2016 National – Day #3

My third and final day of the 2016 National Sports Collectors Convention began at the Topps booth.  Topps moves people through fairly quickly and my wait time was well under an hour.  Out of the (5) promo packs my 2016 Bowman box got me, I pulled a Babe Ruth Gold Refractor #’ed/50.  When I first saw this promotion I was hoping to pull a Ruth.  From what I saw and heard, this specialized National Bowman Refractor Wrapper Redemption Program has been very successful.  Marty’s Sports Card Exchange was selling tons of 2016 Bowman and 2016 Topps Chrome Baseball boxes.  All of those qualified for the program.

Its best to eat lunch about an hour earlier than normal.  The food court can fill up fast around noon.  Once I finished browsing through my 2016 Bowman box I decided to eat.  Their personal pan pizza is quite good.

I decided to add a vintage bobblehead to my collection.  All of my bobbleheads are from the 2000’s and up, but I never owned an older one.  When it comes to vintage bobbleheads during the National, you want to visit this dude.  He has a few.  Within that large glass case I found some Phillies bobbleheads.  After a little negotiating, we reached a deal.  I’m bringing home a 1967 gold base Phillies bobblehead.  Its in great condition, and is the highlight of my collection.

I was able to score a free Upper Deck hat today.  While stopping in their booth to look at a Penn State autographed helmet, they saw me wearing my Topps hat.  Upper Deck wanted me to give up the Topps hat in return for the Upper Deck one.  That wasn’t going to happen.  Instead I gave the Upper Deck representative a Sports Card Info pin.  Lots of people got pins today, including Leaf’s CEO Brian Gray.

One of the last booths I stopped at was Jerzee Art.  The National isn’t always about cards, boxes, and promos.  Sometimes you’ll see innovators.  Jerzee Art is a new way to display your favorite jerseys without having to place them in a frame.  Framing can get expensive, and they plan to offer some unique alternatives.  Jerzee Art pieces look like statues you hang on the wall and place the jersey on.  They really do bring the jersey to life rather than having it lay flat in a frame.  Jerzee Art was created by Scott MacKenzie who had some prototypes on display.  He plans to have them for sale in the fall.

Tomorrow I’ll be heading home.  My sixth National was really fun.  Like I said before, once I’m home I’ll be posting what I pulled from the boxes I busted.  I might even post a picture of that vintage bobblehead I purchased.  Right now its heavily covered in bubble wrap.

Don’t forget to check out my coverage of Day #1 and Day #2 of the 2016 National.  Next year the National is in Chicago.  I won’t be attending.  Its going back to Cleveland in 2018 which I will be going to so far.

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Babe Ruth Single Signed OAL Baseball

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Jack Nicklaus Signed 1986 Masters Tournament Worn Golf Cleats

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Fidel Castro Vintage Single-Signed Cuban Baseball

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Wade Boggs waiting to sign autographs

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2016 National – Day #2

Day #2 of the 2016 National Sports Collectors Convention is in the books.  What a great show!  When the doors opened I went right over to the Topps booth to get in line so I could take part in their wrapper redemption program.  These specially designed 2016 Bowman refractors seem to be the most popular promotion this year.  Its the only promotion that looks to have the longest wait time.  Luckily I got an early spot in line and made it through in about 45 minutes.  Out of my promo packs I pulled some cool cards of great players.  There were (2) gold refractors #’ed/50, but the big “hit” was a Julio Urias autograph #’ed/30.  Before leaving the booth, I gave the Topps employee who was helping me rip through the packs a Sports Card Info pin.  He reached under the counter and handed me a Topps Pro Debut logo pin in return.  Pretty cool!  I didn’t even know Topps had those.

Upper Deck’s wrapper redemption program didn’t seem to be too busy at the time I stopped by their booth.  I decided to try a box of 2016 Goodwin Champions which got me (4) promo packs.  I’ve never pulled an autograph from an Upper Deck National pack… until today.  Out of the second pack popped out a Kevin Smith Prominent Cuts autograph with a “MALLRATS 2” inscription #’ed/25.  After I get home and organized I’ll go into more detail about what I pulled from all of these boxes.  My desk at home still has (4) unopened boxes I need to work through.  Be prepared for some box breaks coming down the road.

Memory Lane, Inc. is allowing fans to take pictures with a 1930’s Babe Ruth game used bat.  That thing is beyond awesome.  The notches on the bat are thought to have been made by Babe Ruth in order to keep track of his home runs.  The young lady working for Memory Lane, Inc. was very helpful.  They were making people wear gloves while holding the bat.  It makes perfect sense because a piece of memorabilia like that shouldn’t have people’s fingerprints all over it.  Given the amount of time it would take me to put the gloves on, it was just easier for her to hold the bat.  Thank you!

Tomorrow is my final day for attending the National this year.  I’m heading home on Saturday.  The Topps booth is #1 on my list once again.  Before leaving today, I picked up another box of 2016 Bowman.  I’d like to hand out more Sports Card Info pins, and take a look at some individual vendors.  Tons going on.

You can see my recap of Day #1 here.

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Mike Schmidt 1971 Ohio University Baseball Letterman’s Jacket

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Lots of vintage bobbleheads

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Satchell Paige 1949 Bowman RC #224 SGC Mint 9

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Booth attention getter 🙂

The 2016 National Has Begun!!!

I made it to the National!!!  This is the sixth one I’ve attended.  While picking up my media credentials I was greeted by Nate Berkus, one of the sons of National co-founder Mike Berkus who passed away last year.  He looked very familiar, and it turned out to be the same Nate Berkus who has been seen on T.V. a lot.  He is a really popular interior designer.  It was a fun little Easter egg to start off the National.

During the VIP Party sponsored by Topps, I was able to get former Phillies pitcher Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams to sign my bat.  Art Shamsky, Roy White, and Eddie Giacomin were also signing autographs.  Steve Garvey was suppose to be there, but canceled due to a family medical emergency.  The food is really good.  Convention center pizza is the best.  It doesn’t flop around which makes it easy to eat and look around at stuff.

The show opened at 3:30 p.m. for VIPs.  I handed out a bunch of Sports Card Info pins to various people.  Topps allows you to get your own card made right there on the spot.  Ultra-Pro gave me some free top loaders and penny sleeves which I needed to protect my card.

From what I can tell, Marty’s Sports Card Exchange has the best prices on wax boxes.  He usually does.  Before leaving for the night, I picked-up some packs and a box of 2016 Bowman Baseball to break at the Topps booth tomorrow.  Based on what I saw tonight, it looks like there will be a wait at the Topps booth in order to get your promo packs.  This is because they just can’t break the seal on a box and call it a day.  Topps needs to see each pack ripped open.  When you have people show up with cases, it can take awhile.  If they just broke the seal on a box, people could come back with the packs from the same box and double-dip.

It was a great start to the 2016 National.  Who knows what will happen tomorrow.

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Former Phillies pitcher Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams (left)

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Got my own Topps card made.  Its an extreme SP.

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Upper Deck Remembers NSCC Co-Founder Mike Berkus

With the passing of Mike Berkus (Co-Founder of the National Sports Collectors Convention) last year, it shouldn’t surprise you to see card companies recognizing him as we approach the next NSCC.  Back in May, Upper Deck mentioned they planned to remember him but didn’t say quite how… until now.

At first I thought Upper Deck might create a Mike Berkus commemorative Goodwin Champions card or something to hand out during the show.  Instead they did what Upper Deck does best and took it to a whole new level.  This past week, Upper Deck presented his family with a jumbo card of the late hobby icon that contains a piece of blazer he wore during the National.  You’ll also notice the piece was made to look like a card from Upper Deck’s A Piece Of History line of relics.

The official print run of these cards is unknown.  His family received many of them to give out to those people they think would like to own one.  Companies and individuals who are partners of the National Sports Collectors Convention are suppose to be getting one too.  Very cool!

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Topps Creates Special Bowman Chrome Refractors For The 2016 National Sports Collectors Convention

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The corporate area during the National Sports Collectors Convention is always a busy place.  At least that’s what I’ve experienced during the five Nationals I’ve attended.  Of all the companies setup, I think Topps is one of the better run and more active booths.

Topps knows how to do promotional cards the right way.  Creating special cards that can be integrated into an already successful existing product is the best way to go.  For the last few years, Topps stuck with making National-exclusive Allen & Ginter cards.  Before that, they also touched on special Gypsy QueenBowman Platinum, and Heritage cards too.  In 2010, I remember it being a battle to obtain that Stephen Strasburg National-exclusive Topps Heritage rookie.

Over on the Topps blog, they recently announced their wrapper redemption plans for the 2016 National.  They’re going with commemorative “National” refractors all designed to look like 2016 Bowman Chrome.  You can see the entire checklist here.  You’ll find plenty of young talent within this set, but prospects and rookies aren’t the only thing Topps included.  Current stars and retired legends are in here too.  Its uncommon to see someone like Babe Ruth in a set reserved for many players who haven’t even made their MLB debut yet.  Randomly inserted parallels and autographs will be found.

According to Topps, it sounds like a lot of the qualifying products for their wrapper redemption program will be some of the more affordable ones.  This way more collectors can participate.  But I bet if you walked over with a box of Bowman Inception or another high-end 2016 baseball product you’d still be eligible for some promo packs considering the cost is much more.  I’d ask before doing so though.

Mike Berkus Highlights Leaf’s 2016 National VIP Set

In addition to their wrapper redemption program, Leaf will provide VIPs with a 4-card set.  The set includes Tom Brady, Jack Eichel, Mariano Rivera, and National Sports Collectors Convention co-founder Mike Berkus.  Mike Berkus passed away last year, and it wouldn’t surprise me if we see more tributes to him from other companies.

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Major Giveaways Scheduled For The 2016 National

Although the odds of winning are very slim, it can’t hurt to enter some of the contests that will be held during the 2016 National Sports Collectors Convention.  This year in particular there seems to be some heavy prizes up for grabs that you might regret not registering for.  Most only require you to stop by their booth and fill out a short form providing them with your name, e-mail, and phone number.  As of this writing there are three companies holding some nice giveaways that you might want to check out – Baseball Card Roadshows, Wheatland Auction Services, and PSA.

Baseball Card Roadshows (corporate booth #632) will be giving away a Sandy Koufax 1955 Topps RC #123 graded by SGC an 84 (Near Mint 7).  Simply stop by their booth, fill out the entry form, and you’re done.  You don’t even need to be present to win.

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Wheatland Auction Services (corporate booth #’s 657 and 756) has a Muhammad Ali JSA authenticated signed print that you can win.  Stop by and fill out the entry form for your chance to win.

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PSA might take the cake when it comes to prizes this year.  Four lucky collectors will walk away with a Derek Jeter signed baseball, Joe DiMaggio signed check, Mickey Mantle signed photo, or Babe Ruth signed check.  You can enter during the show or on their website right now.  In addition to their on-site grading/authentication services, PSA also has some special giveaways for those who sign up for their Gold or Platinum Collectors Club.  Those people who sign up for the Collectors Club will receive a copy of the book The 100 Greatest Baseball Autographs.  You’ll even have a chance to get the authors to sign it.  Getting your book signed automatically enters you in a contest to win a Ted Williams signed photo.  While supplies last, new Collectors Club members will also receive a commemorative Ty Cobb Lucky 7 promo.  These will be limited to 777 copies.  PSA will be located at corporate booth #49.

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