Grand Cards: A Call for National Advice

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Call for National Advice

Ok. So the National starts tomorrow right here in Baltimore. My life is such that the first (only?) day that I'll be able to go is Saturday. Maaaaybe Sunday. But probably not. Now, for those of you halfway across the country who gasped, or maybe chocked on a little bit of food and are now indignant that here I am, blessed with the National Sports Collectors Convention right with my own back yard, and I can't even be bothered to attend the show for more than one day...I'm sorry. I wish I could, but I can't.

And this, my friends, is what puts me in a bind.

You see, my card show experiences are, how you say, limited. I'm pretty sure that I went to a card show once when I was a kid, for like an hour. I remember going, being there, and then not being there. Impactful stuff, that. Since then, I've attended the Daily international card show that is eBay and literally nothing else. I'm a card show n00b. I predict that I will do foolish things. Or overwhelm myself. Or ultimately find some way to get the least amount possible out of my limited time at the National. And that's where I need your help.

For those of you who have been to The National, or other grizzled card show vets, can I create a strategy to make the most of it, or is it "Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here" from the moment I step through the door? How about this. Here's my plan. If you know how card shows work, please pick holes in said plan and give me better advice.

If you are actually at the National and feel like doing some advance scouting prior to my attendance this weekend, that could be a kind of awesome way to narrow down the booths for me. If you're up to it.

The Plan
I've pretty much resigned myself to the fact that "wantlists," while good in theory, are going to bog me down. (please tell me if I'm wrong here and wantlists are, in fact, crucial and necessary) There are some things I know I don't have. There are other things that I know I do have. For the grey area, it will be a game time decision. So, going in, this is what I'm looking for (all Detroit Tigers):

  • Refractors
  • 2010 A&G Minis
  • Pre-1970 Topps
  • Really old cards

If circumstances warrant, I'd like to knock out my Topps Heritage needs, and my other A&G mini needs.

So. Tips? Tricks? Advice? I'm pretty sure that I'm in over my head on this one. Also, I will most certainly need a drink at some point this week, and somehow


  1. Hey, if you see a cool Boesch card, let me know.

    I might be able to get something signed by Andrew Miller, who's still, I think, here @ AA for the Marlins.

    Most important...ENJOY YOURSELF!!

  2. I'll be there Saturday too. I usually go to the Dulles Expo Center show. Since we are both only able to attend for one day, here is my advice:

    Bring lots of cash.
    Ask the dealer for what you are looking for.
    Haggle with them for the price you want to pay.
    If you don't get the price you want, chances are with such a large show, somebody with have it cheaper.
    Wantlists are OK (just don't bring a huge notebook full like me!)

    Good luck!

    Hopefully I can follow my own advice!