On the best baseball card show of my life, three incredible things happened: Muhammad Ali handed me an autographed card , I opened a coveted Frank Thomas rookie card in the Leaf bag in 1990, and I won the autographed baseball by Lou Brock as the door prize.
This is a three-game winning streak, and it makes me happy even now. That day, when I wandered around those endless tables in a large performance at the Cervantes Convention Center in downtown St. Louis, I was only about 14 years old. I’ve been to dozens of smaller performances before, and then dozens of other shows. I will go around my binder-the binder with the Upper Deck sticker on the cover-hoping to find someone who is willing to buy me a Tom Gordon card on the Rated Rookies page for $3, so that I can Buy more bags.
Even so, I still want to know what it feels like to be the people on the other side of the table. They seem to have, well, everything. Their tables are full of card boxes, some are sold as sealed boxes, some are opened, so you can buy them separately. Their display cabinets protect the cards in hard boxes, marked with a dollar sign, followed by three or four digits. I am in awe.
But then I went to college and became a little addicted to traveling and fishing. For more than 20 years, I have stayed away from the world of collecting. Every once in a while, I find a few packs or a box of junk wax (loosely defined as baseball cards produced and sold between 1987 and 1993) in antique stores.
Then, a few months before the pandemic hit, it was a bit difficult to collect errors. Finding “transactions” becomes the goal, whether it’s on eBay (nearly impossible by June 2020) or in a local card shop, Facebook Marketplace or antique mall, once these places reopen. The pleasure of chasing and all the good things.
I have collected a series of bargaining rubbish wax, which will make 14-year-old Ryan envy. This also makes Ryan, who is in her 40s, happy. Since February 2020, I have shared a small part of the series on Twitter almost every day, My day pack Then use I started the thread card of the day in January 2021 . Sharing cards is fun; it’s best to listen to your story. In a very bad year, this is the highlight of the day. A few months ago, after attending my first card show since 1993, I decided to see what it’s like to stand behind a table and experience this hobby element (in addition, I need to make room in the cramped basement space).
My first performance was on Sunday, June 13th, about 10 miles south of the Ali/Thomas/Brock performance.
This is a blast. I really, really enjoy this experience. Walk into an almost empty room 5 minutes past 7 in the morning to set up, interact with collectors and distribute free packages to the children and their parents? Interesting.
And my favorite item of the day, a signed Derek Gould card from the 2020 Allen & Ginter Topps set, sold very quickly.Gould of course is outstanding Cardinals beat writer for St. Louis Post And the former BBWAA chairman.After him, Tops gave him an eclectic card Cardiopulmonary resuscitation performed on a baseball field and saved lives When I was shooting the video, Gould signed and dated this card for me in the press box at Bush Stadium. I think this will be a nice and unique reward.I priced it at 25 dollars, every dollar goes St. Louis BBWAA Scholarship Fund .
Chris, the collector who bought it, was very excited. He said that he spent his childhood reading about the Cardinals on the Post-Dispatch page with his father. Since he started writing about the Cardinals 17 years ago, he has read Gould’s work. Chris bought this card for his dad, and of course I also sent him the video. This is a very, very cool moment.
My good friend Marc has been a good friend of mine since college. He drove over from Kansas City to share the table with me. Due to the pandemic and busy life, since I moved from Charlotte, North Carolina to St. Louis in the fall of 2019, we have not gone out in person. That is an important part of this equation; I will not do it myself. This is about sharing experiences with friends. We have a good combination; his collection is mostly newer stuff and singles, while my products are mainly nostalgia driven.
If I eat one or two pieces of stale gum, this day may be even more nostalgic. Good time, of course.
But to be honest? I think the itch of “finding a table” has been caught, and I doubt that I will do it again. I sold enough cards to pay for this table and make a meager profit, which is indeed the bottom line goal. So this is good. But I can’t get rid of the feeling that this is not everything I hope for. This is the fact. After bouncing on the walls of the echo chamber on Twitter that “junk wax is the best”, I built too many experiences in my mind.
I set up a table, and if I stumble upon it during a show, it will let me sprint to the ATM. There is a small wall of trash wax boxes-about 50 or so-set up, marked below eBay’s average selling price (there is no shipping fee at the card show!). In the weeks leading up to the show, I did a lot of research just to make sure that my pricing was not based on eBay’s list of sales in January, when things were really crazy. Earlier this week, I stopped at a new store and started talking to the owner. He has done shows in the past, but not for a long time. He said: “I always look at it like this: It’s better to make a fast dime than a slow dime.”
However, in the current hobby climate like a roller coaster, it is difficult to know which price is fast nickel and which price is slow coin. The best example is perhaps the standard size top loader, which is a must-have for anyone who wants to provide a little protection for a decent card. Over the years, a pack of 25 can be sold for $3 or $4.
However, nowadays, top loaders are rare. Even suppliers cannot obtain or maintain product inventories. This kind of shortage is something that amateurs can’t predict, but in fact, isn’t this the theme of the past year or so?Now they Often sold on eBay for more than $10 per pack, up to $15 . Oops. A few days before the show, I stopped at a different local card shop and they limited the customers to two per person. If you spend $100, you can only buy those two. what? ! ? He said his supplier told him that the next shipment may take six months. Who knows if this is true.
Because the thing is like this: at the show, Mark and I may have six tables, a guy who sells top loaders, he has many. He limited four per person and sold it for $4 per pack. I know this because just before I packed my bags, at about 1:30 pm, I went to buy four myself.
Many of the boxes on my desk can be bought for $15-36 doses/pack of nostalgic delicacies, 41 cents each-only a few boxes are over $30. I may have more than a dozen boxes open, and the packages are marked with 50 cents, $1, or $1.50; excluding the 20 packs of Fleer in 1981 and 1982, the price is much lower than the average listing price sold on eBay. I also have hundreds of packages packed in boxes, with prices ranging from 50 cents to 3 dollars. I didn’t make an exact count, but if someone said, “Give me a bag from each unique collection!” They would walk away with a bag representing at least 50 different collections.
This is basically the rubbish wax table I dream of. The price of everything is at or below the “I’m willing to pay” level. I took a picture before the door opened for future generations to use.
But I walked through that door without paying the $5 admission fee, and I’m not sure if anyone with whom I share a hobby has done it. Many people stopped and had a lot of wonderful conversations. A man wearing a cardinal hat and holding a cardboard box full of PSA grading cards spent a few minutes chatting. When his partner said something on another table, the guy in the cardinal hat said, “Wait a minute. I’m here to watch my childhood.”
I like that. But he bought nothing. okay then. Quite a lot has happened. I really think that if nothing happens, many people will spend a few dollars to buy a few bags, just to catch the nostalgic itch. This is exactly what I would do. Oops, I did open the packs sitting behind the desk, because even after opening hundreds of trash wax packs for a year, I still like to open one pack and slowly check each card. Mullet! Mustache! Dad’s body! Those memories. One person actually bought 18 1989 Fleer/Donruss/Bowman combinations, hoping to get a Griffey. I found myself really hoping that he could get at least one, properly centered and sharp corners.
Of course, I am not complaining. One of the great things about hobbies is that there are many different and unique ways to look at it. A person asked me if I had a 1992 golf card, and seemed disappointed that I only had a 1991 card. I mean, what are you going to do? Mark sold cards worth about $35 from his 50-cent box to someone who only collected cards from former University of Notre Dame football players. This is not more casual than athletes who happen to like two sports; when they see how many Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan cards I have, that person will go crazy.
It would be cool if there were six people with exactly the same methods as me, or at least a group of players in my cab hanging out. I have to remind myself that there are two parties involved in any sale: buyers and sellers, and their needs/demands/supplies must be perfectly aligned. For me, this does not happen often on Sundays.
In different environments, in different programs, I really believe that my table will be very popular. These boxes and packaging are sold on eBay, and people pay more than I charge. Earlier this week, I bought a few boxes of 1988 Donruss from a local. He said that he sold more than US$4,500 of cards between 1988 and 1991, at US$15 to US$25 per box—and he didn’t even sell it. Drop his 1989 upper deck card! But this show is not crowded, most people do it differently from mine.
Before deciding to do this show, I thought about setting up a few tables in my driveway on a Saturday morning and promoting “Junk Wax Baseball Card Field Sale!” on Facebook Market and Nextdoor. There may not be many people, but at least they will come to find the beauty of wax bag nostalgia.
And I might do it. In other words, if I haven’t opened everything by then.