The National Card Show: Day 1 Reports and News

The National delivered a few surprises yesterday, as expected. Unfortunately, most of the suprises were underwhelming at best, and yet were blown up like it was an earth shattering annoucement. Thus is the nature of the almighty NSCC, I guess, so here are some recaps about what was happening in Baltimore for opening night.

I think the biggest “news” was the annoucement that Brian Gray has bought all non-baseball brands from Razor, and then resurrected the Leaf brand in the place that was then left empty. This was basically a complicated, yet uncomplicated name change, and people are extremely excited over absolutely nothing. Leaf has been a property of DLP for the last however many years, and even then, it was kind of “meh.” True, Leaf is back as a separate entity, but I don’t see why that is such a huge deal. I think the bigger deal will turn out to be the first MMA set they are releasing and the partnership with Muhammad Ali to release sets under his company name. But, as with any products under a newer company, the final product will be the judge, jury and executioner.

We also saw that Topps looks to be planning a huge celebration for their 60th anniversary of their brand, and if the 50th anniversary is any indication, it should be significant in their entire 2011 line. Im guessing we will have all sorts of retro stuff and throwback sets, but unlike the 50th, the emergence of products from the Topps high end stash will probably destroy any hope of a cool end to the party.

Speaking of Topps, the Strasburg redemption looks to be as popular as everyone thought it would be, even prompting DA Cardworld to offer 80 bucks on the spot for someone looking to sell. I personally think that is way too low to even consider, but its funny that there is an offer like that from a place like DA. Regardless, there have been a few reports of how off center the cards were, so Im guessing BGS is just going to have to put all of them at a 9.5 instead of a 10, right?

In the Game also announced that it was going to be releasing a baseball prospect and heroes product, but as with all of their stuff, it will be unlicensed. Oddly, one of the cards looks identical to 2008 Sweet Spot Baseball, so im not sure how that got through. Heyward and a few others will be signing for the product, and if their popularity in hockey holds true to this product, it could do okay.

As for the show itself, it seems like prices are absolutely ridiculous, as most shows are. Jeremy sent me an email from the floor with all sorts of funny asking prices for cards priced according to Book Value. My favorite was the guy who was selling all sorts of high end autos and was asking more than 250 dollars over ebay selling price. That is waaaaay too much of a mark up, even for a show like this.

Lastly, I have already gotten five or so emails from readers trolling the floor and seeing all sorts of fake patches and fake autos. This is one of the main reasons I have decided to avoid shows in general, mainly because I have gotten the idea that the sellers at the shows will do whatever it takes to make money. This includes defrauding people with cards they obviously know arent real.

Also, if you have further stuff from the show you want to report, let me know at the email above, I am always up for a good national card show story.

The National Card Show: What To See and Where to Go

The National Sports Card Convention starts today for the people who purchased the VIP pass, and for those who are lucky enough to attend, they will experience an concentrated blast of sports cards unlike any other. Because there is so much going on, its likely that the casual attendees will not get to experience everything, so here is the information I have gathered as the must see parts of the event.

Card Manufacturers

All of the card manufacturers will be there, not just the big three, and all of them will have stuff to make it worth your while to go to their booth. Upper Deck, Panini, Topps have all had major publicity surrounding their infamous wrapper redemptions, with Topps probably offering the most valuable of the three. I would devote some money to spend on packs to open at their booths, and do it as early as possible. Because Topps’ giveaway is centered around Golden Arm McGee, that’s the one I would get to before any of the others. It will be GONE before you can say Strasburg, while the others will take a bit longer to sell out. Panini is going to be offering more autographs this time around, and their recent annoucemnet of a box war for some awesome prizes is definitely worth checking out. Upper Deck took the wrapper redemption a different direction this year by offering different sets on different days, and the complete set will be pretty cool to have.

Topps is also hosting a meet and greet with their staff where you can ask questions and talk about their products. Although the prospects of the event are unclear, it looks like it is going to be attended by a lot of people worth speaking to. I also know that the main reps from Topps, UD and Panini are all going, so it’s a great opportunity to give them a piece of your mind or talk to them about your feelings of their products.

Freedom Card Board

Senor Gilmore and his crew have put together an extravaganza for the national that looks to be pretty amazing. In addition to their own giveaway cards, they are going to be having some pretty cool signers there for you to get for free. Pitchers Junichi Tazawa and Dirk Hayhurst will be there, and they will also be giving away a bunch of awesome prizes through their booth that are worth your entry. They have also indicated a plethora of guests for their live broadcasts, including most of the who’s who of the card industry. Last year’s production was very informative for those of us who couldn’t be there, and its going to be interesting how this year’s show turns out.

The Biggest Card Show In the World

I have given up on card shows because I don’t think that there is any specific item that I need that necessitates me travelling anywhere far to pick up. However, if you do have something you are looking for and cant find, THIS may be your opportunity to get it. The problem with any show is that prices are going to be higher, especially on popular players and higher end cards, but I would guess this show will be a set builders paradise. In addition, Blowout and all the online retailers like ATL Sportscards and DA Cardworld will be there too, and you can bet they are going to have some good prices on wax that you don’t have to wait for them to ship.

I am eager to hear stories about some epic pulls or great pick ups that SCU readers are experiencing, so don’t hesitate to send me your pictures or stories from the show. Ill be putting together a massive post displaying it all, and I hope there will be some awesome stuff to highlight.

Also, there are usually some surprise players signing on the floor of the show too, as some dealers use the national as an opportunity to make a good profit for the year. Last year I saw a few different pictures of some baseball HOFers that were signing on behalf of vendors on the floor, so that should be something worth seeking out if you have the time.

The Biggest Gathering of Card Collectors

This show will have more people than any other sports card related event during the year. It’s a great place to meet some people, establish relationships with similar minded collectors, and even trade until you drop. I know that a lot of the big messageboards are doing meetups where there will be pack wars and trading, so check out SCF, FCB, Blowout and Hobby Kings for everyone’s plans.

Also, this is a great chance to meet up with the people’s sites who you read every day, as multiple bloggers will be there covering the event. As of now, there is no formal meet and greet, but follow @VOTC, @stalegum, @cardbandits, @sportscardinfo, @FCBsportscards for lots of info on what is going on.

The Tristar Autograph Pavilion

If someone signs at shows, they will be at this one. Multiple representatives from the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL HOF will be signing at the show, as well as a few current stars. You will have to pay to get their signature, but the prices arent anything higher than normal. This pavilion is the reason I would attend more than anything, as it is a great chance to get that centerpiece signed by your favorite player who is signing.

Here is the list of players and schedule.


That’s about it for now, stay tuned as more news develops from the show. There are always unexpected stories that surface at the show, and this year looks to be no different with the FBI on the floor of the show all week. Ill keep you updated as those stories start to surface.

The National Card Show: Strasburg Sells For A Great Cause

I have said that spending money on Strasburg right now is like throwing it down the drain. However, for this one particular instance, I fully support the person that paid an astronomical amount for the Topps National Card Show giveaway. The reason is pretty simple, as the person who was auctioning off the Heritage Strasburg number 1/999 is donating 100% of the proceeds to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Because I have had Diabetes since I was 11, I absolutely love to see people in our hobby support this cause, or any cause for that matter.

Even when you take out the cost of the VIP package to the show, this card sold for an incredible amount of money, and shows that Strasburg still has it going for him in the hobby despite falling victim to his first DL stint. I expect that this card may end up being the most valuable common National Show show giveaway ever, and its great to see that the organizers of the show had such a great idea to raise money for a wonderful cause.

Here on SCU, over the last two years, I have raised over $1200 for the JDRF, but I have never had the kind of success that this auction has had in one fell swoop. I cant tell you how great it makes me feel to see that there are others who carry the banner to cure Diabetes.

If the person who bought this card reads this, shoot me an email at the contact button above. I would love to pick your brain about the sale. Same thing goes for the seller. Congrats on an amazing end to the auction!

The National Card Show: Things Are Coming Together Nicely

With the National Card Show right around the corner, things are starting to take shape, and in some cases, are already being set up. Blowout cards posted pictures on their forums of the set up of the massive booth at the show, and from the looks of it, things should be as great as they were last year over in Blowout Land. I have said before that going to shows these days is pretty much worthless (unless you are a VERY certain type of collector), due to the prices, but I assume that Blowout’s normal low prices will follow them to the show. That’s a great reason to avoid other booths that have similar prices, but not the same reputation.

Also, Topps is promoting a meet and greet with their execs at the show, an event that I think has good interests at heart, but wont give people the results they are looking for. I would definitely encourage people to go and check it out if they are there, but I think its too little to late from a company that has everything to prove when it comes to their non-standard products.

If I were attending, my focus would be explaining how Topps low end products are amazing, but their higher end stuff is fucking terrible. I want to see why they can hit it out of the park with boxes that cost 50 bucks, but when you get up into the products that cost in the hundreds of dollars, I would rather feed my money to a hungry Elephant. I mean, the end result of my money would be much more entertaining and worthwhile if you catch my drift.

My feelings on some of Topps’ products are very well known, and I have a feeling that there is a growing contingent of collectors that feel the exact same way. I would say this is especially true after the epic fail that was Topps Tribute baseball. I would be interested to see what, if any, results come out of this discussion, even though most of the people who will be there would probably squeal with delight at the opportunity to buy more Triple Threads and Sterling. So, due to that fact, if one of the readers out there, who shares my disdain for those types of Topps products, goes to this discussion, let me know what happens.

Also, Upper Deck, Panini and Topps have announced their wrapper redemptions, and so far they look very similar to what was given away last year. Upper Deck is doing something unusual by giving out different packs on each day of the show, a tactic that seems to be very well conceived at a show like the national is. Topps’ booth will most likely be mobbed with people wanting to get the numbered Strasburg heritage SP, and I would advise those of you going to get there as quickly as possible to get one. Panini has a bunch of different cards to hand out, and most likely will have the most autographs as well. They will be bringing back the wheel of fortune, as well as the signed 8x10s, so do not pass them by if you are there. We also got a preview of what 2010 Certified will be as a result of them displaying their giveaways, and I must say, it looks absolutely horrid. Hopefully this is just a national exclusive thing, but from the looks of it, Certified is going to be one UGLY set this year.

Ill keep you updated as things progress, be sure to check back throughout the week.

The National Card Show: Its That Time Of Year Again, Be Sure To Have Fun

Each year around this time, the National rolls around and the industry gears up for its biggest weekend on the calendar. Manufacturers break out the big guns to be there, wanting to show off new products and new innovations, and collectors turn out in droves to see what is coming down the pipeline. There is also the biggest card show in the nation, with thousands of dealers setting up to sell everything from action figures to rare vintage cards. The national is the San Diego Comic-con of Sports Cards, and even the national media starts to pay attention when it goes down.

Last year at this time, my life was still normal. I was at work, watching the National unfold from my computer, wishing I could ditch my conference to be in attendence with the rest of the collecting world. I made a commitment to myself that I was going to be there the next time it came around, at least if everything continued as it had been with SCU. Well, SCU has definitely continued, but my life was turned absolutely on its ear in the matter of a few short months. We found out my wife was pregnant about a month after last year’s show ended, I had surgery, and we moved to San Antonio in one of the craziest periods of my life I have ever experienced. Now, with my priorities changed, I will again be watching the events from behind my computer screen.

This time, its different, as the money needed to go would take away from other essential things that I need to do for my family. First, Noah is still not sleeping through the night, and to leave him for a weekend with my wife would be torturous for her already sleep deprived existence. He requires constant attention (as most babies his age do), and that is not fair to my wife to shoulder that kind of burden for me to attend a card show. Secondly, the money I would need to attend would prevent us from taking Noah home to Minnesota to see his grandparents, aunts and uncles for Thanksgiving, and that is never something I would give up, even for the biggest card show in the history of the planet. Family comes first to me, and although I personally regret not being able to be there, its something that needs to be done. Next year, who knows.

As for the show itself, there is going to be loads of hobby wide participation from the usual suspects and some new attendees. Rob from VOTC will be there again, with or without his infamous shirt, the gals from A Cardboard Problem will also be in attendence, Chris from Stale Gum has already started his prep, and Freedom Card Board will be having live video so that everybody, everywhere can see everything going on. There will also be a number of other bloggers from the area making the trip, and I am confident that they will do a wonderful job providing the coverage that I am unable to provide. Be sure to check them out.

The main thing is that Im not sure if the National Card Show is even a place for me at this point. The last time I went to a card show, I spent most of the time arguing with clueless dealers about the obvious fake autos and patches they were selling. Due to my crusader personality, its hard for me to let them take advantage of people, even if its just for a few bucks. With thousands of dealers there, including the king of the asshats, Kevin Burge, Im sure there would be problems with me walking the floor. Because I am a complete and utter wuss when it comes to physical confrontation, I don’t think that would be a very good situation to throw myself into a situation like that.

Don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE to be a part of the conversation there, especially getting to meet all the bloggers and readers that I converse with every day. This site has become such a huge part of my life, that I would jump at the opportunity to put faces to the names. That type of experience is the reason that collectors need to go to this show, if not only for the community aspect of the whole thing. Its definitely not the best place to buy cards and boxes that they could easily find on eBay for lower prices, unless you collect cards that eBay doesn’t lend itself very well to, but there will be more collectors in one place than during any other time this year. It’s a crazy time at the national, and the experience of going is always more about the people you meet rather than the cards that you buy in most cases.

Listen, I get it. Maybe this post is more about me providing a cathartic experience to calm my remorse of not being able to go, and Im sure there will be lots of hate stalkers out there who will try to let me know how glad they are about it, but right now, all the normal people will definitely identify with what is going on in my life. I hope everyone has a blast, and I know I will have some scouts in the crowd looking for a few things I need to pick up.

Because of the obvious lack of coverage that will be eminating from this site, if you are a reader, and would like to contribute a detailed post of your experiences at the national, I am offering this space as your canvas. Email me at the contact link above with your proposal, and if it fits the content of this site, I will be happy to post it for the readers here to see. Hopefully the experiences of like minded collectors will be informative for those planning a trip to the show next year.

Good luck to those who are going, ill be watching with a bittersweet smile on my face. In the future, I hope there will be an opportunity for all of us to get together, hopefully at a National show in the coming years. Stay tuned to SCU for all the second hand news you can stomach from the floor, as I will not hesitate to report on it from here in San Antonio.

Oh, I almost forgot. If someone happens to come across one of the giveaways that feature any of the Minnesota Vikings, im all ears as expected.