While he wasn’t taking official attendance, Dan Keiper of Keiper’s Cards in Centralia said there wasn’t a time he could remember when there weren't at least a few people walking through the Tower Mall for the first Keiper’s Cards and Memorabilia Show Saturday and Sunday.
Retro Seattle Supersonics gear and collectables, Star Wars action figures, Pokémon cards and, of course, sports cards, were all on display from more than 20 vendors from throughout the region.
Vendors came from as far away as Hoquiam and Roy, and included both young collectors as well as older ones. One of the older vendors was Mike Evinger, who is also involved with the Twin Cities Rotary.
He marveled at how the collectable card industry has evolved over the decades. Now 52, Evinger began collecting in the 1980s.
“Most of us vendors come from that era,” Evinger said.
When he started, cards were basic and the goal was to collect a complete set from that year. He would meet up with friends and trade doubles and triples he had of certain cards for the ones he was still trying to get.
Nowadays, there are multiple variants of cards with different colors and holographic designs, and some are even numbered, increasing the card’s rarity and price. Additionally, many packs now contain randomized autographed cards or cards embedded with part of a player’s jersey, which are also highly sought after.
Instead of trading as Evinger and his friends used to do, many collectors opt to livestream themselves opening packs of cards and selling rare hits right on the spot.
“They auction or sell the cards using randomization, or they sell team spots, where viewers can pay to ‘own’ the rights to that team during the stream, and get any cards the streamer pulls from that specific team,” Evinger said.
Gone are the days of $1 packs of cards, with some individual packs of cards costing upwards of $500, with only two or three cards in the pack. And companies now produce multiple series of cards for sports throughout the seasons.
“Every two or four weeks, people are chasing something new,” Evinger said.
Together with his son, Evinger streams, opening packs of cards and selling them to viewers daily at https://www.whatnot.com/user/bluecollarbreaks. Some weeks, they earn as much as $14,000 selling rare and valuable cards.
“He quit his $100,000 a year carpenter journeyman job to do this with me,” Evinger said.
With his first show in the books, Keiper is already planning his next one, scheduled for Dec. 2 and 3. Aside from vendors, Keiper has booked former Seattle Seahawks kicker Norm Johnson to sign autographs at the show on Saturday, Dec. 2, from noon to 2 p.m..
Anyone who brings a toy to donate to the Shop with a Cop Foundation will get 50% off the autograph fee. The show itself is free to attend.
The second Keiper’s Cards and Memorabilia Show will go from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Dec. 2 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 3 at the Tower Mall, located at 320 N. Tower Ave. in Centralia.
For details on booking a vendor table, call Keiper at 360-304-3409.