8-Card Set Highlights The National’s Early Years

I love the National Sports Collectors Convention.  Its the show of all shows.  They don’t come any bigger and/or better.  I know its only February, but its never a bad time to talk about the National.

The 40th National Sports Collectors Convention will take place in Chicago this year 7/31-8/4.  I regret to inform you that I won’t be attending.  As much as I’d like to cover the show, see all of the cool stuff, and catch up with the awesome people, I don’t think its going to happen.  I’m from central PA, and its a good 12-hour drive to Chicago.  Flying is out of the question.  I want nothing to do with airports.  Atlantic City in 2020 seems like a better opportunity for me to get there.  If it was up to me, I’d have it in Cleveland every year.  That’s my all-time favorite location.

One of the most popular activities collectors like to participate in is going after promotional cards.  Every major manufacturer has something happening during the National.  Collectors (myself included) have been known to wait hours in line for those precious exclusive packs.

Today these promotional programs are all over the place.  That certainly hasn’t always been the case.  One of the earliest, if not the first promotional card set to be made for the National arrived in 1984.  The National got it’s start in 1980, and was held in the Los Angeles Airport Marriott Hotel.  By 1984, the show had grown and took place at the Aspen Hotel in Parsippany, NJ.  Only (8) cards are in this exclusive set.  They are Joe Collins, Willard Marshall, Larry Doby, Ed Lopat, Tom Gorman, Bud Harrelson, Bobby Thomson, and Gene Hermanski.  On the back of each card it states “5th Annual National Aug. 9-12, 1984” inside a black apple.  Beneath that it says “Sports Collectors Convention Aspen Hotel, Parsippany, NJ”.

I have a strong feeling those eight guys were the autograph signers for the National that year.  Back then that might have seemed like a lot.  Nowadays they’ll have eight signers all going at once, with a hundred more on the way.  “WE ARE NOW ACCEPTING ALL ACCESS VIP PLATINUM BADGES FOR RICKEY HENDERSON.”

Like a lot of cards from this point in time, they aren’t worth a lot.  You can easily find them for sale on the secondary market.  A complete set can be found for $10.  Its a neat snapshot of the National’s early years.

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