by Rich Klein
As many of you know from following this column, I have been setting up at the local McKinney, Texas show the past few months. The last show was perhaps the best in the new location at Craig Ranch and there were several good reasons.
First and foremost was that Beckett Media was doing on-site Raw Card Review grading as well as setting up for submissions to be taken back to the office. Since Beckett is a company which has a goal of making money, they sent out several email blasts saying they would be at that location on that day. I don't know if there is a minimum or what volume Beckett expected but they were so busy that at least one, if not more of the employees who live nearby, dropped by to help deal with the volume of cards dropped off that day. One nice young customer was in from the Minneapolis area and explained he was in town for a funeral and needed his cards back so he would not miss the funeral. I do know he was a bit stressed out, but he did get his cards and go on his way.
A great thing that the Beckett blast also did was bring out several former comrades of mine who I had not seen in years. It was great to catch up with them among others and see such a busy crowd. Yes…a busy card show (you don’t see many of those these days). In fact, the show was so busy that I did not even get to eat my lunch until nearly 2 P.M. which is not bad for a show which started at 10 A.M.
I had a constant flow of customers and friends all day dropping by. Among them were the former Beckett comrades, Brian Fleischer's (Brian is the Baseball Price Guide editor at Beckett) brother and father, Leon Luckey and several members of the Net 54 board as well as local dealers and collectors.
My estimation of the crowd was approximately 250 people for the day. Not a huge number but for a small show today, pretty good.
Leon told me that a nice older couple had driven up from San Antonio to discuss a caramel card collection they had inherited and relayed that he and his auction partner had found a decent-sized group of T-206's locally which will be featured in the next Brockleman and Luckey auction. Leon started mentioning about some 1960's and 1970's oddball sets he had not heard of and I stopped him midway, told him what he had and his reaction was ‘you really do remember more about that stuff than most people have ever known’. I did reiterate that I did learn something from those 12 years of editing the Beckett Almanac of Baseball Cards and Collectibles!
A few other things that helped were that the weather was very nice for the beginning of February, the promoters gave away some door prizes of "spending sprees" of between $5-25 and there still is no admission charge for the show. Truly a nice concept all around. While I would still like to see some mainstream marketing, there is no doubt that a show like this can build up momentum for the long term especially if Beckett continues to attend three or four times a year. For Beckett, attending this show is a no-brainer as the staff is local and thus the only cost is the table fees and perhaps a small recompense for weekend work. And actually, if I'm the promoters of this show, I might seriously consider giving Beckett table space because those email blasts and the added crowd only can help the show grow.
A few other notes: I started talking to the dealer next to me and about 10 minutes into our chat he mentioned that he had read my show reviews and that helped to convince him to set up at this show. In addition, my sales were the best they had ever been at that location, however with what I spent to drop off cards for grading I ended with a net loss for the day but that will be recouped. Am I looking forward to doing this show again? Of course, and I have even begun to build some steady customers each show. As I wrote when we began this adventure, one of my goals is to return to my collecting and dealing roots and this show is a great way to do that. Having a good show close to home is great for me and I still love the wheeling and dealing.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]