Cobb, Cochrane, & Crawford Are Among The National’s Earliest Promos

Back in February I blogged about an 8-card set that highlights the early years of the National Sports Collectors Convention.  That set is from the 5th NSCC which took place in 1984 at the Aspen Hotel in Parsippany, New Jersey.  At the time of that writing it was the earliest promotional set for the NSCC that I had ever seen.  Today that all changes.

A 32-card set recently popped-up on eBay, and seems to be from the 2nd National Sports Collectors Convention.  In 1981, the second NSCC was held in Detroit, Michigan at the Plymouth Hilton.  This simple 32-card set includes a nice selection of all-time great players from the Detroit Tigers.  Notable names include Ty Cobb, Mickey Cochrane, Hank Greenberg, Sam Crawford, and Charlie Gehringer.  The backs are all blank.

I can’t say how exactly these cards were distributed.  Back then they didn’t have the elaborate promotional programs like they do today.  Dealers may have only gotten them.  I say that because you don’t see these cards very often.  Then again, they could’ve been handed out at the door to everyone that walked in.  Either way, its an awesome historical set from what has turned into the best sports card and memorabilia show on the planet.

The 40th National Sports Collectors Convention will take place in Chicago at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center 7/31-8/4.

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These Are NOT Mike Schmidt Rookie Cards

Michael Jack Schmidt will go down in history as one of the greatest third baseman to ever play the game.  He is definitely the best third baseman to ever wear a Phillies uniform.  I enjoy listening to him talk with the rest of the Phillies broadcast team on weekend home games.

If you’re in the market for a Mike Schmidt rookie card, look no further than 1973 Topps BaseballIts card #615 in the set, and he’s pictured along side John Hilton and Ron Cey.  This card, and it’s Canadian printed O-Pee-Chee counterpart, are his only recognized rookies.

One of these days I plan to own a Schmidt rookie.  They’re readily available.  I just haven’t pulled the trigger yet.  I’d like to own a PSA 5, 6, or 7 example.  Cards graded higher start to get expensive.

Pictured below is a small group of Mike Schmidt rookie-era cards that are not officially recognized as true rookies.  That doesn’t mean they’re worthless.  In fact, most are very desirable.  But authentic rookies they are NOT.

My favorite one is the 1973 Topps Philadelphia Phillies Team Card #536.  Since his real rookie card has more than one person on it, I guess some people like to think the team card counts too.

1972 Puerto Rican League Sticker #64

1973 Philadelphia Phillies Team Issue Postcard – Early Season

1973 Philadelphia Phillies Team Issue Postcard – Late Season

1973 Topps Philadelphia Phillies Team Card #536

These Are NOT Tom Seaver Rookie Cards

Earlier this month it was announced by Tom Seaver’s family that he would be retiring from public life due to dementia.  That’s a shame.  For years he’s been a regular on the autograph circuit.  This 12x All-Star pitcher and 1992 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee will be greatly missed.  Thanks Tom Terrific!

Whenever I hear Tom Seaver’s name, I always think back to the first National Sports Collectors Convention that I attended in 2007.  While I was there, I pulled a Tom Seaver/Dwight Gooden/Roger Clemens Triple Auto Relic #’ed 1/1 from a pack of ’07 Triple Threads.

Tom Seaver has a ton of cards.  Autographs and relics of him are all over the place.  His one true rookie card comes from the 1967 Topps Baseball set.  Its card #581, and he is pictured along side fellow Mets pitcher Bill Denehy.  Along with Mickey Mantle and the Rod Carew rookie, its one of the most sought after cards in the set.

There are five Tom Seaver cards from that era which could easily be mistaken for his actual rookie.

1967 B&E Color Advertising New York Mets Postcard – Team Issue

1968 Topps All-Star Rookie #45 – Whenever that All-Star Rookie trophy shows up I sometimes think people believe its an actual rookie card.  In most cases, the player was a rookie the year before.

1968 O-Pee-Chee All-Star Rookie #45 – The same info from the 68 Topps applies, except this card was printed in Canada.

1968 Topps All-Star Rookie Milton Bradley #45 – The same info from the ’68 Topps applies, except the back of this card has a brighter color yellow.  Its part of a Milton Bradley board game called “Win A Card”.

1968 Topps All-Star Rookie Venezuelan #45 – The same info from the ’68 Topps applies.  This set was released in South America.  The cards were printed on gray stock, and have an orange tint.  Most of the cards say “Hecho en Venezulela – C. A. Litoven” on the back.  Tom Seaver’s card does not.

These Are NOT Mickey Mantle Rookie Cards

A big pet peeve of mine is when people refer to certain authentic cards as an athlete’s rookie card when in fact they’re NOT.  This happens all the time.  Some athletes are more prone to it than others.

One of the biggest, if not the biggest, athlete this applies to is Yankees slugger Mickey Mantle.  I know this may sound like common knowledge for most of us, but Mickey Mantle only has one rookie card.  Its card #253 in the 1951 Bowman Baseball set.  That’s it.  His one and only true rookie card.  No debate needed.

Countless reprints have been made over the decades.  But that isn’t what bothers me.  Three items from that era are constantly being called rookies, but truly aren’t.

Mickey Mantle’s 1952 Berk Ross card uses the same photograph found on his ’51 Bowman rookie.  Although there are some differences between the two, one could easily be mistaken for another.  The 1952 Berk Ross set consists of (72) cards.  I’ve never been a big fan of this set because the images are fuzzy and of poor quality.

Can you believe thousands of these 1952 Topps High Numbers cards were just tossed away in the ocean?  It happened.  They were part of a stash of old inventory that nobody wanted, and Topps dumped them.  You regularly see this classic called Mickey Mantle’s rookie.  Its his first Topps card, but a rookie it is not.

Technically not a card, this Mickey Mantle photograph is part of a Wheaties promotional set from 1951.  The promotion was not widely done, and did not receive the best feedback.  Still not a rookie card though.

Tickets For The 40th National Are Now On Sale

The National Sports Collectors Convention will celebrate it’s 40th anniversary this year.  40 years is a long time.  Just think about how many autograph guests, memorabilia, and cards have made their way through each show.  I’ll give you a hint.  Its a lot.

Every collector should experience at least one National in their lifetime.  Its the greatest show in the world.  I’ve attended seven of them starting in 2007.  Its an awesome opportunity to meet-up with industry insiders, get some autographs, and pull incredible cards.  Many of my big pulls have come at the National.  Lots of luck floating around.  Anything can happen.

In 2019, the National takes place 7/31-8/4 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont (Chicago), IL.  Tickets are now on sale.  General Admission and various VIP packages are available.  I highly recommend purchasing one of the VIP packages.  Each comes with a ton of free stuff.  TRISTAR will announce the autograph lineup in the coming months.

Onyx Authenticated will be in Chicago, and they’ve got shirts all ready to go.

BIG PULLS!!!  Only at the National.

Monty Sheldon & Piece of the Game’s Baseball Authenticated Masterpieces Are Coming This Spring

All good things are worth waiting for.  Originally scheduled to be released last November, Piece of the Game and Monty Sheldon’s Baseball Authenticated Masterpieces is now planned to go live near the end of March.

This is truly a unique product.  Only (15) cases will be produced.  Housed inside each case are (10) game-used, autographed, and hand-painted baseballs.  Monty Sheldon is the artistic genius behind all of the original artwork.  He’s been using baseballs as a medium for over twenty years.  You probably recognize his name from the various projects he’s worked on for Topps.  Some of his baseballs were even included in 2017 Topps Transcandent.

They went all out on the packaging too.  Every baseball comes packaged in an LED lit maple or ash wooden box.  Very high-end stuff.

(150) baseballs make up the entire set.  When it comes to the main player set, each player will have (6) baseballs – (3) portrait shots and (3) action shots.  There are also rookie balls, and dual signed hand-painted balls as well.

Somewhere within the (15) cases there will be a Babe Ruth authentic autographed, and hand-painted baseball.  We have yet to see this one, but I bet it will be really cool looking.

Wondering about documentation?  They’ve got you covered.  Each baseball comes with a hologram and serial number which will allow you to look-up in their database to see that specific baseball’s identity.  MLB Debut Balls, Triples, Doubles, Singles, RBI’s, Fouls, Pitch In Dirt, Record Breaking Hits, Playoff Hits, and Defense Play baseballs are all in here.

Cases have been allocated to Steel City Collectibles, Blowout Cards, Layton Sports Cards, GTS Distribution, and Ripping Wax.  A single case will run about $36,000.  Group break spots have been selling for about $3,600.  I’m really interested to see how these perform on the secondary market.

Updated Sales Sheet – Page 1, Page 2.

These Are NOT Jerry Rice Rookie Cards

“Montana connects with Rice.” and “Young throws to Rice.” are phrases that NFL fans from the 80’s and 90’s fondly remember hearing.  Jerry Rice will go down in history as one of the greatest wide receivers to ever play the game.  Heck, he was so good many consider him to be one of the best NFL players of all-time period.

Jerry Rice is another player who has one unanimously recognized rookie card.  That card comes from the classic green bordered 1986 Topps Football set.  It continues to be atop many of collector’s must-have lists.  Raw examples can be purchased for $20-$50 and under, while high-grade copies can run into the thousands.

Outside of his ’86 Topps rookie, there are a handful of other cards that people sometimes try and pass off as the main card you should have.  They’re authentic cards, but the untrained collector could easily be mislead.

Six different cards come to mind that fit this mold.  The first two are from ’87 Topps.  His 1,000 Yard Club and Receiving Leaders cards both commemorate accomplishments made the previous year.  Just because the card celebrates an event that took place the year his most recognized rookie comes from, doesn’t make it a rookie too.

1987 Topps 1,000 Yard Club #2

1987 Topps Receiving Leaders #228

Second, are four cards released by McDonald’s in 1986.  These could only be obtained at certain McDonald’s restaurants in the San Francisco area for about four weeks.  Each week during this promotion a different colored tab was offered.  Scratching off the tab would unveil a coupon offer.  Regionally issued cards like these often aren’t considered to be true rookies.

1986 McDonald’s 49ers Black Tab #80

1986 McDonald’s 49ers Blue Tab #80

1986 McDonald’s 49ers Gold Tab #80

1986 McDonald’s 49ers Green Tab #80