There’s always a kind of magic about a good card show, and Sunday at the Sun-Times Show in suburban Chicago, the magic was there literally.
The show was typical Chicago, with a goodly number of folks through the door over the three days, an imposing roster of autograph signers on the starboard side of the room and cold weenies and crusty pizza made with plastic cheese on the port side. So, in short, business as usual.
Naturally the lines for autographs were as impressive as ever, leaving you once again with a wish that a way could be figured out to allow for less standing-in-line time so that show goers might be able to linger more at the tables, but you can’t shake the suspicion that a goodly number of the patrons are there solely for the signers and trying to nudge them into the vintage-card arena would have a limited upside.
And that’s not a criticism in any fashion of Mounted Memories, which handles the signing pavilion logistics about as efficiently as possible, but merely an acknowledgment that the balance between the autographs and the dealers has never been more out of kilter than it is today.
Still, it’s always fun to see the legendary names like Ernie Banks and Whitey Ford, who though they are Sun-Times veterans, always are a delight for fans of all ages. This time it was an iconic figure from the squared circle, boxer Roberto Duran, who created a good deal of the buzz over the weekend, posing for pictures with many of his fellow sports legends and just generally having a great time.
About the only discouraging word I might offer from the show floor – and it’s anecdotal at best – was that I didn’t see a lot of stuff coming through the door either to be sold directly to dealers or offered to the auction houses for consignments. With our SCD and Collect.Com Auctions booth directly at the front door, we had a pretty good vantage point for that kind of evaluation, and there just didn’t seem to be too much action.
Don’t ask me why. If I knew the answer to that question, I might be in line for a promotion. And, of course, there were exceptions; Pete Calderon of Heritage Auction Galleries picked up an impressive pile of 1952 Topps that he was working on Sunday morning.
And speaking of Sunday morning, a young feller named Christopher Oberle (on You Tube: hiphopperco) strolled over to the Memory Lane Auctions booth and began mesmerizing all on hand with some old-fashioned magic tricks. At one point, he managed to insert a quarter into a sealed, full can of Coke to the delight of Dan Wulkan, J.P. Cohen and the rest of the Memory Lane posse.
Then the guy strolled over to our Collect.com Auction booth and started eyeballing the 1921 Oxford Confectionery Babe Ruth card we had on display. If it turns out he can turn a Renatta Galasso reprint into a genuine T206 Ty Cobb Red Portrait with Cobb back, I think his career would inexorably head off into another direction.