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Old 08-01-2018, 11:38 PM
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Default 2018 Cleveland National Report - Sneak Peak, Round 2 and Round 3 is LIVE

I've done daily write-ups for the National on another site for the past couple years, thought folks who couldn't make it might enjoy reading/seeing what's going on so thought I'd post here this year as well.



And here...we...go.

I booked my trip to the National this year pretty late - literally just less than two weeks ago. I have to confess, Cleveland just didn't sound or feel like a great place to attend. I've never been here before, so I had no real basis for the feeling, but the thought of Cleveland did absolutely nothing to get me excited about the show this year. However, a couple consecutive rough weeks at work and it was clear I needed a break. I really enjoy the cards and memorabilia, even if just looking, so I decided to book the trip.

I arrived early Tuesday night so I could get settled in, and saw this at the airport.
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Gotta be a great sign of how awesome and lucky this show is going to be, right? I mean this was at a freaking AIRPORT!

I goofed around Wednesday morning and early afternoon, as the show was officially open 4-8pm today so no real hurry to start standing in line for no good reason. VIPs get in 30 minutes early each day. Speaking of VIPs...I was fortunate this year to get a VIP pass from a friend of mine who ended up not being able to attend. I've gotten the VIP pass myself the past three years, but at this point I have to completely honest with you - I doubt there are many other times when you'd feel like LESS of a VIP than at the National. When you break it down, the daily admission is $19 in advance, so $95 for the week. I think the VIP passes start at $140 or so. Primary benefits appear to me to be the 30 minute early admission, and access to some free autographs and the VIP lounge. While those are nice, in four years I've never gotten a single one of the autographs and I've visited the lounge sparingly. That 30 minutes is about enough to visit maybe a couple rows of tables, so unless you know there's something that you've got to get to (I'm sure many would say the BBCE booth), I don't really think it's worth the extra money. My view is that the VIP tickets are just a way to squeeze an extra $50 out of you to attend the show - there is no real tangible benefit. Yes, I got some cards, too, but there's nothing in there that's rare and the free autographs are not anyone you'd much care about. I guess I can post pictures of the cards tomorrow.

Here's the view of the front of the show and the VIP lounge access. It was so packed in the VIP lounge, only a few tables to sit at (which were all filled) and long lines for the autographs (I think most people were there for Mike Hargrove?), I walked in and turned and walked back out.

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The hall itself is nice and big and spacious. Seems to me it is actually nicer than Chicago, and food/drink amenities are definitely better which should come in handy tomorrow. The layout seems a little different than Chicago, but I only made it halfway through today so don't that for a fact just yet. Unlike Chicago, there weren't stairs anywhere I saw to get more of an aerial view of the show, so these will just have to do.

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I did not make it to the BBCE booth until right before show close, so unfortunately I don't have any pictures of that share today.
The bit I did see looked pretty good, though, and I'm sure there are plenty of great items still available so check back in tomorrow for that. There was an $80,000 case of something, and looks like they were running daily specials as well.

Last edited by bounce; 08-04-2018 at 06:27 AM.
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Old 08-01-2018, 11:39 PM
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David R@tliff
 
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In terms of cool stuff I saw, the following is what caught my eye. In the half of the show I got through today, I'd say the biggest volume was modern stuff, mostly baseball and basketball. Virtually everything was autographs, almost to the point where if I didn't know any better I would think the everything modern was signed.

That said, here was a pretty impressive unsigned card - Trout superfractor. Ask is $200,000 - WHAT?!?!?
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Nice looking Mantle I thought. Ask is $45,000.
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For you unopened fiends, I did run across a table that had what looked like to some solid unopened. I didn't really pay attention to prices, just thought they looked cool.
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I also saw this display, although I must admit one item in here seemed awfully out of place. Pretty "official" looking authentication, no? :wink:

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I also ran across this, and instantly knew what and who it was.
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Yes, today I got to meet the junk wax card cutting artist, Tim. I have to say, his stuff is even more impressive in person and he's a really interesting and nice guy. Again, these creations are unlike anything else you've ever seen, and it's kind of fun to watch him cut some of the cards up and put the pieces in place. Really unique, and again a super nice guy. He answered basically every question I asked about how he did it, how he picks the colors from the cards for the pieces, etc. Just check these out, if you've seen the other threads you now how cool some of the others are as well.
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In the art theme, I saw these late in the day, too. While I'm not really an art collector, I could easily see how some people would be drawn to these types of items. Again, in person they are so much better than in pictures.
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Old 08-01-2018, 11:39 PM
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Most of you know Jeff and the Card Country crew, as well as Brady who sets up in their same pod. If you know them, you don't need me to tell you how nice they are or how great their cards are, so I'm not going to do that. I will share one photo form their pod, just because I think the Lajoie Goudey is a super cool card.
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Couple of other interesting cases that I saw. The first is full of turn of the century tobacco cards of various people. I don't know much about the issue, etc. but there were all kinds of subjects like Mark Twain, various Presidents and other famous people from the era. I had not seen a lot of these types of cards before, and considering many were from 1901 or so, it was just impressive they were still around in decent condition like this. The old tobacco packs were also pretty cool.
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And finally, some pretty impressive cardboard and a turn of the century Cracker Jack box. According to this dealer, this box slightly pre-dates the cards, but again just not something you see very often and it caught my eye.
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Before I comment on what seemed like the overall tone of the "market" today...I did actually get on the board today with a purchase. As some of you know, I collect almost everything - modern and vintage cards, autographs and memorabilia, I have a little bit of everything. I do have a list of what I'm primarily looking for, and didn't see much of it today, but because I hit a lot of different areas there's always something for me to find. Last year it took me almost two days to finally get on the board, but today it only took about 90 minutes. This is a Calvin Coolidge autographed White House card. I've always liked his signature, and this one is pretty clean. Nice addition to my Presidents autograph collection.
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Last edited by Leon; 08-02-2018 at 07:25 AM. Reason: resized pic a bit..
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Old 08-01-2018, 11:40 PM
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Brief comment on tone of the market and pricing. I personally did NOT see a lot of buying action today, but when I did it was more of the modern cards. Rare Trout RCs were selling pretty well, things like the 2011 Update parallels (especially the red border), and lot of people were asking about the Chrome refractors and base autos.

In terms of pricing, in general I would say I was pretty disappointed today. Every single dealer that bothered to price their cards (so many of them still don't even bother) had them priced IN MY OPINION at least 20% or more over current market. Many of the dealers price them on the back, so you have to ask to find out but at least in those cases there is a price they can quote you. There are still plenty of dealers who can't even do that, which is a huge turnoff to me now. However, except for a couple of Nolan Ryan and Sandy Koufax rookies I asked about, virtually every other price quote was so high it almost couldn't even be countered. Couple of specific examples, I've been looking for a nice 1948 Leaf Jackie Robinson. I saw a couple of nice looking 5s today, they weren't perfect centering by any means but they were nice looking cards. VCP is $4,360 on a 5, highest price in 2 years is right at $6,000 - two asks today were $7,000 and $6,750. Again, these cards did not qualify as high end by any stretch. When you're more than $2,000 above a normal selling price, which is around 50% higher than that average price, you're just not inviting a counter - you're basically saying I'm not here to sell, I'm just here to show.

There is also another 10-15% of the booths that I honestly have no idea how they even cover the cost of their booths. I don't collect everything, obviously, but I collect enough different things that it's really tough to not have even something I might be interested in. But there are booths like this. Again, honestly no idea how they make any money and wondering if they just setup to have something to do because they certainly aren't busy selling much if anything.

Finally, I will wrap today with probably the dumbest three things I heard. I'm hoping this gives folks at least a small chuckle.

1) Gentleman at a booth as me and another customer start to ask for prices on some vintage graded cards:
"This isn't my booth. Let me call him, I'm just sitting here." - NOTE TO BOOTH OWNER, if you aren't available and you don't price your cards, you probably can't sell them. This happened less than 20 minutes into the show opening.

2) Couple of young-ish guys who were sharing part of a pod. This pair was definitely past college age, but reminded me of this newer generation and how much I just don't understand them. I could have never done this, despite however much economic sense it may make. And their cases were full of modern basketball cards priced anywhere from $100 to $5,000 each.
Dude 1 - "I'm back with my parents."
Dude 2 - "Do you pay rent?"
Dude 1 - "No, so I can just stash away."
Dude 2 - "Yeah man, why not? Just have to obey a few rules?"
Dude 1 - "Yeah, it's not a big hassle and they cook for me to, so why not?"

3) Young guy showing off an impressive Stockton autograph card, and discussing prices with one of the dealers. The dealer is a guy I've seen each year, and he has some really nice stuff but it's always overpriced. I didn't get a good look at the card but I really think it was a 2003-04 Exquisite Number Pieces autograph numbered out of /12 - you can find it on eBay, it was listed for $12k but didn't sell.
Stockton Owner - "Yeah, the prices are really crazy on some of this stuff."
Dealer - "Yes, sometimes I price things and I think it's high and I come back in the morning and it's already been bought now."
Stockton Owner - "I know what you mean. I listed the card for like $10,000 and was scared to death someone might actually buy it."
LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING RIGHT NOW - unless John Stockton is the one who is trying to give you ONLY $10,000 for that card, you should take that money from literally anyone else who would give it to you and run immediately to the bank and deposit it before they change their minds.

Okay gang - that's it from me today. I will be at it again first thing tomorrow, and will get you the BBCE pics that I know so many of you are longing to see. They have some 1957 football I may need for my set. :smile:
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Old 08-02-2018, 12:24 AM
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Fantastic recap, David. Thank you!
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Old 08-02-2018, 06:09 AM
BruceinGa BruceinGa is offline
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Thanks for the report and great pics! Maybe I'll make it there in the future.
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Old 08-02-2018, 06:17 AM
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sounds like a typical national!!!! this year...like most...i have little expectation of finding/buying much of anything...it will be a social trip while viewing showcases of museum pieces!
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Old 08-02-2018, 07:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ullmandds View Post
sounds like a typical national!!!! this year...like most...i have little expectation of finding/buying much of anything...it will be a social trip while viewing showcases of museum pieces!
+1 the way it's been for me for around the last 5-8 yrs.

Great write up, Bounce. Thanks so much!!
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Old 08-02-2018, 08:32 AM
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Should just call it "The Traveling Sports Card Hall of Fame" and take it to various cities. Most dealers are not their to sell anything. No prices, not at table, no greeting etc. I stopped going .
Note: Report on attendance as the week progresses. I don't believe the show will give that information.
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Old 08-02-2018, 08:57 AM
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Great post! Thanks
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