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My 2023 National Experience

I thought I'd share a bit about my 2023 National experience:

My Dad and I have attended six Nationals in Chicago and numerous Sun-Times shows over the past 20 years. It was always one thing that we looked forward to and the times that we spent together were always very special. We both live in Iowa and the drive was only about 3.5 hours to the show. He collected mostly Mantle, Maris, Aaron, Bench and Clemente in PSA 8s or 8.5s. I focus mostly on my 1956 Topps PSA graded set in 7 through 8 and a PSA graded unopened wax pack run from 1960-1991. Even though we collected two different things, we each shared a passion for what the other was doing and I would be the first to show him any new pickups, and he the same with me.

When we left the National in 2021, we were already talking about the National in 2023 and the things that we would be looking for and making guesses on what the market would be like. I also remember him telling me how this was this was his favorite day of the year and how much he appreciated our time together. I would have never thought that the 2021 National would be our last. My Dad passed away suddenly in December 2021 at the age of 67 and not only did I lose my father, but my best friend, and my best collecting buddy. I didn't even know if I wanted to go back to the National after his passing, but I figured he'd be p**sed at me if I didn't, so I made the trip.

I left Iowa on Thursday morning with the passenger seat empty for the first time in probably 20 years, but I spent the whole drive to Chicago thinking about the times that we had together. It definitely made me happy to think of all of those times.

I arrived at the show, and when I first started walking the floor, I had some sadness as we always walked the show floor together. The sadness was eventually replaced with being overwhelmed at the vastness of the show, the amount of people at the show, and of course the temperature! I was only there for the day on Thursday, and I didn't even come close to getting to all the tables, even with skipping over most of the tables that did not have graded vintage baseball or vintage unopened wax.

It was good to visit with some familiar faces at the show including Terry Brooks, Jeff and Dave Foy and at Card Country (my Dad's favorite table), and Mike C at the BBCE booth. My dad would always visit extensively with Dave Foy and he always cherished those conversations. I was able to spend some time with Dave at the show sharing some stories about my Dad and telling him how much he enjoyed those conversations.

I was happy with my pickups at the show. As I mentioned previously, I am working on a 1956 Topps set in PSA 7-8 focusing on centering and eye appeal even with the commons. It has been a set that I have been working on since 2010, so I am in year 13 and I have 289 of the 342 required cards, so I'm only down to 53....but probably still a couple of years away from completion.
I only picked up one card for my 1956 Topps set, but it was a biggie. This is probably the nicest 1956 Topps Hank Aaron that I have ever seen in this particular grade. I definitely paid a premium for it, but it was absolutely 100% worth every penny.

I also picked up a George Brett PSA8 rookie. My budget would not allow a PSA9, so I have always had my eye on getting a really nicely centered PSA8. I've been looking for a year or two, and I saw this one at the show. I took a look at, asked about the price, and said I would think about it. I walked about 10 feet away from the table and walked right back knowing that if I came back later and it was gone, I would regret it. So I got it. I was really pleased with it.

My last acquisition was from the same table that I got the Brett and was a tribute card to my Dad. Besides collecting Mantle, Maris, Aaron, Bench and Clemente, one player who he admired a lot but did not have any cards of was Thurman Munson. At the same table that I grabbed the Brett, I also picked up this 1975 Topps Mini PSA8. It just seemed like a card my Dad would like.

After the show was over, I attended a Vintage Wax and Packs Facebook group party within walking distance from the show. It was great to visit with other collectors that shared similar passions as I have. I left the party at about 830 and got back to IA at about midnight. I was really glad that I went to the show and party and hopefully someday I can start a new tradition with my boys (they are currently 8 and 4) at the show. In 2025, it will probably be another solo mission as they both currently have short attention spans, but it will be good to go and visit with friends that I have made and possibly new friends that I will make over the next two years. I'm sure my Dad was looking down on me on Thursday and was proud.

I also wanted to share the last two cards that my Dad picked up at the 2021 National. These will always have a special place in my heart.

Thanks for reading!


  • balco758balco758 Posts: 1,312 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Beautiful story and memories of your Dad.

    And goodness, what awesome cards! That Brett is a scorcher.

  • Bosox1976Bosox1976 Posts: 8,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The cards are great, and the memories are priceless.

  • stwainfanstwainfan Posts: 1,511 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Some great cards to go with a great national.

    I collect hall of fame rookie cards, https://www.instagram.com/stwainfan/

  • BBBrkrrBBBrkrr Posts: 945 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Awesome story, and these are the type things that make all this nonsense worth it. it's one thing to know the value of the cards but it's completely different when it provides so much other importance. Sorry for your loss, but also happy you were able to spend so much quality time together.

    That Aaron you picked up is amazing. Seems like your dad and I have very similar collecting goals, though I'm not a big Mantle guy.

  • mintonlyplsmintonlypls Posts: 1,737 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 22, 2023 11:58AM


    So sorry for your loss. It’s those memories that we will never lose.

    Very nice pickups at the National. The 1956 Aaron has great eye appeal and would grade a PSA-8 all day until recently when grading standards have very much tightened up.

    And...thanks for sharing your story!

  • IndianaJonesIndianaJones Posts: 346 ✭✭✭

    Hi, Jeremy. Thank you for sharing your heart, bro. I am very, very sorry for your terrible loss. You've conveyed many precious, personal memories that will always stay with you. You both have exceeding good taste when it comes to selecting cards with strong eye appeal. The picture registration and absence of any pesky print spots is a credit to your taste. Jeremy, your dad would have LOVED the 1975 Topps Mini Thurman Munson you bought in his memory.

    Your dad and I would have gotten along real well, as I also collect Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. I can no longer afford their career era cards, as I'm retired now and the money is just not there.

    I sure wish you the best towards completing your 1956 Topps baseball set. That is such a dynamite set. Your Hank Aaron acquisition is a honey! Well done. Anyways, thanks again for taking all that time to share your stories and photos. ---- Brian Powell

  • threeofsixthreeofsix Posts: 564 ✭✭✭✭


    Wow….I was so moved by your post that I wanted to thank you for taking the time to write it and for being so thoughtful in sharing it with your fellow collectors.

    It is always a pleasure for me to hear stories of sharing something so wonderful with your dad. I’m saddened by your loss, but I love the place it will hold forever in your heart.

    It is an amazing tribute!!!

    I’ve never been to the National, but I am already looking forward to hearing the continuation of the journey you began….

    Best of luck!!!

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one.
    Live long, and prosper.
  • Kid4hof03Kid4hof03 Posts: 1,821 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Jeremy, thanks for sharing those moments with us. My son and I started going to the National when he was 9. It was his idea, I'm not even sure how he heard about it, but he had just started collecting cards and asked if we could go to Baltimore for the National (only a 2 hour drive). I've collected since I was 6 and had only been to one National so I was all in. He's almost 23 now and we've only missed one National since that first one. Like your Dad, I look forward to those few days with my oldest every year. I thought the 2022 National in AC might be our last as he was getting married just a few months later, but in December he asked if I was ready to make our plans for Chicago. I hope you'll get to share this tradition with your boys, I can hear you telling them stories about going to the National with their Grandfather as you take the drive from Iowa.

    The cards are beautiful, incredible quality in each one.

    Collecting anything and everything relating to Roger Staubach
  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 11,207 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Touching story Jeremy, thanks for sharing it.
    Here's my feel good National story, nowhere near Jeremy's but pretty nice, I think;
    Was not really enjoying the show, air conditioning was not doing it's job and I wasn't finding any items to add to my collection.
    Struck up a conversation with a fellow and when he heard I was a Killebrew fan, he said he had some art he created years ago that I could just have at no charge.
    It arrived yesterday.

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • Mickey71Mickey71 Posts: 4,231 ✭✭✭✭

    Thank you for the wonderful write up of the show and the beautiful story/tribute to your father. Very sorry for your loss.
    Those are fantastic cards. You and your dad obviously have a great eye for quality. Take care.

  • 1951WheatiesPremium1951WheatiesPremium Posts: 6,242 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Tremendous post.

    Wonderful read.

    Thank you.

    All the best,


    Curious about the rare, mysterious and beautiful 1951 Wheaties Premium Photos?


  • grote15grote15 Posts: 29,510 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wow, that was a terrific recap and a fitting tribute to your dad. The Aaron and Brett cards are stunning!

    Collecting 1970s Topps baseball wax, rack and cello packs, as well as PCGS graded Half Cents, Large Cents, Two Cent pieces and Three Cent Silver pieces.
  • divecchiadivecchia Posts: 6,527 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Such a great story and awesome tribute to your dad. I'm sure your dad would is proud.

    Thanks for sharing such a heartwarming story.


    Hobbyist & Collector (not an investor).
    Donato's Complete US Type Set ---- Donato's Dansco 7070 Modified Type Set ---- Donato's Basic U.S. Coin Design Set

    Successful transactions: Shrub68 (Jim), MWallace (Mike)
  • brad31brad31 Posts: 2,552 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks for sharing the memories and cards. Cards were a family affair for us growing up. My brother and I still go together - one day for us and one for my nephews. While I miss my parents at the show - it always brings back great memories.

  • 19541954 Posts: 2,866 ✭✭✭

    Jeremy, thanks for sharing that incredibly moving story of your time with your dad. I love the cards that you picked up, especially the 1956 Topps Aaron. That Aaron is a beaut!

    Looking for high grade rookie cards and unopened boxes/cases
  • cpamikecpamike Posts: 5,561 ✭✭✭

    Beautiful recap Jeremy. I'm glad I was able to see you even if it was briefly. The 1963 Aaron and 1968 Bench are definitely worthy of the 8.5 grades, your dad had a great eye. While I walked the floor, I thought about your dad tagging along with you for those BBCE meetups we used to have as well as with Doug Canfield, Paul Howard aka wolfbear and Mike Buchala, three other collectors we lost too young. I think they are all happy knowing that we are continue to enjoy this great hobby of ours we shared with them. Looking forward to seeing you in 2025!

    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep."

    "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

    Any unopened Baseball cello and rack packs and boxes from the 1970's and early 1980s.
  • pab1969pab1969 Posts: 1,081 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hello Jeremy. Sorry for your painful loss. Even though I don't know you, I felt like I have known you for years after reading your great story. Phil

  • robert67robert67 Posts: 1,336 ✭✭✭✭
    edited August 27, 2023 5:15PM

    Very nice cards and a great tribute to your Dad.

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