Saturday, January 29, 2011

If you could buy only one card at a card show ...

I have a card show to go to this weekend. It is the same show that I haven't been able to go to for the last two Januarys because of the monumentally crappy weather that we receive every first month of the year. (You people who have weekly card shows in Florida just remember that, and let the guilt wash over you as you flip through cards in your Hawaiian shorts).

But this time, unbelievably, the weather is supposed to be passable.

And wouldn't you know it, this time, I also happen to be broke.

I will be going to this card show with the least amount of money that I have taken to a show since I returned to the hobby. Also, a portion of the little cash that I have will be going toward purchasing items for a couple of super generous people who have showered me with terrific card packages recently (stay tuned for those. They're crazy good).

That leaves me with this thought:

I may end up going to this show only to come away with two or three cards, or even one card, for myself.

That increases the pressure. I must ensure that the few cards, or card, that I get is the biggest bang for my paltry buck. I want no regrets. I need something special, but within limits. I don't have money to even buy a 1974 Dave Winfield, which happens to be the most money I've ever put down on a single card ever.

I might end up with a handful of 1971 Topps needs, or a very cool Kershaw card, or maybe a couple of '56s.

But I'm open to any suggestions.

Also, what would you do? If you had, say, only 20-30 bucks to spend on one or two cards, what would you choose?


  1. I totally understand your situation... At a show I always go towards trying to finish sets rather than singles or pc stuff... Getting 7 commons from '73 might cost a buck at a show where on ebay they would be a buck each plus shipping. A Dave Winfield rookie would likely be cheaper on COMC or the bay than at a show... I would go towards finishing sets and finding commons first, hunting for oddballs second and sifting through dollar boxes looking for gems to kill the rest of the day... Enjoy!!! Those daily card shows in the Florida dont happen in my neck of the woods unfortunately, but I do still manage to run into former players on a daily basis...

  2. 20-30 bucks for one or two cards? I'm tracking down the sickest Kemp and Kershaw cards I can find.

  3. I remember going to one card show and spending my entire $20-$30 budget on a Tug McGraw certified autograph from Topps Fan Favorites. I'm still happy with that find.

    Good luck picking out something cool.

  4. Wow, awesome question!!! And I hear you on the few and far between card shows. We only have a few up here in Buffalo. Snow or no snow, I'm still wearing my Hawaiian shorts.

    I love going to shows and just watching collectors. Some people go to a shopping mall to people watch, but a card/sports memorabilia show is just as good of a place to people watch. You see peoples' faces light up when they find their white whales, you see kids get all excited about the hobby and you also see greedy people squeezing/cutting in front of others. Peoples' actions and reactions are fun to watch. I have a psy background so may be the dork in me.

    As for a card. I was in the same situation at a card show 2 years ago and bought a 1980 Topps Rickey Henderson RC. I've always liked the look of that card. I only paid $12 for a pretty nice condition one. Have fun!!!

  5. Go expecting to Buy something your weren't looking for. I always have all these lists and come home with something completely different. A show is a success if I do any one of the following - cross off something from a want list, pick up a card from 1971 or prior, I either learn something new or a dealer or customer makes me chuckle.

  6. For me personally, I would go after the one card that I have coveted for 25 years now, the 83 Topps Tony Gwynn rookie. As for the great NO I think you should try to hit some of the Nebuluos 9 cards that you seek. Maybe find some oddball Dodgers to add to your collection.

    It would be nice to have some decnt card shops and any card shows here in Seattle once in awhile.

  7. Good question, but it depends--do I get to pick any card that SHOULD go for $20-30, but never seems to turn up? Or stick to cards that dealers at most shows have?

    In the hard-to-find category, I'd say a 1950 R423 #5 of Yogi Berra. They're tiny cards originally sold in strips and while some of the set's on eBay, Berra almost never pops up. ($30 should still cover it, though--it's not a high-demand card, just rare.)

    More readily available would be a low-grade 1953 Bowman #97 Eddie Mathews. (The one I have now is trimmed, so anything with borders is an upgrade.) $30 should cover that, too.

  8. hard question to answer without seeing what's available, but for me, i'd try to finish a set or two. For you, maybe I'd concentrate on my favourite player, and get a card or two of him.

  9. If I'm at a card show with only 20 bucks, I look at all the tables and find the one with the best nickel/dime/quarter box and go to town. If that was unavailable, I'd find something Vintage and old featuring a Milwaukee or Boston (NL only, please) player.

    With that little money though, you have to go into it with an open mind. Let go all your wants and expectations, and wander through the show in a Zen-like trance and allow the perfect card to find you.

  10. I'm an odd duck when it comes to card shows. Sometimes I can spend my entire budget, while other times I won't spend much at all.

    The fact that card shows in Jacksonville sucked helped that...heavier on NASCAR and football than anything else. Then there's the fact that asking for "older" cards led to '81 Topps being shown.

    "What? 30 years isn't old enough for you?"

    "No. And even if it were, I'm not paying that for them."

    Since I moved to St. Pete, though...there's a mall show every month that can suck the money out of my wallet if I'm not careful. In those cases, having my wife around helps.

    While there are still sellers who deal with shiny stuff and memorabilia (and are easy to walk past) and the guys who either want more than I'm willing to pay or won't give you a price without calling up the Great Oracle of Dr. Beckett -- a pet peeve of mine -- it helps ease the pain. However, there's always at least one of those sellers who have everything priced and keeps dropping the price as you pick stuff out. That's always a way to keep me at a table.

  11. Just find all the bargain boxes and try to ind stuff there. That will get you most bang for the buck. If you can't find a bargain bin try to find some 60s Post. They usually go fairly cheap.