Saturday, August 3, 2013

Geeked on cardboard

It's pretty obvious that more than half the card collecting world is on vacation this week.

Readership is down, comments are down (nobody loves Jackie), the pace of posts are down, and every time I hop online someone is talking about traveling there, seeing that or drinking this.

So I'm not going to knock myself out the next two days. Besides, nothing can compare to what's flashing across the screen direct from The National.

It's been kind of fun on Twitter the last few days getting reports from the lucky few who are there. Lots of buzz about cardboard, both good and bad. Information. Ranting. And plenty of pretty pictures. SOOOOO many pretty pictures.

The pictures are where my interests lie. What is Topps going to do about redemptions? Who is autographing next? Why is the VIP line already starting? I don't care about that. I want to gawk at cards.

I know I can't afford the vast majority of what is there. But even when I'm at a regular, old card show -- and I've mentioned this before -- I like to stand next to the glass cases of '50s Dodgers or tobacco cards just in case an airplane flies overhead and accidentally spills a pallet of cash through the roof of the convention hall. I'll be ready.

So I've been gawking from afar on my computer. But I know that not only are some of you not on vacation and not at The National, but you're not on Twitter either. So I'm going to show some of my favorite photos from the NSCC, courtesy of the fine folks who took them. I hope they don't mind.

Most of these are from @ThoseBackPages who also writes The Diabetic Card & Comic Geek.

If you ask me, he's the star of this National. Not only does he take a lot of pictures, but he seems to know exactly what I want to see.

This is a panoramic view of the show floor that he took. Looks pretty much like every other show, except with more stuff.

Here is one of those glorious '50s and '60s cases, also taken by @ThoseBackPages. I'm proud to say I have a couple of these. And I have my eyes on a couple others. Of course, none of my cards are graded. I'm too touchy-feely for that.

Moving on from the '60s into the '70s, also from @ThoseBackPages. I'm fortunate to own quite a few of these cards. And also fortunate to know that the ones that I don't own, I'm really not all that interested in owning.

Which pre-war set am I the most interested in obtaining? You're looking at it. I don't anticipate ever coming close to completing the set or even having one card. But I thank @ThoseBackPages for indulging me.

It's funny how ingrained some of these cards are in our brain yet we never have a real chance of obtaining them.

Graded packs from the '70s and '80s!!! This is from @Project1962, who you will be happy to know got '73 Topps cards signed by Bob Gibson and Carlton Fisk.

My eyes went right to the cello '75 packs that are dead center. Cesar Cedeno! Keith Hernandez rookie! I opened a few of those in '75. And there are the '75 wax and '75 mini wax packs next to them.

The '80s wax packs don't mean that much to me. In fact it seems weird to have them graded. I suppose there's the Gwynn and Boggs rookies in '83, but really, why?

Beckett Media

This picture was taken by @yanxchick. I'm sure you know her as Sooz, former A Cardboard Problem blogger and now an editor at Beckett.

Holy Grails like this card are a prerequisite for the largest card show of the year. But walking around in a place that has armed guards would make me a little nervous. (A '52 Mantle, by the way, was reportedly stolen at The National this week, too).

If I were to go to The National, I would most likely get what I'd get at any other card show, vintage needs, Dodgers and assorted oddballs. I suppose if I was going to travel a long way to get there, I'd feel obligated to pick of something I couldn't get at another show.

Perhaps something like this:

That was a card nabbed by @ThoseBackPages. Isn't that fantastic?

I told you he was the star of The National.

As for the rest of the stuff there, I'm not really interested in the exclusives, the mojo raffles or putting the bigwigs on the spot. Although, I admit the Q and A with Topps yesterday was interesting to me as someone who is a sportswriter. And this question got the biggest laugh out of me:

But really, I'm happy to have saved my money and merely watched the proceedings from the comfort of my home.

Many thanks to all that are/were there and took a moment to take pictures and describe the festivities.

Maybe I'll get there someday. Cleveland is a lot closer than Chicago.

In the event I do get there, I hope I'll have enough focus to send pictures and tweets out to you all.


  1. I have been doing the same thing. Just following the stories told by the lucky people that get to attend the National.

  2. Any news from Ultra•Pro?

    I was hoping they would have a new mini product...

  3. Ditto. Just living vicariously through others.

  4. WIth your collecting interests, you should really go to Cleveland. There are great deals on vintage cards that are in G-VG condition. Lots of oddball vintage too. It's not even that far for you.

  5. I'm not sure what to make of the checklist comment. I use paper checklists at shows, but they're generated out of the MS Access database that I built. So should I be offended or not?

  6. Sorry, I misread the tweet, I thought it was mocking people who don't access their wantlists through their smartphones.

    ...But I think the mocked person at the Topps forum has a point. Is it fair to have everything online? What if you collect cards but can't/won't pay the admittedly large fees to have internet access in your home or on your phone? Should we be automatically excluding them by having everything on the internet? Should Topps have an offer on the wrapper for a checklist if you send them a SASE? Is that too much to ask?

  7. Asking Topps to cater to what is now a niche need is amusing to me (there was another collector who complained that colored refractors were meaningless to him because he was color blind).

    Topps has a difficult enough time handling things that affect many more collectors, like customer service. I think questions in that kind of forum should address things of concern to the most people, not a select few.

    @BaseSetCalling ~

    No, I haven't heard anything from UltraPro regarding mini pages lately. I'll have to bug them.

  8. I work across the street from the main branch of the New York Public Library. They recently had several T206's on display including the Honus Wagner. I checked it out on my lunch break. It was cool getting to see one in person. And about 50 feet away on display was a Gutenberg bible. Pretty neat.

  9. National update - Looking for the oddball & cheap/non-PSA vintage was even better today since lots of the dealers dropped their prices on those items. If you can just go on Sunday next year, do it.