Dealers and collectors from across Southern California - and as far off as Toronto and Jacksonville - gathered in the Culver City neighborhood of Los Angeles Saturday for the second Southern California Sports Collectors Show.
"Traffic was up from our first show," commented show co-promoter Anthony Nex. "There were a group of people actually waiting to get in when I opened the doors."
From Northern California, dealers such as Mark Macrae and Richard Wong were on hand, boasting an impressive array of vintage sports cards and memorabilia. There was no shortage of older material from which to choose but many commented that Wong's E107 Cy Young was "the best card on the floor".
The quality and quantity of vintage items at the show was quite impressive, and spoke to the level of respect with which the show organizers are viewed within the hobby.
"The free admission made it an easy decision to bring my boys to the show," noted one attendee. "If I take them to a baseball game or even a movie it can cost a small fortune. The way this is set up I can enjoy the day with my sons, and have money left in my pocket so that they don't have to leave empty-handed."
From nearby Phoenix Brian Marcy of Scottsdale Cards and Marty Pritchard of Old Vintage Baseball Cards were set up. Marcy had his usual impressive selection of high grade vintage 1950s and 60s issues that collectors spent hours pouring through. Pritchard, who had recently acquired a collection that included several boxes of modern inserts, found success selling cards of red hot quarterback Peyton Manning. "Los Angeles is the secondary market for the Broncos," explained one collector who was busily digging through Pritchard's boxes for more treasures.
For those looking for something non-baseball, co-promoter Adam Warshaw was setup with an impressive display of boxing cards and memorabilia. Whether it was nineteenth century pugilists like Corbett, or twentieth century heavyweights like Joe Louis - Warshaw had it. Boxing has lost ground to UFC in recent years, but with so many premier bouts held in nearby Las Vegas, the 'sweet science' is still held in high regard in Los Angeles. "This was definitely worth leaving the valley," joked Warshaw, who is also a stand-up comedian when he is away from the courtroom.
Ryan Christoff, the authority behind Cuban Baseball Card Auctions was there with an amazing selection of Cuban inventory including many examples from the popular 1923-24 Billiken set. Jay Miller, who recently relocated to the West Coast, was also there with his usual selection of high quality - and clarity - Old Judge examples. Bill Cornell was setup with the similarly named Jason Miller, and both men had a varied display of rare postcards and issues.
There was something for everyone at the show, with fellow Sports Collectors Daily contributor and AFL fanatic Todd Tobias happily leaving with a New York Jets helmet. Despite our spending six hours at the show, I did not have the opportunity to meet him - my one regret.
Perhaps the best comments of the day were expressed by Arthur Rich. "I enjoyed the show immensely," he said. "I was able to pick up some vintage cards for a great price and it was good to see so many kids attend - both for the future of the hobby and the family time they're getting. That's something I feel the show's promoters have really put an emphasis on. Browsing through stacks of cards in person, as opposed to the internet, is just good for the soul."
Many smiles - among young and old - were had among the dealers and collectors as they drifted from the show into the late afternoon Southern California breeze.