Sometimes you don't appreciate the work that goes into something until you do the job yourself. I have obviously been to numerous card shows over the past four decades. There have been a handful of times that I helped my buddy sell cards at shows and conventions. I've even sold cards while working at two different card shops and setting up at the local flea market.
But I've never set up and sold my own stuff at a card show... until this past weekend. And I've gotta say... it's a lot of work.
I probably spent five hours going through boxes and pulling out cards that didn't fit any of my PC's that I thought might draw interest from other collectors. I'd say 95% were sticker-graphs of hall of famers or fan favorites I've hoarded over the years. The other 5% were graded cards I could live without.
After hand picking cards I was willing to part with... I started surfing eBay and PWCC's Market Price Research to get an idea of what these singles were worth and labeling them. That took a couple of hours each day over a three day period. Thank goodness I'm on summer break. No way I could do this during the school year without burning myself out.
My collection is pretty much stored in either boxes, binders, or top loaders. Magnetics are too bulky, so I figured I'd clean out my excess card supplies. I started digging through them and pulling out every reasonably clean one-touch magnetic holder I could find as well as a small stack of brand new magnetics I had. The process might sound simple, but it took at least two or three hours.
Last, but not least... I started going through storage boxes to see if there were any unopened wax boxes I might be willing to part with. After an hour or so, I found four boxes that seemed interesting and worth the table space. Sadly... I only sold one of them.
Inventory selection was only the first step in the process. The next step was the show itself. The show was from 9am to 5pm, but I was up at 5am loading the car and on the road by 5:30. I stopped along the way to pick up my friend who helped me. After picking up some coffee and snacks, we were off to the South San Francisco Convention Center. I think we arrived a little after 6:30am.
The two of us unloaded the car and brought everything inside to our table... which we spent the next hour or so setting up. My helper isn't a collector... so I gave her a quick introduction to card collecting and before we knew it... people started filtering in.
The next eight hours sort of flew by (at least for me). I had a lot of fun talking about cards and every now and then selling a single or some supplies.
In the end, here is a summary of sales from Saturday:
- Used Magnetics (x16)
- New Magnetics (x9)
- New Toploaders Package of 25 (x2)
- Graded Rookie Cards of Derek Jeter, Shohei Ohtani, and Kobe Bryant
- Autographs of Magic Johnson, Vince Carter, Will Clark, Ozzie Smith, Chipper Jones, George Gervin, Dennis Rodman, John Stockton, Kevin Durant, Bob Gibson, Dwayne Wade, Yao Ming, Monta Ellis, Baron Davis, Brandon Crawford, Madison Bumgarner, Max Scherzer, and Miguel Cabrera
- Unopened Retail Box of 2001 Upper Deck Golf
We started cleaning up about 15 minutes before the doors closed and were walking to the car by 5:15. It was a pretty tiring experience, but I'd definitely classify it as a success. It was nice to see things from a dealer's perspective.
- I didn't sell a single football card. I don't even remember anyone asking to see one.
- My buddy had mostly $5 and under cards at his table and he did really well.
- There was a lot of interest in San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors cards.
- Wrestling and MMA were popular, but I didn't sell any of my autographs.
- Evan Longoria stopped by my table, but didn't buy anything.
- I didn't sell a single hockey card, but one guy looked at my stuff.
- Nobody purchased my box of 1994/95 Emotion Basketball, but it drew a lot of attention.
Would I do it again? Definitely. It's not something I plan on doing on a regular basis, but if my buddy continues to promote shows... I'll support him by setting up. The key is making sure I have a friend there to help watch the table and keep me company.
That's why I want to give a huge shoutout to my friend Michelle. For someone who had zero interest in the hobby entering the day, she sacrificed a full day out of her busy schedule to help me out. She made several sales on her own and even took the time to document every sale we made.
If that weren't enough, she's offered to help out at the toy show my buddy is promoting in two weeks. Thank you Michelle! You're awesome!
I also want to thank two of my homies: Ben and Mike. Ben was originally going to set up with me, but couldn't. However he loaned me both of his display cases and Mike hooked me up with the table.
By the way... if you're wondering if this is my first step towards leaving the hobby, I assure you... it isn't. I love collecting and can't imagine walking away from the hobby again. That being said... I've gotten to the point where I've literally run out of storage space and need to move stuff that doesn't fit my collection in order to make room for new stuff.
I also want to clarify that I don't flip items sent to me in care packages. Actually, that's not completely true. Six of those new magnetics were part of a contest package I won last year. And there's a chance some of those used magnetics came in a care package at some point. However none of the cards I took to the show were gifts.
Well that my card show recap as a dealer.
If you have any questions about this experience, feel free to leave them in the comment section.
Happy Monday and sayonara!