Come on along to the Chicago Sun Times show.
We’re here in Chicago this weekend, taking in the annual Sun-Times show at the Stephens Convention Center. It’s one of the longest running events in the hobby and crowds are large once again.
Dealers seem to be doing a decent business–some of them are exceptionally busy but that’s not surprising. Chicago may be the sports collecting capital of the country. Not many metropolitan areas can support two major shows within 3 months of each other but most dealers who are set up this weekend say they’ll be back in June for SportsFest, which has actually moved to nearby Schaumburg this year. In some metro areas, there are a lot of sports fans who aren’t necessarily collectors. Here, it seems just about everyone collects something. Even if it’s just the occasional autograph, they come to the show and spend money. Fans here are passionate about the Cubs, Sox, Bulls and now especially, the Bears.
There were huge lines for autograph guests that included Brian Urlacher, Dick Butkus and the Mannings–Peyton, Eli and Archie all appeared Saturday. Manning sold out quickly and promoters scrambled to strike a deal to satisfy the demand. Even Tony Dungy was here. The appetite for autographs seems insatiable these days. We’re guessing a large number of autographs were being acquired by dealers who take them back to their shops or to eBay and re-sell them, but there were a lot of just plain folks in line too.
I remember even the old Chicagoland Sports Collectors club shows being busy back in the 1980s. It was always a place a small dealer could go and expect his load would be a lot lighter on the drive home. Looks like nothing’s changed.