Recapping the National: It’s All About the Collectors4 min read


Well, another National is in the books, and true to form, it was a blast! We mentioned the tons of giveaways and promos we had in a previous post, and that — coupled with a show floor brimming with amazing collectibles, in a room full of passionate collectors attending the annual hobby mecca — is a recipe for a memorable show every time.

Hockey collectors pose for a hilarious personal card.

Personal Trading Cards Were a Hit … Again

For the second consecutive year, PSA brought the concept of personal, encapsulated trading cards to the show. The feature proved to be a highlight of 2017’s NSCC, and this year was no different. Collectors from all walks of the hobby rushed to the personal trading card booth in droves, from Thursday to Saturday of the show. Some opted to use the props we had on hand; others brought their own props and opted to redefine the trading card norm (see shot above!).

PSA’s personal trading cards were a hit yet again.

Once Sunday had arrived and the photo booth was wrapped up, one thing became clear: this feature is too popular not to continue. Good news for those who missed out this year; It looks like the photo booth might be a mainstay for future PSA promos at the National!

Incredible Collectibles Filled the Massive Venue

A National without incredible collectibles spread throughout the floor is like, it’s like the Yankees without pinstripes –– it’s just not natural and something you’d ever expect. True to form as the World Series of the hobby, the National stepped up to the plate in a big way, and ensured the show is stockpiled with history and the hottest cards, autographs and more. And we saw a fair share of incredible collectibles firsthand.

A pair of Christy Mathewson-signed baseballs.

These Christy Mathewson balls were signed for a family way back in 1916, and they found their way to our autograph experts during the National.

Unopened box of 1986 Fleer Basketball. This pack was broken during the show.

This 1986 Fleer box was broken during the show, and it featured packs that showed the iconic Jordan rookie card.

LeBron James signed this basketball at a signing event held during his high school years.

Though he packed his bags and headed to Los Angeles, LeBron emphatically left his mark on Cleveland, not to mention the sports world in general, and the pandemonium can be traced back to his high school days. The prodigious basketball god showcased his brilliance early on, and hosted a signing during his high school years, raising money for his school. Our autograph experts also had the pleasure of authenticating this piece.

The list goes in terms of incredible collectibles showcased. Speaking of which, a baseball legend’s card was pulled live and it made for one of the most exciting moments of the week …

This 1955 Bowman Mickey Mantle was pulled during the National

’55 Bowman Pulled, Later Earns PSA 9 Grade

During the Great American Collectibles Show, a 1955 Bowman Mantle was pulled from a pack by Vintage breaks and the excitement in the air was tangible. The card was later submitted to PSA and earned a PSA 9, one of just eight examples in that grade. An electric buzz immediately swept the show, culminating in national headlines. That was a very neat moment to witness.

PSA’s brand-new ‘Jumbo Holder.’

PSA ‘Jumbo Holder’ Makes Debut

Among all of the excitement, PSA debuted the brand-new “Jumbo Holder,” the striking new holder meant to encase documents and photos. You can get all the details surrounding these hot new holders here.

This collector (center) flew out from Germany for the second consecutive year to catch the show, and posed with the PSA Marketing staff.

Most of All, We Got to Connect With Some Incredible Collectors

But at the end of the day, more than the incredible history displayed, more than the living legends signing, the coveted cardboard, it was all about the collectors. And we were so fortunate to meet some amazing people during the week.

This young collector left the PSA booth with a new hat and personal trading card.

Yes, witnessing all of those aforementioned pieces is always a pleasure, but it pails in comparison to connecting with the very people that make the show possible: the collectors. Your enthusiasm and passion is what drives our hobby, and what ultimately makes the National a truly special experience.


PSA President Steve Sloan handing the Fritz family their personal trading cards.

Speaking of special, we are thrilled to have taken a part in making the Fritz family’s experience at the show one to remember. Through Ronald McDonald House Cleveland and the National, Ty, Beth, Addalyn and Mason, who was born with a rare blood disorder, were given a “once-in-a-lifetime V.I.P. experience” at the show.

All in all, it was absolutely a week to remember. Can’t wait to do it all again next year!

Posted by Ryan Gaeta

Ryan is a sports fan and Non-Sports aficionado, who is still tormented by the fact he owned the entire 1st Edition run of Pokémon cards but traded them away or ruined them at one point or another.

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