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2016 CONVENTI0N - Saturday, January 30, 2016

It's Official!

The next 52 Plus Joker convention will be held Thursday, October 20 to Saturday October 22, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency in Schaumburg, IL. See main Convention page for details.

 

    
 Previous 52 Plus Joker Conventions Minimize

Previous 52 Plus Joker Conventions

  • 1987 - Cincinnati, OH (Joint with Chicago Playing Card Collectors)
  • 1988 - Chicago, Illinois (Joint with Chicago Playing Card Collectors)
  • 1989 - Indianapolis, Indiana (Joint with Chicago Playing Card Collectors)
  • 1990 - New Haven, Connecticut
  • 1991 - Cincinnati, OH (Joint with Chicago Playing Card Collectors)
  • 1992 - Las Vegas, Nevada
  • 1993 - Kissimmee, Florida
  • 1994 - Arlington, Virginia
  • 1995 - Cincinnati, OH (Joint with Chicago Playing Card Collectors)
  • 1996 - Las Vegas, Nevada
  • 1997 - Kansas City, Kansas
  • 1998 - Toronto, Canada
  • 1999 - Cincinnati, OH
  • 2000 - New Haven, Connecticut (Joint with International Playing Card Society)
  • 2001 - Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • 2002 - Atlanta, Georgia
  • 2003 - Wilmington, Delaware (Joint with Chicago Playing Card Collectors)
  • 2004 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 2005 - San Francisco, California
  • 2006 - Montreal, Canada
  • 2007 - Westborough, Massachusetts
  • 2008 - Las Vegas, Nevada
  • 2009 - Toronto, Canada (Joint with Chicago Playing Card Collectors)
  • 2010 - New Orleans, Louisiana
  • 2011 - Denver, Colorado
  • 2012 - Erlanger, Kentucky
  • 2013 - Las Vegas, Nevada
  • 2014 - Charleston, South Carolina
  • 2015 - Orlando, Florida
  • 2016 - Chicago, Illinois
  • 2017 - Erlanger, Kentucky (COMING NEXT YEAR)

  
 Top 10 List For Newcomers Considering The Convention Minimize

By Joseph Zompetti 

Joseph Zompetti: Member of 52 Plus Joker


The 52+Joker convention in 2016 was my first. While I am an avid collector, with several thousand decks in my collection, I have never attended a gathering of fellow collectors, until last month.

The convention was more than I could have imagined. In a moment, I will provide my “top 10 list” of things a newcomer should consider when attending the convention. But, one thing that isn’t really captured in my list is the pure energy and sense of being overwhelmed. There are so many decks of cards! And, everyone attending is as excited as I was! For a geek like me, it was sort of like coming home.

So ... if you are considering coming to the convention (which I hope you are), here are my top 10 things to consider. I was a little anxious as a newbie, and I didn’t quite know what to expect. Fortunately, I had a friend in the magic community who was a member, so he helped prepare me. I hope this can do the same for you:

  1. Attend the first reception.

    I am also a professor, so I have attended many scholarly conferences. One of the things many academics do is they avoid the initial reception or gathering of a conference. Instead, they meet with friends or go sightseeing. For some reason, I did not follow this habit when attending the 52+Joker convention. And I am glad I did. Not only was there free hors d'oeuvres and adult beverages (although I'm not sure this is always the case), but I also met and talked to some really awesome, cool people. I met Lee Asher, the president of the organization, as well as Bill Kalush (president of the Expert Playing Card Company, pioneer for the Conjuring Arts Research Center, and consultant to magician David Blaine), Mark Stutzman (amazing card designer and designer of all of the David Blaine decks), and I happened to stumble upon a few other 'virgins' of the convention, so we all bonded!

  2. Bring any rarities that you would like to sell for one of the auctions.

    There are at least 2 auctions at the convention (maybe 3). I didn’t quite understand the initial “auction” that was described and announced, but the other two were pretty cool. In the middle of the convention, there is an open-bid auction of items that are on display. This past year, many of the items were also publicized in the publication of the organization, so many of us already knew about them. Nevertheless, we could examine and inspect the items as they were displayed on tables. Then, the auction began. Very few items went unbid. Some went for very large sums. But, for newcomers with small wallets, I can attest that some items go for a pittance – because I was able to secure one! Then, there is the “silent auction” at the end of the convention. During the banquet at the end of the convention (which you simply MUST attend), many of the member place their wares on tables at the back of the room with a suggested opening bid. And then, like any silent auction, other members may place their bids for the item as long as it exceed the suggested bid. At the end of the evening, if the item has a bid, the item sells, and the seller and buyer square the deal. The organization only asks for a 10% donation (from the seller), which is extremely reasonable. And, of course, you can provide anything you’d like in this auction. I bid for several items as well as put some on the market. Ultimately, I made $40!

  3. Bring other decks you’d like to sell.

    The auctions are just one way of selling some of your items. Each attendee is given a table so that they can display their “goods.” Some people simply showcase their rare and cool items. But, most folks use their table as an opportunity to sell some of their decks. The decks may have price tags, but most owners/dealers are open to negotiation.

  4. Ask questions about the club.

    Okay, so enough about buying and selling. The club/organization is MUCH more than just the buying and selling of decks. The club is really about maintaining a network of like-minded folks who share similar interests. There is, of course, the annual convention, then there is the website which has a ton of very useful information, and then there are the members who are also a reservoir of knowledge. Anything you’d like to know about cards, as well as collecting, are at your disposal. Just ask!

  5. Ask questions about decks.

    There is a ton of information about designers, playing card manufactures, and actual decks. While the club embraces the vintage, antique and modern collectors, there will undoubtedly be someone at the convention who knows something about what you are interested in. They also may very well be excited and enthused about the same things!

  6. Bring a friend.

    I brought my girlfriend, and I am very happy I did. Not only did she learn why I love collecting cards, but she made some good friends at the same time! Everyone at the convention were extremely friendly, and they made my girlfriend and myself very welcome. Having someone to share my experience added a great deal to the overall weekend.

  7. Make new friends.

    While at the convention, you should reach out and expose yourself (appropriately and meaningfully!). I made contacts with folks that I otherwise wouldn’t have. We exchanged business cards and email addresses. At the next convention, I know that there will be people who will know me and expect to see me. As with any club or organization, the idea of “feeling included” is a huge benefit. But, not only that, I made some friends for whom I can collaborate with my collecting and/or trade or sell my current decks with. In other words, the convention provides an atmosphere of collegiality that benefits everyone.

  8. Scope out what others have brought to display and sell.

    The open room includes tables of all of the members. A word of caution: There will be a TON OF CARDS!!! You will want to walk around the room several times to explore what everyone brought. Most of their cards will be for sale.

  9. Don’t buy everything you see immediately.

    Pace yourself. Of course, if you see something you like, and you’re worried that someone else might snag it, you should go ahead and talk to the member. However, you may see something else in the room you like more; or, it might be the last day of the convention, and the member may have dropped their price. Either way, you might consider waiting instead of buying everything immediately.

  10. Bring money.

    Speaking of buying – you should definitely bring extra cash. My friend warned me to bring $100 more of whatever I was budgeting, and boy was he right! I could have spent a ton more than I did! Fortunately, I brought my (girl)friend who kept me in check. You might want to consider a similar mechanism to check your spending proclivity. Or, as the members might say, don’t, and just bring your checkbook!

All-in-all, I firmly believe you will enjoy the convention. I know I did. I became an instant convert. If you love cards, you’ll love this convention. And, perhaps more importantly, you’ll love the members. They are incredibly friendly and helpful. They will help you and guide you and encourage you. You will be welcomed.


  
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