Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Notes from the National 2022: Part Two- Organization


About halfway through the unspooling of packages and bags and containers of cards I got at the National in Atlantic City on Sunday, I finally reached a point where I was able to decipher which cards came from which dealer. 

I don't know if that says more about how much stuff was lying around the National, how indecipherable a lot of the tables were, my mental state, or the lack of organization in my bag. But for the rest of this, I actually know enough about dealership to provide a conscious, definite through line.

Still, a lot of the findings from the National just prove that the bargain collectors have not been completely shut out of the hobby, and that there is still cool stuff for me to find in bins I fear I can predict.

Into part two, then..

Dealer #5...I think: Dime Variety

These boxes had a wide range of stuff. 90s stuff, modern stuff, rookies, inserts, cards I'd never seen before. Generally fun to go through. I even managed to find a set need for my 2020 Archives build, slow as ever. 

Assorted 90s sets I had little to no familiarity. I had no idea that a set called SP Game Bat Edition existed, nor that it had a pretty slick base design. 

Samplings from 1997 Fleer. This was one of those dime boxes where select cards were in penny sleeves, but that did not indicate higher price. So these still were a dime each, they just looked cooler. 

Also in sleeves were more opportunities for me to own one of the most bizarre sets of the 90s, 1996 Topps Laser. A surprising amount of these in the boxes, but only these two are guys I collect. 

Bizarre late 90s inserts. A Fleer Tradition insert from 1999 [?] that also features his short stint in Houston. And a Donruss Preferred gold-y insert of the Big Hurt.

More of these. I really like that Damon insert, and the fact that Pinnacle named an insert set Clout. The Boggs comes from a set I had to look up, Topps Embossed. Man, they took a lot of risks in the mid-90s, I kinda miss that.

Brief oddball spottings. Maddux's was a tie-in with Atlantic, Reggie's is a CLARK BAR oddball. That's kinda awesome. 

This box just had a ton of 1998 Stadium Club star cards, which I'm perfectly fine with. I always point to 1998 SC as a transitional set, in between the end of the intermediate years of the product [94-96] and the beginning of the last leg of the set as a more premium product [99-03]. 

...2004 Bowman Heritage. I had no idea I could find stuff like this in the wild. 

Some 2001 Gallery. I few I forget if I had already. Whatever, these all look cool.

A nice assortment of rookies in these boxes. Of these four from 2010 Pro Debut, only Belt's is close to a Topps XRC, but they're all welcome.

Both of these are XRCs though. None worth a TON, but still pretty cool to have. That Bundy was pretty highly sought after for a while.

From 2007 Bowman. Bruce's is not an XRC, but it's still a pretty good one. Cueto's is a XRC, as is Moustakas's. Nice to have 'em.

Neither of these are XRCs, but they're cool Futures Game ones. Also, look at how young and thin Joey Bats was. These two wouldn't know it yet, but they'd make the Blue Jays super annoying in about a decade.

Topps rookies. 'Bob's is a pretty cool find that I'm surprised I didn't have yet. McCann's isn't as sought-after as his Bowman, but it's a pretty cool one.

Both of these are pretty huge. Aramis Ramirez's bonafide Bowman rookie for 10 cents. Hunter Pence's Bowman rookie, pretty close to what's considered his rookie card. Both of these big deals to me.

This one was an eyebrow raiser. I picked it up because it looked cool to me and I didn't think I had it, but this 2015 GQ Adrian Beltre card is actually a base variation, seeded 1 in 165 hobby packs. And there it is in a ten cent bin. I'm pretty pleased with that one.


This dealer had a lot of cool stuff, and I may have honestly detailed some of it in my last post because I forget if some of this dealer's stuff was mixed into others. But regardless. One mess of bins in particular that this guy had- INSERTS FOR 10c EACH. That never happens. Inserts are for buck bins, not this. So I thumbed through, and found SO MUCH COOL STUFF HERE. All for 10 cents. I was genuinely amazed.

These awesome-looking Breakthroughs inserts were from 2017 Finest. Nola's is a little warped, but still a must-have. 

Just to let you know, when I say 'inserts', I don't just mean modern stuff. Lots of 2000s stuff mixed in, including these from 2000s UD.

90s inserts as well, including these Baseball Heroes one from the early 90s. Those Ryan ones just look awesome.
Rest assured, they did have some of my staples, like modern reprint inserts and Spring Fever promotional cards, but only a few.

In pretty much a row, I found a mess of 2020 Gallery inserts, all of whom are wonderful and stand out excellently. 

Some recent Heritage inserts. Always nice to see the site of Cleveland-era Gaylord Perry on modern products. Just to think that kids are ripping packs and snickering at it.

A&G inserts from all over the map. Quite a few of those This Day in History ones, too.

Of course, the real star of this box were the GQ inserts, and believe me, there were TONS. This Phils J.P. Crawford one was just a prelude.

Lots of different GQ inserts from all over their history. I still love the playing card inspired Dealing Aces design.

I will never not adore these classic GQ inserts. The fact that there was some 2011s in there, like the Brantley and Andrus, as well as guys I love collecting, like Granderson and Rollins, made it even better.

Dealer #7- The Single Most Organized Dime Boxes I Have Ever Come Across In My Entire Life

No hyperbole. This table, which was a family business where the daughter, in her 50s or 60s, was running things while the father was the mastermind behind it, was so well-organized that I had to tip my hat. By company, by set, by year, sometimes by SERIES. There was a lot to pull from here, and I eventually couldn't help but compliment them on the time they took to do that. The woman running the tables sort of motioned to the old man, saying it was all his, and that 'it USED to be organized', but usually the dime boxes I'm used to are a complete mishmash of things in random orders, and to see order and sense and logic was new for me.

The compliment resulted in a discount. Was not my intention. People can be really nice.

Aside from the more recent stuff, like the 2019 Holiday Edgar seen above, there was also 90s and 00s stuff galore. These two I needed for my 1999 Stadium Club set.
All of these were new-looking cards from Update sets of yore. 

    Assorted recent Heritage stuff. This was Peralta's reaction to being traded to Tampa, I reckon.

Even amidst the slight disorganization when you got to Donruss and Fleer stuff...there was a LOT of cool stuff I don't see everywhere. A Rickey Henderson Dodgers card I didn't have from Upper Deck vintage? Lofton as a Yankee? Colon as a White Sox? And could you believe that this was my only Bartolo of the entire National?

There was a surprising amount of 2004 Donruss, including all of these needs and fun players. Definitely a set you don't see often.

Of course, the main draw of this dealer...


Like with Series 1, I have yet to even find ANY 2022 Topps Series 2 at Target or anywhere. This table had pretty much all of the commons, and so I picked out...basically all the guys I collect. This is more than half of my eventual 192-card haul at this table, which, again, was discounted due to the politeness all around.

I'm not gonna post 'em all, so here's a page of highlights:

Some excellent photography, great uses of alternate uniforms, players in new uniforms [though Thor is already headed East again], and excellent moments in time. Though there's a lot of blah in this set, these ones make me think the right people are still getting stuff across at Topps.

Dealer #8- Hits 'n Things.

With all the discount stuff I'd been pulling ahead with, I'd finished the day well under budget, and wanted to at least splurge on some fun stuff that wasn't 10 cents, so one table had a lot of that. 2 dollar hits, 1 dollar numbered cards, individually priced stuff. In the box of marked stuff was this ultra-cool hobby box exclusive 87T chrome card of Anthony Rizzo. I hope Rizzo sticks around for a bit in New York, he's lots of fun.

All of these numbered cards were a buck. The top 3 and Santana were numbered to 50, and it's nice to get low-numbered ones of players I collect. The Choo is numbered to 568. The Nomo, from 2004 Playoff Prestige, is numbered to 500. I'd seen some pulls with that design in a Nachos Grande break and it was nice to snag one.

A Howard numbered to 29 from the much-maligned moments and milestones. I mean, it's Ryan Howard numbered to scant, I kinda had to. And that Khrush is a 2018 Topps base variation card, that was another dollar purchase. I like finding those in the wild.

Now onto the 2 dollar relics. I like finding Tex relics, this is my second one, and it's pretty decent. I also like this Choo relic from 2020 Donruss, complete with an awesome blue swatch.

I honestly wanted this one just for the novelty. DODGER Michael Young gets a relic. Not Rangers Michael Young. DODGERS. And there's the only photo Topps seemed to be able to use in 2014. 

We'll end the National posts on this- a Juan Pierre bat relic. Because I'd been collecting this long without finding a Juan Pierre game used card, and this bat is pretty damned awesome. 

That was the 2022 National. Not sure when the next one of these I can attend will be. One would assume 4 years, as they'll probably go back to the Chicago-Cleveland-Chicago pattern they usually do. Maybe in 2026 I'll be able to afford to get a hotel and spend the week like the other collectors do. Until then though, I'll be the reclusive little character in a Brooklyn Dodgers cap and a Topps shirt, finding his way through a big convention center one dime box at a time.

1 comment:

  1. Great pickups, thanks for sharing! I had my boys with me the one time I got to go to the National in Chicago (pre-pandemic) so I didn't get to camp out in front of a box.