The good news for dealers at this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention was this show appeared to be more crowded than any I have attended in the past 10 years or so. I kept bumping into people and that was because yes the floor was constantly busy. Most dealers did report very good sales and at least one reported actually selling everything he brought.
Every year I go to the National, I always enjoy meeting my old (and new) friends. This year, as always, there were fewer of those. One which immediately came to mind was Dr. Bill McAvoy who was always such a joy to be around. Bill passed away last September. There are others as well but we always enjoy the time we spend with our friends.
Every time I go to the National and see John Rumirez’ table with BA Murry set up next to him my mind now automatically drifts back to the beginnings of Rich’s Ramblings. For those of you who may not be familiar, the whole concept of the Ramblings began at the 2011 National when our editor saw me sitting at the booth with not only BA and John but also Bill Henderson, Dan McKee and the late Ace Marchant trading old war stories. And just as any baseball old-timers will tell you, the time we spent at dinner before the Heritage Auction began was sure enough a good hour and a half trading of old hobby yarns. While the stories are apocryphal, the tales get better and even our trips become more adventuresome than they really were.
I had never seen as many people from the Dallas-Fort Worth area as I did during the weekend. I know some of that increased count in my mind has to do with all the shows I’m now either promoting or setting up at which puts me in contact with a lot more folks and telling them what a great time the National is. I lost count but there might be up to 20 people I knew from DFW walking around the show.
One of the funniest interactions had to do with the young couple I’ve previously mentioned who actively collect Twins/Washington Senators cards. When I caught up to them for the second time during the show, they were in conversation with a Twitter friend of theirs who goes to many shows with her husband. Since her husband was somewhere else on the floor, she told me the story of how she is now doing a Taj Boyd collection “by force”. She told me she was getting Boyd’s autograph at a show when Boyd starting singing her a Drake song. After she posted that on Twitter, she became somewhat inundated with Boyd cards. And while her interaction with Bill Buckner at a show did not involve songs, whatever she posted about his signing also got her to build a Bill Buckner collection.
Wally Moon, who played in the 1950s and 60s, will be a guest at our October 24 show. Ed Hans was nice enough during the National to write down the numbers of all of Moon’s cards so I could go around the show and purchase those from vendors (including him). While some of the cards I had a pretty good idea as to the numbers (1959 is a high number, 1962 #190 has two variations) it really helped me. I came home with more than 30 Moon cards which we’ll have on hand for him to sign this fall.
I met another “Richard Klein” at a Net 54 dinner. Two years ago I met Richard Cline at the Net 54 dinner and this time I met Rick Klein. The cool thing is not only does Rick collect but his father and brother also have collecting interests. When I ran into Rick’s dad he was proud to show me the nice grouping of 1959 Ted Williams cards he had picked up. As always the Net54 dinner was real nice to attend and I met many similar-minded collectors.
There were some after show comments about the corporate area. On a business level, the corporate booths are a major part of the National for a variety of reasons. While the noise level at the Topps booth was kind of strong, on another level, anything that can whip up hobby enthusiasm is very valued. And no one in the hobby can work a crowd like Alan Narz.
I also want to say no matter what I write or say about the National, I have tons of respect for both Mike Berkus and John Broggi and although there is a nice payday for them at the end, they have to put in a full year’s effort to make the show the success it is. And no matter what else, the show is always the most important part of the trip.
We received several nice donations for our upcoming charity show but props to Kelsey Schroyer of ESPN Mint Condition who donated a signed Dez Bryant football. With the PSA/DNA certified Mike Trout baseball, we already have we have two really sweet anchor prizes for our next show. Lisa Stellato of Never Enough Cards gave us a couple of OYO figures. We can always use more donations.
There has been a lot of discussion about the National and Atlantic City next year. I felt a lot better when I was heading home on Saturday night and discovered Spirit Airlines does fly out of Dallas and although not a non-stop flight, I can get there from here as the saying goes. I will say that the trade-off for many people not coming to Atlantic City should be with people from the megalopolis who are excited about the show being within driving distance. In the time it would take me to drive to Houston, a very large population base can drive (or take the train) to AC. I’ve always been a big fan of public transportation to and from a show from way back in my college days when I would take the #1 train downtown in New York City.
And I’d especially like to give a shout out to Leighton, Scott and the Just Collect gang. Without them, I would not have attended this year’s event and it was great to have a place to take a break from walking the concrete floor. I hope we are able to do this again next year where I would know even more people as AC is closer to my home. As one poster pointed out on Net 54 after the show “I hope you make it at the National. I have not seen you in the last 10 years and I always considered you one of the best in the business; a good friend when you lived in Jersey years ago.” Thanks to Bill for those nice words.
What we all are, when all is said and done, are lifers in the baseball card hobby and we’d all be involved no matter what our cards and memorabilia were worth. And isn’t that part of the hobby for those of us old and new, to be forever involved in our passion?