I have confessed on numerous occasions to having been a lousy card dealer during the handful of years that I traveled much of the East Coast and Midwest in the years before I started working full time for SCD. I suspect a lot of readers may think I am being disingenuous or modest, but no, I really wasn’t very good at it, despite enjoying a good deal of the whole process.
I liked the travel, the people I met (which helped immeasurably over the years in my SCD career), and the idea of working on your hobby. I also developed an enormous respect for the people who do it 24-7, as they say, especially in light of the fact that I wasn’t able to pull it off myself.
When I started doing shows in 1981, I marveled at how much there was to learn! I had thought of myself as a serious collector, but compared to these guys at the Polish Community Center in Albany, N.Y., I was a novice. So a couple of years later when I moved down to the Delaware/Pennsylvania area outside of Philadelphia, I wanted to have a different shtick if I was going to venture out and compete against guys I knew where vastly better at what they were doing than I was.
That argument got only stronger when I started going to the Philly Shows at Willow Grove, where suddenly I was bumping up against national figures of prominence like Bill Goodwin, Kit Young, Alan Rosen, Levi Bleam and a host of others. This was the big league, and a show climate that is hard to describe for those who weren’t around at the time. It was a frenzied excitement that I suspect hooked a lot of guys into the hobby for life, even as the adrenaline meter would pretty consistently dip over the years that followed.
Anyway, it was probably a good thing that I had to sit on the EPSCC waiting list for a table for a couple of years, a list as legendary as the Green Bay Packers’ current backlog for season tickets. I think I got my first table at Willow Grove in 1984 or 1985, and I confined much of my selling to the old Baseball Greats set of cards (shown) that I had produced in 1983. I wouldn’t start selling stuff from my own personal collection for a couple of years, which would bring me to a card show at the Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, Ind., where I let the big one get away.
And for that yummy morsel, we must return to the blogosphere on the morrow ...