2011 national card show. dealers advice is welcome

superpieman

Veteran
179
5.00 star(s)
i know its along time off but its never to early to start planning for the 2011 nationals lol. i would love to attend and set up a table. the reason i have to start looking at it now is because im a full time college student with not much income so i have to start planning and saving now if i plan to go and rent a table. my question is how to you maximize your profit to make it worth the trip?

i know at small local shows its the typical bring the local team stuff etc. but with thousands of dealers obviously you have to do something above and beyond that because everyone and their mother is selling the local team stuff. basically im looking for advice from people that have been there and dealt there on what to do to set myself apart from the rest and enable myself to make enough money to make the trip worth it.

another thing im trying to figure out is total cost. im conservatively estimating my cost to be around 2000 dollars for flight, hotel, food, and table rental. im trying to figure out my cost just for going to the show and setting up not for inventory. i will work that out later.

any help is appreciated.
 
Last edited:

Meliah

MVP
1,792
5.00 star(s)
As a person who is not "connected" I hate to say that your odds of getting a table at The Nationals is going to be almost impossible. The big boys and people who have been doing the show circuit for a long time get first dibs and most of the tables are already sold out. So even if there are tables open you better get them now BUT to reserve them you need to pay for them in full--and those prices are $1095 or $1295 for 10 X 10 or 10 X 15.

Start on a much smaller scale if you plan to do card shows:)
 

abeabe

Veteran
193
5.00 star(s)
I have been going to the national on and off since 1991 in anaheim. I used to set up tables at shows in 80's and 90's. So here's my advice. Have you ever been to a "national" or even the east coast national? gloria rothstein used to run it, but I havent lived in NY for awhile now so Im not sure who runs it now. Those big shows are more fun to attend, get autographs, get great deals, then worry about making enough to cover expenses and then pull a profit. Buyers now are looking for prices like they see on ebay. There are boxes full of hall of famers base cards @ 10 cents a piece. You will see all the big time cards like the Triple Threads for sale, and plenty of graded cards, recent nationals have been low on vintage, and just new stuff everywhere. If your looking to set up at a show, pick one that has a big name player signing autographs, that will usually insure a good turn-out vs the local monthly show that the same dealers and same customers show up every month. I would consider the price of player signing and price of table in my equation of which show to pick. If they are charging $150 for an auto, thats $150 less dollars that could be spent at your table. If a table at show is only $60, there is probably a reason, like the monthly show, same small turnout each month. Im guessing a $120-$150ish priced table at a show with a decent guest player would be a good place to start. Also keep in mind its a big time commitment, driving to venue, finding your spot. Setting-up which involves using your space to the fullest and displaying items in a professional manner. The show whether it 1 day or for several like the national, your table needs to be manned at all times, probably by you. Then packing whatever dosent sell back up and driving home. And of course all the haggaling inbetween. Hope this helps.
 

superpieman

Veteran
179
5.00 star(s)
that definatly help thank you. i have never been to a major show because being from vermont there isnt major shows within 6 hours. i plan on hitting a couple smaller shows over the next couple months to get my feet wet doing shows and seeing if its worth it. the show are in vermont so they are small but the table rental is only 25 dollars so i figure its worth it to see how much i like doing shows.
 

Jeffo65

MVP
1,541
5.00 star(s)
Make sure everything on your table is priced.

Many of us just go right past tables where the items are not priced.

If you price the items well, there will be a lot less haggling done and this will make everyone happy and your day go much more smooth.
 

superpieman

Veteran
179
5.00 star(s)
thats a definite for me. most of my stuff will probably be 10 cent, 25 cent, 1 dollar boxes etc. with a few medium end things. in your experience how well do things like 3 dollar gu/auto boxes, 10 cent base boxes and 25 cent rc boxes do as that would probably be a majority of my stuff to start.
 

robert326

MVP
1,678
4.90 star(s)
I have been going to the national on and off since 1991 in anaheim. I used to set up tables at shows in 80's and 90's. So here's my advice. Have you ever been to a "national" or even the east coast national? gloria rothstein used to run it, but I havent lived in NY for awhile now so Im not sure who runs it now. Those big shows are more fun to attend, get autographs, get great deals, then worry about making enough to cover expenses and then pull a profit. Buyers now are looking for prices like they see on ebay. There are boxes full of hall of famers base cards @ 10 cents a piece. You will see all the big time cards like the Triple Threads for sale, and plenty of graded cards, recent nationals have been low on vintage, and just new stuff everywhere. If your looking to set up at a show, pick one that has a big name player signing autographs, that will usually insure a good turn-out vs the local monthly show that the same dealers and same customers show up every month. I would consider the price of player signing and price of table in my equation of which show to pick. If they are charging $150 for an auto, thats $150 less dollars that could be spent at your table. If a table at show is only $60, there is probably a reason, like the monthly show, same small turnout each month. Im guessing a $120-$150ish priced table at a show with a decent guest player would be a good place to start. Also keep in mind its a big time commitment, driving to venue, finding your spot. Setting-up which involves using your space to the fullest and displaying items in a professional manner. The show whether it 1 day or for several like the national, your table needs to be manned at all times, probably by you. Then packing whatever dosent sell back up and driving home. And of course all the haggaling inbetween. Hope this helps.

http://www.nyshows.org/

JP's Sports Promotions runs the White Plains show now...it takes place every few months, and is probably the only large show left on the east coast.
 

Myerburg311

MVP
1,449
4.90 star(s)
If you have a table full of stuff that's a quarter 10 cent and can keep pumping them out when they get bought you will do very well.. A friend of mine had one table of just $1 cards and did very very well.. Another friend had a table of just cards for .10, .25, and .50 cents and did extremely well.. As long as the whole box isn't just base cards of stars and there are numbered, inserts, HOFers, rookies, parallels, etc you can do very well.. Just think to yourself before you commit to doing anything like this, "Would I buy this for x amount"
 

cadets68

Veteran
439
5.00 star(s)
I would start smaller than the National. First of all it is 4 days long. You will need to have someone other than yourself to help you staff your table. One person can not do it alone.

Do you even have enough stuff to sell to make up the table cost? At $1 a card it will take a long time just to cover that cost.

Have you ever set up at a show? Do you take credit cards? Lots of dealers do at that show. Do you have display cases? If not things will get stolen.

I walk right by tables with a bunch of single cards just laying on the table. Presentation does mean something. Remember at the National all the top dealers in the country are there. What will set you apart?

The guys I have seen do the quarter box/dollar box have tons of boxes. Literally 50 boxes with 5000 cards each. And they refill them as needed. This takes more than 1 table. So your cost are even higher.

Until you can hang with the big boys, I would try some regional shows. You can probably do alright because the costs are much lower and the time is shorter.

If you have never been to the National you can not understand how large it is, and how many dealers there are. Attend the show first to get an idea of what you would be undertaking.

Good luck
 

superpieman

Veteran
179
5.00 star(s)
i plan on starting out with smallers shows regardless. im planning to do one this coming december a small local show to get a feel for it. as of now no i dont not have the inventory to do a large show but thats why im seeking advice so i know what i need and how much.

as for credit cards i can take those via paypal correct? i dont know if this is feasible but i was going to have my computer their and allow people to access paypal and pay that way so they can use credit cards. idk how feasible this is but that was my idea for accepting credit card payments.
 

cjay101

All-Star
611
5.00 star(s)
Staff member
i plan on starting out with smallers shows regardless. im planning to do one this coming december a small local show to get a feel for it. as of now no i dont not have the inventory to do a large show but thats why im seeking advice so i know what i need and how much.

as for credit cards i can take those via paypal correct? i dont know if this is feasible but i was going to have my computer their and allow people to access paypal and pay that way so they can use credit cards. idk how feasible this is but that was my idea for accepting credit card payments.

If the location has wireless internet and the people trust you enough to log into their paypal accounts on your computer, it would work.

Most people actually have a hard-line credit card machine or they take imprints/signatures to process credit transactions. You can't have either without an actual Inc or LLC that's paying a processing service.
 

superpieman

Veteran
179
5.00 star(s)
yea those machines are something i couldnt pull right now. i wouldnt log in for them i would allow them to use my computer to log in to their paypal myself so they wouldnt have to give passwords or anything like that. but thats the only way right now i could receive credit card payments.
 

superpieman

Veteran
179
5.00 star(s)
I would start smaller than the National. First of all it is 4 days long. You will need to have someone other than yourself to help you staff your table. One person can not do it alone.

Do you even have enough stuff to sell to make up the table cost? At $1 a card it will take a long time just to cover that cost.

Have you ever set up at a show? Do you take credit cards? Lots of dealers do at that show. Do you have display cases? If not things will get stolen.

I walk right by tables with a bunch of single cards just laying on the table. Presentation does mean something. Remember at the National all the top dealers in the country are there. What will set you apart?

The guys I have seen do the quarter box/dollar box have tons of boxes. Literally 50 boxes with 5000 cards each. And they refill them as needed. This takes more than 1 table. So your cost are even higher.

Until you can hang with the big boys, I would try some regional shows. You can probably do alright because the costs are much lower and the time is shorter.

If you have never been to the National you can not understand how large it is, and how many dealers there are. Attend the show first to get an idea of what you would be undertaking.

Good luck

thanks for the response. alot of these things are why i made the thread. i want to know what i need to do to set myself apart and stuff like that and get an idea of what i need so i can decide if i can swing it financially and have it make sense to me. so as of now idk what can set me apart from the rest im hoping to get a little more info in this thread as to what can do that for me.
 

Pawelnj

Veteran
224
5.00 star(s)
I set up at the national in ac back in the day it was really fun but the competion was very strong most people where looking to buy at low ebay price which where alot higher then now a days and low end stuff didnt sell well only high-mid dollar/superstars autos and patchs stuff sold well after moving alot of stuff and figuring my cost and i didnt do that well even though i sold alot!
 

superpieman

Veteran
179
5.00 star(s)
I set up at the national in ac back in the day it was really fun but the competion was very strong most people where looking to buy at low ebay price which where alot higher then now a days and low end stuff didnt sell well only high-mid dollar/superstars autos and patchs stuff sold well after moving alot of stuff and figuring my cost and i didnt do that well even though i sold alot!

do you remember how well you ended up doing? im not concerned with making a killing i dont care if i dont make thousands of dollars which is highly unlikely. i mainly just want to break even(which im conservatively estimating would be around 2000 dollars after table rental flights hotel room and food possibly more depending on if i end up having to pay someone to man my booth or not) and make a little money.
 

Trishlp

MVP
2,269
5.00 star(s)
I have never set up at the national but I have done local mall shows in the early 2000's and now I do a local monthly show at a school.
Some of the big selling points are:
-have your cards priced
-if you have base cards have them sorted by set and in numerical order (for the set collectors) I can't tell you how many customers I have that now come to my table 1st at the show just because my base cards are in order.
-I sell base cards at $.10 each for commons and non star inserts/parallels at $.10 each everything else I price. It takes a long time to prepare for the shows, the actual day of the show once you are set up is actually the easiest part.
-get to know the other dealers, I don't have anyone else to watch my table so sometimes the dealer next to me will watch it and vice versa.
-I tried the $3 and $5 GU'd/Auto's box but that didn't work to well for me. I just mark them at beckett high bv and then sell them at 50% of that. I put computer printed signs in hard sleeves saying 50% of GU'd and Auto's so people know as soon as they come to my table what they are looking at.
-make sure to take about $100 in change with you (ie $30 in ones, a roll of quarters, etc)
I find that shows can be fun and having local MLB/NFL teams that have always been popular here doesn't hurt.
 

superpieman

Veteran
179
5.00 star(s)
I have never set up at the national but I have done local mall shows in the early 2000's and now I do a local monthly show at a school.
Some of the big selling points are:
-have your cards priced
-if you have base cards have them sorted by set and in numerical order (for the set collectors) I can't tell you how many customers I have that now come to my table 1st at the show just because my base cards are in order.
-I sell base cards at $.10 each for commons and non star inserts/parallels at $.10 each everything else I price. It takes a long time to prepare for the shows, the actual day of the show once you are set up is actually the easiest part.
-get to know the other dealers, I don't have anyone else to watch my table so sometimes the dealer next to me will watch it and vice versa.
-I tried the $3 and $5 GU'd/Auto's box but that didn't work to well for me. I just mark them at beckett high bv and then sell them at 50% of that. I put computer printed signs in hard sleeves saying 50% of GU'd and Auto's so people know as soon as they come to my table what they are looking at.
-make sure to take about $100 in change with you (ie $30 in ones, a roll of quarters, etc)
I find that shows can be fun and having local MLB/NFL teams that have always been popular here doesn't hurt.

thanks for the advice i never thought of sorting my commons by year,set, number but it makes sense. does marking the gu/autos at half bv move them better then a 3 dollar box?
 

Trishlp

MVP
2,269
5.00 star(s)
I think it does because people like to know what the actual value of the item is so if you have a bunch of cards and they are in a $5 box they are thinking well is this a $8 or $6 card and I am paying more than 1/2 book for. Of course people in this state are known for being cheap so it may just be that way here.
 
Top