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.

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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.

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