I just got back from Wednesday's "Sneak Peek" at the National. Don't know what anyone else thought, but I was a bit disappointed with the show. The show itself was smaller than the previous Anaheim National (in 2000). LOTS of new glossy/shiney stuff. Many tables selling non-sports related memorabilia (ie football helmets, jerseys, movie posters, etc). There were even a handful of empty tables.
Attendance was light. However, I did hear several dealers comment that they were pleased with their sales thus far. The autograph section seemed to be busy. At one point they were turning people away due to time constraints.
The corporate booths had several nice displays. Sotheby's had a nice group of T4's which will be featured in their upcoming October auction.
PSA had the McNall/Gretsky PSA 8 Honus Wagner card on display.
I think it was American Memoribila had a 1930's Babe Ruth jersey on display which will be going up on their next auction.
I also saw the group of Old Judge cards from the "Indianapolis Find." I was amazed at the condition of the cards! (Many of the cards had excellent clarity and rich color.)
There was plenty of 50's, 60's and 70's (and newer) baseball cards.
There was a decent amount of pre-war cards including T206. Saw a few T210's and T222's. Not much in the way of PCL.
I met a number of Net54 members and did take some pics. (I'll try to have them posted by the weekend.) I'm hoping the show warms up some as the weekend approaches!
and I think he was almost too polite on the assessment. Other than Terry Knouse and Brockelman/Luckey tables there are sparse pickins on vintage stuff out here. On one side, there were at least 20-25 booths that weren't occupied. I think that so much goes to auction that it's really hurting the show. Also.....whoever the BONEHEADS are that schedule the National the same week as the HOF inductions, need to wise up if they want this show to continue (or return to) being a profitable venture for all.
All the dealers I talked to were having good shows although they said most all they'd sold was prior to the doors opening. Anyway, guess it'll wind up in more sightseeing time in San Diego on Fri/Sat.......
Got there a little early and waited in line until I was frustrated and left my friends in line and went into the show around 3:30. Glad I did as I did find a few friendly dealers and one major find for me. I also got to meet Leon, Scott, Bill, Bruce, and a few others in person.
Ran into Roger Neufeldt who had a nice selection of stuff including a section marked "ungradeable and priced to sell." Sitting among the stuff was a T205 Kleinow that PSA rejected for being "short/shaved edge." If it was, it was a master job because the card is beautiful and fit nicely into my collection esp. for the $25 price tag!!!!! Now I just need two Hobblitzells and the darn Wilhelm upgrade.
Here is what a lot of digging and searching got me for my $300 on the first day. No scans yet...
T205s Kleinow, Harmon 1 ear, and a fact. 25
2 1909 Obaks super beat with tape and trimming, and stains.
1 1911 Obak low grade but presentable
1 1953 Dixie Lid Premium Connie Ryan (from Trevor's table eventhough he was not there at the time...)
1 Globe Clothing card Phillie w. a punch hole
1 E126 low grade
1 E120 mid grade
1 E220 low grade
1 PCL Popcorn card low grade
1 E93 Ames low grade
Looking forward to more time at the show today and seeing more Net54 friends.
Thanks for the updates guys. I really thought i was going to be able to go to this years national but doesnt look that way. My young son is home with me this summer.
****** IF ANYONE IS WILLING TO LOOK FOR FRANK ARELLANES (sometimes spelled Arrelanes) CARDS FOR ME I WOULD GREATLY APPRECIATE IT , IM ESPECIALLY LOOKING FOR HIS 1911 T212 OBAK AND ZEENUTS FROM 1911-1917. D310, T204,HOMERUN KISSES. I HAVE DONE A FEW TRANSACTIONS WITH SOME MEMBERS HERE WITH NO PROBLEMS I ASSURE I AM GOOD FOR IT, THANKS IN ADVANCE.
What's the attendance like now that it has reached Thursday? From all reports so far it sounds like I was better off taking the cost of the airline ticket, motel and meals bills, Dodger tickets and parking and car rental, etc. and spending it for cards on ebay and BST. I hate that there is such slim pickings on prewar cards and that the PCL stuff like Obaks, Zeenuts, Bakery cards, etc. is almost nonexistent...
Did pass by Mr. Mint's table and yes he was sitting there with some people and eating. Strangely, no show cases and apparently nothing to sell (I left before the evening officially started, so that may have changed). Guess he just gets to sit in front of the main door and grab people coming in with boxes and bags. Sure hope they are at least charging him an excessive table fee for the privilege.
I thought there was a pretty good selection of pre-war stuff. There were a lot more caramels this year than in the past. THough they are expensive, at least they are there. I remember even six or seven years ago not finding a single E93 card. I guess the high prices have more people ready to sell.
there were quite a few caramels out there, i saw plenty of e90-1 commons, e92s, a few nice midgrade e93s (EX+ pastorius, leach, etc), and even ur favorite e94s and e98s. most of the action was at wayne varner's table, but there were others spread out.
Thanks Quan. What are the prices like on the E94s and E98s? I've seen Wayne's prices, anyone else selling anything?
Last year the place to be for good prices on nice caramel cards was Gary Nucherino's table. Just got an email from Gary that he is not there. John Billngsley's table was also a good place to frequent with nice cards and good prices. Other than a couple of caramels which I paid too much for from Wayne Varner last year, that was about it. Without Gary there (is John B. there?) , I can see how caramels might be sparse except for the guys asking bazillions for the few they have.
varner had the most as usual, his prices was about 10-15% higher than market i thought but the cards went really fast, some very nice cards on his table. john b is there although he doesn't have as much as years before. bob i still see a few e94s left, i think an olive jennings sgc20 for $325...lmk if u might need it bob u can probably bargain down to $300. i did not ask for e93 pricing. while walking with pete and wayne we also saw about a G e98 bridwell for $140 up for grabs. my goal is to buy something before the show ends, even if it's an '89 topps gregg jefferies FUTURE STAR.
Thursday at the National was pretty fun. I could tell a lot of stories about today but rather than bore everyone I'll just tell this one...
You know that you've read this bull-board a few too many times when you can guess who someone is just by what kind of cards they have. I was at the SGC tables with a friend of mine. Next to me sat a collector that had a combination of boxing cards and a Lefty O'Doul card. Guess who... yup, I was right about who it was... I never met him before but it seemed quite obvious who it was... I'm sure most of you can guess who it is.
It didn't seem too crowded today. I thought there'd be more people there. I'm not complaining because it made navigating the tables much easier.
19th Century Report - There were a few tables with different items but the most seemed to be distributed between two tables. No big secret on who had the most OJs available - Think Indy Find and add to that some of the Oregon Find and other cards (Dave Levin). TIK had a nice assortment of material but nothing like he brings to a Fort Washington show. That's not to say I didn't drool over what he had in his cases. There were a few other tables with nice material but the highest concentrations of the stuff was at Levin's and TIKs tables.
The auction houses had a lot of preview material for show and tell but that's more of a teaser because it wasn't for sale.
Overall, due to the small crowd it was really nice. At least to me it seemed like a small crowd for a show of this caliber. K.C., you'd have enjoyed this I'm sure.
I just got back about an hour ago. I thought the show was pretty average at best. Plenty of t206's if that's your thing. PSA 5's for $200. Tik had some amazing stuff. Leon and Scott B's table had a lot of action. I saw some of the caramel's but thought they were overpriced(in relation to ebay). A lot of them I had seen on ebay in the past. Pretty sparse crowds for a National imo.
That's what the brains get for taking the National out of the geographical middle of the country. The three shows I have been to, St. Louis, Dallas (Arlington) and Chicago had great crowds. (I realize Texas is in the South) Putting the shows on by locating them on either the eastern or western seaboards doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
Aren't shows in some degrees a thing of the past regardless of where they are located? Some of the best shows that I have ever been to where located in the west--especially the Anaheim show of the early 1990's. With the invention of ebay and the internet, my lazy ass didn't feel like making the trek. Sure you get to meet people and exchange greetings with those who you know only by the log in names, but when you are in the search for pre-war, there is only a smidge of what you had hoped. I think the fact that a large majority of the stuff is shiny (gross) and along the autograph avenue...why does Comic-Con work so well to get 70,000+ people to that every year. I went two years ago because I was in town and I was like...this is what the National used to be. I was also terrified as a guy with a sword spoke in a strange language to me and the sight of female was nowhere to be had....
I am writing this from the hotel adjacent to the convention center. I've been to all days of the show thus far.
I'd say there is less prewar (WWI) material here than at the last two Nationals. It has been very hit and miss. I had a huge hit on day 1 (the "holy grail" of Lefty O'Doul cards, Pebble Beach Clothiers; thanks Mark), and since then only a few things of note. The dealer base of the show is definitely not as large as the shows in CHI and CLE. I'd say 20% of the table are manufactured memorabilia, 40% are shiny new crap, 20% are postwar vintage, 10% are vintage memorabilia, and 10% have significant prewar cards. You do a lot of walking between interesting tables. There are large areas of the floor that are more or less dead zones. I was also surprised at the apparent number of dealer no-shows. I counted at least 10 tables that were set up with name plates but empty and several spaces where tables had been set up on Wed-Thurs and surreptitiously removed by Friday. A couple of boxing collectors enterprisingly homesteaded a vacant space; gonna have to try that next year.
Prices are all over the place. Many dealers are over ebay in pricing (call it a convenience factor) but there are bargains out there, too, it just takes ridiculous digging. I picked up some really nice 1940 Play Ball HOFers, some T206 HOFers, some Zeenuts and Obaks, about a dozen Exhibits for my sets, a nice Sid Gordon autograph, autographed PCs of Cool Papa Bell and Judy Johnson, a check from the 1927 Yankees signed by Ruppert and Barrow and used to pay World Series expenses, and some nice boxing stuff.
For those who did not come, you really missed some great evening socializing. The Mastro party was fantastic. They held it in a private museum in L.A. which just blew everyone's minds. The attendees were a who's who of collecting (and schmucks like me too). The N54 dinner last night was really nice, too, although I was so worn out from the prior evenings' social engagements and bar closings that I was not entirely awake for it.
Edited to add: it sounds like I got a lot of stuff but it was big lot hits at individual tables rather than single items culled from a broad base of tables.
Geez, it's bad enough that prewar cards are in short supply and crowds are sparse, but I wish they would ban those bulky backpacks from the floor. Lots of people strap those things on and haven't a clue who they back in to, smash against or impede. Call me old school, I hate those things....
The ultimate question is this. WHO IS THE NATIONAL FOR ANYWAYS. It used to be for the collectors and buyers, but today is is produced for the dealers and Auction houses. Thus, the biggest problem with the National is its elitist mentality. Who here would rather have a 500 table show of professional dealers and Auction houses who each have to pay $1500 to set up, as opposed to a 2000 table show of collectors, dealers, and anyone who wants to set up and have a good time at about $200 per table? Most of the really good stuff I have ever got from shows has been from Joe Schmoe who has been doing this forever but just decided to set up at a show again and bring some of his stuff out, not from the same dealer who is always there.
Other collectibles go for volume and atmosphere when setting up an event like this, but for some reason the National goes for high end dealers and autograph guests and tries to limit numbers of dealers.
I would buy a table at the National EVERY year if it cost $200 and the show was MUCH bigger. So why dont we have this? Ask the big dealers who do not want the low overhead competition at these shows where people are itching to spend money. And who sets up the National? It is simple economics that benefits the big dealers and ultimately hurts the consumers and the hobby in general.
Just my opinion, but cut the table prices by about 75% and get 4 times the tables and I think the crowds will come.
Other than networking I'm not sure any show, the National included, is that important anymore. There is more stuff to buy on ebay or at any major auction than there is at any show. I used to attend shows regularly. I stopped years ago.
I agree with Rhys. The national is really becoming just a big auction house, PSA/SGC/GAI/others grader, & dealer preview exhibit show. Plus, there are all these dinners, parties, get togethers, social stuff, etc,...
Any thoughts on whether the so-called "International" held in Cleveland last month by many of last year's National group and who split with the Anaheim group, affected the National? I wonder if any of the dealers out there mentioned this....
I spent 3 full days roaming the show(Wed-Fri) and I thought it was terrific--lot of pre-war material there as well as stuff I had never seen before. Most of the larger dealers were there. Lot of collectors there Wednesday all day which as someone mentioned may have been the heaviest sales day.
Attendance 35,000 I think. Every dealer I spoke with was happy with his sales.
Nighttime entertainment was big time as well with Mastro and PSA having parties Thursday and Memory Lane and GAI last night. PSA luncheon on Friday had about 125.
seen a lot of great cards...lots of crap...and not as many people as i thought...i heard someone say it was pretty slow campared to yesterday...lots of t206s like someone else mentioned...met leon, nicest guy at the show...prices were so-so, about 1/2 the vintage tables were high and the other 1/2 were fair with a little mark up...overall, i had a good time!
I had a great time, as it was my first one.
True, I didn't find anything "spectacular," as it seems those items don't even hit eBay - they're reserved for the Mastro, REA, etc. auctions.
I didn't find a whole lot of "great deals," but I did find a good deal of Vintage materials (about what I expected).
I hear dealer attendance was about 1/2 of previous Nationals, as well as a smaller crowd in general, which is fine, since I didn't have to fight many people to get a good look at the tables.
Enjoyed meeting Leon and Scott as well- thanks for the Tip-Top, Leon!
Just back after 3 full days in Anaheim. I stopped by nearly every table. Leon, I apparently didn't see you. Didn't know you were there or I would have said hello. I met & interviewed Dave L about his Indy find and will have it at SportsCollectorsDaily.com within a couple of days as well as a few other pieces.
Just returned home to Honolulu from Anaheim. It was my first National so I can't compare it to others. Maybe with more experience in the hobby I might be more critical but I spent two days roaming around the Convention Center and I had a hell of a great time. First off, the place was about the size of Rhode Island and there were tables as far as you could see. Sure, you had to wade through a lot of disdainful ersatz memorabilia and, sure, everything was probably overpriced (and, sure, the skies over Anaheim were a weird carcinogenic grey and the whole area is sort-of psychosis inducing), but there were still more vintage cards than I'd ever seen by a factor of, say, a million. The auction houses, in particular, had stuff that was stunningly beautiful, all your high-end Jacksons and Cobbs and Ruths, cards I'll never see again outside of a catalogue. What a treat! If your goal at a card show is to find esoteric, niche cards, maybe this National would come up short. If you're a wide-eyed newbie like me, it was big fun to pinball from one tableful of old cards to another.
It was also big fun to meet so many folks that prior to Friday were for me only "virtual" people. Wow, you guys are really real! Pleasure to talk story with Max W. and Super Jennifer, Trevor Hocking, Ryan Christoff, Jack Goodman, Bill Cornell, Adam Warshaw, David Bryan, Hardeman and Son (God Bless you guys and your great magazine), Rockin' Leon Luckey. A knowledgeable and congenial bunch and sterling people all. And it was nice to be around people who ask me what I collect, not why. Anyway, biggest problem I had at the National was to stop motoring my mouth (my wife calls me "a man of few words" but I think she's being sarcastic) long enough to look at cards. There was a lot of territory to cover and two days wasn't near enough time. (I thought it was plain dumb to close the show at 6pm, especially on Friday). Paying for stuff was another problem. While some venders accepted VISA and even Paypal, most only would take cash or checks. Wished I had my checkbook because the ATM limited withdrawals to $400 a day and that didn't cut it. I was hoping primarily to find T3's but they were in short supply so did some impulsive shopping instead. Under the watchful eye of Mr. Warshaw I picked up a beautiful T227 Honest Long Cut boxer, Adolph Wolgast. Bought a Toleteros Moose Skowron (Yay!) from Ryan Christoff (Paypal bucks on the way; Thanks, brah). Found a cherry Joe Wood Sporting News supplement buried under a pile of stuff. Due to aforesaid lack of cash finances I will receive a couple more things in the mail once I pay for them, including a 1923 Paulins Candy card of hockey great, Newsy Lalonde. Will post everything in due course.
Also got a bunch of cards graded on site by both SGC and PSA. That was a very instructive experience, kind of like comparing having dinner at a great restaurant and at the Jack-in-the-Box Drive-thru. A special note of appreciation to the SGC crew: I needed to cross some D304's from PSA to SGC and my PSA2 Wagner came back as SGC20/1.5. Oh well, I thought, **** happens, they have a reputation for being right so tough break. But not ten yards away at the Lelands booth was another SGC20 D304 Wagner which was heavily creased. Side by side mine was way better looking, but same grade. I went back to SGC, grader said my card was borderline 20/30 and he had gone with the 20. Long story short. They cracked the card out and bumped it up to 30. I love these guys.
Another National in my future? Honolulu is a long way from anywhere and even further from Cleveland. Still I hope to go to another National someday. Next time I will plan to stay for the whole show and I will bring my checkbook. I will also do some homework and review my Goudey and Topps sets for cards that I'd like to upgrade so I can be more focused and less impulsive in my card hunting. Mostly I will look forward to re-aquainting with all you collectors.
A few consigned Mastro goodies
'61 Yankees: not a card, not vintage, but I liked it
Ryan Christoff: In spite of his deathglare Cuban avatar, Ryan is a true gent.
Smokey Jen Ettinger and Cool Papa Weder: Jennifer should be cloned (there is no higher compliment). Max is from Saskatoon. How cool is that!
Wonder what the Wagner Gretsky would be worth.
The Ultra-Rare '52 Topps Mantle
The Katella Deli Pastrami Reuben Find. Washed down with a killer vanilla malt. Might not be kosher but it was AWESOME !! Guy next to me at the counter asked if I was going to the Chair.
Looks like there won't be Anaheim to bitch about in '09- word is it has been moved to Houston.
Wednesday was definitely the big day for buying and selling. Thursday and Friday looked fairly sparse, other than in the corporate and autograph areas. I don't think it has to do as much with venue as it has to do with ebay and auction houses offering a better alternative.
I think the National would be better served if they picked just one venue and stayed there. ComicCon, GenCon and other hobby's biggest shows are held in the same location year after year. Then again, maybe if the National is made totally irrelavent, then the Ft Washington/Willow Grove show could take over as the hobby's premiere show.
Was at the National Wednesday during setup, and all day Friday and Saturday. Legs are gone so Sunday is not going to happen. Besides have to do real world work to play catch-up.
Had the opportunity to finally meet our fearless moderator dude and his table partner Scott,John Billingsley, Dave McDonald, Bob Binder and several others. Would be proud to call all of them "friend." Probably passed several other Net54'ers in the aisles but alas, there were no Net54 bumper stickers to wear this year. Unfortunately didn't make the dinner.
Crowds did seem sparse compared to my memories of past Nationals - good for the attendees, not so good for the dealers. Someone above mentioned and I agree, the National has evolved (devolved?) into a corporate sponsor, auction house, grading company and autograph venue with the dealers thrown in as an aside. (The autograph area was one of the few areas of the convention that was crowded.)
With several tables unmanned, I felt sorry for the dealers in the far back corners of the room. Could have driven a tractor thru the aisles in back and not hit anyone.
But did I have a good time? Yes I did. Will I go out of my way to travel next year or the year after to go to a National out-of-state? - No.
And on a grading note, had several cards graded by SGC. Always nice people and great service mentality. They indicate that their Santa Monica on-site visit was successful and they plan to repeat again in a few months. They will probably post something on the board. Jim Spence mentioned that he may consider joining them in their visits.
And finally, I have a set of T212-3 that were obtained from the original collector that have about a quarter of the cards with a stamp on the back (factory stamp?). SGC indicated that they would no longer grade down for the stamp as a "MK" but would instead indicate on the flip that the card had a "stamped back" or something of the sort - but not grade down for it. I thought that was good news, at least for me.
Anyway, gotta go do some real work now. Will post scans of some of the cards I got graded in the other thread later, just to be able to participate in that thread too.
We were specifically talking about the blue or purple stamp that is often found on the Obak issue. Appears to be some sort of factory id stamp. But I agree that the toy town type stamps should be considered the same way. I didn't bring up the toy town stamp nor did they mention it. So I don't know their thinking on that issue. Jack
Great, since I had SGC slab my entire 1910 Obak Series of 150 set a year ago and they were brutal if the cards had the tiny factory blue stamp on the back, the timing is awful for me. At least for others they will get the benefit of this new policy which only makes good sense.
I would also prefer a single site for the show; San Diego sounds good to me!
For all the criticism of the show, there was a ton of great stuff there, provided you could ferret it out of the piles of shiny crap.
The vintage dealers I spoke to nearly all said that they were having great shows. Some even left early because they'd sold so much already.
The best part of the show was the socializing, turning virtual relationships into face to face ones. For that reason alone the National is worth attending. There were times at dinner I laughed so hard I nearly passed out.
I acquired a bunch of interesting items, many of which will go onto my web site and BST once my scanner is back up.
I had one really funny incident on Saturday. I was looking at a major dealer's big booth of autographed manufactured memorabilia (crap) for the umpteenth time while passing by and I saw what I instantly recognized as a very rare and very valuable 19th century silk (real silk) of a boxer. The item had been removed from its vintage mount; they were mounted like cabinet cards originally. I asked to see it and the lady (who I learned was the dealer's wife) showed it to me. I asked "where's the rest of it?" She glowered and said that her husband pulled it out of the mount and, as she understands it, left $2000 on the table that way. I agreed and said more, which made her even madder. She said "Make us an offer; maybe he'll take it to get this out of my sight". I offered $200. She went to him and started chewing him out; I got it for $250.
The L.A. Times ran a very unflattering article on the hobby on Saturday, focusing on the difference between 100,000 at the show in 1991 and 35,000 today (a difference they completely misunderstood) and the 75% decline in the new card market (which as we all know merely represents rational decisionmaking). Vintage was given only a passing reference as still popular. It is probably on line.
Edited to Add: I also had a nice last-minute buy. I was on the way out Sunday and found a smallish group of T206's at a nondescript table. I picked up a Steinfeldt orange bg (really orange), an EPDG common in vg-ex, a Piedmont common with the red Sweet Caporal back design printed over the front sort of sideways, an Evers blue BG (Cubs; finally the last Evers I needed) and a front miscut. Must've been the last unpicked T206 lot in the place.
Just heard Keith Olberman on ESPN and he really dogged the National. Said the enthusiasm and card selection were poor and the show was a disaster. Of course he hated all the shiney stuff but said the older stuff was disappointing.
Don't kill the messenger, that's what I heard.
My first National was very positive for me. It was a pleasure meeting Leon, Scott, Bill, Quan and even BcD!! I did have SGC cross a few of my cards. I know this is no shock to most here but SGC exceeded every expectation I had. I was very impressed and now understand why they have the reputation they have earned. Thanks SGC.
I did pick up a nice 39 Play Ball DiMaggio SGC 4. My budget was not what I hoped it to be but I had a great time anyway. Thanks again to all.
Taking nominations for weirdest booth at the National.
I can understand the "Buy Yourself a Fireproof Safe" booth. Also, the "Collectibles Insurance" booth. But the "Dried Fruit" in bags booth? The autograph removal booth? The "Take Car of Your Spine booth? The "benchwarmers International" booth (where you could get your picture taken with a scantily clad young female)? The "Sharpie" booth? I guess Sharpies are now the autograph pen of choice but how many pens can you sell?
At one of the mystifying corprate booths a guy was entrancing the young crowd with the story of how Wagner hated tobacco and that's why the T206 Wagner is so rare - while holding a T206 Walter Johnson in his hand. One of the dealers I know questioned the wisdom of selling ice cream cones on the floor, as ten-year olds with triple scoops leaned over his display cases.
I was genuinely surprised at the number of tables that didn't have enough material to cover the cost of their tables. Seeing that most of these were from back East, it makes you scratch your head. I don't think you can sell enough Sammy Sosa 90 Leaf rookies!
I also had the joy of a PSA dingus chasing me away in a not-so-pleasant tone. Apparently I was in the field of view (30 ft behind) while they were taping an Orlando interview. Needless to say, I had a few choice words with him.
hey guys is the national ever going into illinois???? because i live in illinois and i really want to go 1 and get some cards like all of you did probalby a couple of old judge does anybody know the price for 1 old judge thanks!????
How would anybody know what's going to be at the 2008 National? It's only 2006 right now. Maybe by 2008 the world will be inhabited by androids and they will only collect virtual cards. You never know.
actually i have touched a T206 i have 4 of them from ted and brian they gave me them dan kravitz ssaid he would give me some and then i gave him my address and he never gave them me yet and i gave him the address like on june 27th a long time ago
Sean- How come you aren't playing baseball somewhere? When I was 14 I played ball every day, all day long when I wasn't doing chores for my allowance. I played in a Babe Ruth league at night, practiced a couple of times a week but other times played sand lot ball with the neighborhood kids, many of whom were either on different teams or no organized teams at all. I quit collecting baseball cards at 13, having discovered sports of all kinds, girls, and other fun things to do. You are too young to become obsessed with cardboard.
You have 4 T206s which is a great start.
I'm sure most of us here didn't have the luck to start with 4 of these little treasures.
Why not stick to them and try to learn more about the players pictured instead of posting about Harry Wright cdv's and massive old judge collections?
And by the way, if you are going to bitch about some guys that didn't send you cards (GIFTS) in an overnight envelope, you are going to lose a lot of hobby friends.
I didn't pick up any pre-WWII cards or memorabilia there (the oldest thing I got was a graded 1953 Bowman FB card), but I had a blast, and picked up a mix of post-war vintage, modern, memorabilia, and giveaways.
There is little reason to come to the National looking for the things you can find every day on eBay. They will probably be a lot cheaper on eBay. It's where you come to network, have fun, and look at (and hopefully buy or sell) things you can't get readily on eBay.
Even if you look down on modern cards, recognize that the manufacturer giveaways (VIP admission package freebies and booth distributions) are saleable/tradeable and have (sometimes very significant) value to other collectors. The autograph tickets from the VIP package also had value to a large group of other collectors.
Nobody knows every area of sports collectibles thoroughly, so there are always items that you might find really interesting but never knew about until you see them in person. The National has far more such items than any other show. Looking at tables that have items outside your collecting area (at least once you're done going through those tables in your collecting area) can prove very fruitful and enjoyable.