Thursday, February 13, 2014

If I knew a card shop owner ...

As I've mentioned many times before, I don't have a reliable card shop to visit. The one in the mall isn't worth anyone's time anymore and I'm surprised that it's still there (or maybe it isn't. I haven't been to the mall in quite awhile).

Even when I had a regular shop, I wasn't one to get to know the owner. He was usually trying to sell me something and I was usually trying to avoid buying something. I have this whole suspicious way of looking at people who are trying to get my money anyway.

But I do know that there are regular card shop guys, who are just fans of cards, who just want to talk about cards. They do exist.

A few years ago, a maintenance man at my job gave me the business card of a card shop guy he knew. The maintenance man sort of dabbled in cards, not too seriously but he knew I liked them. He said he'd been to this guy's shop, which was in his house, and they just kind of gabbed about cards.

I took the business card and looked at the address. "Antwerp," I said to myself, "that's like 25 minutes away." I put it in my wallet and never looked at again. A little while ago, I was cleaning out my wallet, saw the business card, and discarded it, thinking there was no way someone selling cards out of his home in a tiny town like Antwerp was still in business.

Now, thanks to Brian at Play At The Plate, I'm kicking myself for tossing that business card.

As you might have read, he has struck up a relationship with a former card shop guy. They meet each other and talk about cards while they sort cards. The card shop guy has lots and lots of cool cards. And Brian nabs some for himself and for others.

Others like me.

You saw that Piazza up there. It's off my want list.

Here's another one, of a Molten Steel Gary Sheffield using his left hand for a club.

Here is some numbered item of my collecting favorite Hideo Nomo. It's some hobby-issue only set. It doesn't look fancy enough for that.

One more Nomo. From 1996 Leaf Limited.

When I read Brian's accounts of his time with the former card shop owner, I imagine what it must be like to walk through a house with all those cards, just talking about cards and looking at cards and leaving with cards that you didn't have when you got there. It sounds like a dream.

But part of me wonders, if I knew a card shop owner guy like that, what would I do?

Would I strike up a relationship? I'm not really the outgoing type.

Would I keep going over there to help sort cards and shoot the shit? I've got lots of other things to do you know.

Would I find cards for my fellow blogging friends? Or would I keep them all for myself?

These are the things I ponder, too, when I'm reading about Brian with his card shop buddy.

Good for Brian. He doesn't have to do all that. But he does. He's found something that others in this hobby can't find. And he's letting us all in on it by not only writing about it, but sending us cards like this:

And this:

If I knew a card shop owner, some guy who's maybe out of the business now but has a whole lot of cards and just wants to talk about them with someone, I'd like to think I'd do what Brian is doing.

I'd like to think I'd grab some '55 Bowmans for me and a few for some other people, who really like cards.

Maybe I'll drive on up to Antwerp and see if that guy is still around.


  1. Brian's got a good deal going. I'd love to have a guy who'd want to hang out and sort cards. One of my best friends is heavy into sports memorabilia, but he isn't really a card guy. My other friend is really into cards, but I can't stand being around the guy too long. One of those deals where he's cool in short shifts.

  2. No good places to buy cards in my area either. Thankfully my friends will tolerate me talking about cards because it always leads to some good debates about players.

  3. My LCS owner is pretty good. I can go in and there is usually someone there shopping I know, or maybe behind the counter, and we can talk about cards for a while. I need to time to just go in there and shoot the shit about vintage. I think Brian would chat about it - he seems like he has the shops as much for his fun as ours.

    When I was a teenager, the shop I frequented had an owner who loved to talk cards. Going in there would be a good 15-20 minutes chatting, then a purchase, then another 10-15 before I would be out the door. Looking back, I should I spent less and talked more.

  4. Glad the cards made it safe and sound (and snow free). I haven't been to the guys house in two weeks and I think I'm going through withdrawal.

  5. Replies
    1. Keep in mind that I don't live in Canada, where there apparently is some rule that towns need to be two hours apart, nor do I live in a large city where there is a traffic jam outside your doorstep.

      Oh, and I just looked. It's 29 minutes.

  6. We actually have three local card shops here in the Des Mones, Iowa area - maybe that's one nice thing about living in a state capital. Two of those I frequent quite a bit and one not so much. The owners are fun to talk to and I've gotten some great deals over the years, including some nice traders. Both of them really work to get the kids into their stores, as well. We also have a very nice card show, with dealers from across the state, once a month one of our American Legion posts here in town.

  7. My LCS is about 20-30 minutes away and I drop in from time to time out of the cold - the LCS owner has his set of regulars but for me, it's mainly about grabbing what I need.

    I'd rather do my business going through the loose cards in monster boxes and making the occasional unopened pack/box purchase than chatting it up with the owner, who is pretty cordial otherwise.