May 29, 2024 - News

Marbles make a comeback at this Des Moines trade show

A photo of the Des Moines Marble Show.

The Des Moines Marble Show has attracted hundreds of collectors in recent years. Photo: Courtesy of Chad Cline

The Des Moines Marble Show has rolled into town.

Why it matters: It's the self-proclaimed largest and longest-running toy marble show in the nation with collectors paying tens of thousands of dollars for some finds.

Catch up fast: The annual show started about 50 years ago in the back of a bail bond office in Davenport. It later also outgrew its spot in the Amana Colonies.

  • DSM resident and marble collector Chad Cline took over the show about a decade ago.

The intrigue: Marble collecting experienced a renaissance during the pandemic when people spent more time on sites like eBay.

  • Most marbles are relatively inexpensive, making collecting easy for beginners, Cline told Axios.

State of play: Through Friday, dozens of vendors will open their personal rooms at Holiday Inn-DSM Airport as a roaming "interim trading" space before Saturday's official event in the hotel's conference center, Cline said.

  • There are no set hours but most will be open around noon, he said.

If you go: Saturday's show is 9am-2pm.

  • Admission is free. Children get a complimentary bag of marbles with game instructions.
A photo of marbles.
Antique sets of marbles like this one are for sale at this week's show. Photo: Courtesy of Chad Cline
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