Ramblings: Graded Cards Fly as Monthly Show Finds its Way

by Rich Klein

We have not done our review of the monthly DFW show near my home base in Dallas but there were a few things I did learn this month. The first is that graded cards priced right do sell and sell for a significant premium. Back in February, you might remember I didn’t sell a lot of cards but took advantage of Beckett Grading Service’s appearance at the McKinney show by dropping off 187 cards.

When I picked up my order at the Beckett offices, as many local collectors and dealers do, I was shocked by how tough they were on my vintage cards but also surprised by how well some of my more modern cards did. I then spent a few hours pricing those cards using their online graded card pricing and prepped those cards for this past weekend’s show.

Richs Ramblings About 40 cards fit in a graded card box and when I set them on my table, one of the promoters said “Wow, every month your stuff just gets better and better”.  I told him, until further notice, this would be about good as it gets for me!

Well, as soon as the doors opened, some collectors also noticed the new cards on my table and started attacking my “new” and “old” inventory with a look like Mike Singletary seeing a clear path to the quarterback at the line of scrimmage. You know you are going to off to a good day when the first sale of the day is more than double of your previous take for an entire show.

Craigs RanchFrom there, the sales just kept coming: my graded cards at reasonable prices to both collectors and dealers and my typical general sales to the public.

I was working with a couple of collectors with their requests for Bryce Harper and Mike Trout cards and they saw my 2013 Heritage cards of those two players. When I explained why the price was so expensive I used the term “high numbers”. Well, the nice young men corrected me and said “don’t you mean those are short prints?” Somehow my mind was really treating those cards as if they were from 1964 and isn’t that the purpose of the Heritage sets to return your mind to the past.

I then sneaked away before the end of the show and dropped off another 10-15 cards for grading at the Beckett booth.

This time, the area where the show was held was also host to a running event from 6 to 9 AM which made approaching the center a real challenge. After winding my way around, and with the help of a very pretty police offer who listened to my request and gave me good guidance on how to get where I was going, I finally secured a good parking space for the unloading process.

The crowd was steady all day which was different from the last show in which I did not make a sale or see a customer for the middle three hours of a six-hour event.  There’s not much predictability about customer flow at this card show.

As mentioned last month, one of the dealers almost prefers to serve lunch over selling cards and prepared some real tasty sauces for this month’s barbeque. I was not really hungry so I just had a couple of sodas but for next month I’ll be sure to have my stomach ready to rumble.  Amazingly, he now even has collectors walking in wanting to buy his lunches. I think we’ve solved the food issue at this location and this guy might have another side business to think about.

This show is not located on a “main drag” although it is easily accessible from some main roads.  I have heard two different thoughts on the location. My local card shop owner says he really thinks the show needs to be on a main location because a show off the beaten path can truly frustrate collectors looking for the location. I will say, other than because of the running event the signs did take a tad longer to put up this weekend.

On the other hand, my good friend and host of the Net 54 message board Leon Luckey says a baseball card show is a destination event and collectors will do what they need to find the show. Since this is a still a small show, with around 20 tables, there are only so many people who can come through the door anyway. And frankly, if you had a bigger location, you might have to charge more for the tables, return to charging admission fees, etc. As a dealer and as a person who has walked around that room, I like the current set up as it is. The set-up is in some ways similar to many “old-school” card shows where there isn’t a lot of room for either dealers or collectors and that does bring a sense of urgency to the proceedings.

Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]