Odds and ends from my travels over the last couple of weeks…
When you go to a show, you never quite know what is going to occur. During the National I went to drop in on the Beckett graders who were behind the curtain (yes, I had permission from the head grader to do so especially since I had no cards being graded). Many of these guys are collectors themselves and some are avid autograph seekers.
The discussion got to what was in the bag I was carrying and I explained one of those boxes had a grouping of the 1992 Topps Rich Klein card that was part of a just for fun ‘hobby media’ set released at NSCC time that year.
I spent the next 10-15 minutes letting them go through the box I carried and signing some of my own cards (no I didn’t charge them). It was funny and it did kind of make me appreciate what athletes go through when they are in public and stop to sign a bunch of items at once. I even saw a couple of the photos of those cards posted later on Facebook.
I headed home from the show on a flight that wound up being delayed for several hours. While waiting, I saw three people I knew from DFW. One usually attends the local shows I help run, one has set up there and the third was a mutual friend who was along for the ride. We talked about our NSCC purchases and one of them pulled out a 1907 Dietsche Detroit Tigers Postcard of Ty Cobb. To most collectors, it’s the earliest Cobb card . You often see them in major auctions. The second dealer pulled out a very nice 1951 Bowman Mantle rookie card. I was just happy with my pre-1970 buys and those Wally Moon cards we’ll use for autographs when he appears at an upcoming show here. Wouldn’t it be fun to see everything that was brought home in a National show and tell of some sort?
Those big ticket purchases reminded me of one of my favorite Beckett stories and a great case of name-dropping. At a holiday party, we started playing a game about the most famous person we’d ever met. Everyone had a great answer right off the bat . If I had thought about this I would have mentioned some baseball player so we could move to round two, but I was not thinking totally and just said, “well at the 1986 U.S. Tennis Open I met Vice President Bush.” Somehow meeting a future President of the United States ended that discussion. I would later meet Gov George W. Bush as well so I have met (for a total of one minute combined) both George H.W and George W.
It’s now back to the normal routine here and at our recent show at the Southfork Hotel, I sold more Texas Rangers cards at that show than I had in the previous three months combined. You never know what is going to sell at a show. We also had a Beckett rep in attendance who wasn’t in the grading division but was able to accept submissions. He indicated the night before that he didn’t have many forms for people to fill out. I said not to worry because it hadn’t been an issue at previous shows.
Sure enough, he took in more submissions at our latest show than he had at the previous three shows combined and we had to go to the registration desk so he could make more copies of the submission form. And all those submissions came even though BGS was set up at a different local DFW show the same weekend. We were both surprised by how many orders he received based on previous appearances. I think some of that has to do with being a steady presence at these small, local shows each month. It goes to show that even for big companies, reaching out to smaller venues can pay off in the long run.
It’s always great to learn how people find out about your show or your hobby business. At The Southfork, a gentleman told me “there’s a Facebook page that posts hobby items numerous times per day and a columnist on the websitewho writes about the hobby and lives here in Dallas.” After a couple of gentle probing questions I finally extended my hand and said: “Hi, I’m Rich Klein, Nice to meet you.” Sure enough he was talking about the Sports Collectors Daily page and was so thrilled make the connection, he asked to take a picture with me. One of my regular table visitors, who loves to chat with me about old cards said “the look on the guy’s face when you introduced yourself was priceless.” That customer always gives me good story ideas as well and you’ll be seeing one of them in the very near future.