Out of all of the card shows I have attended in my life I can count the number of times that someone has accompanied me on one hand.
The first show I went to, I attended with my brother. Somewhere on this blog I documented the time when I had to drag my daughter around the show floor because of a scheduling issue. She was less than enthused. The other two times, I've gone to a card show with Angus, of Dawg Day Cards. He's been plenty enthused.
Sunday was the most recent time. I had marked the large, biannual Syracuse show on my calendar for months. Angus just happened to contact me a week or so before the show and I asked if he wanted to come along.
He made his way from Canada, we met in the parking lot of the Buffalo Wild Wings in town (our future dining destination) and hit the road for Syracuse. It was probably a little before 1 p.m. when we arrived at the show site, at the Science and Technology Building at the state fairgrounds.
Now, when I'm by myself at a card show, I like to get the lay of the land before I make too many commitments. There are a lot of tables at this show, so I kind of scan the tables at a distance as I walk through. This both saves time and keeps me from getting into too many conversations with dealers. I'm the shy and retiring type.
Angus does the same thing. Except he goes up to all the dealers and talks to them. I found myself at tables I'd never go to by myself and actually buying things, too. One of the first things Angus pointed out to me that I bought was a healthy stack of Allen & Ginter minis.
These have been scarce at recent card shows so I was thrilled to see them. At a quarter a mini, I grabbed whatever I thought would make my frankenset binder, as well as any Dodgers. It proved to be the right move: I need virtually all of the Dodgers and most of the minis will fit into the frankenset.
I almost felt sorry for the guy who asked for the minis from me after I was done: "sure, dude, but I got all the good ones."
This table featured a lot of Heritage Minors stuff, which was also different. Angus was in heaven because the table was loaded with football hits (as was every third table). I was pretty pleased to see him snag several Cleveland Browns items -- some really cool-looking stuff, too -- I didn't want to invite him to a dud of a show!
Angus found a card for me that I thought I had, then realized I didn't:
A set parallel variation. Panini has grown up. It can now sucker me like Topps can.
Getting a little jealous of Angus' football cards (nobody makes a patch card like football does), I looked for some cheap Dodgers hits.
An autograph card of the long-forgotten John Ely. But, man, what a great image to use.
I had to get this because it amused me so. It's an autograph card of Pedro Baez, now the reviled reliever for the Dodgers who I am sure will sabotage the postseason at some point in the next two weeks. It's pretty cool to get his signature from back when he was a hitter.
Plenty of Joc Pederson cards in those bins. I'm a bit surprised people weren't begging me to take their Pederson cards off my hands. He has fallen off the ledge.
That was all for me from that table. Angus and I moved on to the next one, which was manned by a dealer I've bought cards from many times. He lives not far from me and deals in vintage, with lots of stars. When I feel like spending a bundle, I buy something fancy from him: early '50s Bowman, stuff like that.
I just couldn't do it this time, I was on a bit of a budget. He pointed out a Zack Wheat card from 1923. Yeah, sure, it looks great, but I'm not even going to ask the price of it.
As I was starting to walk away, he asked if I needed any '53 Bowman Dodgers, and plopped a Hodges, Furrillo and Erskine in front of me. My eyes targeted the Hodges right away. What a beautiful card. I wanted that thing. I turned the card over: $125. Nope, nope, nope. Even at discounted price I couldn't afford that.
So, we moved on to looking at various cool items together. Angus was chatting with a dealer and I was itching to move forward so I found the guy who provides me with many of my current Dodgers. He had a binder of 2017 Heritage High Numbers. So, let's go:
I don't have to worry about 10 other bloggers pulling the Cody Bellinger card. It's mine now. These cards got me down to just two remaining Dodgers in the set (Wood and Jansen).
I also took care of that last rascally Topps Series 2 Dodger I needed:
I then cautiously grabbed a 2017 Bowman binder. I honestly don't know what I need from Bowman. I never do. I just know I need something. I have this mental block where I hate updating Bowman want lists and I don't even want to check my want lists on my phone when I'm at the freakin' card show.
I nabbed two cards:
Turns out I needed the Maeda but had the Calhoun.
See, I shouldn't be going off by myself. If Angus had been with me he surely would've advised me to look at my lists.
Angus did come back to the table and he found a Mets card he needed. He then pointed out an item on another table that appeared to be right up my alley. I looked at it with envy. The price was a bit high for me but I filed it in the "maybe later" category in my brain.
We then walked into the larger portion of the building and right into a wonderful world of vintage.
I was familiar with this table, too. It's the table where I bought my 1963 Fleer Maury Wills a few shows ago.
There was vintage from corner to corner. Angus oohed over some football items (but he still can't find his last 1972 Topps Cleveland Browns high number!). I found a 1973 Topps binder and started pulling cards.
I knew I wasn't going anywhere. "I'll be here awhile," I said to Angus and let the fun begin.
I swear Bert Campaneris is on 14 cards in the 1973 Topps set.
If you've been following my Greatest 100 Cards of the '70s posts, you'll notice a couple of cards from that countdown. It just doesn't seem right to extol cards I don't own yet!
The problem here, again, is that I refused to consult my want lists and I apparently own some of the lower numbers already. I've got to stop being so lazy.
The dealer also featured several discounted vintage card bins. If I had spotted his table first, I probably would have bought one of the discount bins on the spot and announced "SHOW'S OVER." Oh, well.
Instead I just grabbed the Bird Bombers card from 1967 that you saw up top (it's got a few creases) and this card:
I can't be serious about the '67 set without a Whitey finale.
I also nabbed a few cards for trades but we can't see those here now.
Angus was at the back corner of the building, checking out a bunch of old toys. This isn't anything I collect, but it's always cool to look at the Matchbox cars and G.I. Joe's I had as a kid. There were some old electronic football and baseball games that I remember playing or pining over.
But we were on to another table that I'd never stop at if I was by myself. Just a bunch of baseball and football here. Angus pointed out a Starting Lineup Ramon Martinez figure, one of several on the table. We looked through a few cards and I found a couple $1 cards to buy:
And, what the heck -- how about that Starting Lineup Ramon Martinez figure? "You really want that?" the dealer asked.
"Yes," I said. "I need the card."
Everyone thinks it's about the figure. It's about the card (and a little about the poster). My other '92 Starting Lineup Martinez is miscut, so this was a find.
The next table contained lots of baseball team yearbooks. This is a very dangerous area for me. I could spend a lot on yearbooks, I love them too much. But that would mean no money left for cards. One of the guys at the table asked what teams we liked. Angus said proudly "Browns" and I muttered something about the Dodgers, but I was thinking "get me away, he's going to pull out 15 Dodger yearbooks I don't have and I am going to be powerless."
So I slunk off to another table and Angus caught up to me. We found a dealer we saw at the last show we were at together. In fact, now that I think of it, this dealer had a full set of 1983 Fleer at that show. I should've asked for it then.
I didn't buy anything there because I knew I had to make a decision:
The next table was the king of the vintage tables. I have bought more cards from Gary through the years, by far, than from any other dealer. He could be the only dealer at every show and every show would be a success for me.
So, with limited money left, the question was: do I hang out at Gary's table and get a few random '56s and maybe a couple other cards? Or do I go back to the table with the item that Angus showed me that I put in my "maybe" file?
Tough one. But I knew what I had to do.
I marched back to the front of the hall. On the table was a stack of Hostess panels, marked $45. I asked the guy if he would sell it for less. He would. And I officially owned the best item from the show.
Here are the first three panels. My favorite Hostess set, 1976. You can't get any better than Yaz, Aaron and Brett.
The next three panels contained more 1976 Hostess. One panel was a repeat, but that was cool.
After that was a mix of 1979 Hostess, 1975 Hostess and 1976 Hostess. Great names, great cards. I am thrilled to have the Hendrick track suit card.
Back to more 1976s. Player Statistics On Back Of Each Card!
And, finally, another selection of three panels, two from 1979 and one from 1976.
The cards are in beautiful shape, well-cut, and I got them for around 75 cents a card.
I plan to cut many of these -- carefully -- into individual cards. Some of the panels are black backs and some are brown backs. I'm afraid I don't care all that much about the variations, but I'll probably look to see what's up there.
That basically finished the show for me. No going back to the vintage king, Gary.
I returned to Angus, who had done it again: he found a guy with a bunch of Kellogg's 3D cards from the '70s.
There were a few cheap ones and I had a buck to spare, so I grabbed four.
The lighting in the building isn't great and you need good lighting for Kellogg's cards. I missed the cracks on three of the four cards and I probably would've skipped them if I noticed them.
However, in talking to the dealer, I found out he was a fan of Kellogg's cards and had completed most of the sets already. He wasn't crazy about setting up tables at shows but he gave me his card and said anytime I want some Kellogg's cards to let him know. He'd even be up for trading.
Considering how much difficulty I've had finding Kellogg's cards at shows, this was great news.
With that, we noticed dealers folding up tables and getting out. It had barely turned 3 o'clock and the show was supposed to run until 4. I don't understand why dealers do this. Not that I had any money left, but sometimes I do. Take my money!
Angus and I left, very happy with our purchases, and headed back, lamenting our losing NFL teams on the way.
It was a great day of cards, chatting and food. And if I hadn't had a collecting buddy along with me, I likely would have missed the Hostess cards, the A&G minis and the Kellogg's dealer.
As the song says, it takes two to make a thing go right. It takes two to make it out of sight.