The National always drains me. It takes every bit of energy I got to get through it, and I’m always running on fumes at the end. Having said that, it’s something I would not miss for the world. There is no place in the hobby where you can get this kind of immersion. You feel so in touch with your collecting that calling it a hobby feels like you are short changing what you do. A sports card way of life might be a more accurate statement. At this show you aren’t a person who collectors sports cards, you are a sports card collector (I really hope that made sense).
The 2012 show had it’s own unique wrinkles that made it stand out. Yes there were still issues with the redemption programs. I am not sure that companies can ever make it so that there are no complaints. I just hope that they don’t try so hard to appease the masses that they take the chase element out of what they are giving away. So what, the programs at the national aren’t 100% fair. Sometimes that is just how life goes. The complaints pretty much all stemmed from “I didn’t get any” or “That guy got more” and I think given the nature of these live redemptions I don’t think there is any way to combat that. Just let the complainers complain and let those who commit to the programs reap the rewards. Upper Deck had a pretty interesting redemption program where you could bring ANY unscratched expired redemption by and qualify for an end of show drawing with some pretty nice prizes. They were also fulfilling in stock redemptions there live if you gave them advance notice.
This was also the year that the NSCC staff embraced social media and actually started using twitter. Keep in mind that these guys still use aol email addresses so this is a big step. The NSCC hash tag was busy the entire week and has some pretty interesting content that you would probably still be interested in reading.
As is the case with any national there was plenty of at booth redemptions to be had. From the Panini Scott Prusha to Topps VIP Exclusives there was indeed something for everyone. The most interesting item had to be the 2012 Topps Mini boxes. They were avaliable at the show and can be purchased from shoptopps.com for $50. At the National they came with a mini live redemption set that includes Harper, Darvish, Matt Kemp, Strasburg and Roy Halladay. There were about 30 of the boxes opened at the FCB booth, and they were loaded with low numbered stuff. This Stan Musial Auto, Bryce Harper Gold, and Mariano Rivera plate were all hit by FCB mods Bouwob and Moxacaine live in the FCB ustream room. At $50 with the redemption set there was no way you could go wrong with these boxes. I also saw this Mike Trout /5 and Autograph hit in back to back boxes by a dealer who was set up with us. Simply put, this was the best wax available at the national.
There was a lot going on at the show, so this will be a three part article. Stay tuned for part 2.