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2019 National - Chicago

#21 User is offline   GetsByBuckner 

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 09:23 AM

I realize the TriStar folks don't view this site and aren't much into taking suggestions (especially for the National), but he're a brief list of guys who would be fantastic gets to appear next month:

Mike Scott
Mickey Lolich (not sure if he travels outside Detroit area anymore)
Ron Gardenhire
Mike Scioscia
Steve Sax (doesn't seem to want to come to NYC for a show; maybe he's willing to travel halfway!)
Bobby Bonilla
Robin Ventura
John Olerud
Vince Coleman
Randy Myers (while not quite Mike Marshall territory, this guy is a super tough autograph...does signings, but very infrequently)
Pat Mahomes (the dad)
Hideo Nomo
Chan Ho Park
Joe Torre
Nolan Ryan (I can hope, can't I?)

Don't expect any of these guys there, but why not put it out there. Kinda cathartic to post!
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#22 User is offline   steelerfan1968 

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 08:05 PM

Mike Ditka, Jerry Rice, Jim Thome and Paul Molitor added. If you need Ditka you might want to get him here.
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#23 User is offline   DjbNYG5692 

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 11:36 AM

Man I kind of wish i could go there to get Ditka... These adds def have more intrigue
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#24 User is offline   chopper31 

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 06:29 AM

I was at The National this weekend and got a lot accomplished (dropping a grand in the process - at the show). While I didn’t have any problems with what I went there for, there were some annoyances.

The first impression was a positive one. Showing up right when the doors opened, I was expecting a huge lineup to get in the door, but there was no wait whatsoever for those of us who pre-purchased our admission tickets online. $20 per day just to get in the door is pretty steep though, albeit par for the course.

The floor setup looked great on paper, but that was deceiving, as there were sections that were set up awkwardly and not lining up with the adjacent tables in the row. That made it difficult at times to know if you already went down a row or not. There were TONS of vendors selling cards, if that is your thing, you could probably spend multiple days working through the tables. But that’s not me, so it took only a few hours to get through the tables. I purchased a few minor items, geared towards my WORLD CHAMPION Toronto Raptors.

One thing I thought was completely unacceptable was the food & beverage service. Nothing even close to what was at the show last year (in Cleveland) and it was highway robbery. They had maybe 4 limited selection “snack bars” set up in the entire place, and the prices were insane. $15 for a slice of sub-par pizza and a fountain drink. Bottled Drinks alone were around $4 each, and I didn’t see a single drinking fountain in the joint. If you didn’t bring your own bottled water with you (which I thankfully did), it could end up being a pretty expensive day just to avoid a dehydration headache.

Some of my autograph/photo tickets I purchased online, while others I purchased on site, just to be safe (as I had to rely on a flight to be there on time). The ticket lines were reasonable for the most part, probably better than the average show. All of my ticket numbers were low, but in reality that didn’t mean a hell of a lot, because all of the several different tiers of VIP’s go first in line. So in one case I had ticket #14, but was actually around the 100th person to get through the line.

post continued below...
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#25 User is offline   chopper31 

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 06:29 AM

The photo op section ran pretty efficiently for the most part, I’d say better than average. The only time it got insane, was when Hulk Hogan was out there. You’d think that Walter Payton was resurrected and returned for a day or something, the way people were acting. Not only was there 100+ people who purchased the photo op flooding the area, but probably even a greater amount who weren’t getting photos, trying to push through and get a picture of the Hulkster with their phones. If you’ve gotten annoyed by people crowing the Autograph entrance area before, be thankful you weren’t around to experience this because it was even worse.

On Saturday, I got 3 photo ops and 2 autographs. Only one photo op was an annoying experience, as it immediately followed Hogan, so I had to fight through the sea of starstruck bystanders when it was time to get in line. All 3 photos turned out great quality wise , but I’m just not crazy about the Tristar branded backdrop they use, I’d much rather have a solid colored background like everyone else uses.

Fred McGriff was the only person I got Autographs from on Saturday. His signature isn’t great, but they did pop well on my pieces, so I was happy with that. I’ve been trying to get him for a few years, so am glad to finally get those off the checklist. As far as his personality, I’d rate him as just average. Not rude (or bad in any way), but also not particularly outgoing either.

On Sunday I got autographs from: Alan Trammell, Roger Clemens, Robin Yount and Paul Molitor. All 4 were very pleasant and provided great looking signatures. Trammell most of all, I would describe as a “professional signer”, who truly cares about providing a quality product for each collector.

The main one that inspired me to get out to Chicago (aside from McGriff) was Molitor, who I needed on two pieces, and had been a tough one to get the past few years. Clemens, I finally decided to bite the bullet and throw down the cash to add him to one of my multi-signed pieces. Trammell & Yount I just got out of the way, as I needed them, and they were there at the same time I was.

Lastly, the Tristar Authentication was an annoying experience. The line took forever, because they had one person handling all of us lowly peasants who only paid $20 to get in the door, while they had 4 or 5 workers serving the VIP’s. Also while they have a great system in place, to ensure that only items signed at the show are getting authenticated by them, they weren’t enforcing it (taking away the whole point behind it). You are supposed to bring a slip up to the signing table and get it validated by the handler, and if you don’t have that you can’t get the Tristar Authentication. But I saw two guys while I was in line, who didn’t know about that process, and got their authentications anyway (and not even with advance tickets - they paid cash right at the Authentication table). So the bottom line is (aside from maybe PROVA) there is no Authentication company that can be taken seriously, and tons of opportunity for fraudulent signatures to authenticated at any show. There were two workers ready to tackle anyone who tried to get into the VIP line without a lanyard, but if you didn’t have your validation card to prove you got your item signed there, no biggee just give them the $10 and you still get your hologram.

Overall though, it was a productive trip, and one I definitely have no regrets on making...
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#26 User is offline   rotoFanatic 

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 01:48 PM

I was there for four days and agree that the food options were limited at best though that has more to do with the venue than the show itself. The autograph area was for the most part ran pretty well, the middle was clogged as it is with all shows but they did a good job of trying to keep it unclogged as possible. One note to all autograph seekers that are in line, please have your stuff ready when it's your turn. Countless times someone had to get their helmet out of the box, or the picture or cards out of the top loader when it was their turn. That slows the line down for everyone.

I got autographs every day but only a few on Thursday and Friday and that seemed to be true for the event as well as the autograph section was not as busy compared to the floor which was very busy the first two days. Saturday was a busy day with the big three Mariano, Barry Sanders and Joe Montana all signing about the same time. I was not on the floor that much that day to see if it was as busy as the first two days. The last day I was mostly on the floor with only two autos on Sunday and it was not as busy with a few vendors already closed up and headed back to wherever they came from. Overall, I thought Barry Sanders was the best signer as he talked to you and engaged you in some quick conversation and signed your item. Engaging but quick so the line kept moving.

Not sure I would buy the VIP again which was supposed to save me hours of time but it would always seem to take well over an hour from the time I got in line to the time I got my auto. Many times I would be through the line and just fifteen minutes later that would be calling last call for some of the guests. There were too many types of VIPs that even the volunteers said made it confusing. With the All Access Pass, the Line Priority, the Super VIP, the regular VIP all to choose from but with so many are we all VIPs?

The free guests were good especially for the Chicago flavor with Blackhawks and other World Champion Chicago sports teams. I traded some of mine and kept others. The lines were crazy for those as they always are for the free one's. I brought stuff to be signed but did not have the desire to wait in a long line. For certain players, I waited almost to the end and got them which was hours later.

I agree with Chopper on the Hulkmania for the photos and autographs. Quite the crazy scene

All in all, it was a good National.
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#27 User is offline   ThePilluh 

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 06:37 PM

I was at the show Thursday-Saturday. Only a handful of signers interested me, so I spent more time on the show floor. Thursday I got OJ Anderson, who was to start at 3:15. I got there at 3:15 and they were on last call for him. Friday I got Edgar Martinez and Alou. Both good experiences. Lines took a while due to the plethora of tiers before they actually get to ticket numbers. I thought Alou would take me like 15 minutes and I would be able to easily make the Topps Wrapper Redemption, but it took about 40 minutes to get the sig so I could get in the other line for the redemption. I still made it there in time though. Topps only did the redemption for 1 hour Thursday since the daily allotment went that quick. Their allotment lasted longer on Friday. Edgar was a good signing. Got Mcmahon and McGriff on Saturday. Both business like. McGriff is the first person I have ever got whose sig was better on a ball then a flat. Overall the signers I got I was happy with, just not many guests that interested me.

I passed on the VIP pass this year as I didn't see any value there from the VIP signers. It was amazing how early people lined up for the VIP signers though. In some cases hours ahead of time. I'm not sure the point there. Maybe a lot of newbies.

Unfortunately for the future of our hobby, Mariano Rivera crushed. I say unfortunately just due to the price. He signed for over 2.5 hours straight. With prices starting at $500, I was amazed. I figured a few would get him, but I thought he'd be done in 30 minutes, maybe 1 hour at those prices. Also, it's not like he has never done a signing. He has been around a few shows. I'm not sure he will go back down to something semi reasonable, and its just sad to say his old prices starting at $300 were reasonable. I believe there are a lot of collectors that do 1 show a year and that's the National. So when it comes to price for any of the signers, they don't care.

Hulk was a big draw too. He was on the mic praising his Hulkamaniacs which was fun to hear.

I'm not sure what the going rate is for kids allowances is these days, but the kids in the 10-14 age range, roll deep with high end slabbed cards and I saw more then a few busting out $100 bills for transactions. I was a little surprised at the prices on new/recent product. Something about buy a recent rookie card for $100+ that I can't bring myself to. There were more tables of cards then memorabilia this show. I saw one Dad tell his kid about 12 who was the only one collecting between the 2 of them , you haven't seen much this show, last show you had spent $700 and this show only $300 so far. When did the kids start getting bank rolled like this?

Last tidbit, I have never been to a venue with worse lighting!! Thanks to the lighting, I need to get a PSA slabbed ticket I bought re-slabbed as in good lighting, can see a crack in the PSA case. But in the convention center lighting, nope. It's not major, but enough to bother me since I was going to frame it with a signed photo.

Overall, it was a good show. I've been to several nationals and enjoyed it. Already booked my room for AC next year.
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