Know where the show actually is.
I knew the area, but wrote down the address and plugged it into my GPS. It helped.
Make sure you have plenty of time.
Since card collecting is a pastime for me and not my vocation I made sure that my attending the show did not interfere with any family obligations. I was clear and my wife even said that I deserved a bit of time away.
Have your checklists ready.
I knew what I wanted, but I was scrambling on Saturday morning, assembling and printing the checklists. I had one on a work computer, one on the laptop and one that I'm continually working on and is in no shape to print.
Know what you want.
This goes with having your checklists ready. I ended up only bringing two checklists. Earl Wilson and Carl Erskine. I wanted to fill in as many Topps Earl Wilsons spots as I could and I wanted to see what was available for the Erskines.
Set a budget and stick to it.
I set my card buying budget at $20. I didn't count the entry fee. It was $5, but they offered a $1 coupon. I did print that in advance and used it. I should have brought a mess of 1's and 5's. I just had the 5's. Nothing like two guys fumbling with their money pouch and wallets, digging in their pockets while juggling a handful of cards. In the end I was probably within 10 % of my budget. I went over by just a bit. I was waffling at the end over an early 1950s slabbed Bowman. No, I don't know what year or even who the player was. But the card was good looking. I looked at it. Went back. It was half off the stickered price, but it would have put me over my allotted funds. I left the card there.
Budget your time.
Once I got to the show I scoped the place out. It was a small show. I walked by the tables, getting an idea of who I wanted to come back to. That lasted about half way through the floor and then I just started looking at the cards. I ended up with plenty of time and then made a second pass. It was a toy/comic/sportscard show. The second pass consisted of looking at the toys. Don't spend an hour flipping through a big box of 25 cent star commons when there are two more aisles to look at and the show closes in half an hour.
Talk to the vendors.
I spent time talking with seven vendors. Finding out where they came from. Did they have business cards? Surprisingly, only about half of those I asked had them. But then again, I didn't have any of mine. I really should get some printed up. Blog and contact info. That sort of thing. I wanted to find out where they were from in case they had something back home that I was interested in. Several were locals (within a few counties). Some were from several states away.
Be open to new things.
I wasn't looking for hockey cards, but I saw quite a few that I liked. I didn't buy them, but I liked them. Same with some older football.
So, what did I get? It is now time for show and tell...
1961 Topps Earl Wilson (card # 69)
1967 Topps Earl Wilson (card # 305)
1968 Topps AL Pitching Leaders (w/Earl Wilson) (card # 10)
1968 Topps Earl Wilson (card # 160)
1970 Topps Earl Wilson (card # 195)
1971 Topps Earl Wilson (card # 301)
This put a serious dent in my Earl Wilson base set. I'm starting to go with the collecting philosophy of getting the widely distributed cards (Topps, Bowman, Fleer, Donruss, UD, etc) of the player I want when they were actually playing. Other cards (oddball and regional) are cake.
The other part of the my collecting philosophy is to get the best quality card that I can afford, but also get the best bang for my buck. I think that I'd rather have three Near Mint cards rather than one Gem Mint card. Now, that depends on the card, but I think you know what I mean.
I also picked up two relic cards. Keeping with some of my earlier collecting intents, I stayed with Hall of Famers and cards that interested me. Okay, one of each.
2006 Fleer Decade Greats, Steve Carlton (card # DEC-SC)
I had a Brooks Robinson bat card in my hand for the longest time. I already have a Brooks Robinson autographed card, so I thought I'd go a different route. "Wait", you're saying. "Why a Carlton bat card? He's a pitcher." That's what got him into the Hall, but he was also a decent hitter. For a pitcher. Batting Average of .201 with 13 Home Runs. The HRs put him into 21st place on the "MLB all-time leaders in home runs by pitchers" list.
2001 Upper Deck Legends of New York, Legendary Dodgers,
Game-Worn Jersey, Carl Erskine (card # LDJ-CE)
Carl was a pitcher with the Brooklyn (and then the Los Angeles) Dodgers. He ended his career with 122 Wins and 78 Losses over 12 seasons. His ERA was 4.00. Not great. He was selected to the All-Star team in 1954 and wears a ring from the 1955 Dodgers' World Series championship.
The jersey card is thick. Well, in the jersey part of it. Thick wool. It has a great look and feel. The fabric isn't shiny. It is what uniforms used to be like. Not slick and full of breather holes.
I decided to start collecting Carl Erskine cards this week. Although we've never met, we share something. But that's for another post, at another time.
I picked up a small set for a family member, but since he reads this blog, I can't share it here. I will reveal that purchase in the future. If he lets me. I'm sure he will.
Later this week I'll post about some of the vendors and product that I saw. And liked. My budget won't allow me to collect them, but darn, I liked what I saw.