While I’m waiting for the scanner to warm up, I might as well get the ball rolling by talking about the actual show itself. I figure I’ll break up the posts and scans into multiples so that you can just read what interests you the most (hits, trade bait, my personal collection, etc).

The show itself was actually a little smaller than I had pictured, but in retrospect, if it had been any larger I think my back would have given out from all the stuff I bought and crammed into my backpack. I had driven in with Sam and had some breakfast at a nearby Taco Cabana while we waited for the doors to the show to open. He had VIP tickets and could get in early and take a look around, which I would imagine helped him get his pile of autograph vouchers in order, but I’ll let him tell you about that. I had to wait outside with about 200 football fans until the doors opened to the general public a half hour later. The waiting wasn’t really an issue, but the organization for the event certainly could have been a little better. There was just a huddled mass around the doors and no one really in charge so it got a bit chaotic once they started letting people in.

Looking around it seemed like the vendors fell into two categories. The booths were either run by shop owners who had hauled their stuff in for the show, or smaller collectors who simply had too much stuff and were looking to move some of it. There were also more football card/jersey/stuff vedors than baseball card vendors, which is to be expected in a football town and with it being a generic “sports collectables” show and not specifically focused on baseball. There were also two distinct groups of people there as well. Hardcore football fans looking to get Colt McCoy or Emit Smith to sign something, or bargin bin hunting baseball collectors. There was also a shady sub-group of ultra highend card sellers, who I’m pretty sure came by their cards via nafarious means, or at the very least with a huge bank roll. As an example, there was one “booth” towards the back of the show. It was a single table with a single case on it. In that case were dozens of $500+ cards. That was it. No sign, no inventory, and the guy wasn’t interested in talking to anyone. Actually, he wasn’t SELLING anything. He was there to open packs. He was surrounded by a case or two of ultra premium football cards, and a half full trash bin for the wrappers. I saw him later, talking to another more legitimate vendor (who’s $0.25 box I was looking through) and I overheard him say, and I quote, “I don’t really care, you can tell me how cool the card is all day, I don’t care, I’m just looking to get book value for it and make some money, are you interested?” That pretty much sums up that whole guys existence. Cards are not something he collects. He doesn’t care. He’s cracking cases for profit. Period.

I’m getting off topic. The show was a pretty good mix of old and new cards, lots of variety. There were lots of vendors selling original 52 Bowman and 50-70’s Topps and then lots of vendors selling tons 2011 Bowman Chrome. I was also pleased to see that there were a couple vendors willing to work with me on prices. Two in particular gave me very good deals on a couple cards. I picked up an uncirculated (sealed in a slab by Topps) Kevin Youkilis rookie card for under $5 (Book $25) and a a really sick Topps Tribute jersey/auto Clay Buchholz for $15 (Book $35-40). There were also a couple dealers who were the polar opposites, and one I even got in a argument with. I don’t even remember the card now, I think it was a 2011 Bowman Lars Anderson auto. The guy had a $50 price tag on it and a small sign that said “everything 50% off”. I asked him about the card and he said it was “already marked down”. I laughed and told him there was no earthly way it was worth $50, let alone the $100 he claimed it was marked down from already (I was right, it’s worth $12). I offered him $15 and he was “insulted”. I thought he was negotiating with me, but he was, in fact, actually insulted. We didn’t part on good terms, lol. I’m sorry though, I’m at the show hunting for a bargain. Unless the card is some crazy 6-piece jersey/bat/glove/wall/dirt/jock-strap with autograph RC card, it’s not going to be worth $100. It’s not. I know what cards I’m interested in that ARE worth that much. A Dustin Pedroia USA team auto/jersey card, that might fetch a hundred. That’s on the short list. A Bowman prospect card from an unproven rookie, who’s NOT Bryce Harper, I think I’ll pass.

Fortunately I didn’t really have to hunt down cards in ones and two’s like that all day. I did a 40 minute stint at a massive $0.25 box and completely cleaned them out of Red Sox. What amazed me was that the box I was digging through was full of cards worth (at least to me, but also BV) way more than $0.25. It was full of mostly refractors and parallels, serial numbered, gold foils, that sort of stuff. It was also mostly 2000-2007 stuff, which is why it probably wasn’t being sold and thus the discount. I pulled out 132 cards from that box, and got the guy to give me a discount for pulling so many. I got the whole mess for $25. I don’t actually have the 2006 Red Sox team set yet, but I now have EVERY refractor.

There was also a table with a $1 per hit and $5 per hit box. I also nearly cleaned them out of Sox as well. That’s where most of my money went, I think I dropped $85-100 on those. I got quite a few nice cards, including a Josh Beckett quad-swatch and a Luis Tiant auto. I’ll show those off in the card scan posts.

Last but not least, I had a big decision to make. My 4th goal was to buy a hobby box. I stood there for what must have been 20 minutes trying to decide which one. I had spent most of my money and the boxes were the last thing I was going to get. I had enough money for one really good one, or two fun ones. I chose the two. More packs to open. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I really wanted to save them and do a box break, or at least a box “break down”, but I was so excited to open them when I got home that I just tore right through them. I got a box of 2006 Upper Deck Future Stars (which may be familiar to some of you) and a box of 2007 SP Authentic. I wasn’t shorted any hits, and got my 7 autos (and two letter patches). I’ll just tease you with that and make you wait and see the post of those. The patches are NICE!

Now that I’ve feasted on cardboard all weekend, I have a conundrum. I don’t know how to manage my collection. Part of me wants to keep everything super safe, put everything in top-loaders and in a large box. The other half me realizes that I’ll never get to enjoy them that way, and that I should put them in a binder so I can at least look at them. Right now I have it 75% binder and 25% top-loaders. I kept the really premium stuff in the loaders and put the majority in the binder so I could start scanning. There is way too much to scan one card at a time, so I just had to do it by the page. I’m also considering picking out my 20-3o favorite cards and finding some sort of wall display for them, but I can’t decide if it’s worth the trouble (and the cost – UV glass is expensive). I might also just pick up a bunch of those UltraPro “one touch” slabs and use those. They claim to be UV protective. Maybe I’ll put them on a shelf or something. Who knows.

So, in the end, it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. It was a little more “random stuff in a box” and a little less “how can I help you finish your checklist?”. That’s ok. I can finish my checklists and want lists with trades and, if worst comes to worst, sites like COMC. There’s always those single cards floating around out there. I was pretty geeked over the opportunity to get a) tons of cheap refractors I thought were awesome and b) higher end cards I wouldn’t have normally found. So, for those keeping track, goals #2, #4, #5 and #6 accomplished. I might not have finished off a base set, or found a complete 1980 box, but I did have a blast. I’m also exhausted. In addition to all the cards I also picked up some much needed (but heavy) supplies. Pages, boxes, top-loaders, all the good stuff. I’m glad I brought my backpack. It was full by the time I left Saturday afternoon and my back is killing me, lol.

Anyway, everything is scanned, stay tuned for more posts with all kinds of goodies!