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2010 Toronto Fall Expo Review

November 17, 2010

This past Friday was a day that I had marked on my calendar for months.  As I do twice every year, I booked the day off work and made my way down to the International Centre near Toronto’s Pearson Airport for the fall 2010 edition of the Toronto Sports Card & Memorabilia Expo.

I’ve been going to this show with my dad – and usually my brother, though he attends less often now – for as long as I can remember collecting, and can really only recall having missed it once or twice in the 20 years that it’s been held.  With options for shows in my area very limited (as in I know of zero), this is really the only show I attend any more, so I make a point of booking other things in my life around it if at all possible.

Here’s my review of my Friday night at the Expo:

The Good

The selection. 
More dealers means more cards, and more cards means better selection.  At every show we seem to come across something that has been on our want list for more than a decade, which to me is one of the more rewarding parts of collecting.  This year was no different, as we picked up more than 150 cards for various personal collection projects, along with a few dozen cards I plan to flip through my eBay store.

The deals. 
Quite simply, some of the deals I come across just cannot be found anywhere else.  The local card shops can rarely match the prices, eBay may not be the best option if a seller’s shipping policies are garbage, and retail outlets don’t offer the value, let alone the lower costs.  My money certainly goes much farther with a few hours of scouring at this show than it does anywhere else. 

For someone who is trying to maintain all of his card and memorabilia expenses through the sales of his eBay account, the show is also a gold mine of cards that I can buy cheap and flip for a profit, thereby giving me more money to put into my own collection.  We’ll see how that goes this time around, but based on some of the stuff I was picking up for no more than $3 a card (and most well below $1), I’m expecting good things.

The Bad

The line ups at the corporate redemption booths. 
As a bargain hunter, I view these as an absolute waste of time in most cases.  I’ve come to realize that I’d much rather go pick up $65 in cards that I can add to my collection or flip on eBay than spend the $65 on a box of Upper Deck, wait what feels like an eternity, get 6 common Young Guns and end up with a card that only appeals to a certain segment of collectors, assuming I even pull a decent player. 

Admittedly, I did cave in a bit and open a box of Score at the Panini booth, but that was only because I was able to walk right up to the booth and start cracking immediately, which is not to norm at the Expo.  This deviation from my normal routine netted me a Stamkos numbered out of 5 (apologies for the shameless store plug), and only cost me $25 and 10 minutes of bargain hunting time, which I can live with.  The Upper Deck line on the other hand was avoided like the plague since it seemed almost as long at the line to get in to the show at 1pm.

The lack of wax. 
I love opening boxes (bought 8 this time around at the show), and while there were a few of dealers with plenty of options, that number always seems low and there is rarely a newcomer setting up.  With few competitors there would appear to be little motivation to offer any products at significantly lower prices than their counterparts, meaning I may have to pay more than I want to for a box or even settle for something I didn’t have at the top of my list to purchase since I just can’t seem to help myself.

The tight quarters. 
I enjoy my personal space.  Unfortunately this show can offer limited amounts of that at the best of times.  At the worst of times I feel like I’m going to snap because of some peoples’ ignorance to those around them.  Case in point, I encountered a guy who clearly wanted to dig through the cards I was looking.  He proceeded to get closer and closer to me over the course of a couple of minutes to the point that his face couldn’t have been more than 6 inches from mine.  After holding my ground and trying to show that I was beyond uncomfortable with what he was doing with no positive response I finally just gave up and walked away from the booth because I was so aggravated with him. 

The Ugly

The disorganized dealers
I cannot imagine that this type of dealer is common only to this show, but just in case they are not seen elsewhere, basically they are the people who have no system of organization to what they’re selling.  Everything they have is haphazardly strewn across their tables, stacked into piles of no common theme, or just rammed into boxes, leaving the buyer with a complete crap-shoot to see if he/she can find what they’re looking for. 

I will also admit that I do stop in to a few of these booths since this type of dealer is often selling at deep discounts, and occasionally I find a hidden gem in their piles even though I probably could have used by time more effectively, but for the most part these types of dealers drive me nuts.  There’s zero concern for their customers, zero attempt to look like they care about the hobby, and zero focus on anything other than their bottom line.


So there you have it, the first show review to be seen on the blog. 

Did you attend the show?  If so, let us know your thoughts by posting a comment or sending us an e-mail!

Until Sunday, all the best in your collecting pursuits!



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