The National remains the show of all sports shows



By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

CLEVELAND | Merely walking the floor of the National Sports Collectors Convention is an experience of its own.

Turn one direction and you can be greeted by the movers and shakers of the hobby — hobnob with hobby veterans and hobby newcomers alike all with a shared interest in cardboard no matter which decade they might specialize in.

Turn one way, particularly at this year’s show at the IX Center and you can see an entire online community specializing in shredding, consuming today’s finest products at break-neck rates. Turn the other and you’ll see focused, intent collectors with notebooks and paper checklists seeking to complete a perhaps decade-old pursuit of completing a set from decades ago.

Then, of course, you’ll see what you would have never imagined finding.

And that’s the charm.


No matter what — or who — you collect (or even when), you will potentially find something. You will see treasures you didn’t think existed. Want to see a $30,000 wax box? They are here. Want to see decades-old wax cases? They exist.

Want to see the latest prospect’s biggest, rarest card in a BGS slab? They exist, too, just like the wrapper redemption treasures that are fresh off the printing press — ones that you can get in on at home via online real-time group breaks and promotions.

It’s no secret that we’re finicky collectors — we often like what we like and like little else at times. We also can like a lot and there’s nothing wrong with either approach. What you could and should like with a visit to the NSCC is that you should be able to find plenty no matter what if you are a collector.

And that ability to find your niche — whether it’s seeking a one-dollar boxed set that takes you back to your youth or a key card of tomorrow’s next big superstar — is what makes the hobby what it is and makes it great.

You can find your place, you can find your passion, you can find your cards.

You can find it all at the National.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sports Card Monthly magazines. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.


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1 comment

  1. Charlie DiPietro 31 July, 2014 at 12:52

    I can only make it up to the National for Saturday and Sunday but I plan to have as much fun as I can squeeze into two days. My last National was the 1990 Dallas show. My boys and I had a great time. My youngest son (14 years old at the time) has quite a personality and a lady from Donruss management took a liking to my son. Donruss was making a commercial with Franco Harris at The National and the lady asked my son, “How would you like to meet Franco Harris.” My son was a Dallas Cowboys fan but made a smart “That would be great” reply.

    I am a vintage card collector. There was so much great stuff I wanted but my budget made it necessary for me to be very selective with my purchases. I can’t remember what I bought at the show, but I do remember the cards I wish I would have bought. David Festberg had a T206 Honus Wagner with a $800 price tag. The card would have graded a BVG 1 today and I told David, ” I think I’ll look for one a little better.” Well, I never found one “better” that I could afford.

    One dealer at the show had about twenty T3 Printer’s Proofs. By the time I found this dealer, all the Hall of Famers were gone. I passed on the remaining Printer’s Proofs that day and it is one of my biggest regrets in collecting today. Who knows what kind of goodies I will come across this weekend in Cleveland? This year, I’m bringing two credit cards.

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