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5 Tips to Crush It at the National: 2017 Sports Collectors Convention

  • July 19, 2017
  • Leighton Sheldon

We are super excited to be heading out to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Chicago in the next few days to attend the 2017 National Sports Collectors Convention! Running from July 26th to July 30th, the hobby’s biggest week of the year is sure to be a hell of a time. This will be the 38th national convention, and we are proud to have participated for the last twelve consecutive years. We've picked up some good tips for attending along the way, so check them out below.


Tips for The National:

Get the most out of The National by following these tips --- you'll thank us later.



1. Prepare a list and take notes.

Narrow your shopping or want list. Knowing what you want to look for and having a priority of what you want to buy will help you when dealing with the huge amount of material that you will see on the show floor. You can always change plans to something else if you find a great item or fantastic buy, but having a clear direction when you hit the floor will help you stay focused.

Take notes on which tables you see the cards that you may have interest in, noting the booth number, the card and the asking price. This will help you to be better able to return quickly if you decide that you want to negotiate or purchase the card.



2. Be patient and don't rush into anything.

Unless a deal is really too good to pass up (and you know what they say about things that appear to good to be true), make the rounds and comparison shop. There will be plenty of options and opportunities to spend your money. There's nothing worse than spending all of your money in the first hour. You'll need time to see the hundreds and hundreds of dealer booths!

A T206 Ty Cobb Red Portrait & a T206 Cy Young Portrait from a previous National.

3. Buy the best material possible (condition-wise).

If you focus on buying the best card in the highest condition that you can afford, your collection will be easier to manage. You'll probably find that you'll get a better return on your collection if and when you decide to sell. We know we said to be patient, but don't be afraid to pull the trigger if it's something you don't think you'll see again (especially if it's rare AND in great condition).



4. Don't just buy something because you "think" you have to have it.

Buy what you want, and in the condition and for the price that you're comfortable paying. There's nothing wrong with being selective and saving your money for another time or for a better purchase if you can't find something that you like at a price that you're comfortable paying.



5. Make your purchases after visiting several different dealers.

Most dealers will negotiate and you should use this to your advantage to get the best price by comparing several dealers. Keep notes on the cards, condition and quoted prices so that you can refer back to them when you're ready to purchase But at the same time, hit up your top dealers first. Their best stuff tends to go fast.


6. Bonus pro-tip: Wear comfortable shoes.

The venue is always bigger than you think, and you're going to want to see every table – which means a lot of walking. So I always buy a new pair of sneakers every year for the National and break them in before the show – and I recommend that you do the same!





Visit us at booths 512 and 514!

We love The National because it brings the whole community together, face-to-face, for buying, selling, trading, and just talking sports cards. It’s an opportunity for us to connect with sellers, buyers, and other dealers alike. It’s also the perfect time for us to buy more cards. We will be aggressively buying, so if you’re bringing your cards or memorabilia along, come see us at booths 512 and 514. We’ll be selling some pretty cool stuff too --- so you’ll definitely want to stop by.

Check out the full list of sports card and memorabilia dealers that will be in attendance.



Not going but still looking to sell?

Live in the Chicago area but not attending the show? That’s cool, we’re accepting appointments to come visit folks to appraise and buy collections. Give us a call today at (732) 828 2261, email me directly at Leighton@JustCollect.com, or use our free card appraisal form to make your appointment --- and hurry because space is limited.



Other things to do at The National

There are plenty of great things to see and do aside from looking for cards and collectibles. Presentations, pack wars, Cubs games, White Sox games, breaking events and even some vintage pack openings.To get involved in other vintage pack and set breaks, including our upcoming 1960 Topps pack break and our 1933 Goudey set break with (4) Babe Ruth cards (pictured below), visit vintagebreaks.com. And stay tuned for more awesome set break opportunities to come!



Breaking Vintage Packs & Sets





1955 Bowman Football pack break

Check out this video of a 1955 Bowman Footbal pack that Just Collect opened at The National a few years ago.




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