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Old 02-04-2016, 02:35 PM
btcarfagno btcarfagno is offline
T0m C@rf@gn0
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Central New Jersey
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Default What Are Your Earliest Card Show Memories?

With all of the wonderful threads lately about the first card shows and the first National, I thought it might be fun to hear stories about the first card shows that people can remember going to or perhaps having a table at.

Those other threads make me wish I was born just a bit earlier. Alas, had I attended some of them, I likely would have been spitting up (or worse) on some of the goods!!

My first card show memory was in 1980. It was somewhere in Northern NJ at a hotel...not sure the town. Roy White was signing autographs. I was 9 years old and had a table set up (with a few other friends). Holy cow what fun that was!! I remember taking lots of my earnings and buying 1974 Topps football rack packs, that another dealer had for like $3 each. I still have the 1974 Topps Roy White that I had him sign.

Also in the early to mid 1980's I would attend the various Parsippany, NJ shows. They were at the Holiday Inn I believe. I would get there just as often as my dad was willing to drive me.

I also remember attending a show in New York City in early 1985. I thought I was so smart....thought I could stock up on this kid Gooden's 1985 card on the cheap before anyone else figured out how good he was. That didn't work out well, especially in NYC!! I also remember having a choice between a Pete Rose rookie or a beautiful 1962 Topps Yaz. I hated Rose and the Yaz was in better shape, so I bought the Yaz. Egad!!

Since not all of us were able to be there for those early hobby shows, I would love to hear about the first shows that you were able to attend.

Tom C
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Old 02-04-2016, 02:59 PM
philliesfan philliesfan is offline
Robert J. Miller
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Near Philadelphia, Pa.
Posts: 609

My first shows were in the early 1980's as well. I attended small shows at local halls to larger shows in Parsippany and Atlantic City. One of he first shows I set up at was in 1983 in Atlantic City at one of the casinos. I think Joe DiMaggio was there signing auto's. I remember a representative from Donruss was walking around and I purchased many singles of the Action All Star Set. At the time, these were a huge hit. I was selling commons at $1.75 each and people were just handing over money. I was offered $5.00 for each Rose, Schmidt and Carlton. I sold all I had. Other stars like Brett was getting me $3.00 or so. I used some of the money to buy some 1959 cello packs at $20.00 each. Got all commons but that was fun to rip. I just wish I kept those packs sealed.
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Old 02-04-2016, 03:04 PM
Bestdj777 Bestdj777 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Washington, DC
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Not the best experience, but I remember going to a card show in a local mall when I was around 10 years old (early 90s). I saw what I thought was a Nolan Ryan rookie card, and asked the dealer about it. It turned out it was one of those porcelain copies and he wanted $20.00 for it. I said no thank you (I didn't want a reprint), and, as I was walking away he called me cheap and mumbled something nasty under his breathe. Great first experience and one of the things that soured me from collecting for a while.
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Old 02-04-2016, 03:05 PM
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midmo midmo is offline
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Missouri
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My dad took me to my first show in Los Angeles in 1980 when I was 9 years old. It was in a hotel, but I'm not sure where (kinda think near the airport, but not positive). I remember seeing some Ruth's on the table near the entrance. I also remember almost buying a T206 Cobb for around $50, but it would have been all my money so I passed it up. A kid I casually knew had a table set up, but for the life of me I can't remember his name. I've wondered if that was the National or just a regular weekend show. I'll have to ask my dad if he remembers what hotel it was.
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Old 02-04-2016, 03:12 PM
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Tabe Tabe is offline
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Location: Spokane, WA
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I didn't attend many card shows as a kid. My earliest one was when I was around 12 or 13. It was a big show, held in the convention room at a local Holiday Inn in West Bloomfield, MI and Ernie Banks was the autograph guest. I didn't really understand how autograph guests worked at shows (I thought I could just walk up to the table, didn't understand about tickets) but did eventually get an autograph from Ernie (on an SSPC Hall of Fame card).

My main memory from the show is that my grandmother took me to the show. My brother & I were staying with her for the week. My grandmother took me to the show and sat outside on a bench waiting for me to be done. She told me "take as long as you want, I'll just wait out here and read" - and she meant it. She wanted me to have a good time and was more than happy to wait for me. I ended up being there for...3 hours? 4? And she was completely fine with it. But she was awesome like that.
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Old 02-04-2016, 03:22 PM
Posts: n/a

My first "card show" was in the early 1980's. It was at the old Midway Drive-In in Kent, Washington. I remember it was crowded and everyone smelled like BO. I picked up a few football cards (less than a couple bucks worth), and a new appreciation for deodorant.

Last edited by pariah1107; 02-04-2016 at 03:24 PM.
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Old 02-04-2016, 03:24 PM
obcbobd obcbobd is offline
Bob Donaldson
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Arlington, MA
Posts: 703

Around 1973, I'm 12. I subscribed to the Sport Hobbyist and they were always talking about shows in Detroit. Living just outside Boston, I was so jealous. Finally, there is a show in Springfield Mass. It's about a 2.5 hours ride. My Dad is off that Saturday, which is unusual as he worked shifts including a lot of weekends. I'm super physc'd, I've saved up all my money from snow shoveling and other misc. jobs. Visions of Goudeys (I had none at the time) and T206s (I had two) are dancing in my head. We get in the car and after about 20 minutes I realized today was August 19th, but the show was September 20th. I was so afraid to tell my Dad, thought he would kill me; but when I did he didn't yell at me, we stopped and had a bite to eat. When September rolled around, I was too embarrassed/afraid to bring it up.

Sometime in the early 80's I finally went to a show, didn't like it much, a lot of rude people and greed. Wasn't till the Shriner's shows in the early 90's that I got back into collecting and enjoyed a show.
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Old 02-04-2016, 03:53 PM
curch curch is offline
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Drums Pennsylvania
Posts: 175

I remember my dad taking me to shows in the mid 80s at the local holiday inn. I remember a dealer always set up at these shows that had some sort of dice game. For a certain amount of money you can win cards by throwing the dice. My dad was always excited to see all the old Yankee players cards and would tell me the story about how they flipped cards against a wall and put them in the spokes on their bikes. He also would always tell me that when he went into the navy his mom threw all the cards away. How many times have we all heard that story
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Old 02-04-2016, 05:15 PM
Jeff1970Red Jeff1970Red is offline
Jeff D
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: So Cal
Posts: 49

My first show was at a hotel near LAX in my early teens. I hopped a ride in the bed of my friends Toyota pick-up. The drive was 30 miles. The show itself was overwhelming, what I remember most was a dealer selling fake Rose rookies for $50. On the way home I dropped a couple hard plastic sliders with Ripken rookies, they slid out the back of the bed of the truck and onto the freeway. I think I cried.
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Old 02-04-2016, 03:58 PM
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Rookiemonster Rookiemonster is offline
Dustin Mar.ino
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Nj
Posts: 1,363

I don't remember if it was95 or 96 but my first show was in Garfield NJ . It was held ( and still is ) at the boys and girls club . There was so much going on and I was a newbie . I would go and buy boxes and packs . I never wanted singles I felt that I wanted no needed to pull the cards myself . At the very least trade for my cards .

Like most I still have a crap load of cards from then . The good the bad and the ugly ! But would not change it for the world .

The show always had some of the best dealers . But of course I ran in to scammers . I once pulled a Dan Marino donruss elite numbered . At the time this was a big deal . I traded it for a bunch of really cool looking cards . They were not in the Beckett . So I then went around trying to sell or trade those cards . A dealer stopped me and said that they were only dollar cards . So I went back to the guy and said hey you ripped me off ! And that I wanted my card back . He gave me some line like a trade is a trade . I said that he told me that they were worth more . So he pretended to look for the card and then acted like it was gone . I'll never forget that and I still see the guy . I wonder if he remembers ripping me of .
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Old 02-04-2016, 04:00 PM
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Runscott Runscott is offline
Belltown Vintage
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 10,542

My first show was 1988 or 1989 in the Dallas area. Unfortunately I did not yet collect cards, so was just hanging out with a friend and missed a great opportunity. I almost bought a Ted Williams card, but ended up passing.
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Old 02-10-2016, 09:24 AM
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Stetson_1883 Stetson_1883 is offline
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Location: World Wide
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My dad lived in Hicksville, NY while I was in Florida. My parents were divorced. Every summer I got to visit him for a few months and we'd stock up on official baseballs from Modells and hit up the Hofstra Univ. Shows where they always had tons of great HOF guests. Back then I was just into new stuff and autographs. Huge show, great fun. Wont ever forget it. RIP Artie.

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Old 02-10-2016, 11:42 AM
stlcardsfan stlcardsfan is offline Jackso.n
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 546

The first I remember would have been around 1980. I would have been 13. I think it was in a hotel in Collinsville or Edwardsville, IL. My mom took me and we were working on the 1972 set. I remember we bought the complete second series. Didn't know it at the time but it was from vending. The cards were curved and in perfect condition! I thought it was so cool. Still have those cards today as part of my set.

There was a kid on my little league team that also collected cards. His mom was also helping him. I remember they were working on a Hank Aaron run. His mom bought the '54 RC that day. He didn't even go to the show! I remember it was extremely low grade. I don't know what she paid but I'm sure it wasn't much. I remember thinking I wouldn't even want that card but I sure wish I had it now. Pretty lucky kid to have his mom buy a card like that when he didn't even want to go. BTW, he ended up in prison!
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Old 02-10-2016, 01:00 PM
parkerj33 parkerj33 is offline
Jim Parker
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: NY
Posts: 114

Lots of great stories here. I will share a couple of mine....I think my first show may have been a small room in a holiday inn in south bend, age 11, around 1979...sponsored by johnny's collectibles of indianapolis. I think i bought a 69 carlton for some unknown reason. Always went with my Dad, who was not a collector, just liked to help me. I was always working on finishing and upgrading a 72 set that I had bought from a kid in the neighborhood who was going to throw it out for $5. Still have all those cards and they are rough!

Also recall going to my one and only national in 1983 in Chicago, buying a boatload of minty fresh 71 commons from bill henderson, the "commons king". still have all those too.

Finally, cherish all the times i went to shows with my 5th grade teacher, mr. grenert - he was instrumental in shaping my life path - don't ever understimate the effect a teacher can have on a youngster!
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Old 02-10-2016, 01:05 PM
CurtisFlood CurtisFlood is offline
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Missouri
Posts: 286

I remember going to my first card show in Joplin, MO in 1989. I had been buying some 89 Upper Deck boxes, and needed a Jerome Walton card to finish the high numbers. That was all I bought that day, but just from observation of the dealers I thought to myself that these guys are not doing their best in terms of being courteous and fair in their treatment of customers. I was setting up at shows within six months and have been doing so ever since. Looking forward to the Atlantic City National which will be my 11th National.
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Old 02-10-2016, 02:00 PM
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dealme dealme is offline
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Indiana
Posts: 66

My first show would have been around 1987 at the Indianapolis convention center. I remember my dad took me and I ended up getting the 86 and 87 Topps sets. I also remember getting that particular month's Beckett which had Darryl Strawberry on it.

I got such a kick of walking around with my dad, looking at the cards from the 50s and 60s, and listening to my dad talk about the exploits of the older players on those cards. I'm thrilled that I rediscovered the hobby a few years ago after a bit of a hiatus.

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Old 02-10-2016, 02:25 PM
Laxcat Laxcat is offline
M.att C H A R L T O N
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Austin
Posts: 899

Sitting on Hank Aaron's lap for a picture. I was like 5. I had my little kid glove with me and he tossed the ball back and forth with me for awhile too. Growing up in the hobby was great.
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Old 09-09-2019, 04:26 PM
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BuzzD BuzzD is offline
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Location: New York metro area
Posts: 119
Default First show

I believe my first show was 1986 in Schenectady at a hockey rink. I went for a Mantle autograph for $11. While we were waiting in line, they upped the price to $15. We were really p.o. ed. Actually happened again same year when DiMaggio came to town. But got him to shake hands!

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