The 2018 National – Day #2

Day #2 of the 2018 National Sports Collectors Convention is in the books.  I was there right when the doors opened.  This is the first time in six years that I can remember the National having merchandise for sale.  I ordered a t-shirt a few months ago, but they have different shirts at the show to buy in addition to posters and pins.  Yes I said pins.  It use to be a regular thing that the National would issue pins, but its been a long time since those days.  This merchandise is for sale in the West Entrance.  I picked up another shirt and pin first thing this morning.

At 11:45 a.m. Jack Ham started signing autographs and taking photos with fans.  I had a little time to kill.  I went in search of a box of the new 2018 Leaf In The Game Used Sports.  Not every dealer/vendor has a box of this stuff.  The only two companies I saw selling them were Blowout Cards and Chicagoland Sports Cards.  I think Blowout Cards is buying up a lot of these boxes and cases from others to sell themselves.  I took the box over to the Leaf booth and broke the seal.  In return I received a special 2-card pack of Leaf Metal Originals.  These celebrate Leaf’s 70th anniversary and come in a variety of parallels.  Before I left, I handed two of the Leaf employees Sports Card Info pins.  As a thanks I was handed a stack of those Leaf Metal Originals packs.  Once I get back home I will go into full details about what I pulled from the boxes/packs I opened here in Cleveland.  I will say this.  From my box of 2018 Leaf In The Game Used Sports, I pulled an autograph/relic of Pelé #’ed/3.

Once I wrapped things up with Leaf, I headed up to the TRISTAR autograph pavilion.  This went a lot smoother compared to Wednesday night.  It only took me 30 minutes to get my Jack Ham signature.  Jack Ham is a really nice guy, just like Ickey Woods.  I got him to sign my black/gold Penn State football.  He was very interested to see which other Penn State signatures I have on the ball.  Its been a few years since I’ve been to the National, and I think TRISTAR’s employees are getting snippy.

I pulled the trigger on a vintage Philadelphia Eagles bobblehead from the 1960’s.  This is the second vintage bobblehead in my collection.  I purchased it from the same dealer I bought my vintage Phillies bobblehead from while attending the National in Atlantic City.

Marty’s Sports Card Exchange has some of the best deals on wax.  They are also one of the authorized Topps vendors who’s products are eligible for the Topps wrapper redemption program.  I purchased a box of 2018 Topps Museum Collection Baseball which got me (2) promo packs upon breaking the seal at the Topps booth.  Like I mentioned before, its better to show off what came out of my packs/boxes after I return home.  But I did get a Red Refractor #’ed/5, Orange Refractor #’ed/25, and an Ohtani from my Topps promo packs.

The rest of the day was spent wandering around checking out everything the National has to offer.  One of my favorite things to do is checkout what the auction houses have on display.  There are a lot of items here that once they’re sold will go into hiding and won’t be seen again for a very long time.

Friday, August 3rd is my last day for attending the 2018 National.  The big event of the day is the Topps Q&A meeting which I heard is already filled up.  All (125-150) spots were taken opening night.  I’m really interested in hearing the topics discussed.  I also have a feeling those attending leave with a special something.  We’ll see…

Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker and 1988 HOF inductee Jack Ham

1971 LeRoy Neiman Signed Original Hand Drawn Sketch of Muhammad Ali

1921 E121 American Caramel “Series of 80” “Babe” Ruth

Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig signed baseballs

Tom Brady rookies

Circa 1906 Jack Coombs Game Worn Philadelphia Athletics Rookie-Era Jersey

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The 2018 National – Day #1

The 2018 National Sports Collectors Convention is officially underway.  It is the greatest gathering of collectors, dealers, manufacturers, and other prominent hobby individuals all under one roof.  This year’s National is taking place in Cleveland at the I-X Center.  I like this location the best as I find it the easiest to get to.

I arrived at the I-X Center around 2:00 p.m.  Thanks to Sports Card Info I’m eligible for media credentials.  That got me into the show before the 3:30 p.m. opening time set for VIPs.  I immediately went over to the Topps booth and signed up for the Q&A meeting scheduled for Friday at 5:30 p.m.  Topps leaves (125) spots open, and they fill up fast.

The TRISTAR autograph pavilion was my next stop.  I bought a few autograph tickets – Ickey Woods and Jack Ham.  Ickey Woods started signing at 5:30 p.m. today and Jack Ham is scheduled for 11:45 p.m. on Thursday.  I didn’t know this.  But having media credentials gets you a discount on autographs.  Ickey Woods normally would’ve been $29, $19 for the media.  Jack Ham $59, $55 for the media.  Way cool!

You almost need a Ph.D. to understand how the autograph signings work.  I had ticket #1 for Ickey Woods.  The first level of people who get their autographs are the ones who spend about $300 on the high-end All Access Platinum Passes.  After that come those who purchase single tickets like myself.  TRISTAR never mentioned that they were accepting tickets like mine.  All I heard were the high-end passes.  After waiting awhile I finally showed them my ticket and they told me I could go in.  Who knows how long I sat there for no reason.  Just a communication error on their part.

One of the best things about the National is meeting all of the people you talk to online.  I met Rob Bertrand of Go GTS Live, Susan Lulgjuraj of Topps, and former Eagles/Broncos guard Evan Mathis with his impressive collection.  Of course, Ickey Woods too.

The National is a monster of a show.  Its the show of all shows.  Nothing else comes close to beating it.  There is a lot to take in.  It closed at 8:00 p.m.  Before leaving for the night, I snooped around some booths and got pictures.  I’m looking to add another vintage bobblehead to my collection.  I’ve already inquired about a few Philadelphia Eagles ones.  I’m also possibly looking to add a Mike Schmidt 1973 Topps Rookie to my collection too.  I’ve found three.  One graded a PSA 3 for $85, a PSA 5 for $125, and a PSA 5.5 for $175.

Ickey Woods – Get some cold cuts!

Susan Lulgjuraj of Topps

Rob Bertrand of Go GTS Live

Former Eagles/Broncos guard Evan Mathis

Mickey Mantle 1953 Topps PSA Gem Mint 10

1910 Old Mill Cigarettes T210 Joe Jackson Series 8 SGC 4.5 – $500k+

2018 Bowman Platinum Baseball Collector’s Box Break & Review

Earlier this week I opened a blaster box of 2018 Bowman Platinum.  At the time of that writing, Walmart’s website still had some blasters for sale.  Checking right now, they have nothing.  I was able to get my paws on a Collector’s Box though.

If you’re going for the ultimate 2018 Bowman Platinum experience, opening a Collector’s Box is the best way to go.  Remember, this product is exclusive to Walmart.  Hobby shops and online dealers couldn’t get it.  Unless they went to their local Walmart, cleaned the shelves, and resold what they bought.  Ripping into a Collector’s Box is equal to what a traditional hobby box would be.  Of the three formats this product comes in (Blasters, Fat Packs, and Collector’s Boxes), the Collector’s Box is the only one that guarantees (2) autographs.  Its also the only place you can pull Orange parallels #’ed/25.  A Collector’s Box runs about $80, and inside you should find (20) packs.

As I mentioned when opening my blaster, the base set consists of (100) cards.  There are also (100) Top Prospects.  Each has the following parallels: Ice (Blaster), Sky Blue (Fat Pack), Purple #’ed/250, Blue #’ed/150, Green #’ed/99, Orange #’ed/25 (Collector’s Box), Red #’ed/10, and Foilfractor #’ed/1.

Ten players have photo variations: Kris Bryant, Rafael Devers, Clayton Kershaw, Cody Bellinger, Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, Jose Altuve, Francisco Lindor, Aaron Judge, and Bryce Harper.  These are easy to spot as the pictures are much different compared to the base.  If using the CMP codes is easier, base cards end in #264 and photo variations end in #303.  Reds pitching prospect Hunter Greene has (10) Short Prints that on the surface look just like base.  The card number on these all start with the letters “HG”.

Relics can be found, but are difficult to pull.  Platinum Rookie Auto Pieces fall 1:374 packs, and Platinum Patches come 1:4,706 packs.  The Platinum Patches remind me of Triple Threads.

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Nick Allen
  • MJ Melendez

Parallels

  • Heliot Ramos Purple #’ed/250
  • Paul DeJong Purple #’ed/250

Inserts

  • Colton Welker Platinum Presence
  • Keston Hura Platinum Presence
  • Gleyber Torres Prismatic Prodigies
  • Tony Santillan Prismatic Prodigies
  • Eloy Jimenez Prismatic Prodigies
  • Jon Duplantier Prismatic Prodigies
  • Tyler Mahle Rookie Revelations
  • Harrison Bader Rookie Revelations
  • Walker Buehler Rookie Revelations
  • Miguel Andujar Rookie Revelations

Leaf Announces Their 2018 NSCC Wrapper Redemption Programs

Its been awhile since I participated in any of Leaf’s wrapper redemption programs, but this year that might change.  Leaf plans to have three redemption programs going on during the 2018 National Sports Collectors Convention.

Box Level Redemption Program

Open a box of 2018 Leaf In The Game Used Sports or 2018 Leaf Pop Century at the Leaf booth, and you’ll receive a 2-card pack of 1948 Leaf Metal cards.  These cards celebrate Leaf’s 70th anniversary.  This set covers a wide variety of sports stars such as Shohei Ohtani, Stephen Curry, Conor McGregor, Lionel Messi, Baker Mayfield, and Gordie Howe.  Watch out for low numbered parallels.

Case Level Redemption Program

Open a case of 2018 Leaf In The Game Used Sports or 2018 Leaf Pop Century at the Leaf booth, and you’ll receive a 2-card pack of 1948 Leaf Metal cards for each box in your case.  You’ll also receive a special 70th anniversary autograph #’ed/1.  These autographs include greats like Jerry Rice, Nolan Ryan, Shohei Ohtani, and Mike Tyson.

2018 Leaf Metal U.S. Army All-American Football Exclusive National Sports Collectors Convention Bonus Box Offer

Open a case of 2018 Leaf Metal U.S. Army All-American Football, and receive an exclusive 2018 National Sports Collectors Bonus Box.  Each one of these special boxes contain (12) autographs numbered to (2) or less.  (4) Metal Proof Autos, (2) Printing Plate Autos, and (6) Blank Back Autos make up a box.  Only (50) boxes will be made.

Stop by the Leaf booth every morning of the show as they will be distributing at random cards from their 39-card promo set.

Past And Present Cleveland Indians Highlight The Topps 2018 NSCC VIP Set

Cleveland Indians of the past and present will be found in the Topps VIP set this year for those attending the 2018 National Sports Collectors Convention.  Its a 5-card set.  I wouldn’t be surprised if packs only contain (4) cards.  Like in years past, Topps wants you to trade in order to get that fifth card.

Leaf’s 4-Card 2018 NSCC VIP Set

Leaf has unveiled their 4-card set VIPs will find inside their swag-bag.  The Leaf booth usually takes up the most space when it comes to corporate attendees.  Brian Gray always uses the National as a platform to show off future products.  2018 Leaf Best of Sports and 2018 Leaf Metal Pop Century qualify for their wrapper redemption program.

Upper Deck’s 2018 NSCC 5-Card VIP Set

VIPs attending the 2018 National Sports Collectors Convention will find a 5-card Prominent Cuts set in their swag-bag thanks to Upper Deck.  That’s not all, Upper Deck has tons of fun activities planned for collectors who visit their booth.  Lots of interesting autographs will be found inside their wrapper redemption packs.  I pulled a Kevin Smith autograph while attending the show in Atlantic City in 2016.  Monumental boxes are making a return too.

For a full rundown of Upper Deck’s plans, and which products qualify for their promotions, check out this press release from the National.  As of right now, my favorite Upper Deck product is Goodwin Champions.  Its like their version of Allen & Ginter.  2018 Goodwin Champions doesn’t come out until the National is over.  So I probably won’t be taking part in any of Upper Deck’s programs this year as the products that you do need to open are 100% hockey.