Sunday, August 19, 2018

Long Overdue Return Trip to the Card Show...Was it Worth It?

Last weekend, with my wife's blessing, I was able to attend my first card show in a number of years. Where I live there seems to only be one real promoter and his show only rotates through my area maybe once a quarter. It usually falls on a weekend that I'm not available, but finally the cards (no pun intended) fell into place and allowed me to go.

The show was held near uptown Charlotte, NC in a venue I hadn't had the chance to visit before. It was rather easy to get to and parking was free. The hall it was held in was comparable to where the show was previously held. No frills room, exposed rafters in the ceiling a cold, unforgiving, hard concrete floor. Admission was just $5 and free for kids under 12. They also had plenty of junk wax packs (even those old Pro Set Little Mermaid!) for the kids.

Upon entering the room the left side was pretty much the trading card dealers with the right side of the room for toy dealers. However the right side of the room was very sparse and the promoter told me he has a hard time getting the toy dealers to come to the show. He said those particular dealers didn't like driving into proper Charlotte city limits.

I first made my way around the left side of the room, eager to take in all the card dealers had to offer. I was keeping my eyes open for of course dealers, but those all elusive dime boxes I see so many of my trading card buddies on Twitter talk about. One of the first things I noticed was a large majority of vintage card dealers. Lots and lots of older men sitting behind the tables and at the tables with their crude checklists in spiral bound notebooks.

The other thing that I quickly realized was that many of the dealers didn't really want to engage the people looking, instead standing/sitting behind their tables with a blank look on their face. If they were staring into space, they were talking with the dealer beside or behind them. At times I felt as if I was walking through a retirement community! There were very few father/son combos there or little kids. It was kind of depressing if I'm going to be honest. How, had I been more into vintage I'm sure I could've plugged some holes in sets...but I'm not there yet.

The first table I did any shopping at was a husband and wife from outside of Atlanta, GA that drove up for the show. He had two large white foam boards set up on the back of the table with $1 cards attached. Some were autos, some were relics. The rest of his table had a selection of modern autos/relics with two $.25 bins to the right. There was one card that immediately caught my eye that was sitting on the table.

2015 Topps World Series Champion Coin and Stamp #WCCS-TG (19/50)

I don't think I've ever seen this card or an example of it before. I only had $20 in my pocket for the entire show and the dealer wanted $8 for it. I eventually was able to get that down a buck or so after I found a few quarter cards from his bins. The only thing about this Tom Glavine card is the upside down penny is driving my OCD nuts! Unfortunately the coin is behind a clear film so you can really rotate it around to where it's upright. Oh well, it was a nice way to kick off the show for me.

It was no surprise I was able to find several Atlanta Braves cards from the dealer from GA and these 4 came from the quarter bin. I love the black & white Spahn from last year's Stadium Club set. I think I needed it for my set, but even if I didn't it'll go into my larger Braves collection. The Tom Glavine Bowman Chrome card is from 2016's MLB Draft History insert set. Hard to pass up a shiny Braves card! A lot of Braves fans have been quick to criticize Dansby Swanson and his performance at the plate, but he's one of my favorite modern Braves players. I love the look of these '83 Retrospective cards, but of all the ones I've pulled from packs none of them have been of Braves players. The Bowman's Best is from 2016 and it's not a set that I spent much time with, but again it's hard to pass up a shiny Braves card!

2016 Stadium Club is a great set with great photography and this Freddie Freeman card is a great example of the photography found in the set. As a Braves fan this card is alone awesome, but I also love the card for the look on the fans' faces in the stands as Freddie was trying to catch a foul ball. Francoeur is another favorite player of mine, one that I collect in and out of a Braves' uniform. This 2002 Just Minors card is one that I didn't have when I scanned my list on my phone. Seems pretty perfect too that I found a card of his as I've really been enjoying his color commentary on Fox Sports South during Braves games. The last card in this lot is of Alex Wood from 2013 Topps Chrome. I think the Purple Refractors were retail exclusives. Alex is from my hometown of Charlotte, NC so I don't mind having a second copy of this card as I can add it to my Hometown Heroes sub-collection. All of these cards too came from the $.25 bin.

I was really hoping to find cards from a few modern sets I've been working on, but alas I didn't run across any of them. I did however find two more Tarot Cards from this year's Gypsy Queen set I needed. $.25 each, I'll take 'em.

2012 Topps A Cut Above Jackie Robinson #ACA-22

The A Cut Above set from 2012 Topps is a set I'd love to complete, but I don't actively search for. I happened to find this Jackie Robinson card that I didn't have so I was happy to snatch it up. Topps doesn't offer too many die-cut cards anymore so this is another reason this set appeals to me.

2014 Panini Prizm R.A. Dickey Golden Leather #7

I am a fan of what most of Panini has done since they got a partial license for baseball cards. The product I recently featured in my Charity Group Break, combined with their recent Donruss and Optic sets have only helped solidify (and complicate) Panini when it comes to me making baseball card purchasing decisions. I'm sure there is a "Refractor" version of this Golden Leather card of R.A. Dickey and I'm sure it looks better than the regular version I found lingering in the $.25 bin, but I've been looking for more cards of him after discovering and and I share the same faith. He of course is now part of my Faith Brothers sub-collection.

I didn't start collecting cards until about the middle of 1990, so anything pre-1990 is "vintage" to me! All that said, I was happy to find a few older cards of players that I admire for as much for what they accomplished on the field, but who they are off the field. Strawberry of course is from the 1985 Donruss while the Tony Gwynn is from the 1986 Fleer set. Both of these were easy $.25 purchases.

2002 Upper Deck Honor Roll Chris Weinke Letterman #HRL-CW

Before I left the show, I did go back to the couple from GA because I enjoyed talking to both of them. They were really friendly and fun to talk to. While I was standing there I had noticed a Carolina Panthers auto that I didn't recall seeing earlier. It was of Heisman Trophy winner, Chris Weinke. Chris may not have had the NFL career many were expecting, but I enjoyed his time in Carolina. At one buck I couldn't leave him behind.

At the beginning of the post I mentioned that the toy dealers were on the right side of the room. There really wasn't much to look, however there was one guy that had two short boxes of comics that were $1 each. In the boxes were a lot of older Uncanny X-Men issues that didn't really interest me, however I was happy to see these direct editions of Iron Man from 1981, issues 149 and 154. Both were in great condition and I was more than happy to pay a buck for.

Before leaving I decided to make one more sweep around the room. Earlier I had found a table that was unmanned that had sealed boxes of that old Impel Marketing WCW wrestling cards for $3. I was hoping that this mysterious dealer would be at his table, but alas I never saw the guy there pretty much the whole time I was at the show!

I did remember seeing another guy with some older boxes of cards laid out so I circled back by him. This dealer was an older guy as well, however he and his wife were much friendly and inviting that some of the other dealers I encountered. He had one box left of this 91-92 Fleer basketball and his original asking price was much lower than what boxes had recently sold for on eBay. I was kind of interested, as I loved the NBA during this time frame, however as I previously mentioned I only had $20 and I didn't have much left in my pocket at this time. When the dealer asked if I was interested, I told him yeah, but I was on my way out and only had a few bucks left in my pocket. I told him exactly how much I had left and he said, "take it".

All in all I had a good time while I was there. I went on Sunday so the crowd was smaller than the previous day from what I was told. I had bruised my big toe on my left foot on Saturday with the lawnmower so after walking around for a little over an hour on the concrete floor, needless to say my foot was beginning to get sore. It was fun to experience a card show again, but it didn't live up to my expectations. Perhaps I had set the bar too high? For whatever reason the show wasn't what I was expecting, however I managed to have a good time. Will I go back to their next show? Probably, however I'll make sure I'm better prepared next time.

In closing, I'll show off the contents of the NBA Fleer box if anyone leaves me a comment that they are interested.


  1. I'm so used to large shows that are full of young people and their energy, that it seem kind of weird (and a little depressing) to hear about this particular show. At least you were able to come away with some neat things. I opened up a box of '91-92 Fleer about two years ago and found it to be quite enjoyable, so I can't imagine that you wouldn't have just as much fun (if not more) with your box.

  2. Next time take more money! 😀

  3. I'm mighty impressed that you only brought $20 and that you stuck to your budget. Shame about the atmosphere but it looks like you got some fun stuff.

  4. The penny on the Glavine... oh man, I don't think that's just your OCD it's going to bother. LOL

  5. I can understand your plight of only having so much money to go through cards. It happens to me quite often. But what a great selection of cards you did get. As for the basketball box, if you are willing, I would be interested in any Cleveland Cavaliers cards in the box.

  6. You have great restraint only taking $20. Nice unopened wax pickup!

  7. Great cards. The Glavine Championship card and R.A. Dickey cards really stood out to me. The Iron Man comics are great as well. In fact I think I have both of those. I get to a show once a year. Mine is coming in October. For me it is all about the fun and there is never a lack of it. Just getting to rummage through cheap cards or see cards I've never seen before is exciting. Great post!