After a very long day of flying from Austin to Baltimore (by way of Atlanta), I finally made it to the show. Funny thing, as it turned out I came in on the same flight that John Smoltz (who is signing) did. Anyway, I made it just in time to meet Ryan Tedards (of Sports Card Radio) before the VIP reception. First, of course, was picking up my tickets and all the goodies that came with purchasing a Super VIP pass to the show. So, it was off to the convention center and into the line.
Meeting up with Eric (@ThoseBackPages on Twitter), I went up to the VIP reception. The first thing that hit me was the fact that people love them some free autographs — the line for the first two VIP signers literally wrapped around the room that was being used for the reception. This led to the first of likely many hard choices I’ll have to make here — I won’t be getting the VIP autographs, I simply don’t have the time to do it.
After picking up some food and eating and catching up with people, it was time to go to the show. Again, even with just the VIPs, there was a healthy line, but it wasn’t long before the doors were open and we were in. If you’ve seen the floor plan for the National, you have an idea how big this place is, but that’s really nothing compared to actually making that walk from the front door all the way toward the back of the convention’s area (where the corporate area was). Yes, the first place I headed was to start getting wrapper redemptions. Originally the goal was simply to sign up for the Topps Meet and Greet which is scheduled for Thursday, but once I realized that there was a line for the redemptions, and that I couldn’t figure out where the signup actually was, I decided to combine everything together. This turned out to not be the best decision I could have made.
First, I purchased a box of 2012 Topps Minis and received the bonus pack for that, which were specially numbered for the convention and had the National logo on the front. Then I did some quick searching between a number of dealers to find the best price on 2012 Bowman Platinum and 2012 Topps Series Two and it was to the line, where I waited. A few minutes later I realized two things. First, the line simply was not movie. Second, it looked like Topps had three people handling a line that was rapidly reaching over a hundred people long.
After a quick discussion with collectors near me, there was an offer to hold my spot in line so I could go unload five boxes of cards at Check Out My Cards (which made my shoulders very happy with me). Back to the line I went, and this time it began to move a bit more quickly. Getting closer still, I was reminded of the promotion that Historic Autographs was doing, specifically that their boxes were very quickly blowing out at Dave & Adam’s Card World. Another detour later, and I had one of the last two boxes of Legends of the Hall 2012 and a few moments later was at the front of the line.
Originally it appeared that Topps was making people open each wrapper for both the Gypsy Queen and Bowman Platinum redemptions, which likely was what was causing such a delay. By the time I was there, though, they had decided to just have people remove the wrapper from the Bowman Platinum box, and that you could just open the wrapper on the packs of cards. Within a few minutes I had both of my redemptions taken care of and was signed up for the Meet and Greet.
Next up was Historic Autographs to get the redemption and a conversation with Kevin Heffner, President of Historic Autographs where we talked about their upcoming set, Why the Hall Not?, which is about players that can spark a debate over whether or not they should be included in the Hall of Fame. The highlight of this conversation was getting to hold a PSA slabbed cut autograph of Shoeless Joe Jackson which will be in the product, and seeing another dual cut auto of Jackson and Pete Rose. (This set will be the subject of a later post as well).
After this, I decided that it was time to hit the show properly, and I returned to the front of the hall. The first few booths that I looked at and took some pictures and video of were some of the auction houses which are at the show, including Memory Lane and took the time to look at some incredible memorabilia from the past including a Babe Ruth game-worn jersey from the 30s and a Stan Musial jersey among others. I only made it a few more tables before I realized that I was mentally and physically exhausted and it was time to call an early day to things.
I somehow decided before I left that I needed to get my redemptions from In the Game and Panini, so I went back to the corporate area and picked up the puzzle pieces from In the Game before heading over to Panini. I stopped at a dealer first to get a box for their wrapper redemption where I discovered that Paypal had apparently put a fraud block on my debit card (resolved afterwards), which took me from Dave and Adam’s Card World over to Atlanta Sports Cards, which is accepting Paypal at the show. After some thought, I chose to get a box of 2011 Panini Prime Cuts (12 redemption packs as opposed to 5 for 2012 Panini Elite Football, which was only $30 less) and it was off to Panini. Unfortunately, I got there just after they shut the line down for the wrapper redemption. After getting confirmation that I could bring the box back, I obtained the VIP redemptions and had a few moments to talk to Tracy Hackler of Panini and ran into Ian of All About Cards for a quick conversation, and it was back to my hotel room to fall over.
An hour or so later after the show had ended and a meet with Ryan and Ian (and opening the box of Bowman Platinum which led to the hit of the show for me — an autographed printing plate of Trevor Bauer that I’ll likely be selling today), it was time for another hour or so of blissful rest before I headed off to dinner where I met Eric again as well as Chris Gilmore of Freedom Card Board and his wife. A fair bit later, after a healthy amount of food and drink, it was back to the hotel room and time to prepare for today…and finally sleep after nearly 36 hours going.
Today’s plan is to hit Panini up first and find someone to take care of the Bauer plate before I move back to the front of the show and (now that the finances are fixed with Paypal) start scouring for things on my insanely huge want-list.
- Box of 2012 Topps Mini
- Box of 2012 Bowman Platinum Baseball
- Box of 2012 Topps Series Two Baseball
- Box of Historic Autographs Legends of the Hall 2012
- Box of 2011 Panini Prime Cuts Baseball
- Assorted 2012 football cards for the PC
- 2012 Topps Museum Nolan Ryan
- 2000 Upper Deck Legends Defining Moments Nolan Ryan
- 1998 Topps Gallery Players Private Issue Craig Biggio
- 2004 Absolute Memorabilia Nolan Ryan
The first giveaway I’m going to do today is going to be a complete set of Upper Deck VIP redemptions which includes six cards. Any comments on this post by Sunday at midnight (CDT) will be entered to win this, so thanks everyone for reading!