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Is Dallas Card Show Worth the Hype?

Amongst the landscape of national US card shows, one of the stalwarts over the last decade has been the Dallas Card Show. With multiple shows throughout the year, vendors and collectors around Texas and beyond flock to the 700+ table event in Allen, Texas at the Marriott Dallas Allen Hotel and Convention Center. After attending our first Dallas Card Show as vendors in the summer of 2023, it quickly became one of our favorite destination card shows. We recently attended our third DCS as vendors from March 14th to the 17th, so what makes this such an in-demand show?

The activity begins on Thursday with vendor set-up earlier in the afternoon and early access starting at 4:00pm. There are three options for entry: VIP All Access for $90, VIP Access for $35, and General Admission at $15 per day for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Day one on Thursday allowed VIP All Access badges to enter at 4:00pm, and VIP began entering at 6:00pm until the show closed for the day at 9:00pm. On Friday, day two began with VIP All Access entry at 9:00am, VIP at 12:00pm, and general admission at 2:00pm until closing at 8:00pm. The third day of the Dallas Card Show is a big one with entry starting at 9:00am for VIP All Access, 9:30am for VIP and general admission, and closing at 6:00pm for the official trade night to begin at 6:00pm and going until 2:00am. On Sunday, the final day, VIP All Access entry begins at 9:00am, VIP and general admission at 9:30am, and the show wraps up at 4:00pm. If you are interested in setting up as a vendor, one eight foot table costs $400 for the weekend and display showcases are available for rental at $50 apiece. The tables include a tablecloth and two cushioned metal chairs, and each block of tables has a garbage bin that is emptied throughout the day by a maintenance worker. The vendor application is available on their website, as well as the option to purchase a display showcase rental, but table locations are assigned and not selected by the vendor. The showrunners’ contact information is readily available if you need to get in touch with them with any questions or concerns. 

Hosting the Dallas Card Show at the Marriott Dallas Allen Hotel and Convention Center is incredibly convenient and effective if you are traveling from out of town and need accommodations. The convention center is attached to the hotel, so as a hotel guest the commute to the show cannot be beat: take the elevator to the first floor, walk through the lobby and turn left for the hall leading to the Starlight Ballroom or straight down the main corridor for the main show floor. The DCS has a group rate discount when you book through their website, and the May 2024 price is $155 per night. The hotel is pet friendly and there is an attached parking garage, though both of these amenities do carry additional fees. The hotel dining options are Canyon Bar and Grill, open from 11:00am-11:00pm every day; Canyon Texas Kitchen for breakfast Monday-Friday from 6:30-10:30am and Saturday-Sunday from 7:00-11:00am; and an extremely convenient grab-and-go in the lobby with drinks and snacks available around the clock. During show hours there are usually some food trucks at the front entrance drop off area as well. If you want different sit down options or shopping selections, crossing W Bethany Road to Watters Creek Village may seem daunting, but the crosswalk is well lit and does not force pedestrians to rush. The hotel is approximately a 30 minute car ride from the airport and approximately 40 minutes to downtown Dallas if you want to catch a Dallas Stars hockey or Mavericks basketball game. 

For such a massive show, in our experience it is an incredibly well-run function. There are a lot of repeat vendors spanning across the massive convention hall, Starlight Ballroom, and the smaller accompanying spaces, and Beckett offers on site grading services in the Sunrise room just outside the main floor entrance. We submitted a handful of cards for on-site grading at $150 apiece to be ready by the end of Sunday and the service was excellent. The overall corporate presence is much less overwhelming than National, but among the notable names present are SGC, Heritage Auctions, and Goldin. The temperature of the room is usually very comfortable, but when the room is packed it of course does get a little warm. We have been positioned towards the back of the room and there are a lot of doors that exit to the outside, so in the summer the outdoor heat does seep in throughout the day, especially if multiple people are coming and going through those doors. I personally wish those back doors were utilized less casually, but the overall safety of the event is notable. There are officers present throughout the show, in the lobby, and at the two main entrances to the hotel. 

The selection of products being sold by vendors is vast, with TCG, sports, non-sports, vintage, modern, graded, dollar boxes, comics, and varieties of unopened wax. We like to open wax after spending all day at the show, and the selection is not as broad as at National, but there were quite a few non-sports products we enjoyed opening as we settled in for the evening. There are also card case vendors, artists, jerseys, and other memorabilia sellers located throughout the show. The show is always busy, though Friday and Saturday tend to be the most active. Though the space can become a little crowded in certain aisles and overwhelming as a collector, the smaller rooms and various places to sit and take a break really helps when trying to maintain your energy throughout the day. Since we were staying at the hotel and are part of their rewards program we were able to access the WiFi, though supplemental power and internet services are available upon request as a vendor. Our WiFi service was good but not always consistent, though our cellular service was mostly stable as a backup. Dallas Card Show does not have panels or discussions at their show, but they do have signers that are announced on their website and social media. Usually the autograph guests are athletes with Texan roots, but not exclusively; they have also had comic book artists, actors, as well as athletes from many different sports and cities. 

The official trade night on Saturday is scheduled to begin at 6:00pm once the show officially closes for the day, but the buzz usually starts much earlier in the afternoon. The hotel sets up tables throughout the lobby and halls that are available on a first-come-first-serve basis, so be sure to get there early if you want to snag a seat and a table. The trade night is always packed and lively, but the lobby restaurant being open until 11:00pm does allow for a reprieve from the high energy if needed. While everyone I spoke to had a great time at trade night, I heard from multiple people that some of those set up were high and inflexible on their pricing. That is not always the case, and deals were still made, but it is worth noting that multiple people found the high and rigid pricing to be significant. Having the trade night in such close physical proximity is really brilliant, as vendors and collectors from the show floor are able to either continue their hobby journey or pack it in for the day. The choice to stay or go can be impulsive and does not require a large amount of planning or coordination with friends, colleagues, and transport, and if you are staying in the hotel or just running across the street for a meal, you can very easily return to the scene. Of course every night there were informal/impromptu trade nights set up in the restaurant or lobby of the hotel, but the official trade night on Saturday is always a highly sought after experience, especially for vendors looking for deals on the other side of the table. 

There are so many reasons we return to the Dallas Card Show, but one of the main reasons are the crowds and collectors in attendance. Overall, we have found Dallas to have some of the friendliest and most conversational people in attendance. Vendors will bring snacks and drinks to share with each other even if they have never met you before, and the sense of community is very strong at DCS. From a vendor perspective, Bryan has had some of his best transactions occur at the Dallas Card Show: he estimated about a 55-60% sell/trade turnover from our March 2024 stint. Even if a sale or trade does not work out, the majority of collectors we encounter at this show are a joy to meet and interact with. 

Is Dallas Card Show worth the hype? We absolutely think so. The organization, the frequency, the location, the content-it all adds up to an excellent show. If you are looking for something specific or for something you have never seen before, it is likely you may encounter whatever you are seeking at DCS. If you do not find what you are looking for, then you will still likely meet someone that will become a valued piece of your collecting journey. The Dallas Card Show team has also introduced a newer show, Investabilia, focused more on comics and collectibles beyond sports cards with the next show occurring April 12th-14th at the same location. If you want to check out the Dallas Card Show, the schedule for the remainder of 2024 is May 16th-19th, July 4th-7th, September 5th-8th, and October 31st-November 3rd. You will likely see us there!

This is not a paid, promotional, or sponsored post. Dallas Card Show and any affiliated persons or entities did not contribute to or fund this article. 


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