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The National - 2023 Chicago!

Aside from a massive lightning storm everything was a lot of fun at the National! This was my first year and it sounds like I picked a good one to go to for the first time. I went for the first 3 days.

Just like anything else you enjoy - it's all about perspective and expectations. I came as a collector with open eyes, ready to just enjoy the experience and I had VERY low expectations of finding anything for my collection. That set me up well to really just take it all in and enjoy the time I had.


My goals (which I believe you should always have no matter what you do in this hobby) for The National were to make sure to look at every single table and display case, to hand out my GinterGoldFever cards to relevant dealers and ideally find some later long term leads. The big goal was to meet up with a few hobby friends and Topps employees.

Luckily, I was able to do all of that and much much more!


There was such a diverse set of people, experiences and collectibles there; dealers, collectors, flippers, celebrities, athletes, live events, pack wars, live interviews, parties and yes, influencers with camera crews. But also cards from every era, entertainment and historical memorabilia, EVERYTHING. Everyone was able to just enjoy their own experience however they wanted to and it was easy to pick a path that you are most interested in. There was truly something here for everyone! I even had a few Ginter sightings! The venue was massive and there were 30k+ people. Yes, it was hot sometimes but there were a few nice AC pockets and I imagine those dealers will make sure to get that same spot again next time :)

Heritage, Goldin and REA had some incredible items too, loved the diversity of the collections at Heritage especially that included gaming, tv and movies, VHS and original GPK art.

Kids are energized and passionate about their collections. They're trading, making deals, showing off cards, educating dealers, everything. That was so impressive and I would have never been able to do that as a kid. The future is bright!

Topps and Fanatics had an amazing setup right in the middle of the main floor. It was a nice beacon to center around and had great energy that set the tone for the conference.

People I met - truly best part of the whole thing!

I met Ryan from Ryanscardvault who has an LCS near me - I need to go check that out!

I met Feenix4cards who has been a long time IG friend. He was so kind to bring me a Jimmie Foxx 2008 mini!

I met Donna from TheLensofDonnaM who has always been such a kind, supportive person and artist. So great to finally meet her!

Had to get a picture with Rick from Porbstein!

AnneMarie from WomenonTopps was as awesome in person as she is on IG her booth had a TON going on throughout the whole event!

Kevs.Kards was there with his 2006 A&G inspired Shohei and you KNOW I had to track him down - he's a great guy!

I finally met the artist behind the Sporting Life brand. Jerry has been at these shows since they were the Midwest Sports Convention and knows pretty much everyone. His stories are INSANE and he agreed to do some interviews with me down the line to discuss them - huge win! And he was kind enough to surprise me with an amazing custom necktag along with some other NSCC specific art cards he made - love that guy!

I met up with Bob from BelAir Sportscards who helped with some Rip cards for the only deal I made the entire show!

I finally met Jeff from Packgeek who is just as thoughtful, supportive and nice of a person as he is on IG - thank you Jeff and your team was doing great there!

I had two massive surprise meetings with guys I didn't know would be there. The first was with Alan Narz who runs Big League Cards in Orlando and who invented the Rip Card design for Topps back in 2006. 😳 He's a legend who also runs "pack wars" with kids. It was no surprise how generous he was with his time there and we had a great chat about Ginter! He then surprised me with a true celebrity meeting intro (for me) with Clay.

Clay is an absolute Ginter legend. In fact, he is THE reason we have this brand at all! He shared some amazing stories and also agreed to a future interview so we can talk more Ginter and acquire more knowledge for the Ginter community. He was excited by our excitement and you can tell he really cares about the community, even after 20+ years at Topps!

I walked away from these conversations energized, excited, happy and starstruck. They were truly the highlight of my National time!


In the end, my experience was much better than I expected and I hit all of my goals! I saw every single display case, saw cards I've never seen before, walked away with 4 new (potentially big and I will update this thread once these get sorted) leads, met more IG friends and Topps employees than I expected and thoroughly enjoyed my first ever National!

One last thing - there were barely any modern Ginter cards. Not even close to 1% of the total cards. What does that mean? To me it means there is a MASSIVE opportunity for a Ginter booth. As daunting as it sounds we just might have to figure out a way to assemble the reclusive Ginter Nuts for the 20th anniversary of A&G and get a booth together in 2025. Would you want to see that? There is much to discuss!

Until next time - happy collecting folks!


People To Meet

  • Cacards

  • Packgeek

  • Tastycardsandwich

  • Donna

  • Feenix

  • Sporting Life Jerry

  • Bel Air Sportscards - check your texts

  • KevKards

Lookout Cards

  • 2010 rare Ginter

Off record from Clay

  • Buffett has a card from 2016, only 5 ever made

  • Madoff has a card from whichever year the scandal was from, only 3 ever made

  • Mike Kong Kelly was his inspiration

  • Duke was his idea, wanted to pay tribute to long forgotten champions and heroes

  • Email him, send him a shirt and a card to sign, ask about an interview soon

  • Thank Alan profusely!

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