The late 80’s and early 90’s was a great time to be in the sports memorabilia business. It was huge! Today it has pulled back quite a bit from where it once was. Smokey’s Baseball Card Shop opened in 1987 on the Las Vegas Strip across from the Aladdin Hotel & Casino. It was all started by Smokey Scheinman and his brother Duke. At one time or another they had at least four stores going.
I don’t believe Smokey’s is still in business. If they are, they probably changed their name. Smokey’s got caught up in the whole Operation Bullpen thing. They were caught selling tons of fake merchandise. Tony Gwynn actually played a role in Operation Bullpen to help identify counterfeit memorabilia that Smokey’s was knowingly selling. Some of the individuals involved served prison time. If they are still around, I sure wouldn’t buy anything from them.
When Smokey’s was in business, they made various promos for the National and even issued their own hockey set during the early 90’s. That hockey set is considered by many to be one of the worst ever made for all kinds of reasons. It was issued under the Ultimate brand. Packs included Instant Win cards. This is where you had the chance to win items such as calendars, posters, and autographed sets. I’m sure those autographs were real 😉