who will actually enjoy them in their collection rather that someone who is simply looking to scoop up stacks of cheap cards to flip them like commodities. That isn’t to say I didn’t sell to any dealers a few came looking for cards for their collections or maybe an item or two for a hole in someones collection, but my goal was to put as many smiles on kids and collectors faces as possible — and I think we did pretty well at that.
The room itself was smaller than the normal room, and reminded me a bit of the shows that Steve Gold used to put on about 15 years ago — those were great shows, and while you can’t compare a show in 2009 to one in the middle of the comic and card boom — this was a great show. We met a lot of people, sold a lot of stuff to random people who were really surprised to hear the price of that card they were chasing.
I learned a few things. . . like regardless of my intentions to keep my lists updated as things sold it was pretty much impossible given the pace at which people were asking to look at cards and things, and that no matter how good your prices are some people will still try and low-ball you, and as always you just never know what will sell and what won’t — exactly 1 card was sold out of my display case, which was fine as I really didn’t *want* to sell most of those cards anyway, I just felt I had to have some sketches and autographs in order for people to stop by my table.
At the end of the day we had a lot of fun — we spoke to tons of collectors old and new, we sold a lot of cards at very reasonable prices, and even managed to make a trade. It was a fun show. . . the living room is now a mess strewn with boxes from one end to another, and my lists are now totally outdated, maybe we’ll set up at Paul’s next small show.
I meant to take some pictures, but didn’t have time at the beginning of the show and was exhausted at the end. Before signing off I’d like to take a second to thank Paul for putting on the show and give shout-outs to all the Card Talkers and Ed Webb. I like Ed a lot — if you are looking for cards (that I don’t have) check him out at scificards.com — even though his desire to run a business (and feed his family) are generally at odds with my desire to be as cheap as possible he always treats everyone with respect and is great to work with. The industry needs more dealers like Ed.
Ohh. . . and I only forgot one thing — my checkbook!