Card show at Marketplace Mall

The other day I looked around online for card shows in the area. I’ve never been to one, so I thought it’d be neat if there was any close. I ran across the Sports Collector’s Digest website which has a list of card shows for each state. I noticed that this weekend the Central Illinois Sports Collectibles Mall Show was scheduled right here in Champaign at our local mall. Sweet!

My wife and I headed over there around 10:30am this morning and walked all over the mall trying to find it. We finally found a rectangle of tables with various cards and collectibles like autographed baseballs and photos. All of the expensive cards were under glass which is fine, but they had cards stacked on top of each other so you couldn’t see who the players were on the bottom. In another section, they had some 50’s and 60’s cards in binders which was nice as you could easily see each player and the price was clearly labeled. I paged through a few of them, but didn’t find any Cubs that I really needed.

Meanwhile, my wife had found a box full of autographed players. The sign said $5 per card, except hall of fame cards were $10. All the cards were in toploaders but they weren’t sorted at all. Also, the cards kept falling over when you took a batch out. I wasn’t going to go through them, but figured I might find a gem in there so off we went. There was probably a good thousand cards in the box.

My feet were ok, but my back was really sore from standing. We probably spent 20-30 minutes going through the box. While there were numerous Cubs players in the box, most were folks I’d never heard of before. I ended up finding autographed cards from Billy Williams and Andre Dawson. Since they were both hall of fame players, I had to pay $10/each. A little steep, but since they were autographed I felt like I was getting more than just a base card.

Had this been my setup, I think I would have done a few things differently.

  • Provide a table with chairs where people could go through cards without breaking their back.
  • Advertise. The only info I could find about the event was on the Sports Collector’s Digest website. Marketplace Mall didn’t even mention it on their website!
  • Carry boxes and packs of cards instead of just singles. I think a lot more kids would have purchased if they could get the excitement of ripping a pack open.
  • Sort the randomly assorted box by teams. We could have been in and out in 5 minutes had they just had a Cubs section in that box. They would probably sell more too!
  • Spread out your cards more so you can see what is under the glass.

Cards purchased today:
1989 Swell Baseball Greats Billy Williams #120 – Autographed
1989 Fleer Andre Dawson #422 – Autographed