A few tidbits from the weekend that haven’t been covered yet:
- Wednesday night’s Topps Vault auction at the VIP reception saw a 1977 uncut proof sheet with a Reggie Jackson Orioles card sell for $10,000 while the color transparency used to create Nolan Ryan’s 1968 Topps rookie card brought $3,000. Signed Topps checks and contracts from Mickey Mantle and Bill Russell were among the other items sold. The Topps Vault usually auctions items via eBay and their listings are worth checking out since most are one-of-a-kind and sometimes include big names (click here to see them).
- Many dealers do more business on Tuesday night and Wednesday than they do when the doors open to the general public. Dealers buying things they can re-sell from other dealers is a huge side of any big show.
- One vintage card dealer told me the National crowd is virtually the same cast year after year. The serious collectors who come from all over the country regardless of where the National is and spend Wednesday, Thursday and part of Friday buying before going home, followed by the casual collectors and newcomers who visit on the weekend but don’t spend that much.
- The biggest crowds at the card company booths were at Panini America which was very aggressive in its marketing campaign. The company’s redemption pack program was a hit with those who collect current era items.
- Good to see Topps meeting with collectors for product feedback. I wonder if the companies should offer collector ‘summits’ with a lot of perks; company tours, free product, etc. in exchange for meaningful dialogue and the chance to educate its most serious clientele. Maybe not enough could afford the airfare?
- Cal Ripken posing for pictures with those who bought autograph tickets was a surprise perk.
- He’s aging but Bart Starr still has beautiful handwriting.
- A young couple walked up to Baseball Card Exchange’s well-stocked booth, bought one pack of 1980-81 Topps basketball and pulled the Bird-Magic rookie card.
- One dealer had a 1961-62 Fleer basketball unopened box priced at $50,000.
- As always, there are three distinct factions of collectors: vintage guy, pack buster guy and autograph guy (sorry girls, I know some of you were there but not many). They do intertwine a bit, but for the most part, vintage card guy sometimes buys vintage memorabilia or autographs but pack buster guy seldom strays from his interest. Autograph guy is often just a fan (and this is where some of the girls do show up) who wants to meet a favorite athlete and get an autograph.
- Chicago is perfect for out of towners. Hotels…and plenty of them…right across the street and good restaurants within walking distance, plus two big league baseball teams.
- It would be nice if the show floor could somehow stay open in the evening hours on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights for those people who have to work during the day.
- The next three Nationals will be held in 2012: Baltimore; 2013: Chicago and 2014: Cleveland; 2015: Chicago. Restrictions from convention centers in other cities seem to be the stumbling block in moving the show to other places beyond the Midwest.
And a few more show photos courtesy of Beckett Media:
To see all of our stories from the National Sports Collectors Convention, click here.