For the First Time in a Decade, A Card Show Experience

I’ve been keeping tabs on upcoming card shows in my area over the last several months, and had one in particular circled. It’s advertised as the largest show in South Carolina, with 100+ tables, in Spartanburg. Often times we have a sporting event for one or both of our sons that are late morning or early afternoon, but not on this day. I arrived at the show a little before noon.

It had been about a decade in my estimation since my previous card show, and honestly my expectations were pretty low. I was expecting to see a lot of Panini cards from the last few years, graded cards of rookies and stars from the last few years, and those mostly are of little interest to me. While I did see a lot of that, a handful of tables looked like they came out of a time machine straight from a card show 10-15 years go, and those were my kind of tables. While I did pick up some recent Panini Pacers base cards and parallels out of the many 25 cent and dollar boxes I saw, I came away with some great cards that fit right into many of my top player collections.

As soon as I walked in I noticed a seller who had multiple tables set up with vintage cards, including a couple dozen cards from 1961-62 Fleer. I saw a card I was interested in but wanted to take a look around, so I decided I would come back to that table before I left, if nothing else but to just admire those cards.

The first table where I made my first significant deal was with a seller who is originally from Indiana, and had some nice graded Reggie Millers and some non-graded Pacers as well.

1994-95 Finest Refractor

The first card that caught my eye was this 1994-95 Topps Finest refractor of my favorite player of all-time, Reggie Miller. I have a handful of Reggie refractors in my collection, but not one from 1994-95. A beautiful card in great shape, and I was able to bundle some cards together to get a pretty good deal.

2012-13 Panini Select Prizm

In addition to the Reggie, I pulled out a couple Pacers first year Select Prizm parallels. The first Select year only had 4 parallels, the days before things got out of hand. These are beautiful parallels and I’m glad several of my favorite Pacers are in this set.

2012-13 Panini Select Prizm

Paul George and David West are in this set as well, but if I had to pick two to own I think it would be Granger and Hibbert.

The Reggie cards attracted me to the table and made me stop, and the next highest card of interest for me was a Duncan parallel I haven’t seen pop up on eBay, a Hot Hands parallel from 2002-03 Fleer Hot Shots. An interesting product with combo player cards at times, but I would say the single player parallels would be more sought after and so I wanted to grab this Duncan while I had it in front of me.

I actually opened a box of this product back in 2012 and posted the results here on my blog. The Hot Hands parallels are out of /199 for veterans and /99 for rookies, and the box I opened had 4 parallels in 24 packs, so they were 1:6 packs.

The last item I purchased at this table is now easily the best Pacers patch in my collection. I don’t typically purchase cards like this online because I usually gravitate towards the inserts and parallels in general, and often times I see these cards as being more expensive and overpriced, even for lesser known players. That is an overgeneralization on my part and I’m sure I miss out on some great cards in this space, but it’s not my primary collecting lane. However, seeing this Orlando Johnson Immaculate patch in front of me and bundling it with other stuff to get a pretty good value was what I needed to pull the trigger on a card like this. It also fills a need in my attempt to get an autograph of every Pacer that’s played in a regular season game. I love that it’s easy to tell where this patch came from on the jersey, the signature looks good, and overall it’s just a beautiful card.

At this point I had purchased some cards from quarter and dollar boxes, made a bigger purchase from my perspective with the Pacers and Duncan parallel, and so I felt like anything else at this point was a bonus.

I went through most of the dollar and quarter boxes I saw, at least scanning to see if there might be anything I might be interested in. The next significant table I came to was one with 2000s to early Panini era autos and memorabilia cards. If this had been the only box I came across I probably would have been satisfied with the show. I told the seller as much, that this was my kind of table.

2009-10 Panini Absolute Memorabilia Star Gazing Jumbo Jersey Numbers

I tried to be picky on my selections and I could probably have walked away with a lot more, but they probably wouldn’t have fit my personal collection perfectly like the ones I did walk away with. Anytime I can pick up a Granger in a Pacers uniform that I don’t already have, I’m pretty happy. I remember being a fan of the Star Gazing sets in the early Panini days, and now the Star Gazing name has resurfaced in the Donruss Optic product, and I especially like the 2020-21 version.

2009-10 Panini Absolute Memorabilia Star Gazing Jumbo Jersey Numbers

So many attributes on this card made it a must-grab. Favorite player, awesome design, low serial-number, and it’s 25/25, and the price was great.

2008-09 Upper Deck Radiance

While other cards I’ve picked up might be ‘worth’ more, I am so excited about grabbing this Radiance rookie autograph of George Hill. The whole base set from 2008-09 Radiance is numbered out of 299, making it fairly scarce in general. I love the design, the shine, George Hill flying through the air, the rookie card logo, it just all works so well. This is card 2 out of 3 from the 2000s-early 2010s box I mentioned. I’m going to have to keep an eye out for the Roy Hibbert from this set.

The first deal for the Reggie Finest refractor and others made it a good show, the cards out of this box made it great.

2004-05 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection Game Patch

Did I expect to come away with a Jermaine O’Neal patch out of 100 from this show? Get out of here. I think this may even be my first Jermaine patch card. I have many many game used cards, but none are of the quality of this patch card from 2004-05 Ultimate Collection.

1997-98 Flair Showcase Row 0 /2000

After grabbing three awesome cards for an unbelievable price, I came across another dollar box that grabbed my attention. This one was 90s and 2000s, and I saw a lot of Flair Showcase initially, mostly star base cards. I thought if I kept digging I would come across some Pacers, and sure enough I found a couple Rik Smits gems that I didn’t have.

1997-98 Flair Showcase Row 2

The Row 0 and Row 2 were needs. I grabbed a couple Duncan cards I didn’t have, nothing crazy.

1998-99 UD Choice Mini Bobbing Heads

The last card I picked up from that box was this Mini Bobbing Heads insert from UD Choice of Mark Jackson. He’s the only Pacer in this set, which surprises me. I would have expected Reggie to have the Bobbing Head insert here, but it also makes sense that the quarterback of the late 90s Pacers would get the nod.

A few odds and ends from the show that I wanted to share…

2017-18 Panini Prestige Rain

Nothing too rare about this Myles Turner Prestige parallel, except it has something I wish Panini would do on other parallels, of which there are an infinite number.

On the left side the card is labeled as a ‘Rain’ parallel. Oh how I wish every parallel from Prizm and the other ‘chrome’ products from Panini were labeled this way.

1996-97 Bowman’s Best Refractor

It was a nice day for the Smits collection. Picked this refractor up for a couple dollars.

1999-00 Finest

What’s a card show without a Jeff Foster collection add?

Before I left, I had to circle back to the set of vintage tables near the entrance. I should have grabbed some pictures of the full display, but it was a great collection of various vintage basketball sets ranging from 57-58 to 86 Fleer. What caught my eye was on the row of 1961-62 Fleer cards.

1961-62 Fleer

The seller actually had two Bob (I know him as Slick) Leonard cards at his table. The other one was a bit better as far as centering, but the condition of the back of the card was much worse than this one. Ultimately I decided centering was of less importance than the overall ‘condition’. I’ve been even too nervous to take this card out of the toploader and case for a picture.

Slick of course coached the ABA Pacers to 3 championships in the early 1970s, and I came to appreciate him during his time as a color commentator for the Pacers radio broadcasts.

This is the oldest card in my collection by far, and it’s truly a gem. Glad to have a card of Slick from his playing days!

That’s a wrap, and what a blast it was. All it takes is one great table to change the narrative of the entire show. Even though 75% of what I look through were Prizm, Mosaic, Chronicles, etc… from the last few years, I found great cards at a few tables that were perfect fits in a number of different collecting areas for me. And I would have been happy if I came to just one of the tables where I made my larger purchases (still small for a lot of collectors, it’s all relative). I met and talked to many collectors and sellers who I hope to see again at a future show, and it’s very rare that I get to talk cards with others in person.

Have you gone to a card show recently? What was your experience like? I highly encourage you to head out to a local show and see what you can find.

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