Stop Telling Me How Much You Spent at the Card Show!

YouTube Big Card Spenders

Contributor: John McTaggart

There are few things in life I enjoy more than a local card show.

A small hall lined with a few rows of 8-foot tables, each one holding little cardboard treasures, hobby stories and a sense of community.

Back in the day, that’s all there was to these local shows, with the exception of the occasional signer from whatever local team.

Things have changed.

This past weekend I visited one of these local shows, traveling about 45 minutes from my house to a destination, a VFW hall, I’d visited at least 10 times over the years.

It’s one of the rare shows that has had longevity, spanning more than a decade (with a year or so break due to Covid), and one that had a solid foundation of dealers, many of whom had been at the game for years and years.

When this happens, you get to know these folks as well, you craft a relationship with them, and in many ways they become hobby fiends. 

The show was usually crowded on a Saturday morning, and this particular Saturday was no exception.

Patrons lined the four aisles, some just browsing, other involved in some sort of negotiation. 

In the back corner, however, was a particularly large gathering, centered around a table that I had come to know over the years.

I bobbed-and-weaved my way through the crowd until I could see what the commotion was a lot about.

Standing face-to-face with a dealer I’d come to know very well, Steve, was a familiar person to me, and many others. 

He has a YouTube following that numbers in the five digits.

He was a burly gentleman, looked to be in his mid-twenties, although a little shorter than I had thought, and he was talking to Steve, a gentleman well into his sixties, about what looked to be about a dozen or so slabs, each one laid out upon the top of one of Steve’s showcases.

And, of course, there was a young man with a camera, focused solely on the exchange between the two men.

“Where you at on these?” The young man pushed three cards back and forth, then gave a quick smile to the camera. 

“$2200,” Steve said. 

The young man thought for a while.

“How about all of it?” The young man said, looking Steve in the eye.

The crowd fell silent.

Steve looked over the dozen or so cards, crunching numbers in his head.

“All right, listen,” the young man said, reaching into a bag slung around his back.

“$7,500,” the young man said. “Cash money. Right now.”

He spread out a stack of $100 bills across the top of the cards.

The cameraman pushed and jostled his way into a better position to get both the cash and the cards in the same frame. 

The crowd bustled and mumbled and gawked at the cash. 

For a small local show this was a huge deal.

“Uhm..” Steve said.

“I can go $7,700,” the young man produced another $200 from his pocket, tossing it onto the stack.

With that, Steve extended his hand and the two shook. 

The crowd literally cheered and clapped, patting the young man on the back even as he gathered the cards and placed them in his bag.

He took a step back and looked directly into the camera. “I just dropped $7,700 on a dozen slabs! I love this hobby, baby! Small shows, big deals! Let’s go!”

The gentleman walked from the back corner out the door within moments, a group of people following close behind. 

Before the show ended, I stopped and talked with Steve, with whom I had many conversations with before, and asked him what the heck happened.

He looked at me and smiled, with a slight chuckle. 

“Well, John”, he said. “I had some guy come up, tell me he’s a big card dealer, got a huge following on YouTube, and ask me if I was willing to be on camera, then he  proceeded to ask me to look at some cards. After about 10 minutes of pulling cards out of the showcases, he dropped $7,700 in cash out on the table for cards that were probably worth about $7,700 in the real world. And then he left.”

Steve paused for a moment.

“I guess I’m just too old to understand it,” he said. “If you pay $7,700 for cards worth $7,700 how is that a business? I don’t get it. I should’ve asked him if he was going to do a video about what he gets when he sells them, if he sells them. We never see that kinda video do we?”

No we don’t, Steve. No we don’t. 

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