by Rich Klein
Nowadays, I do not get to go out to lunch as much as I did when I at Beckett or when I was in between positions in the other part of my working life. However, since I was able to take a half day to begin the Memorial Day weekend I emailed my good friend Leon Luckey and we had one of our regular hobby lunches. The best thing about Leon is he is not afraid to see what he believes and runs his very popular Net 54 message board the same way.
One of our favorite discussions is about a local show where I have been setting up for the last several months. To me, this show is exactly what the DFW area needs; a regular show you can count on with a limited number of tables. To Leon, the promoters may be leaving money on the table by not moving to a bigger room and thus selling more tables. I could then argue what is making the show as successful as it has been is the crowded nature of the room. In addition, there is actually a decent amount of “dealer turnover” as not all dealers can set up at this show each month. Needless to say, we agree to disagree on the show at Craig Ranch.
Speaking of shows with limited tables, I recently received a nice email from long-time hobby stalwart Bill Barron about a show he attended when he was traveling in Japan. Yes there are shows in Japan. In fact just before 9/11, Grant Sandground of Beckett went there for several days as our Japanese market was incredibly strong. Of course, having Ichiro as a rookie in 2001 was a big reason why. More than a decade before that, Bill was there and shared his memories:
“The best card show I ever attended—after our Super Bowl events, of course—was in—make sure you ’re sitting down—Kobe, Japan. Home of Kobe beef. Seriously.
It was the 1990 season and the preseason American Bowl in Tokyo that year was the Rams and 49ers. Someone in the crowd of NFL types announced there was a card show in Kobe, did anyone want to go. Jim Saccomano (Broncos, who told us at the show he was quite the collector), Rick Smith (Rams, a noted collector), Gary Wright (a noted collector, now with the Seattle Sounders), Pete Abitante (league office), and I signed up.
Next thing you know, we’re on a bullet train to the show (I must digress: The bullet train is FAST).
We end up at the show and find out it’s being put on by Marty Keough, the former A’s pitcher.
The hottest item at the time was Calbee Potato Chips baseball cards of Japanese players, including the rare Cecil Fielder. I bought all the packs (one card per) in the show and distributed them among the group with one proviso: I get the Fielder cards. There was one…in a pack I opened. (Ed. Note: Last week, one of the 1989 Fielder cards sold on eBay for over $100).
But the Calbee stuff was low minor league compared to the rest of the Kobe show. I have never seen that much Mickey Mantle stuff (books, magazines, cards, unis, bats, you name it) in one location. I asked Keough if it was all his, but he chose not to answer.
There were several Japanese dealers there who had great vintage stuff, not to mention all of the USA product you could imagine. Maybe a dozen dealers . A truly memorable day.”
We’d love to hear your stores about the most memorable show you ever attended as a collector or dealer. Drop me a note at [email protected] and we’ll share some of your memories in an upcoming Ramblings.