2012 National Sports Collectors Convention: Day 1

2012 National Sports Collectors Convention
Baltimore, MD

8-1-2012 Day 1:

What can I say other than; Wow! This being my first National, I can say that it was everything I had always imagined it would be. Tons of dealers, endless boxes of cards, lots of standing, and a bunch of new friends! I attended the show this year with a few friends. We picked up our VIP passes at 12p, caught up a bit, then walked over to the VIP Reception hosted by the ever impressive Tustin, CA based auction house, @MemoryLaneInc. The room was full of people, there weren’t enough tables to accommodate the total head count in attendance. They provided us with free pizza, which was a nice touch to the beginning of a really exciting first day. Notably, however, was the legendary Babe Ruth collection on display at the VIP Reception hosted by Memory Lane. Their inventory is always so incredibly impressive; I had to stand in some degree of shock as I stared at those high grade ultra vintage Babe Ruth cards. Really; just amazing.

Shaquille O'Neal Shoes

At around 320p, we left the VIP Reception, and headed down to the line where other VIP’s were eagerly waiting for the convention doors to open. Finally, at 330p, it all started. We enter the mega showroom and by default, I started along the variant right. We immediately sought out our VIP Exclusive offers from @PaniniAmerica, and SportKings. I met @TracyHackler, the Hobby Marketing Manager for Panini America.

After that, we worked the tables. This is an overwhelming experience. There are so many tables that I had to alter my initial shopping strategy. Because there are so many potential buying opportunities, I have to be choosy on what I buy because it’s so easy to blow it all on one table. As I write this, (and this may change), my strategy is as follows:

  1. Buy Frank Thomas cards that I don’t already have (this is starting to get harder to do, which is actually a good thing because it saves me money)
  2. Buy 1990’s inserts/parallels of other players but be extremely picky
  3. Look for items found on the scavenger hunt list that my friends and I made

#1 is a default, #2 is for nostalgia, #3 is for fun

My friends and I thought it would be fun to rock a scavenger hunt at the National this year. Like any hunt, it consists of objectives that are reasonably tough but not impossible. It helps add an additional value factor to our experience. Plus, like I said earlier, it’s just plain fun. Our list comprises of cards to find. Note that some Best’ finds will be qualified as such via a third party friend of ours by the name of Derek. Also note that bolded italicized entries signify found items. That said, let’s have a closer look at the list.

2012 National Sports Collectors Convention Scavenger Hunt

  1. Baseball player holding non-baseball sporting equipment
  2. Cheapest, oldest card (any sport)
  3. Best facial hair (any sport)
  4. The fattest baseball player
  5. Player with funkiest non-uniform clothing
  6. Player wearing hat backwards (can’t be Griffey, and can’t be a catcher)
  7. Player holding a broken bat
  8. Pitcher in the batting position (at the plate)
  9. Best card purchased for under $1 (Derek’s discretion)
  10. Older player (must be active, and can’t be a manager; any sport)
  11. Any 1998 Ryan Leaf RC
  12. Any 1989 Fleer Bill Ripken Obscenity card (black box included)
  13. 1987 Topps #18 Dick Howser card
  14. Any card that is serial numbered first or last in the print run (ex. 001/250 or 250/250)
  15. Any card showing a star Quarterback getting sacked
  16. Any card showing an obscene gesture (not Bill Ripken)
  17. 1990 Leaf Kevin Maas RC
  18. Any Howard Johnson card from the 1980’s

Only one day into the show and I have already secured 7 of the total 18 cards. I think that’s a pretty good start. Hopefully I’ll find more on day two. At which point, I will update this list in my next entry.

Outside of Scavenger Hunt items, I purchased the following:

  • Several Frank Thomas cards that I needed
  • 19 packs of 1996 Zenith
  • Some odds & ends from the 1990s

I remained control and stuck to my modified strategy. I’m really quite pleased that I found those packs of ’96 Zenith, as that product is surprisingly tough to locate in today’s market. It’s not impossible but it’s not abundant. When I do find it, however, it can be typically had for a bargain. Those 19 packs cost me just $10 total! Hopefully I’ll run into more deals like that this week.

All in all, a great first day indeed. Time to sleep so that I can do it all again tomorrow (or later on today given it’s after 12a as I write this). Until next time;



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