Last month, we took a real hard look at what it takes to sell at a card show, and we made a nice, portable list of everything you need (http://blog.cardboardandcoins.com/2016/05/the-top-10-critical-things-you-need.html).
I will make this assumption that not only do you sell, but you buy as well either to re-sell, or just for the sheer fun of the hobby. In that case, you can't just walk into a card show and yell, "I'm here". It won't work, I've been there, and have been asked to leave the premises. Just kidding (or am I?). Seriously, you have to go in there prepared and equipped to get exactly what you need and what you want. Let's break down some more reality together, shall we?
Let's start with the basics here; what do you need to buy? Money, yes, that's a given. But what cards do you need to buy? That's right...you need your lists of cards required to fill sets you are working on.
#1 Lists of cards required to complete your sets. Make a COPY of them. Do not bring the originals. If you leave your original at some table, forget it and walk away, it get's trashed, and you wasted hours of time making those lists.
#2 A pen. This is non-negotiable. You'll need a pen to cross off cards you found and to jot notes and contact info. A Pen is critical!
#3 A Small Magnifying glass. You have to check your corners and edges, so a small and compact one, preferably with a built in light (some shows are dimly lit, especially if in huge gymnasiums with sky-high ceiling fixtures). Yes, a magnifying glass. Own your inner geek. It's your friend, trust me!
#4 Top Loaders, Gel Cases, and Penny Sleeves, so you can secure your cards as you go. Never assume a vendor will provide these to you (although, in part 1, I mentioned that feel it is imperative as a seller to have plenty of these on-hand at the show).
#5 Player of the day cards; Will a player be signing autographs? Make sure you have a few copies of his card with you. Tip: If you notice a vendor who does not have any cards of the player signing that day, you might be able to flip your extra cards of that player to the vendor for a few bucks. He knows he will re-flip those cards pretty fast that day, anyway.
#6 A Small Messenger Bag with a Zipper, or some other over-the shoulder bag. Not a fanny pack...just because...it's just not an impressive site for anyone who uses one. Sorry! And...Not a duffel bag. This isn't Basic Training here, champ. Just something basic to hold your items, with a zipper, so when you put it on the floor when checking out other cards, nothing will come out. A little New York City Street-wise safety tip; when you put your bag on the floor, wrap the handle around your ankle, so nobody can grab it and walk away. Never say never. It happens 24/7/365...bags grow legs and walk away. Avoid the aggravation.
#7 Hydration & Nutrition; In this mighty bag of yours, you need a few small waters and some snacks, and a napkin. Protein snacks are key. These shows are hot and can deplete your energy fast, and then the fun fades away. You will lose the rhythm and vibe that brought you there, and that side-tracks your entire day.
#8 Price Guides, i.e. physical ones, if you use them, they should also come along with you, but this really leads me to...
#9 Internet access. Do you have your passwords with you for access to any online price guide sites? Is your phone at 100% charge before you leave your home. Yes and Yes need to be your answers here. Once you walk into the show, it's game on. It's in your hands to seek out and find what you need.
#10 Someone for moral support, preferably someone into the hobby. I go with my son. He's 9, but can talk hobby-hardened veterans into circles with what he knows about the biz already. I started him young. Way back in the Diaper Bowl of '06! Anyway, bring someone to share in the day with you and you can feed off each other's finds and hotspots as you go.
Look, I sell and I buy. I love jotting down the names of new vendors, and I build mutually-beneficial relationships with these folks. People are there to Buy or Sell, plus one additional reason; to have fun. Meet people, interact, and realize we are all there for the same underlying reasons. Know some friends who love going to card shows. Spread the love and share this list with them! Enjoy!!
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