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For six days and five nights in Baltimore, Maryland the 2012 National Card Show had to deal with a crew of 14 from the world famous Dave & Adam’s Card World, and I think the town needs a little recovery time. Roaring into town with 4 trucks packed with 30 skids of ball cards, we took the show by storm and showed everyone what great service and excellent knowledge can do for the hobby.
Allow me to introduce you to this year’s Dave & Adam’s Card World National Crew. Here is the gang pictured at our home away from home – The Baltimore Hilton Hotel Bar.
(from Left to Right)
Dan – Gaming Buyer; Snickers – Modern Buyer; Bob – Vintage Buyer; Steph – Diva; Tim – Heavy Lifting; Brian – Autograph Hound; LJ – Singles Guru; Jason – Photographer; Kevin – Ladies Man; Mike – Booth Commander; Andy – just some guy who hides behind beer taps; Dave – Owner; Adam – Owner (not pictured,)
Now, even though there are only 13 in the picture, there in fact was a crew of 14 at The National as I mentioned before. The 14th member was all of the other Dave & Adam’s Card World employees back in Buffalo, NY running the warehouse and the retail stores. None of this would have been possible without the 40+ staff at home running the warehouse, customer service, retail stores, website, receiving, and shipping. We just wanted to let everyone know this was a group effort, not just the cohorts of a select few in a different city with a big bar tab.
Monday – Load in
We waited forever – Our trucks lay dormant in the loading docks just asking to be unloaded, but the rules of the show stated that Union personnel had to take everything off the trucks and into the show area. After a 7 hour drive, sitting in a hot, dirty and loud parking garage was not something we wanted to do, but we made the best of it. When we finally got the attention of a fork lift driver to help us out we had one goal – Get the skids out, tarp them up and hit the bar!
Sitting down and enjoying the evening never felt so good.
Although Dave and Adam’s has been doing the National forever, for some of us it was our first National. It was also the first time we would all work and live so closely together for an extended period of time. A guy you would just pass in the halls at the warehouse was now sleeping three feet away from you in a hotel room sharing your toothpaste. Nobody knew, myself included what type of personalities we would see or how many quirks and habits would be revealed in this week long marathon. I’m sure there were many, as I myself both witnessed and made some quite apparent about myself. But, we were all willing and able to make that sacrifice for the good of the company and the well being of the greatest hobby on the face of this planet. (well, aside from stamp collecting – those guys are rock stars compared to us)
Tuesday – Set Up
The plan was simple and set in stone, to make the best looking booth possible with the best available products around without killing each other. Step 1 was to get everything off the skids, separated by sport or genre, then line everything up by year to ensure the show attendees can find what they are looking for. Plastic wrap and cardboard boxes flew everywhere while we passed one another politely and without haste to get the first stage of the race complete.
Step 2 was all conducted by our fearless and charismatic leader, CEO Adam Martin, who laid out specifically what, where and how much product to put out. Cases were stacked by design behind and under the tables to ensure the ability to restock and shelves for older more expensive boxes were assembled and displayed with precision. As the boxes upon boxes were put out some of us could not conceive the amount of stuff we brought, but little did we know that most of it would sell out completely.
The 3rd and final step was all about getting the booth clean and respectable. Stacking empty pallets, hanging signs and storing empty boxes. Making a walk in singles area to give collectors a hobby shop feel to their National experience and even a customer ripping area so people can bust open their bounty to find their high end inserts or 1 of 1 autographs. It was truly a site to behold and if you haven’t seen it already, Check out a time-lapsed video of the complete construction of the Dave & Adam’s Booth:
The finished product from the front.
Finished product from a killer angle.
We were all very proud of our work.
So, after spending all day bumping into people you have to put up with for the entire week all while sweating in a convention center filled with over anxious ball card dealers, how do you think we spent our evening? I’m sure you would’ve loved to join us on the 4th floor of the Baltimore Hilton for a couple beverages. Just check out the view we had, it is not everyday you can sit in Camden’s backyard.
Too bad the Orioles weren’t in town while we were here.
Tuesday night was a pseudo Christmas Eve for collectors and dealers alike, you could cut the excitement with a knife it was so apparent. Both myself and the rest of the crew knew very well what lay ahead of us this week, so we decided to enjoy the night. We all ate together that night at a joint called the Pratt Street Ale House, a typical bar/grill type place similar to what you would find in Buffalo on any corner of the city. It felt like home, a place most of us didn’t even think about for the days we were there, but it was a feeling that made us all comfortable to be in a different city.
As always, the comedic styles of Dave & Adam had the bar & wait staff on their toes making sure to keep our glasses full and spirits high. We talked as a group about the challenge we faced and heard stories of old shows from past veterans. It was a little piece of normalcy we all needed and something we were all glad we did since it brought us together as a group. We were no longer co workers, but a group of friends setting out to put on a good show. Apparently, I was so comfortable with everyone that I accidentally ate another guys burger. Raising my face from my beer glass and seeing a side of mashed potatoes on a plate, I figured it was mine. Boy was I wrong! First bite into the thing I tasted everything I despise on a sandwich, and seconds later twelve sets of glaring eyes and gaping smiles pointed in my direction as I devoured the wrong meal, leaving another DACW crew member waiting hungry for an extra 15 minutes while they prepared another one. I felt horrible – So horrible in fact that I finished the entire burger even though it was most likely the worst thing I tasted in years. I didn’t have the heart to tell the guy I hated his food in addition to stealing the thing he was looking forward to since arriving in Baltimore. Sorry Snickers ……
Wednesday – SHOW TIME!!
The big day has arrived and the crew was ready. A ton of stuff had to be discussed since about 9 different companies were doing promotions for the show and we needed to know what products the customers could buy to get their free gift or card. Our leader, Adam Martin mad sure that we knew the deal before the doors opened at 930am
They may take our cards, but they’ll never take our freedom!!!!
It helps when your booth is right across from Upper Deck & Topps
Speaking of the promotions, there were quite a few that stood out. Upper Deck did the usual wrapper redemption for a pack of specially made cards exclusive to the National. The deal was if you bought 5 packs of approved Upper Deck products, you were given a pack to open which had randomly inserted autographs in them. Well we here at Dave & Adam’s are proud to say that a few of our customers were able to pull all of the autographs which they were more than happy to share with us.
Sidney Crosby Auto #’d 02/15
Lebron James Auto #’d 10/15
Alexander Ovechkin Auto #’d 9/10
Robert Griffin III Auto #’d 1/5
And the absolute prize of the Upper Deck packs ………….
Wayne Gretzky Auto 1 of 1
Another wicked awesome promotion came from Historic Autographs in something I like to call their ‘free giveaway of amazing’. The deal was if you purchased a box of 2012 Legends of the Hall and opened it at their booth, they would give you a FREE CUT AUTOGRAPH of a Hall of Fame player that was graded by PSA. So basically, the price tag for one of their sweet autographed and graded Legends of the Hall plaques got you another cut autograph for free. This deal was so popular they ran out of stuff to give to people. Some of the customers pulled some pretty good ones including this AMAZING Ted Williams.
2012 Historic Autographs Ted Williams Gem Mint 10 #’d 2/2
Topps came through with another good year and by far had the longest redemption line at their booth. At one point it stretched all the way to the bathrooms a couple aisles away.
Despite the length, no one minded waiting for these killer cards
If you purchased a box of 2012 Bowman Platinum you would receive a very cool 25 card set featuring hot prospects and rising stars such as Dylan Bundy, Bubba Starling and Yu Darvish.
If you couldn’t swing that dollar amount you could’ve bought 3 packs of cards for an exclusive Gypsy Queen Mini card featuring rookies from both football and baseball.
Albeit an expensive one, the Panini Party promotion is what had the entire show floor buzzing. If you spent $6,500 at the National on approved Panini Products you would be invited to a special VIP style party that would include prizes, silent auctions and special guests such as Hall of Fame and current athletes. Couldn’t come to the party? Well Dave & Adam were invited and we have all of the inside info on who was there and what went on!! Check it out!!
The event was a chance for collectors to not only meet each other and talk about their favorite cards and products but to also give them access to athletes and special guests.
Brandon Knight, Point Guard for the Detroit Pistons
Super Bowl XVII MVP John Riggins of the Washington Redskins, who happened to turn 63 the day of the party. He could still run through an offensive line if he wanted to.
Mr. Hockey himself, Gordie Howe
OMG!! You guys would not believe who else was in attendance at this party. It was by far the greatest addition to the Panini Party promotion and we were so happy to see him there …………….
NOTORIOUS BOB SHOUDT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is Ian holding up a Notorious Bob patch auto card he pulled out of a promo pack with the man himself in the background.
CEO Adam Martin relaxing with some collectors.
Dave & Adam with Gordie Howe and a nice plate of cheese and crackers.
It was a great event and Panini did one heck of a job putting it together. All of the collectors who hit the requirement to attend also got a bunch of promo packs with cool cards in them as well as some other perks such as black boxes and all the autographs they wanted from the awesome athletes that attended.
As always, Dave & Adam’s had some promotions of our own at this years National. We brought a ton of lanyards with some DACW logos in them and handed them out to kids and if we spotted them walking around outside of the booth wearing our colors proudly, they would get $25 to spend at the booth. Thanks to all of the kids who participated and congratulations to those who won!
Like most young men out there (current Dave & Adam’s employees included) it is their dream to work for a card store. We met a young man who shared that dream and made it come true.
Chris from Atlanta got to live out his dream with Dave & Adam’s at the 2012 National!
And of course we had people breaking boxes and ripping packs at the booth. Even though we were mobbed with customers, we could not resist snapping some pictures of the great things being pulled at our booth. Check out these gems that came from Dave & Adam’s ‘HIT FACTORY’.
2012 Leaf Best of Baseball 1909-11 T206 Cy Young, BVG Graded 3
2008/09 O-Pee-Chee Premier Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman Triple Auto #’d 2/5
2012 Bowman Platinum Bryce Harper Black Autograph #’d 12/25
2012 Bowman Platinum Bryce Harper Auto 1 of 1
2011/12 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia Super Box Clarence Campbell Auto 1 of 1
2012 Upper Deck SP Signature Edition Derek Jeter, Wade Boggs, Tim Raines & Darryl Strawberry Quad Auto #’d 2/10
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Kate Upton Mini Red Ink Auto #’d 03/10
2012 Topps Justin Verlander Leather Name Plate 1 of 1
Now, this next one wasn’t pulled at our booth but we just had to share it with you. PSA had a grading booth on site so people can come and get cards graded without waiting. A very proud collector stopped by just to show off his latest triumph.
2005/06 Upper Deck The Cup Alex Ovechkin Rookie Patch Auto Gem Mint 10
This card books for $4,000 RAW – I cannot even image what price it would bring being a Gem Mint 10. What a card!!!
One of the big attractions at the show were the Black Swamp E-98 cards that were found recently in perfect condition. Heritage Auctions had them displayed at the booth and the Gem Mint Wagner was really the only thing I just had to see at the show. I can even document the entire conversation I had over at the booth, it went a little something like this ……
(walking up to the booth)
ME: ‘OK, Where is it?’
Security Guard: ‘Right over there Sir, middle case’
(I put my hands on my knees and stare at the card for about 2 minutes)
ME: ‘And this was found in an Attic’
Guy At Booth: ‘Yes Sir’
(Proceed to stare at card for another 30-40 seconds)
ME: ‘It looks so good …. It looks fake’
Security Guard: ‘It is .. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA’
Guy At Booth: ‘I assure you it is not fake, please move along Sir a line of about 40 people has formed behind you’
Here is a picture of the card …. You guys be the judge!!
1908 E98 Hans Wagner, PSA Gem Mint 10
There were some things I got to sneak off and see when Dave & Adam weren’t looking – I just wish I took pictures of it all!!
Hey look, it’s Mr. October Reggie Jackson
Michael Jordan/Scottie Pippen Dual Autographed Ball
Bernie Parent Game Used Glove from the Winter Classic, 1984
I also decided to give out a pair of awards at the show to a couple members of the crew. Some accomplishments just cannot go unnoticed.
Best Dressed – Tim, A.K.A ‘King of the Blasters’
Mike Johnson gets the Gold Medal for having the most times he left his room key inside the hotel room. Way to go MJ!!
Like all good things, they must come to an end. As Sunday began to wind down, the crew slowly packed up the remaining items and tables and put them on skids to head back home to Buffalo, NY.
The trucks now empty, the crew now tired and the crowds now gone; It was time to gas up the trucks for the long quiet drive home. The hard work was now a memory, but one that we will always have.
The 2012 National took 4 months to plan, 1 week to execute and a mere 7 hours to drive away from. We proved that with knowledgeable and like minded individuals a team of one can be formed to pull off a successful event that everyone can be proud of.
Everyone here at Dave & Adam’s would like to thank Mike Berkus, Topps, Panini, Upper Deck, Leaf, Historic Autographs, TriStar, In The Game, Press Pass, The Baltimore Hilton and the great City of Baltimore for a great show and an equally great time.
We will see in you Chicago for the 2013 National.
It sounds like it was a lot of fun. I can wait to go next year and see you guys!