Monday, May 26, 2014

Getting Ready for the Show

By:  Vince Ware

I'm getting ready to spend 8 hours in the car, by myself, on Saturday and I couldn't be happier.  While I generally don't choose to punish myself with a down-and-back day trip to Houston, this Saturday is different.  That's because this Saturday, I'll be making my mostly twice annual pilgrimage to the Houston Tristar show.

I'll spend a couple of days this week getting ready and making my final preparations for the show and thought I would put a list together to help others who are making similar journeys of their own, whether it be the first such trip or the "so many I've lost count" trip.

1.  Make a list of things you are looking to buy and prices you are willing to pay for those items.

I prefer to do this on my cell phone note pad.  eBay is a great place to shop around for ideas and price ranges for those items.  Larger shows can be overwhelming, and it is easy to lose focus.  I have found that a list with pricing data helps make sure I get out of there with at least a couple of the items I've been hunting.

Use your list, but stay flexible with your purchases as I usually make one or two total spur of the moment purchases while at the show.  There's a good chance you'll see something for the first time, and it's important to not be so bound to your list that you miss out on those kinds of items.  I'd rather regret buying a card, than regret letting something awesome slip through my hands.

2.  Be patient, but...

Be patient and shop around once at the show.  I like to take a lap around all the tables before buying anything.  I'll make note of tables that have cards I'm interested in, then revisit those tables to try to get the best deal I can.  This can also help to prioritize your shopping list.  If you find cards that outpace your show budget, you can set your sights on the cream of the crop, before working down your list trying to squeeze the very most out of your budget. But...

Once you have found the deal you are willing to pull the trigger on, DO IT!  "He who hesitates...can miss out on that card!"  I saw a guy negotiate an incredible price on a game used bat a couple of years ago.  He got the seller down well below what he said he was willing to pay for it.  He said, "Let me think about it."  Walked away to talk to a buddy about it, and within 5 minutes the bat was gone.  Someone else swooped in and bought it.  I was that buddy, and let me tell you, my friend had a very long trip home after missing out on that bat.

3.  Get your gear right.

Dress comfortably.  It's not a fashion show...not even close!  Wear something comfortable and pay careful attention to your shoes.  You're going to be on your feet almost the entire day, and your dogs will be barking.  The right tennis shoes can make all the difference.

Make sure your phone is fully charged.  You will check eBay, twitter, blowout forums more than once during the show.  Make sure that puppy has plenty of juice to get you through a day of pretty heavy use and maybe some serious roaming if you are coming from out of town.

Bring a back pack if you are planning on making a lot of purchases and/or trading.  That will keep your hands free for digging through cards, and provide a safe place for any cards you bring as well as new purchases.  You really want to stick that dream card in your pocket?  And for God's sake, don't carry cards around in your hands.  Do you know how likely you are to set them down to look at something that catches your eye and walk off without your cards!

4.  Share the love!

Bring a friend, tweet pics/updates, talk to people you meet at the show.  This will be my first solo trip to a show.  I almost always go with other people and I have introduced three non-collectors to the hobby by taking them to a show.  Even got my wife to go to one!  Well me and the promise of getting to meet Vince Young and Colt McCoy.  (She would want me to throw in a "Hook 'Em!" right here.)  Card collecting has an appeal that can be hard for people who don't collect to understand.  A trip to a good show can be all it takes to get someone hooked.

Other collectors like to see updates from shows.  I always try to tweet pictures of really cool items I see at shows.  Most of them are things I have no intention of buying but are rarely seen in person.  Who doesn't want to check out a Babe Ruth autographed baseball, or a piece of memorabilia that would be better suited in a museum!?

Talk to other show-goers.  I've made a few friends by doing just that.  You already have the hobby thing in common and if you're like me, you don't have a lot of friends that collect, so it's always nice to swap collecting stories with someone whose eyes don't glaze over 10 seconds into it.   

There are countless other tips, but I'll stop there.  I've gone on long enough to make the most diehard collector's eyes begin to glaze over and get an itch in their mouse finger!  Some of it has to come from experience and figuring out what works best for you.  There is a difference in preparing for a small local show with a dozen tables and the National.  Don't be afraid to reach out to other collectors for ideas on twitter and/or forums.  What are some of your show do's and dont's ?  Any preparation you'd like to share?  Feel free to leave comments below.

Friday, May 16, 2014

2014 Topps Dynasty is Coming!

Today Topps released info and images on a new high end set called Topps Dynasty. With one on card or cut autograph card per box at an expected price of $200+ per pack and $1,000+ per case (that's 5 cards!) this product is about as high end as you can get. This product is currently scheduled to release November 19th.

Find more information on this new set HERE!

Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

1961 Golden Press Offers Affordable High Grade Vintage Cards

By: Chuck Vanderbilt

Being a varsity collector often means spending big bucks. However, in a hobby as varied as sports collectibles you are bound to find some affordable gems. 1961 Golden Press is a set of baseball cards that fits the bill of high quality and reasonable prices.

Originally issued as a booklet, the 33 card set features full color images of HOF players like Ruth, Cobb, and Speaker. Due to the fact that these cards came attached, individual cards will have perforated edges. Perhaps those edges help keep prices modest.

Take the example of this PSA 9 Christy Mathewson, pictured on the right, that's currently listed on eBay for $39.99 delivered.

You can find PSA's online Sports Marketing Report, which includes full checklist and values for the set, HERE.

Follow Chuck on Twitter @CollectinTex