Vintage Buy of the Week: The National Yields Sets, Mantle, More

The goal was to spend $250,000 at the National Sports Collectors Convention and even though he and his team didn’t quite manage that, Cleveland was a busy show for Leighton Sheldon of Just Collect.

“I think half of what we did spend came in the first 48 hours of setting our booth up Tuesday,” he recalled.

IX Center 2014 sports card showWhile the company had a two booth set-up at the National, the primary reason for coming was to add inventory.  As one of eBay’s largest sellers with weekly auctions consisting of thousands of items for sale at any one time, feeding the beast is job number one.

Sheldon bought a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, a 1952 Bowman football set, dozens of 1960’s and 70’s sports card sets, a 1956 Topps Football pack, stacks of PSA-graded cards, rare vintage stars and numerous other items.  Much of the material was purchased from other dealers.  Sheldon walked around the floor with a backpack multiple times each day while other deals came from visitors who stopped at the booth looking to put cash in their pockets.

“I thought there were a lot of sets and lots available at this show,” Sheldon stated.  “A lot of great vintage cards.  Starter sets were very popular.”

Just Collect logoA transaction that didn’t go as planned reminded Sheldon of something that all buyers should keep in mind at large shows.  He saw a 1961-62 Fleer display box for sale and made the seller an offer which was accepted, saying he’d return to pay and pick up the box later because he didn’t want to run the risk of crushing it in his book bag.  However, when he came back at a later time during the show, the dealer told him he had sold the box to someone else.  It was an old lesson learned again.

“If you’re a collector and you see an item you want, pay for it and get it in hand because if you don’t, there’s no guarantee the item is yours.  I think that if a dealer sets aside something for you at a certain price they should honor that for at least 24 hours but not everyone abides by that.

Just Collect also uses the National to get cards graded on site, another popular activity for dealers looking to turn them quickly or talk directly with grading company representatives about their submissions.

“We graded several things,” Sheldon said.  “We brought a T206 Ty Cobb card with an Old Mill advertising back and a 1914 Cracker Jack Nap Lajoie, which is a great card from a set that’s extremely popular right now. “

While the material that was shipped back to company offices in New Jersey may have seemed like quite a haul to anyone else, Sheldon was hoping there would be more profit-making opportunities.

“It was a good convention.  Not great.  I think the attendance was lighter than it was in Baltimore a couple of years ago and it’s too bad we couldn’t go back there again but we have to deal with it as best we can and hopefully do better in the future.”

Just Collect sponsors our Vintage Buy of the Week.  They’re always in the market for vintage cards.  Looking to add to your collection?  They offer hundreds of fresh items via their weekly eBay auctions.

There’s more National Convention coverage in our special NSCC section including stories and video here.