Purchase: Jose Fernandez 2012 Bowman Prospect Auto - $15
There's one dealer who has been at all three shows. He almost always goes by book value alone when selling his cards and somehow assumes everyone is bringing Gretzky or Jordan-level hits to the show to sell. He had a friend with a table near him who was also a slave to book value. Except this time, book value benefited me, the buyer. The friend had a pair of Jose Fernandez autos from 2012 Bowman and wanted $15 for each. Which is crazy low considering how much of a beast Jose is at just 21 years of age.
I was giddy when I heard $15 and scooped one up before the guy realized how low the price he quoted me was. I was tempted to buy the second but if I bought every card I wanted, I'd have gone broke long ago. My buddy Rich had a table and I mentioned the bargain to him. He handed me 15 bucks and asked me to pick up the remaining Fernandez for him. We were both quite happy with our coups.
Purchase: Ryan Getzlaf '13-'14 UD Series 1 Relic - $1
The same dealer who had the Fernandez also had a Ryan Getzlaf relic I did not yet own. I figured it shouldn't be too hard to pry it away from him, considering its book value couldn't be too high and it's really a $1-2 card. I had to somewhat convince him but he seemed to not really care about a plain old relic. All the better for me as I add another hit to my Getzy Collection.
Purchase: Miscellaneous Vintage From My Favorite Dealer, Patrick - $12
At the first show, I came across Patrick. He had a TON of awesome vintage that was priced to move, and I made sure some of it did. I've made it a point to head back to his table at each subsequent show and his station was my first stop this time around. I was able to pick up some trade bait for bloggers I owe and a few cards that will call my collection home.
Ohio and Tucker are headed to Duane; New York is for Scott Crawford, if he'd like it; Red Munger is ticketed for Matt Scott; and the beat-up card with its football front barely remaining can be Fuji's down the road, if it meets the requirements for his Damaged Card PC.
I'm not a football guy, but how could I pass up a card of a guy named Vitamin Smith? I looked it up, and I'd actually take Vitamin over his birth name of Verda. I had to pick up Zollie Toth for a buck and a half, as I have an affinity for others with "Z" names. John Rauch looks exactly like Peyton Manning down to the number 18. Germany and Tennessee were easy adds as I like both sets and Patrick always has a plethora of both available.
Purchase: Miscellaneous Football Vintage From A Tub - $3
One of my other favorite dealers at these shows brings tubs of cards that range from 10 cents to a dollar or two. I can spend 30 minutes or more sifting through his tubs and chatting with him and his family. I managed to land some more trade bait and a couple of cards I liked for myself.
The '71 Topps Lance Alworth (50 cents) fits nicely in my Chargers' PC and tempts me to get every vintage Alworth base card from the 60s/70s. I already have 1970 and 1971, and both have come from these card shows. The '69 Earl Morrall (25 cents) and '65 Ray Berry (50 cents) were plucked solely on name value.
The 1960 Fleer Don Allen and 1955 Bowmans were fun finds for pocket change.
Purchase: Starling Marte Sterling RC Auto + Johnny Unitas: A Charger? - $6
One dealer had some ridiculous vintage and some more modern stuff that was all at least 80% off from book. The Marte quickly stood out as good bait and was priced at $4 after the discount, so I was pretty sure I would wind up grabbing that. I kept going back to his booth to look through some stuff and just as the show was coming to a close and I was ready to leave, I saw a card of Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas....as a San Diego Charger.
I'm a big Chargers' fan but I had no idea Unitas suited up for the Bolts. It was $3 after the discount so I offered five on the pair and he met me in the middle at $6.
Sold. It was my final purchase of the day.
Purchase: Winston Churchill and More Random Vintage Football From My Favorite Dealer, Patrick - $3
My penultimate purchase came from one final trip to Patrick's table.
I've always had a soft-spot for Winston Churchill as a history major and fan of people who speak their minds. Considering Churchill is the man behind my favorite quote of all-time from someone as powerful as he was -- "Yes madam, I am drunk. But in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly." (/paraphrased) -- it was an easy pickup for a buck, even in its less than stellar condition.
The football vintage was simply priced to move, as the Alex Karras was a buck and name I recognized while the Packer and L.A. Ram ran me a combined dollar.
Card Show Trade: Matt Kemp 2012 Topps Museum Collection Quad Relic /99
Aside from the trade I completed with Dodger Penguin, I made two trades while at the show with a couple of teenagers who were enjoying the festivities. It's always great to see some younger cardboard aficionados at events like these.
As I was showing one kid some of the trade bait I brought with me, one of his friends thrust the above Matt Kemp triple bat/number patch relic from Museum Collection in my face and asked if I'd take it for a Neil Walker Gypsy Queen auto I had available.
It was a ridiculously easy YES from me. The lower right corner does have a pretty gnarly ding but I can live with that. This Bison beaut is numbered 42/99 (a Jackie Robinson tribute, oh snap) and I've always loved Dodger cards that feature a piece of a player's red jersey number. It's a welcome addition to my Kemp PC.
Card Show Trade: Elvis Andrus Tier One Auto /25 + Yu Darvish Bowman Blue RC /500 + Carlos Beltran Triple Threads Relic /9
After a young collector and I looked through each other's available cards, I settled on a handful I was interested in, including the three listed above. He was interested in a Devin Mesoraco RC Auto and a Zach Britton Blue RC Auto and offered the Andrus, Beltran, and Yu for them.
I was sold instantly and we had a quick trade wrapped up. The Andrus is numbered 13/25 but does have a dinged lower right corner; the Beltran is 3/9 and has at least one small seam; and the Darvish RC is #'d 357/500.
Card Show Sale: Mike Moustakas Auto /50 - $15
The same kid who made the Andrus trade with me was very interested in a Mike Moustakas auto /50 I had from some product that eludes my memory right now (it pictures him in the minors). I told him to make me an offer and he came up with $15. I was quite happy with that and we had ourselves a sale.
Card Show Sale: Oscar Moller Auto/Patch RC - $10
Rich, who runs the card shop Wax Czar in Woodland Hills and has had a table at all three shows, was interested in any Los Angeles Kings' bait I might have. He has a customer who is always looking to buy Kings' cards, and I had the Moller. Rich offered me ten bucks, letting me know he'd be moving it for fifteen. I was more than happy to help out a friend.
I passed on two amazing cards at the show because condition was just not nearly good enough for my liking. Both came from 1953 Topps and they're probably the cards I'd most want from that set. I'm confident I will one day own both. It was pretty damn cool to hold both in my hands though.
So in the end I spent $40; made $25 by selling two cards; completed an in-person card show trade for a sweet new Mattycakes' card; and finally finalized a blog trade with my buddy Matthew. The $25 has already gone towards a HUGE addition to one of my budding collections in a deal that I had agreed to before the show. $11 of what I had allocated for the show also went towards said HUGE PC addition.