Final day! Woot!
I was tired and needed this thing to end. After my usual morning routine, I figured out an exit strategy. There was a garage door nearby and I figured I could drive my car inside the room right up to the booth and load up and go.
In the meantime, I was hoping for some more sales. Oddly, the air conditioning was raging on Sunday after hardly working the whole week prior. It was cold in there!
The folks from Boston started me off, purchasing my 1963 Fleer Football checklist and some other cards. The crowd Sunday was the lightest it had been all week. It sort of felt like a Sports Spectacular rather than a National.
Sales trickled in. Not much doing at the booth so I wandered the room a little bit. I stopped at one of the supply company's booths to purchase some tall boy toploaders. I was informed that the toploaders were for display only. However, as I walked away, the guy tossed me the pack of toploaders and said my friend John Craig purchased them for me. Thanks John!
I stuffed the toploaders into my pocked and wandered a bit more and found the Robinson's Ribs stand and ordered a pulled pork sandwich that was kind of cold but still tasty. I think Robinson's was at the Sports Spectacular and I remember ordering a rib sandwich during that show and it was cold as well.
Back at the booth, a customer that purchased some T206's earlier in the week, came back to purchase some more. Not a whole lot doing Sunday. I seemed to sit around bored most of the day. I did not purchase any cards, though, but I was happy with my Saturday purchases.
We finally saw our friend Bob, who set up with me and Dave at the 2008 National. Bob brought us Polish sausages covered in grilled onions from the Robinson's booth. Those sausages were good!
I also saw a bunch more people I knew on Sunday like Brian P and Bronko, who interviewed me for a National wrap up vlog. I know I saw others but I am cursed with that faulty memory.
Dave packed up and left around 3 p.m. He just had four display cases and a few boxes. He was able to load everything on his cart and walk to the parking lot.
Around 3:30 p.m., I thought about packing up but then I got busy. There was a guy who bought a bunch of cards from Dave earlier in the week and came around looking for him. When I told him Dave had left, he looked at my display cases and purchased a bunch of cards from me. Woot!
Then our friend Larry came around looking for Dave. When I told Larry that Dave had gone home, Larry looked at my display cases and purchased a bunch of cards. Woot! Thanks Larry!
Those last two sales really helped out.
I ended up with lower sales than the past two Nationals, making this my third best National. I'll take it!
My overall thoughts on the National...
The hobby is as strong as ever! More than 100,000 people attended the 2023 National, the largest crowd ever at a National.
I think the folks that run this event need to bring in some lawyers because the air conditioning situation would not happen if a lawyer was involved. There needs to be a penalty clause in the contract with the venue in the event the air conditioning does not work. Believe me, if you hit them in the pocketbook, that air conditioning will work just fine, as it did on Sunday.
I was worried that our booth location would hurt sales but we benefitted by being located near the escalator where all the attendees entered the venue. I would take this location again.
I did not really get to see much of the show. I have been watching vlogs on YouTube that give some nice views of the entire show. I saw myself in one of them and I look really dopey. Another vlog shows the vlogger purchasing a card from me, but you can only see me from the neck down... at least I don't look dopey in that one.
One of the things that struck me after viewing the vlogs is just how much the show has changed over the years. It used to just be a really large card show, with few corporate or auction houses in attendance. Now it seems like the card show is just a side deal to the whole thing. The corporate booths dominate with more corporate booths this year than I have ever seen at the National.
For me, I don't much care about the corporate booths and I do not pay much attention to them. I am there for the cards. I love cards, not corporations trying to make a buck off card collectors.
One of the things I miss that the show used to have in abundance is memorabilia. There used to be tons of guys selling old time baseball gloves, bats, uniforms and the like. There also used to be guys with binders of autographed postcards from players from the 1950's. Then there used to be guys set up with nothing but old-time baseball stadiums seats and turnstiles. Seems like those guys are all gone.
There are more and more artists which I never cared for. The lawyer in me thinks they are in severe violation of copyright and trademark laws. I don't see how you can sell a painting of Rickey Henderson for $5K and not give him a piece of the profit. Rickey owns his image and has a legal right to state how it is used and sold.
I watched a bunch of YouTube vlogs where people are really bitching about this or that. Overall, my only real complaint is the air conditioning. The National is still the best show in the world, no matter what anybody says about it. The National is my best show as dealer each and every year.
I have seen a ton of chatter complaining about the location. I don't know, with more than 100,000 people through the door, I think the National is doing just fine in Chicago. If it ever goes out west again, it would be a real hardship for me to attend. Though, I would attend because of this stupid dealer priority system for obtaining tables. I just would not be able to bring out a whole lot of cards.
Anyway, even though I felt lousy due to health issues, I did have a good time and am looking forward to the 2024 National in Cleveland.
In the meantime, I'll be in Woodstock, Illinois, on August 19, then Orland on August 20. Next Oak Creek show is September 2.
A big thank you to everyone who stopped by to visit me at the 2023 National. I appreciate you and hope to see you again soon!
And Now for a Special Treat!
The 2023 National Man Bun Gallery...