Contributed by Chad Guell
Just like that the National is over! It was great to get there for 2 days this year! The first day I took my 2 sons with me, and the 2nd day I spent the whole day in the Sports Card Strategy Show booth cracking slabs and talking to people. For those that haven't ever been to a National before, get it on your bucket list! It is so much fun! This year's National set a record both in square footage size of the show floor as well as the number of booths and vendors that were there.
I don't know if they got the air conditioning figured out for Saturday which was expected to be an all-time single day record for attendance, but Thursday and Friday it was warm in there. Thursday wasn't as busy as Friday, but it felt like it was 80 plus degrees on the show floor! According to my phone when I got home Thursday night, I had logged 33830 steps. My legs were tired when I got home!
My first observation as I walked the floor was, I couldn't believe how many vintage cards were there. Vintage baseball cards dominated most of the floor. I thought that modern football would have been what we saw the most of because of the time of year. Football was hot and a lot of people were looking for football, but the number of football cards there were very small compared to vintage baseball. The same was true for basketball. When it came to modern baseball, it was hard to find. There were a handful of booths that had modern baseball, but the ones that did sold out of Chourio, Holiday, and Caminero at the start of the show. Had someone had a booth of modern Bowman 1st cards I think they could have done very well here.
I went into the National looking for a few cards. My list consisted of upgrading my 2003 Topps Lebron James PSA 8 to a PSA 9, a 1955 Topps Roberto Clemente in raw condition in a price range I could afford as well as a 1955 Topps Hank Aaron. The reason for the 2 1955 Topps cards is I am trying to complete my set I started putting together about 2 years ago. The other cards I was looking for were Bowman Chrome 1st base, mega, sapphire, or autos of Jackson Chourio, Jackson Holiday, and Junior Caminero. I agreed on a deal for the Lebron, and the guy was holding it for me until noon on Friday as I didn't bring my PSA 8 with me on Thursday to trade. I didn't get to his table in time on Friday and he sold it. Hearing this Paul had one and agreed to trade me for the same deal as the dealer at the show was going to do. So Huge thanks to Paul for checking off 1 of my cards I was looking for. As far as the Clemente and Aaron cards, I found a lot of 1955 Aaron cards, but they were either not nice enough for what I was looking for or way too nice and expensive for what I was looking for. I only saw a handful of Clemente Rookie cards and they were all graded and way out of my price range. As for Bowman cards, I was shocked we couldn't find many!
As we were walking around, I kept asking my boys where do you want to go next? Xavier kept saying I want to back to the SCSS booth and watch Lefty crack more slabs! So as much walking around as we did, we kept heading back taking breaks at the booth so Xavier could be entertained by slab cracking.
After the show Thursday night, we headed over to Crust brewing. HUGE shout out to Graybo's for putting on this get together! The food and atmosphere were terrific, and we got to catch up and talk with many of our great viewers and listeners of the show as well as with all of the guys from Graybos, and Andy Cason and his entire crew. I drove 2.5 hours there and back on Thursday and Friday, but it was worth the trip!
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