Time to answer the mail once again, starting with some reaction to the column I wrote wondering about Atlantic City’s struggles and plans to hold the 2016 National Sports Collectors Convention there. Carl Poff of Easton, PA, wrote:
I have read your articles and enjoyed them in the past. However, it is pretty shameful to kick the hard-working people of Atlantic City when they are down. The area around the show (has) very nice outlets casinos boardwalk great restaurants. They are hurting due to the casinos opening up in nearby states. As for getting into the city, traffic is no problem (but) business is down as you stated. Also I never had a problem when it was booming.
Also any place the vendors fly into they will need a vehicle to take goods to the center. Atlantic City airport is convenient and serviced well. Or Philadelphia airport. Atlantic City is a 1 hour drive. It’s close to New York and Philadelphia both MAJOR collectors hub(s). The shows in this area are all well attended.
This is just an idea that was not well thought out. I hope you would reexamine this and write (an) article about the benefits of (an) Atlantic city convention.
I think I pointed out the benefits of being near the NY and Philly area for the hobby. There are some avid collectors within a short drive. I grew up in New Jersey and mentioned I set up at the 1988 National in AC so I’m far more familiar with the area then you may realize. In addition, almost the first words I wrote were how the CNBC anchor called the casino closings a human tragedy. It is and my column was in no way meant to ‘kick anyone when they’re down’.
I understand that AC is a place you can drive to (and believe me, I would love to have a National I could drive to) but I will stand by my comments. AC is just not an easy place to get to.
One advantage of Cleveland (a venue I’m not crazy about by the way) and Chicago is that in both places, the convention center no more than ten minutes from the airport. A quick online search shows that only Spirit Airlines flies into Atlantic City (there are non-stops via United from Chicago and Houston only). I don’t consider that a well serviced airport with only one major carrier. Thus I would say most people flying in are going to be booking reservations through the Philadelphia airport (or Newark) and driving to AC. Virtually a full day will be spent getting there if you’re coming from the western half of the country. When I traveled from Dallas to the Atlantic City Show in 2003, I think i got up at 6 AM and finally got to the show about 4 PM.
I do have a great deal of fondness for the safer areas of the Boardwalk and there are non-gambling activities available but as a location for a National, it’s just not that desirable. I walked around the 2003 National when I was still at Beckett. The parking was horrendous and the crowds were off. The autograph guests were off the charts that year but attendance wasn’t what it should have been.
As the politicians like to say, I’m doubling down on my belief here. We’d be far better off at one of the huge Philadelphia area convention centers or back in Baltimore if we really want to be on the east coast. It’s just my opinion as someone who has been to an A/C National before.
And speaking of large shows, Ben chimes in with this email:
I enjoy going to shows but I am located in Mid-Michigan. I don’t mind traveling for a good show. I would love to see a blog where each show has a section where people who have gone to it can post about the number of dealers there and the type of cards being seen such as newer stuff or a mix of new and old. I work midnight shift and look forward to reading your articles once I get home. Keep up the good work.
Thank you so much for reading, Ben. Many of the major hobby message boards have people who specialize in certain types of cards talk about their experiences but we certainly appreciate those collectors who go to shows and want to write about them.
When I write my reviews, I try to discuss general aspects such as attendance, sales, and aspects which would be of interest to collectors. I even try to do some background. But that is a great idea and one worth following up on. If collectors want to write me at my email at the address at the bottom of this column, we’ll see if we can rustle up some reviews. Way, way back in the day when we did a lot of show and store travel at Beckett, we loved to have analysts out at different parts of the country to compare prices. Today, it would be more of comparing what you thought of the show.
We did receive a couple of very nice emails about our cataloguing column. And yes, I will stress that I’m very prejudiced in favor of the more items added to databases the better off we will be as a hobby. George Vrechek, who himself is a very fine writer and researcher for Sports Collectors Digest added this:
I have enjoyed reading your Sports Collectors Daily. There is always something of interest. In a recent SCD article I made a pitch for buying the Standard Catalog, even if you never expect to collect many of the sets (Ed. Note: you can read those articles here and here).
The article will continue in SCD with three more parts dealing with other sports.
As Jefferson Burdick wrote in his catalog, “Collecting is a magic carpet ride.”
I contacted Beckett by email and phone when I wrote the article but didn’t get much info – other than what is on their website, which is considerable. Even though I had modest interest in post-1980 cards, I also wondered where cataloging of modern cards may wind up. I don’t see anyone wasting the paper to print out a modern card catalog and finding people who want to buy it. However my guess is that a modern-day Burdick will appear and solicit assistance to try to list everything produced regardless of the economics of the venture.
I tend to agree with you, George. There is real value in data and it’s a shame that the most experienced and vast pools of data are not being kept up as well as they could be. We’ve said in the past how F&W, for dead on business reasons, ended up with just the vintage Standard Catalogue. Could you imagine if they had kept up and when Beckett/COMC had their split, and F&W was still active, how easy (and profitable for F&W) the switch would have been from Beckett to F&W? Right business reason to eliminate all the price guide positions, wrong conclusion as events later developed.
Meanwhile Ken Hicks, from the Atlanta area discussed the older days of trading in regional sets.
I totally agree that the goal should be to catalog every baseball card and sets. Back in the day, regionals were the hardest and most desirable cards to collect due to their scarcity and they were always at the top of every collector’s want list…you could buy most Topps and Bowman cards from the dealers, but you had to really search and network to find and obtain regionals.
Being from the Atlanta area, I was able to be the only supplier of several Atlanta Crackers, Braves, Falcons and Hawks cards and I could trade them for many great sets or items that would have cost me a lot of money otherwise.
Today, it seems regionals do not sell on eBay or in auctions for what they used to because they are not collected or desired as much and I find that very sad.
Thanks for bring this up and I always enjoy your columns.
This almost reminds me of the old chicken and eggs arguments. Are these items not selling because so few people care or are these items not selling because the price guides are not listing them in their online and print data bases?
If a Carlos Gomez collector knows there are several variants of the 2014 Milwaukee police sets, then they will chase those down and pay extra to get all the different types. But if not listed in any guide, then the collector may just try to get the items as cheaply as possible.
So are the sets cheap because no one really cares or is it because no catalog lists those cards and a lot of people don’t know they exist? Truly an interesting dilemma for all concerned.