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Holmdel Baseball Card Show 5/26/13– Just Keep Trading!!!

Updated on May 28, 2013

1960 Fleer Lou Gehrig

Wheeling and Dealing!!!

I like writing up the weirdness some of these baseball card shows bring out. Doing a baseball card show on a holiday – any holiday- is always risky. While there are usually less dealers, there is also the potential for far fewer buyers to show up, even on a nice day. This past Memorial Day weekend, I did the show at the Holmdel Firehouse in New Jersey which is a show I do every month.

There were fewer dealers this month as expected and fewer buyers but the right ones showed up and I was in a mood to move some product. I try to cover only baseball cards at this point. I’ve carried all four major sports and some non-sports and wrestling cards as well but my first true love is baseball. While I have new stuff from this year and lots of stuff from the past ten or so, I also try to have a pretty fair amount of low-end vintage cards. Many collectors love vintage, and understand how much different it is than today’s cards but vintage cards can be very expensive. I try to have a great deal of commons with some semi-stars, team cards, high number, league leaders and highlights cards all fewer than ten dollars. A great deal of it is under five dollars. I decided to take everything priced five dollars and under and offer them at one dollar for the day. This led to some regulars having a field day buying up these cards as upgrades for sets they were building. I also have a box of fifty cent vintage that encompasses mostly cards from the early 1970’s which got raided as well.

I was having a nice day so far. Then it got all weird on me….

One of the other dealers I’ve worked with offered me a great deal of nearly 700 vintage commons for $200. That is a great deal as the cards were in very nice shape. I took a quick look through them and I wanted them but told the dealer I didn’t have that kind of money on me (I usually don’t start a day with lots of money to spend – I probably should, but I think I’d spend it too fast). He offered me the deal anyway on credit – he’s a good guy, we’ve done business before, we’re both always at this show. I’m not comfortable asking for that much credit and told him so but he had no problem with it. I gave him sixty dollars towards the total which he was satisfied with.

As I was selling other stuff off the table, another vintage card dealer not working the show walked up to offer me stuff he had for sale. He only sells to the dealers which is the right thing to do. He isn’t paying for a table so he shouldn’t sell to customers. As I was going through his box, he saw the box I had just gotten and wanted it. I wasn’t thrilled with that. I liked having a lot of new stock, even if it is commons that take longer to sell. In the end, though, he was offering to trade me awesome vintage cards of superstars for a whole lot of commons and he also wanted a 2-row shoebox of newer baseball cards and my 50-cent box. While that was a lot of stuff, I was trading these boxes into a lot of high end vintage that included the following:

1954 Bowman Richie Ashburn

1954 Bowman Jim Gilliam

1954 Bowman Larry Doby

1954 Topps Richie Ashburn

1958 Topps Dodgers Team Card

1958 Topps Frank Robinson

1961 Topps Hank Aaron

1961 Topps Whitey Ford

1960 Fleer Lou Gehrig

1958 Topps Stan Musial All Star

1958 Topps Hoyt Wilhelm

1963 Topps Buc Blasters (with Clemente)

1963 Topps Power Plus (with Aaron and Banks)

1970 Topps Willie Mays

And a few other cards were part of that deal as well. I sold some of the cards as I was putting them into clean holders at the show. I’ve said before in earlier hubs that I would always trade new stuff for old and this was no exception. What an amazing show.

How NOT to Make a Deal

Just a quick aside here – while putting the cards into clean cases a young kid asks to see the cards. Maybe he’s twelve but he knows all of the vintage stars and has money to spend (one of the other dealers told me to let him look). The kid initially pulls out most of the list above including a few others and I give him a very good, though still very expensive, price at $500. The kid begins whittling the pile down and keeps asking for price updates while telling me he has $230 on him. His father walks up and doesn’t seem to have a problem with the kid spending money. They keep discussing the merits of certain cards, and they keep whittling the pile down. I keep giving them prices that are roughly half the value of the cards. I go out of my way to help kids but these are vintage superstars at half-price – it doesn’t get much better than this. They continue to get the pile down until the kid has a pile valued at $140 and I ask for $50. I think this is a steal. They discuss the cards again, and I’ll admit I’m completely irritated by this time, they’ve wasted twenty minutes talking and discussing and re-pricing. Finally the kid looks at me and says, “I don’t think we have a deal.”

I took the pile back and said ok. They were stunned. STUNNED!! I don’t know why. I explained that these are vintage superstar cards in great shape at half price, even less on this last deal I offered, and I had no intention or need to go lower – I can just sell them at the next show. They walked away and bought a few vintage cards from a dealer who had just gotten his cards – FROM ME!!

(Many of the cards out of this deal were sold the very next day – at half price to one of my loyal buyers.)

How to Anger a Dealer

Another quick story – at a recent show, a dealer I’ve known for a long time, and avoided, was set up next to me. I’ve avoided him because he is well known for selling, or at least presenting on his table, fakes as real cards. I’m usually pretty good with this kind of stuff but I goofed this day. He had a rotten day – I did not. My regulars from this show routinely spend fairly well at this show so I was ok. He wanted to trade to get something new for the next show. He doesn’t have much but he does have two T206’s on his table. I’ve owned both real ones and fakes and put the time into figuring them out. It isn’t difficult to go online and look up back variations for that set. But I couldn’t do it in the place that day. He handed me one with a Sweet Caporal back printed in a bright blue color I knew was fake. The other card had a Sweet Caporal back in black ink. I had no idea on this one. I had a few other items in the trade (newer stuff) and he got an incomplete 1950 R423 strip with Lou Gehrig on it. I wasn’t thrilled but I like tobacco cards and even commons sell well.

As soon as I got home, I looked it up and found it to be a fake. Now this is just stupid. He knows I’ll figure it out the moment I put a second into looking it up. He KNOWS it – so why try to pass a fake off on me? Needless to say, if there is a way to burn bridges behind you – he’s perfected it…


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    • dblyn profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Staten Island, NY

      Glad you enjoyed it. The industry and card shows have changed from years ago but it's still a fun hobby and I have a great time at the shows I do here on Staten Island and in New Jersey.

    • catfish33 profile image

      Jeffrey Yelton 

      5 years ago from Maryland

      I enjoyed reading about your card show experience. I used to go to them and do smaller ones, and I love the atmosphere of card shows. Well done!


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