As many of you saw I was planning to give away a card at the Raleigh Card Show this weekend. I did end up going but not until about 1pm. No one came up to me to claim the card so I will have to give it away during the week. To sum up the card show in one word “desperate”.
I have been going to this card show for years and have seen it go from every table used by a different vendor, to all tables being used (some by the same vendors), to it’s current state about 75% of tables were used and most vendors took 2 or 3 tables. I saw 3 kids there (under 15, admission is free), and not too many guys under 25.
The make up of the show was strange, it was either vintage cards (pre-1980) or really new stuff. Almost nothing from the era of 1983 – 2001. Some of the interesting items I saw were an old school leather football helmet for $35, lots of Josh Hamilton signed stuff, most sitting at the $50 level. The usual mix of Carolina Hurricanes, UNC, Duke and NCSU players were all over the floor. All said I think there were around 40 vendors. The $5 to get in ($4 with discount printout from website) seemed like a stretch to me.
My take on it, the two hours I was there, was either people were set filling or prospect hunting. I didn’t see too much in hobby boxes selling, although they did have lots of 1980s boxes. I went in there looking for a very specific item, 2001 Bowman Chrome Refractor Autographs. When I asked the dealers if they had any I got a resounding NO.
I really found this very hard to believe, I went through a ton of $1 and $5 boxes and if I was looking for anything but the 01 Bowman autos I could have found some great deals. Most dealers are just trying to get the 00-09 stuff out of their inventory and it showed, most game used and autographs from that era were going cheap. Two of the dealers I spoke with said that this is their last year on the hobby circuit. They cite the fact that the profit margin has gone down the toilet. With hits costing almost $25 per box, they just can’t make their money on opening cases for resale anymore, they aren’t making more than $10 – $20 on a box and in order to hit those numbers they have to layout money for multiple cases.
The show has already decreased from 3 days (Fri – Sun) to just Saturday. They used to bring in athletes to get autographs from but even those have been very disappointing lately. I know this is just a tiny sliver of the pie, but man it was just so depressing. Since I had on my bet with Mrs. Chemgod, I ended up buying nothing (cringe), although I got home and found a 2001 Essix Snead refractor auto on eBay. I am afraid card shows are nearly extinct in my neck of the woods, how is it in your areas?
It doesn’t look like this anymore!