By Rich Klein
I know we promised to talk about observations and experiences at the 2013 National so of course, the first order of business is to talk about someone I have not seen since the 2012 National, although he was there for this year’s event.
As many of you know, the autograph pavilion at the National is run by Tri-Star with their long-standing management group having the autographs down to a science. The company leaders, all of whom have been there as long as I can remember, are Jeff Rosenberg, Bobby Mintz and Mandy Fuerst. I’ve known Bobby for a long-time and I will also say his family is extremely well respected and beloved in the Dallas Jewish Community. How many times do you say a child is reflective of their parents and everything I have ever heard about his parents has always been good. In addition, members of one of the finest families I know served as pall bearers at his mom’s funeral. In addition, Mandy has always been a top flight person to work with in all ways.
But in 2012. I got to spend some serious time with Jeff Rosenberg and listened to him talk to a varied group of people. One aspect about Jeff, which he has always stressed, is to adapt and thrive. Jeff believes, and rightly so, that you cannot remain in the same niche(s) without expanding or contracting as necessary. Jeff believes in adding as many different parts of his business and is always thinking of new ways to help people with good ideas in the collecting community. Will all that, he has never lost sight of his hobby roots and does continue to promote three shows a year (two in the Houston area and one in San Francisco). More importantly, Jeff, although he has done well with his life, is also very active in giving back to the community in Houston. He truly believes in helping out people in whatever ways he can.
One of my favorite hobby trips involves something Jeff and his team came up with. In January 2006 Jeff used the Tri-Star show to create a “reunion” type of show. He worked with original Houston area promoters Tom Koppa and Tom Kennedy (no relation to the TV game show host of the 60’s and 70’s) to create a list of dealers who set up in the city long ago and were still active in the hobby, offer them reduced table prices and set them up in a separate area at the front of the room. Jeff simply wanted to give back to those hobby pioneers who had assisted him in his fledgling hobby days. It was a nice gesture.
A few days before the show, I got an email at work from Dr. Beckett asking him if I wanted to drive down with him and long-time Dallas hobbyist Gervise Ford.
Well, first who turns down an invitation like that and second I had not seen Gervise in many years so that was a double bonus.
We drove down to Houston, made it to the show floor and I enjoyed the two days. There was a hospitality suite and I sat engrossed listening to Mssrs. Koppa and Kennedy talk about some of their great buys from the 1970’s. Mike Berkus in his yearly National speech during the Net 54 dinner always alludes to buying trips, well here were the people buying in the Houston area and beyond giving their first hand recollections. And if you want to check some more of their stories, plug ‘Tom Koppa Houston’ into a search engine and you will find some more.
That trip was also noteworthy as Jim was in his final negotiations with the people who would purchase Beckett (and would do so within a week) but since no deal is ever complete until the final i’s are dotted and the final t’s are crossed he had to keep up with the assumption he would run the company for a long time but that might change at any point. So, who knew that would be the final official show trip any employee would ever take under Dr. Beckett’s ownership? And that trip and those memories, and eating lunch two straight days at the same Dairy Queen halfway between Houston and Dallas are memories not to forget.
None of those would have been possible if not for Jeff Rosenberg’s wanting to do what we do in this column: Honor and Respect the Past and Live in the Present. And you know, I think I will set up (shhh don’t tell Jeff until I do) at the January Houston show. I need to keep adding to those memories.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]