by Jim Rogers
Though many collectors attend the National Sports Collectors Convention on a regular basis, some individuals will be making their first trip to this mammoth event. Some hobby veterans have made suggestions for those who may be attending their first National.
If you’ve never been to a major show before, or if it’s been awhile, just remember this is no ordinary show. One day isn’t likely enough time to do it justice. You can, however, come prepared. Some hobby veterans chipped in with a few ideas for making the most out of your visit.
Some important things to remember as you get ready to walk the floor at the National Sports Collectors Convention (or any other huge summer show).
- Wear comfortable shoes because there will be a great deal of walking on a hard surface.
- Carry some type of backpack, rolling cart or shoulder bag for money, cards, supplies, etc.
- Be very careful not to leave your bag unattended to prevent opportunities for theft. It happens.
- Dress for summer (shorts, t-shirt, etc.). It is likely to be warm in the Convention Center.
- Bring a pen and a notepad to keep track of your purchases and booths of interest.
- Make a copy of the map of the Convention Center floor plan from the NSCC website to note tables that you may want to revisit so you don’t waste time wandering around.
- Don’t be afraid to make an offer of a lower price than that listed on the card…just don’t be ridiculously low or the dealer may not take you seriously.
- If you are looking for a specific item in a specific grade, determine what you are willing to pay. In the excitement on the floor, it is common to make the mistake of overpaying.
- At first glance, one may not find many bargains, but a little digging will likely be rewarded.
- Bring a small flashlight, a loupe, and a magnifying glass to thoroughly inspect cards.
- Cash is king. Bring cash in all denominations. You will likely need some ones and some fives.
- If a dealer is asking book price for an item, it is wise to keep looking unless it a card that is exceptionally rare or in extremely high demand.
- Understand that some dealers are there to sell and a few others are there to display their collections. Make sure to buy from those that are there to sell.
- If you see something that you really like at a price that is fair, it is advisable to go ahead and pull the trigger on the deal. If you wait until later, the card may be gone.
- Bring snacks if you are short on time so that you do not have to spend time at the concessions stand.