Two years in the making and the 2021 National Sports Collectors Convention lived up to all its hype and then some. The biggest card show was held at the Donald Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois just across the interstate from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. These are my top five takeaways from the National.
Top Five Takeaways From the National
Hobby Energy is Contagious
Rumors of the hobby on the decline were greatly exaggerated. It seemed like every collector you bumped into commented this was their first National. Even better, the show lacked drama, theft, and other crimes. The 1991 National in Anaheim has always been the pinnacle of card shows, and that show was marred with theft. The 2021 National may very well have eclipsed the show thirty years ago as the greatest ever, and very few crimes were reported on the show floor. Trade nights were held into the early morning hours at the neighboring hotels and each day brought more excitement to collectors.
Crowded, Not Over Crowded
Many feared the convention center would be shoulder to shoulder without a space to actually peruse the vendor booths. While there was a huge turnout for the show, it was well spaced with plenty of room to browse. It seemed every square inch of the space was used and the National show planners did a fantastic job with the layout.
Finding raw cards was actually fairly difficult, unless you were digging through bargain boxes. It seemed everything under a showcase was slabbed.
PSA is still the king of graded cards, and their slabs were the most prevalent. SGC had a major presence among the vendor booths. I saw very few BVG, CSG, and HGA graded cards.
Something For Everyone
While slabs were a hot commodity, especially for the high end cards, the show had something for every price point.
One booth had nickel boxes with several monster boxes on their table. There were plenty of dime and quarter boxes and the very popular Singles Club dollar boxes.
Plenty of vintage was on hand with cards dating to the 1880’s. DJ Skee dropped $1.1 million on a Mike Trout 1/1.
Friendships Are The Best
People make the place, and The National was the place to be. My friend, John Newman, from Sports Card Nation podcast sums it up: “Hobby Is the People.”
It was also great to catch up with Rich Klein and Mike Sommer (WaxPack Hero) in the Singles Club booth.
Mike also had me on his podcast that he hosted from the COMC booth. It was a tough act to follow as I took the hot seat immediately after Dr. Jim Beckett.
All in all, the 2021 National Sports Collectors Convention was a big hit. Moving forward it’s likely that this show will be the new benchmark for others to follow. Those are my top five takeaways from the National. What are yours?