Guest Blogger: Selling at the National

(We turn the Editor’s Blog over to Tony Gordon for a few entries this week. He’s a Chicago area dealer/collector who’s setting up at the National Sports Collectors Convention for the first time).

As the countdown to the 29th National Sports Collectors Convention has gone from months, days and now to hours, I am both excited and a wee bit nervous.
I have been selling cards at flea markets and card shows since the late 1970’s but I have never set up at a National, though I have attended many as a customer. I just cannot wait until those first customers come into the massive hall at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois.
Leading up to the National, I spent months searching for another dealer to split the fee and share a table with me. Most of the local Chicago dealers pair up quickly for these big shows because the table fees are a bit high. A small dealer like myself, who regularly sets up at weekend shows in the Chicago area and sells off-grade post-war vintage baseball and football cards, has a tough time making much of a profit at these large shows. So finding a partner is essential and helps ease the pain if sales do not go too well.
Last month, at SportsFest in Schaumburg, Illinois, I lucked out and ran into Chicago-area dealer Bob Joyce who was also seeking a partner for the National. However, that show was a bit sparse for dealers and customers so I am worried about the customer turn out for the National. Yet my fears about the lousy economy affecting customer turn out are a bit tempered by the decent attendance at the regular local shows and my excellent sales on eBay. I am also comforted by my memory of tremendous attendance at shows in the early 1990’s during another economic down turn and the Gulf War.
But I can not seem to shake this nervous feeling