Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dueling card shows good for the fan?

As I drove past Urbandale’s Merle Hay Mall last Friday night, I noticed a sign it was hosting its Sports Cards and Collectibles show on Saturday and Sunday. “Cool,” I thought. Since I was helping with a local track meet on Saturday, I figured I’d find a good excuse to take my wife to the Mall Sunday after church and pick up a few cards.

I’ve been to a couple of the mall shows before, but this one seemed particularly small, with about a half dozen vendors. In its heyday, this show would host more than a dozen sellers with tables full of cards.

I found some really nice dime box cards (which I’ll cover in a later post) and had some interesting conversations with the dealers who were present. However, by then, my wife’s patience was beginning to run a little short, as she began reminding me we hadn’t eaten yet and it was now 2 p.m.!

Heading to the restaurant, I saw a sign at the Urbandale American Legion Hall (less than a half mile away from the mall), that they were hosting their monthly Sports Cards and Collectibles at the same time. I enjoy the Urbandale show and have gone often enough to be recognized by a few of the dealers there.

However, like many collector’s, I’m on a somewhat limited budget, so I could only attend one of those card shows that weekend. Since I spent my “allowance” at the Mall, I didn’t even go into the Legion Hall (that, and the fact my wife reminded me yet again, that we still hadn’t ate).

Whether it’s a lack of communication, neither site caring what the other was doing, or whether this shaped up to be an out-and-out battle for the collector, I felt a great disturbance in the force. Two different card shows, in two different locations, both being held at the same time – why make a collector make a stand, as to which card show, which location do they support?

These smaller card shows are usually a hoot. Where else can you kibitz with other like-minded collectors, get either a compliment or good-natured ribbing about your choice of sports team, and get great deals on sports cards?

But why compete directly against each other? Nothing good can come of it, as all this does is weaken both shows, both in attendance and in sales, in a warped sense of “divide and conquer.” Ultimately and unfortunately, they’ll both fall by the wayside.

Sometimes it’s hard enough finding just one card show, whether it’s in Iowa, North Dakota, or Delaware. There are plenty of places across the country where card shows have ceased to exist, or they’re just not locally available.

Don’t make it any harder on the fan then it already is.

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