Are card shows facing extinction?

Join in a discussion on a card-related message board and it won’t be hard to find critics. Lately, many collectors have been complaining about the card show scene. Once a big time event back in the early-90’s, many of them have come and gone and the ones that are left have been less than desirable, according to some collectors.

Officially, the last card show I attended was way back in 1992 at a monthly show in South Florida that had seemingly mile long lines of tables. Today, trying to find a card show is near impossible thanks to the decline in sports cards sales. So while the industry is falling apart and card shops are closing left and right, collectors might soon be left with nothing but eBay and online card shops to fill the void.

On Saturday, May 2nd I will be attending my first card show in over 15 years located in Dania Beach, Florida. I will be there to document the card show experience and to see if a collector who is into old and new school can find just what he is looking for without having to look on eBay or drive 100 miles to the nearest card shop.

You can find information on the Dania Card Show HERE.



  1. Card shows are funny because there all very different from each other. I live in an area where there are multiple cards shows (though I don’t get to many). When you keep going to a regular show, such as the White Plains show in NY, you get to know different tables.

    You know where to go to get the vintage stuff. You know which table is selling the best prices on wax. It’s like bringing card stores to one place and being able to bounce them off each other.

    I love card shows.

    Now, I want to go to one.

  2. There is a card show in my area (Westchester County Center) every 1 1/2 months or so. Each time can be a different experience. From what I learned, you do not want to deal with the guys that use Beckett as a guide, unless they are only asking 25% of book. One Dealer (Evolution Sports) always asks Beckett TOP book, and they can be quite rude in th eprocess. I don’t stop at their table any longer.
    Another dealer that only sells wax, I always buy from him. I shop the floor 1st, then go to him. If he isn’t the lowest price, he will match it for me. He is great to deal with.
    Once you know which dealers to avoid and which to trust (by experience) it can be a great experience.
    Have fun shopping the floor. Don’t argue with the dealer about price, if you don’t like it, just walk away. It helps keep it a positive experience.

  3. Sounds fun to attend, but unfortunately that is way too far from Jacksonville 😦 and we don’t get much card action in North Florida.

  4. I think that card shows already are pretty much extinct. Here in Seattle, we haven’t had a show with more than 50 tables in years. A local group has monthly 30 table shows, but most of the tables are occupied by disorganized prospectors trying to dump all their leftovers. The number of dealers featuring pre-2000 cards can be counted on one hand, and they are mostly focused on local stuff (UW, WSU, Mariners, Seahawks, etc.). After Topps Heritage came out last month, for example, I went to the show looking for some of the SP’s I needed, and only one dealer had any SP’s, let alone the ones I needed.

    In my opinion, if Tri-Star broadened their geographical reach to do shows in more cities they would be very well received. If I were in their shoes, I would be trying to convince some of the national dealers to go on the road for 6-8 weeks at a time, hitting different cities each weekend. For example, how about a San Diego-Los Angeles-San Francisco-Sacramento-Portland-Seattle cycle for West Coast dealers?

    Bottom line is that people in many parts of the country are desperate for a decent card show.

  5. There are three card shows in my area (well, an hour-and-a-half away) each year. And one is in January, so with the weather it’s always a question mark. If you include the collectibles show (4 or 5 tables with cards) than that’s four a year. It’s not much, but I find I get a chance to save up for each, so it’s probably just about right.

  6. I wonder if the cost of travel vs. the cost of selling on the internet plays into the calculation as well. Would love to hear from some national dealers whether or not they are cutting back on the number of shows they do and from promoters if they are having a harder time selling tables at big shows.

  7. The White Plains Show is great I go there every 2 months. They have lots of dealers I walk the whole floor first get prices on wax then usually there are 2 dealers that beat everyone else and I buy from them. Also over the years they have had great players sign for FREE with the $7 admission. Over the years I’ve gotten Whitey Ford, Graig Nettles, Denny Mclain, Jimmy Key Autos. It adds a little more excitement to the shows. Next show there is May 15th- 17th, 2009. They don’t have any players listed yet usually you find out 2 weeks in advance.

  8. The White Plains Show was great back in the day also.

    The link, if it works, is a 1982 Hank Aaron signed 8 x 10 from that show. It was $4. I also have a polaroid with him that he signed the picture holder.

  9. Since there were several posts concerning White Plains, I have to chime in. The show in August at WP (The “East Coast National”) is pretty much the only one I go to any more.

    Lots of dealers, the same ones from year to year, and you get to figure out who will give the best deal. Last year there was a guy with tons of 5000 count boxes filled with inserts for a decent price. Dropped a lot of jing at his table.

    Sooz, calicokidcards, and Mr. Scott, maybe we can get together at the ECN this year, it is the 13-16th of August. I usually go on Sunday, Chris Harris tends to go also.

    Pretty much any other show around here (north jersey) is not worth the price of admission.

  10. Here in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul), we can find a show about every weekend. However, they are pretty small, in the 10-30 table range. You never know if you are going to find something good and many times, it’s not worthy driving half an hour to find out. TwinsFest has a show every year and that’s the best one each year but is mostly baseball. They used to have a great show every summer and fall (I think) at the State Fair and when that ended, they did it by the Xcel Energy Center (home of the MN Wild) and Mr. Mint showed up. I’m not saying it was great because of that but it was big enough to get him to show up. I would love to see a bigger show here again in the summer.

  11. You can watch some jai alai while you are there too. Jai alai will keep you coming back monthly….

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