Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My National Wish List

I'm less than two days away from hitting my very first National.  I hope making the trip out on Thursday will give me a bit of a jump on the crowds and the deals.  I'm really trying to take the experience in stride, since I don't know what to expect.  Or I suppose I should say I expect to see pretty much everything.  But I'll be focusing in on a few specific area.

1) Cheap wax  I've heard that you can find overproduction era wax pretty cheap at the National.  And I'll be looking to do just that.  I'm not much of a set builder, but there have been a few sets that I've been interested in.  It's been a long, long while since I've opened a box (2007?), so just busting a full box will be worth the price.  I'll be keeping a sharp eye out for boxes of 1993 Studio, 2000 Topps, and 1996 Upper Deck Silver Collection football.  I'd also love to snag a box of 2013 Pinnacle, if I can find it on the cheap.

2) Jack Wilson  Ah, the life of the supercollector.  I have what I'm pretty confident is the most comprehensive Jumpin' Jack Flash collection out there.  But there are still hundreds of cards I'm missing - mostly stuff that is pretty hard to find, or insanely rare.  But the National seems like just the place to find them.  If I can come home with even one or two new Jacks, I'll be thrilled.
3) Dime boxes!   I love digging through dime boxes.  But the National my cramp my style a bit, so to speak.  Dime boxes take time to go through, even for the fastest card flipper.  I'll have to carefully weigh  whether the particular seller has their dime box filled with enough great finds to justify my precious National time.

4) Mid range hits With the number of upper-mid range products released in recent years, there seem to be dozens and dozens of hits each year for the select few players Topps decides to sign to autograph contracts. But more often than not those cards end up with high prices on sites like COMC from wax breakers that don't want to take a total financial bath, and on ebay the $2-3 shipping costs usually outweighs how much I actually bid on the cards.  I'm not expecting $1 steals, but I'm hoping to find some good deals on mid-range cards.

5) Quarter and Fifty-Cent Boxes The thing that makes or breaks a show for me is the ability to find cheap serial numbered cards.  If I can find them, I go home a happy camper.  If not, I typically find myself buying primarily vintage.  I'm hoping that a huge show like this should have more than a few big time wax breakers looking to dump their lesser "hits" for dirt cheap.  You may not want a Bowman Blue card of a prospect that topped out in A+ ball in 2009.  But guess what...I do!

6) Vintage  My vintage needs have been cut drastically in recent years, mostly thanks to some big time vintage dealers at the Robert Morris show.  But my recently updated checklist shows almost 200 vintage Pirate cards I still need between Bowman and Topps releases.  Most are high number or star cards.  Vintage won't be high on my priority list for the show, but if I can snag a couple nice (but affordable) Clemente cards, I'll be a happy camper.

7) Pirates memorabilia  It won't be anything I'm actively looking for, but I'll have my eye out for some rare Pirates memorabilia.  Whether it's game used jerseys, or a 1960 World Series ash-tray, I'm hoping to have the budget flexibility if I see something cool that is in my price range.  Note: I don't expect to be coming home with a Honus Wagner gamer jersey.  But I'd certainly settle for Steve Cooke.

8) Show exclusives  This is at the very bottom of the priority list for the day.  I don't like ripping wax, and the prospect of standing in line for an hour or more just to do so and get some exclusive cards isn't that exciting to me.  But I may try to go for the rip 3 packs of Topps product and get a A&G exclusive mini.  I'll leave Jose Abreu to the dealers.  I'll be perfectly happy with the Albert Belle mini as a 90's memento of my National trip.

I'm giddy as a school girl for the National weekend to begin, and I'm expecting the work day to drag by tomorrow.  This should be a great experience, and I'm looking to just have a good time and enjoy the experience.  If there is anything special, big or small, that anyone wants me to keep an eye out for, feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email.  I'd be happy to help anyone out if I can.


  1. TONS of cheap vintage at the National. Be on the lookout for dime box-ish boxes of vintage.

  2. Man, posts like this get me way jealous. There aren't any card shows around my neck of the woods (though if I travelled a few hours north to Dallas, there's some decent stuff). Would love to go to the National. Hope you have, like, a TON of fun!

  3. I have never been to a National. I hope to make it to one one year. Hope you have a great time and find all the Pirates goodies your looking for.