Spikes vs. Black Bears – Ki-Jana Carter Bobblehead Night & Autograph Signing

Last Sunday, the 2018 National Sports Collectors Convention came to an end.  But I’m still going.  This show must go on!!!

On Friday night I attended my fourth and final minor league game of the summer.  The game took place in State College, PA between the Spikes and the West Virginia Black Bears.  The Spikes went on to lose 3-2.  A local Shikellamy High School graduate, Nick Dunn, was recently drafted by the Cardinals and plays for the Spikes right now.  I got to see him score.  I suspect he’ll get his first cards in Bowman Draft later this year.

There were two reasons why I wanted to attend this game.  The main objective was to be one of the first 1,000 fans through the gate so I could obtain my Ki-Jana Carter bobblehead.  The former Penn State running back and 1994 All-American was also in attendance.  Before the game started he was down on the field giving interviews, throwing out the first pitch, and handing out additional bobbleheads to fans.  Shortly after the game began, the Spikes had a table setup for him down the first base line.  Once he started signing, the line moved fairly quickly.  I got him to autograph my Rawlings black/gold Penn State football.  Everyone was allowed (1) autograph and (1) photo.  This was the first time I had ever participated in an autograph signing during a baseball game.  It went very smoothly.

Ki-Jana Carter was the Round #1 Pick #1 in the 1995 NFL Draft.  He went on to play for the Bengals, Redskins, Packers, and Saints.  For the price of a ticket, I got a bobblehead, autograph, and photo.  Not too bad.

Penn State running back and 1994 All-American Ki-Jana Carter

Nookie Monster!

State College Spikes second baseman Nick Dunn

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How To Spot A Fake 1999 Upper Deck SP Signature Edition Dan Marino Autograph

Dan Marino is no stranger when it comes to counterfeit cards.  His 1984 Topps rookie has been heavily faked over the years.  So much in fact its not safe to purchase one raw.  You’re safer buying one that’s been graded and/or authenticated.  I’m not saying fakes don’t get by them, but it can drastically reduce the odds of owning one that isn’t real.

Rookies aren’t the only cards of his that get counterfeited.  Autographs from popular sets are also in danger.  Take for example this 1999 Upper Deck SP Signature Edition Autograph.  Cards from this set are highly sought after.  Especially big name players like Dan Marino.  Every 12-pack box featured an on-card autograph inside each pack.  Still a relatively new concept at the time.  This is also one of the earliest brands to introduce cut signatures.  Sealed boxes command major dollars today.  The asking price for a single sealed box is usually around $1,000.

Adding a Dan Marino autograph from this set to your collection is a great choice.  But you need to be extremely careful.  Over the last few years counterfeits have flooded the market.  When compared to authentic versions, the counterfeits usually have these characteristics:

  • Slightly smaller in size
  • Blurred lettering and logos
  • Completely glossy – authentic cards have a matte background, and just the player is glossy
  • Incorrect coloring

Another big giveaway is the autograph.  Of the counterfeits I’ve seen, the autograph looks nothing like the real thing.  There are lots of discrepancies.  Dan Marino almost always includes the #13 in his signature.  These forgers didn’t even do that.  Plus the pen they used looks to be much thicker.

For a detailed side-by-side comparison, check out this post over on the Blowout Cards Forums.

Fake

Authentic

Harrisburg Sports Card Show – February 18, 2017

It has been a long time since I’ve attended a classic shopping mall sports card show.  There has been a steady stream of them around, but none really worth going to.  On the Thursday night news during the sports segment, I overheard them state that there would be a show at the Harrisburg Mall February 17-19.  In addition to that, they also mentioned some Pittsburgh Steelers were scheduled to sign autographs.  This definitely sounded like a show worth checking out.

The Harrisburg Sports Card Show is put on by show promoter Carl Hisiro.  Autograph guests for the weekend included three Steelers – Jesse James, Stephon Tuitt, and Sean Davis.  Former Eagles wide receiver Vince Papale was also on the list to sign.  I decided to take my black/gold Penn State football and get Jesse James to autograph it.  I think it turned out really well.  By the looks of it, I bet they sold at least (200) tickets just for Jesse James.  That number might be low.  It makes perfect sense for a lot of collectors to want him given that he is a Steeler and went to Penn State.  The line moved fairly quickly as they called by ticket number.  I was #114.  While I was there, everything seemed to be running very smoothly.  It didn’t take long to get a ticket, they had merchandise you could buy to get signed, and Jesse James arrived right on time.

As for the card show portion, I’d say there were (20-25) dealers.  I didn’t see that many selling new sealed hobby boxes.  One dealer had a truckload of retail boxes though.  A good mix of vintage and new single cards could be seen.  One dealer had a few Harry Kalas bobbleheads, but I already owned them.  The one card I did inquire about was a Mike Schmidt 2001 Topps Archives Rookie Reprint Bat Relic.  There was no visible price on it, but the card was in a case with other cards listed for $10-$20.  After asking the dealer how much it cost, I found out there was a $50 price written on the back.  The lowest they would go was $40.  Well overpriced.

Overall it was a decent show.  The autograph guests are what caught my attention.  This takes me back to when I first started collecting, and met Scott Rolen at a mall show in 1996-97.

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Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James

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Brandon Crawford Is First 2016 Topps Now Autograph

 photo 16toppsnowauto2_zpsmq5dueb5.jpgTopps Now is one of the coolest innovations that Topps has come out with recently.  Its gained national coverage and that’s always good for the industry.  Having cards made on the spot to commemorate special events has been at the core of their digital products, but Topps Now carries that over into the physical card realm.  After watching the Phillies have a terrible season last year, I wasn’t expecting them to have any Topps Now cards for 2016.  They’ve actually been doing much better compared to 2015, and have had three moments worthy of Topps Now cards.  I know its early in the season, but that Cameron Rupp game winning out at home plate Topps Now card will probably be one of the greatest action shots in the set.  Topps Now is just overall really cool.  Especially when they offer up a card of a player who doesn’t have any rookies in other products.  It can create some fun situations.

Special inserts, parallels, autographs, and relics were not part of the Topps Now program at first.  That seems to have changed at least when it comes to the autographs.  Rockledge Breaks posted a picture of this Brandon Crawford Topps Now autograph he received with his latest order.  To commemorate the 100th Topps Now card, Topps got Brandon Crawford to sign ten of them.  They look to have been randomly distributed.  Although, a few lucky people that did receive an autograph have said that they have been purchasing large quantities of Topps Now cards.  So they might have gone to big buyers.  It sure is a nice little surprise that Topps didn’t announce.

Now when you purchase that Topps Now card, you can think there is a slight chance it could be autographed.  I’m betting collectors will keep this in mind when the 200th Topps Now card rolls around.

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Card of the Day: Stephen Curry 2009-10 Upper Deck Exquisite Rookie Autograph

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The 36th Ephrata Lions Club Sports Card Show

One of the longest running sports card shows in my area is held once a year by the Ephrata Lions Club.  Its held for one day at the Ephrata Rec Center, and they always have an autograph guest.  This was their 36th annual show, and the signer was former Phillies HOF pitcher Steve Carlton.  About 40-50 dealers were setup, and they had many items for their live auction.

The show opened to the public at 8:30 am.  I left around 6:15 am in the middle of a minor unexpected snowstorm.  On the way I passed six car accidents due to the snow.  Luckily none of them slowed down traffic when I was going by.  I arrived at 8:15 am and quickly got in line.  Once the show opened the line moved very quickly.  Inside the show you needed to purchase autograph tickets for Steve Carlton.  The Ephrata Lions Club was only selling 300 tickets, and they went like hotcakes.  After the autograph tickets were obtained, it was time to dive into the show.

During this particular show I was on the lookout for Harry Kalas stuff, bobbleheads, pins, and some 2015 wax to bust.  At first glance I didn’t see too much wax.  The only boxes I saw were some 2015 Topps Series 12015 Topps Opening Day, and 2015 Topps Heritage.  Those products are great, but have way too many base cards for my taste.  My usual wax dealer wasn’t there, but then I came across VSM Sports Card Outlet.  This was the second time I’ve seen VSM Sports Card Outlet at this show.  I purchased a Harry Kalas UD Sweet Spot Auto from them last year.  In addition to some very high-end singles, they also had boxes just fit for me.  I ended up buying three boxes from them – (2) 2015 Leaf Metal Draft Football, and (1) 2015 Upper Deck Inscriptions Football.  I’ll be posting what I pulled from those boxes later, but lets just say I got some fantastic cards 🙂

While walking around a little more I found a 2009 World Series Phillies vs. Yankees pin, and a Reading Phillies Crazy Hot Dog Vendor bobblehead.  I ran into a lot of people I knew too.  That includes the owner of the first card shop I ever went to back in 1997.  I hadn’t seen him in over twelve years.

Overall, it was a great show.  I can see why its been around for thirty-six years.  Now check out the photos.

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Phillies HOF pitcher Steve Carlton

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Reading Phillies Crazy Hot Dog Vendor bobblehead.  He has to be one of the coolest mascots in all of sports.  Its a hot dog vendor riding an ostrich.  These all came unpainted as you’re suppose to paint them yourself.  I’m leaving mine like this.

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THE SHOW!!!

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THE SHOW!!!

Hall Of Fame Pitcher Steve Carlton Set To Sign For Annual Ephrata Lions Club Show

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The Ephrata Lions Club has been holding their annual sports card show for over 35 years.  They always have a ton of Phillies stuff and bring in a decent autograph signer.  The next show will take place on Saturday, March 28, 2015.  Former Phillies pitcher and Hall of Famer Steve Carlton will be signing autographs.  Additional details can be found on their website.

Last year I was able to find a Harry Kalas card I needed for my collection.  This is one of the last remaining card shows worth attending in my area.  I’ve been going since the 90’s.

Here are some of the past shows I’ve attended: