I just got home from The National. I was there for about 7 hours on Wednesday, 9 hours yesterday, and about an hour this morning. This was my first National. I had wanted to go the last two years, but couldn't for one reason or another. So I don't have past experiences to compare this one too. Maybe others will chime in later and compare this year to previous years.
I was very excited on my way to Baltimore Wednesday morning. Dave Lemon called me from the show when I was still two hours out and that just added the final fuel to the flames. I had a Dealer Pass so I was able to go in before the official opening at 4pm, which was great because there were very few other buyers at that point. Many of the dealers were still setting up but they were more than happy to take a break to sell me cards.
I've been to the Toy Show in the Javits Center in NYC quite a few times and the Spiel Gamefest in Germany many times (the attendance is about 120,000 over four days there). Maybe it was unfair to expect that kind of show, but I was expecting The National to be as big. So I was surprised by the overall number of dealers. All the biggest booths were actually the Auction Houses like Heritage or dealers selling modern cards or closeouts. The number of collectors during the first actual public day yesterday was also surprising. The halls never felt the least bit crowded and it was always very easy to move around and get right up to the display cases at booths. The only booths I had any trouble at were several dealers who had tons of binders of raw cards, who had set up chairs outside their booths for people to sit in while looking through the binders.
The biggest surprise of all was the number of non-sports cards. I expected there to be lots more raw cards in particular, but unless I missed a whole bunch, there really weren't that many. There were almost no N cards and very few cards from the 30s and 40s. Every other booth seemed to have only shiny, modern cards.
The best part of the show for me was getting to meet Tom Boblitt, Henry Jones, Tom Ryan, Greg Galliger, and Adam Cohen, all super guys. I really enjoyed hanging out with them, as well as with Dave Lemon and Al DellaPosta. The hub for non-sports collectors was Marty Krim's booth. It doesn't have anything to do with Marty of course. He just happens to have a wonderful wife (Debbie) and daughter (Stephanie) who make the booth very welcoming and comfortable. Thanks Debbie and Stephanie!
I lived in Baltimore from 1979-1983. My apartment was about ten blocks north of the convention center and the harbor area, which was just being developed back then. Walking around yesterday, I couldn't believe how much the area has changed. It's a great place for a convention though, with at least three hotels connected by skywalks to the convention center, with a huge mall just two blocks away, and with dozens, if not hundreds, of restaurants within a few blocks. I moved to Syracuse from the Boston area about seven years ago. About the only thing I miss is my favorite restaurant Legal Sea Foods. So I was incredibly excited when I learned there was a Legals a block and a half from the convention center. Unfortunately, when I got there Thursday night, I learned it was no longer a Legals. The new restaurant is called Brio and the food was excellent, but I was still bummed. Plus, I can't imagine a Legal Sea Foods going out of business. What a world.
But I digress. Despite there being less non-sports cards than I expected, while I didn't find any of the 20 things I was most hoping to find, I did come back home with quite a haul.
These first three cards were graded at the show by Tom Boblitt. He was asking $200 for the three of them, which I thought was a little steep, but I can't resist gems like these.
Peter Lalos of Champsandbums finally got me to buy some of his Novelty Cards after all these years. The fiend.
Despite any logic or common sense, I spent the most money at Marty Krim's booth. The shame, the shame.
Anyone have a number for this Novel set (called Dare Devil Stories)?
I bought all of Marty's R127 cards. I'm still missing #s 505, 509, and 516. Anyone want to trade for some of my dupes? I'll put an ad in the BST with my lists.
This card completes my R130 set.
And finally this gem.
Got these at various other places.
My first Dude!
I'd heard about the binders of Bob Marcy of Scottsdale Cards for years. So I had an awesome time going through a lot of them yesterday, where I got all of the cards below. Bob also has a wonderful wife Jeanette (I hope I spelled her name correctly) who was another hostess with the mostess. Her peanut butter cookies are wonderful.
I'm going to need Tom Boblitt's help to figure out which E sets some of these cards are from, since I forgot to write that important info down when I was buying them. Doh.
While I was looking through the binders, Bob was buying cards from a guy who was sitting in the booth. At one point, Bob bought a card from the guy and turned around and offered it to me. Talk about your quick sell-through! I'm hoping this will be a PSA 8 or maybe even a 9.
Last, but far from least, I picked up a wonderful copy of one of my 20 favorite non-sports cards.