Man, what a day.

That’s really how Thursday went in a nutshell.  After a night of much-needed sleep, I woke up and prepared to head over to the convention center after breakfast, arriving about 10 minutes after the doors opened.  First thing, I went to Panini to try to do the redemption for the box of Prime Cuts from yesterday.  I found out that they weren’t doing the redemptions until noon, so I went to Topps next to redeem the rest of my packs and found that the line was already almost to the end of the building (on the side closest to Topps).  I decided to wait a few minutes and wandered, ending up over at Beckett’s booth where I had the opportunity to meet Chris Olds (and get the variation of his business card), Ben from Cardboard Icons and Susan Lulgjurai from Beckett and Cards by Sooz.

I went back over to Topps after a bit and found out that the box of Topps Mini didn’t work for the Gypsy Queen redemption, which was fine, and soon had another copy of Andrew Luck, RGIII and Bryce Harper.  Once that was done, it was time to wander back where I left off yesterday (about 5 booths in), where I started roaming from booth to booth, picking up a few things here and there in trade as well as taking video of a few things for Ryan.

After about an hour and a half or so (and a row or two down), it was time for me to head back over to Panini where I discovered my error in showing up at 12:05 — the line was already over two-hundred feet long (as I showed in a tweet about that time).  Having little else to do, I opened up my box of Topps Mini and found soon after Chris Olds tweeted that there were parallels and inserts in Topps Mini:  Gold numbered to 61 and and one that wasn’t mentioned on the pack at all in a silver that was numbered to 5.  I also hit an autograph which was supposed to average one per five boxes, so all was very well with that box.

It was a brief bit of bad news at that point as Panini ended the redemption two people in front of me, making it two days in a row that the redemption ended right in front of me.  Tomorrow I’m going to show up about an hour early and I’m planning on trying to talk to Tracy Hackler.  I’m not sure if Panini honestly didn’t think how big the reception would be on the redemptions or if there was a mixup in the planning.

I’m not really upset at this point, but I do feel that it’s something that should be brought up, especially given that Panini went from allowing unlimited redemptions on Wednesday (I saw someone redeeming a case of Prime Cuts for 120 redemption packs then) to two before going to one.  Combined with the lack of announcements before the convention as far as limits per person or per day, it’s definitely been a confusing morass.  I know that Panini is mainly trying to make sure that they have enough to last through the rest of the convention, but when you hear a collector in front of you complaining and making a comment about how Panini has to have tons of extras because they’ll just give them away for later…the perception from the collecting side of things isn’t positive.  Again, I know Panini has the right idea in mind, the implementation just … needed tweaking, and by this point it may well be tweaked where it needs to be.

At any rate, back on track, I decided on a whim to buy a box of SPx and 2 packs of Upper Deck Football to get four redemptions.  The SPx box was average, although the Shadow Slots I got were all very nice (Aikman, Marino and Earl Campbell).  In the third redemption pack, though, I hit the jackpot with two autographs back to back:  David Robinson numbered to five and John Kruk to ten.  After getting some pictures with the folks at Upper Deck, I went to the booth next to Freedom Card Board and sold the Bauer plate from Wednesday with the two Upper Deck autographs for a nice price (which covered all of the boxes I had bought to that point).  


I spent the next few hours searching boxes (spending $40 at one dealer who had boxes at 70-90% off), before I went on my quest to get the 1969 Topps Nolan Ryan.  I hit up a couple of dealers who had ones for $96-100 before I found one that wasn’t in perfect shape for $55, quest complete!

An hour or two later (and finding the booth I am going to start at on Thursday!) I went to the Topps Meet and Greet.  I recorded the meeting, but it turns out I sucked at doing so.  I cut out the video at least five times, and it turns out if you change orientation on a video mid-recording….it doesn’t change the orientation.  So, the video was unusable, but the meeting was very informative (as I’m sure other people have written and definitely blogged about), including the fact that prospects in Bowman Platinum this year include a normal version on foilboard and a chrome version that’s 1:4 packs.  Since the foilboard quality is so nice, it’s hard to tell the difference unless you look at the center, which looks textured on the chrome version (similar to 2011 Topps Finest).  Other issues involved news about redemptions in general, short prints, the fact that retail outlets can return product to Topps, who then destroys it.  This makes one wonder how many low-numbered parallels have been destroyed in this manner over the past few years.

Of course, there were giveaways from trivia contests and a raffle, consisting of baseball, football and UFC products as well as some early freebies from 2012 Topps Football (coming out August 8th!), and I happened to win a box of Topps Tier One.  It was mentioned that it felt heavy, and after I set it down, I was asked if I was going to open it or not.  So, with that, I did so and found the second insane hit of the day — a Clear Rookie Reprint Auto of Ernie Banks numbered to 25!   After the end of the meeting, I spent a few moments with the man behind the Topps Twitter feed and delivered a box of cold medicine to help with his ‘sick’ issue.  It was all in fun, of course, although he wondered if I really hate it.  I don’t, of course.  After seeing ‘#SICK’ more than a few times on Twitter though, I just started running with the joke, and the medicine was received in the spirit it was intended.  I also took a few moments to talk to Clay at Topps, putting names to faces as we left the meeting, whereupon Clay asked the three of us there (myself, Eric from Those Back Pages and Ian from All About Cards) about a certain high-end product idea.  I’m not going to reveal anything right now without asking permission, but I will say that the idea brought up was one that the three of us received very enthusiastically, even with the price that is being bandied about.  If Topps pulls off what was mentioned, it’s going to be absolutely huge.  

Once the convention was over, a number of us went out to get dinner as the Meet and Greet I had set up.  As no one had commented here and only Ian, Eric and I were at the restaurant (with two other bloggers who knew Eric’s blog and showed up out of the blue), we set off down the road to find dinner, ending up at Tir na Nog, an Irish-themed pub to end the night.

Again, as thanks for reading all of my rambling, I’m giving away one of the 2012 National VIP packages from Leaf tonight.  Leave a comment, and I’ll choose a winner after the convention with entries ending Sunday night at 12:00 AM CDT



  • Vince LoCicero says:

    Great article! I love all of the stuff you post on twitter. I am definatly looking forward to going to next years show. It really looks and seems like the vendors try and do some cool stuff. Well have fun and good luck the rest of the time you are there.

  • Spiegel83 says:

    Good recap. You seemed to be constantly busy at the National. Always something cool to see and buy.

  • Evan L. says:

    Man, sounds like a blast! I wish I had the money to go there!

  • Dan says:

    Do you get in any good conversations with the dealers? What’s the general sense of the hobby outside the corporate booths there? That Ryan is a nice score, being his first solo card and all.

  • Pauly C says:

    Nice pick ups. Looks like you are having a past. Thanks for the recaps.

  • Nathan F. says:

    Who was at the Meet & Greet

  • Sean P. says:

    Jason -

    Great recap. I met you in line yesterday at the Pannini redemption – I hope it was worth the wait. Those packs were loaded. I ended up with a signed Matt Reid Hockey puck, an Edd Roush cut auto, an RG 3 towel card and a Stamkos printing plate (and those were just the big hits). All around great day!!


  • Sean P. says:

    Hi -

    Great report. I don’t know if my prior posts went through. We met in line at the Pannini redemption on Friday. I posted here and on two other posts to enter your contests. Since these are my first posts on your site, maybe did not go through or perhaps you have not had a chance to update since you got back. Just reposting in case they did not go through.



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