What to Know About the 2022 National Sports Collectors Convention

The 42nd edition of The National begins this week, and in a buyer’s market, expect plenty of action to unfold in Atlantic City. Boardroom is here to get you ready.

The biggest spectacle in the trading card hobby is set to kick off in Atlantic City on July 27.

The National Sports Collectors Convention, commonly referred to as The National, is the largest gathering of collectors and investors who share a common interest in collectibles, sports cards, and trading cards.

Here’s what you need to know in order to get the most out of this year’s National.

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It’s a Buyer’s Market

There will be over 300 registered dealers at The National, and that doesn’t include the attendees that are looking to offload some inventory. The market has cooled from the highs of the last two years, and now is the time to strike to cop some grails. Vendors will have cards priced over recent comps, but it’s easy to haggle with them — especially toward the end of the event.

Dealers tend to bring out the hottest cards in their inventory. One of our favorites from last year’s National was named “The Hot Corner,” where RbiCru7 and Frankenstein Cards were among the dealers set up. Be sure to check out everyone, though. You will definitely want to take a few laps before you start making deals.

Big Deals Will Go Down

Every National, there’s a few sales that’ll make followers of Dave Ramsey cringe to the core. This year, the owner of the Mac Jones Prizm 1/1 will be looking to sell. It has already sold for $100,000 and $175,000. Now, it’s graded a PSA 10, and it will be interesting to see if this 1/1 will command the PSA 10 premium.

Trade Nights

Some of the best deals will happen at trade nights, and there’s already been a huge announcement. For the first time ever, there will be an official TCG Trade Night hosted by @dondiegotrading. Non-sports trading cards such as Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and others have grown in popularity. It’s about time they’ve received their due. The TCG Trade Night will take place Friday, July 29 from 8 to 10 p.m. EST at Tun Tavern.

In addition to TCG Trade Night, the official National Trade Night will happen on-site at the Atlantic City Convention Center on Thursday, July 28. This is the first time the National-sanctioned trade night will happen at the same venue as the hobby sports show. In previous years, the event has been held in hotel lobbies and other venues.

Plenty of Giveaways

Smaller players looking to build their influence will vie for hobby dominance side-by-side with the biggest brands in the industry. This will be the first National after Fanatics acquired the licenses of the NFL, NBA, and Topps. Even though the NFL and NBA deal doesn’t go into effect for a few years, it will be interesting to see what Panini has in store. We will also find out if Fanatics has anything big coming as the Austin Meadows and Randy Arozarena-autograph scandal is fresh in hobbyists’ heads.

Other players in the hobby are having giveaways as well. Whatnot is giving away packs of 1986 Fleer Basketball and 2003 Topps Chrome Basketball. Those two sets include rookie cards of Michael Jordan and LeBron James, respectively.

Autograph Signings

One of the biggest drivers of attendance at The National is the autograph sessions with legends from every sport. This year, Floyd Mayweather, Dan Marino, Michael Vick, and Chuck Liddell will make their first appearances. There will be plenty of autograph sessions each day, and you can see the full lineup here.

Just Have Fun

Remember, the hobby is supposed to be fun. You will meet some people trying to undervalue your cards, but you don’t have to take the first deal that comes your way. The National is five days long, and it can get overwhelming. You will ultimately meet hundreds of like-minded individuals and will enjoy an unmatched experience.

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