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:

The 35th National: Day #3

Today was my last day for attending the 35th National Sports Collectors Convention.  The weekends can get quite crowded that’s why I usually stay for the first three days.  I had it set in my mind to get an autograph, open some more Topps and Upper Deck products, and get more promos today.  And I did just that.

I still have a sealed box of 2014 Topps Minis Baseball to break open.  Over the next several weeks I’ll be showing off what I pulled from the various packs and boxes that I purchased.

Here are the highlights from Day #3.

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While checking out the autograph lineup for the day, I ran into sports artist Monty Sheldon.  He’s known for his really cool painted artballs and sketch cards.  Monty Sheldon is also responsible for many of those 1/1 art/patch cards you find in Gypsy Queen.  It was really great to finally meet him in person.

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Jim Thome (far left) is one of 8 MLB players in history to hit over 600 career home runs.  I wanted to get his autograph on my bat ever since I saw he was coming.  TRISTAR was moving people through the line very fast.  He was already onto the next item when I tried to get a picture.

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Kenny Lofton

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Warren Sapp

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Wade Boggs

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At lunch time I opened one of my boxes of 2014 Allen & Ginter.  I still have to look through a lot before I show off the entire box break, but I did pull my first Rip Card.  Its of Freddie Freeman #’ed/75.  I haven’t ripped it… yet.

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Upper Deck was doing their wrapper redemption program again this morning at 10:25 a.m.  Today’s promos were of Michael Jordan, Roberto Osuna, Frank Thomas, Teddy Bridgewater, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and my Amazon.com card was of Reggie Jackson.

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To get my promo pack from Upper Deck today, I decided to open another pack of 2014 Upper Deck SP Game-Used Edition Golf.  Inside was a Michelle Wie Tour Gear Dual Shirt #’ed/35.  I also pulled a Victor Dubuisson First Tee Rookies Auto #’ed/199 redemption.

Michael Sam Mail Call

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Look what the mail man dropped off today.  Its my Michael Sam 2014 Press Pass Blue Ink Auto #’ed/50.  While supplies last Press Pass will send these out to collectors who mail in the UPC code off their box of 2014 Press Pass Football.  I’m not sure how they determine who gets one numbered to 10, 50, 99, or just the base.  It could be random or perhaps the earlier people to send in their code might get a lower numbered card.  I sent mine in about a week after the product was released.  It sure didn’t take long to arrive.

Upper Deck Unveils 2014 Industry Summit Promos Among All The Drama

The Industry Summit has been getting a lot of attention this year, and not for the right reasons.  Apparently In The Game and Leaf aren’t members of the cool club at school since they won’t be allowed to attend.  This has resulted in a law suit from Leaf, and Dr. Price of ITG has openly expressed his opinions to the world on this matter.  What do I think of this?  I think its garbage.  Every manufacturer involved within this hobby should be allowed to attend and voice their opinions.  Brian Gray of Leaf did take some shots at other companies during his speech last year, but that’s no reason to block him out.  If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.  Why ITG isn’t allowed to attend is a complete mystery to me.  Both licensed and non-licensed manufacturers have the right to be there.  Don’t change the rules mid-game and say non-licensed manufacturers can’t go.  Onyx Authenticated and Press Pass are on the list of attendees, and they issue non-licensed products all the time.  Its all just excuses covering up the truth.  Bullies afraid they might lose something.

Whatever your opinion is on the whole Industry Summit thing, you have to admit what manufacturers are allowed to come give away some great stuff.  I’d go as far to say that their promos are better than the stuff you’d get during the National Sports Collectors Convention.  They should be considering all the money these dealers spend on their products each year.  Plus they can help offset the costs of attending.  With the Industry Summit just a few weeks away, I thought we’d be seeing more promo previews of what attendees might find.  But so far we haven’t see too much.

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With Upper Deck celebrating their 25th anniversary, you can expect them to be giving away all types of promos throughout the year.  Especially during the Industry Summit and NSCC.  Upper Deck plans to give out 25th anniversary autograph, dual autograph, and quad autograph cards randomly to Upper Deck Certified Diamond Dealers during the 2014 Industry Summit.  What else is coming has yet to be seen.  If you get your hands on one of the above cards, there is a good chance you might forget all the drama surrounding this year’s Industry Summit.  I know I would.  Hopefully we get to see some more promos before the Industry Summit starts.

Press Pass Announces Michael Sam Autograph Promotion

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Unlicensed and pre-draft football products need to do everything they can to garner enough attention before all the other stuff comes out.  For those collectors planning to open 2014 Press Pass Football which releases on March 5, be sure to save the UPC code off the box.  While supplies last, collectors who send in the UPC code off their box of 2014 Press Pass Football will receive a free Michael Sam Press Pass Signings autograph.

To claim your free autograph, send the UPC code along with a hand printed  3″ x 5″ card containing your name, complete address, and e-mail address in an envelope to:

Press Pass Rookie Football 2014 – Michael Sam
9805 NorthCross Center Ct, Suite H
Huntersville, NC 28078

Only one card per envelope mailed separately, while supplies last.  No metered mail.  Limit 1 request per household.  Failure to comply will result in your entry being disqualified.  Only persons receiving a free autograph will be notified.

I’m all for any type of promotion that can get you a free card.  This is purely so they will sell more boxes, and there is nothing wrong with that.  (Que the patriotic music)

ITG Attempting To Bridge The Gap Between Sticker and On-Card Autographs

Ah!  The classic battle between sticker and on-card autographs.  It will go down as one of the biggest debates among collectors for centuries.  Both sides have their positives and negatives.  On-card autographs may be more eye appealing, but you may have to send away for it via redemption and who knows when or if you’ll ever see it.  Sticker autographs might not look quite as nice, but its better to have something in hand versus sitting back and waiting for it to show up.  Finding a happy medium hasn’t been easy.

In The Game is taking another stab at baseball with Past, Present, and Future slated to be released in late March.  At the present time, not too much is known about the product’s configuration, but Dr. Price does give collectors a little glimpse of what you’ll be able to pull.

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With Past, Present, and Future, Dr. Price is trying to settle the whole sticker vs. on-card autograph battle.  When looking at these pictures, the autographs seem to be on giant clear stickers.  In reality that’s not the case.  The signatures are directly on the card.  It looks as if In The Game is getting the signers to autograph a portion of the card (about the size of a sticker) and then inserting that missing piece into the rest of the card.  Works just like a puzzle.  They kinda remind me of a camouflaged cut signature.

Collectors have sorta seen this done before.  Upper Deck tried this with 2005 UD Exquisite Football, but the signed pieces don’t blend into the rest of the card like ITG’s do.  Its refreshing to see someone at least trying to bridge the gap between sticker and on-card autographs.

I wonder if anyone has ever gotten players to sign blank stock and then designed the card around the signature?