A few notes and anecdotes gathered from the National earlier this summer that have been waiting for an opportunity to be written:
Lonn Passon , a VP in Kevin Savage’s operation, mentioned the first show he ever set up at was a Willow Grove show. Kevin had some personal matters to take care of so he sent Lonn by himself and Lonn had no idea just how intense that show could be. Lonn told me he wondered at the end of the weekend if he was really ready to set up at other shows in the future. Now, of course, Lonn is a seasoned show vet and almost nothing can shake him during a show.
Kit Young did not bring his traditional throne chair to the National Sports Collectors Convention this year. I asked him about that and his comment was the chair cost so much to rent and ship for the limited time he actually could sit in the chair the expense was not worth the trouble.
I noticed at least ten different groups setting up to do live breaks of newer sports card products. The idea of live breaks is a great idea and I think actually would be a boon to more stores and shows.
My local card shop has not done a “break” in the past two years but there are ton of releases that a break may generate interest. Most are the mid and higher-end products but if you can jump in early, the lower end might attract collectors with smaller budgets. The store owner told me he barely sold through a case of Topps football and while there are not a ton of great hits in the flagship set, I bet if he did a team break, which is his preferred case break for his customers, he’d sell through another case or two and make more money and move more product. I know it’s tricky but that is an easy way to generate more collector interest.
It was really good to see Don Lepore walking around the show. The funniest part of that meeting was I had run into Dr. Beckett and we were chatting just like the old days at the show to compare notes and to see who was asking for him. While we were doing that Jim’s cell phone rang and he mentioned he was going to see Donny (they had done a lot of business during the 1970′s) and I said I wanted to see him as well. Donny wondered who I was and when it clicked in we had a good hug and I told him how happy I was to see him still on his feet. Don has traveled quite a bit and it was a highlight to see him in Chicago.
You know, many people wonder about third party authenticators. I picked up a 1983 All-Star game program from B.A. Murry for all of $7 (he had removed the stamps from the program) and there was an apparent autograph on the front. I was visiting Pat Blandford, my old Beckett running-mate, now a VP for Kevin Savage Cards and we were guessing who the person was. At that moment, Jimmy Spence came by and we showed him the program and literally within a few seconds he said that was famed Cubs announcer Jack Brickhouse. I thanked him and he laughed and said, ‘you realize this is not my first rodeo’.
During the show, there were at least 12 requests for tables even though the show was totally sold out. Yes there are people who are willing to set up at the show even at what is really the very, very last minute.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]