Exclusive Roberto Clemente Card From Steel City Collectibles For National Attendees

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One of the top things to do while attending the National Sports Collectors Convention is bust boxes.  There are always plenty of dealers ready to provide you with your box breaking fix.  Among the dealers you’ll find is Steel City Collectibles out of McKeesport, PA.  And guess what?  They have a promo for this year’s National.  While supplies last, anyone who purchases a box from the Steel City Collectibles booth will receive a Roberto Clemente Beckett Sports Card Monthly cover card.  This card looks just like the cover to an issue of BSCM, and is a National exclusive.  Limited quantities will be available.

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Flashback Product of the Week: 1993 World Wide Collectibles, Inc. Pro Billiards Tour Set

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Billiard cards.  Really?  Freaking billiard cards.  You bet.  Back in 1993 World Wide Collectibles, Inc. issued this 132-card Pro Billiards Tour Set.  It only came in factory set form, no packs.  The set is broken down into four sections: Pro Billiards Tour, Challenge of Chammpions, Legends, and World Team Billiards.  One million sets in various languages were suppose to be produced, but only around 45,000 found their way out do to a printing problem.  The English version is all you can find, and each set is serial numbered out of a million.  You know overproduction is a problem when the manufacturer is trying to convince you that a million sets is a limited quantity.

In 1993 they retailed for about $25.00, but today you can easily pick up a set for much less.   It shouldn’t be a surprise that billiard cards aren’t that popular, at least  not as a standalone product.  Throwing billiard players into products like Allen & Ginter and Sportkings seems to be fine with collectors.

This product certainly won’t drain your “pockets”.

Interview with Jim Maser – The Pin Man

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(Right – Jim Maser – The Pin Man, Left – Dave, and me in the middle)
Pins are some of the most popular collectibles, especially when it comes to sporting events.  If you’ve attended an All-Star Game, World Series, or Super Bowl, its likely that you’ve run into Jim Maser a.k.a. The Pin Man.  I first met Jim and his brother Dave during the 2009 National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland.  I had never seen so many pins all in one place before.  Any pin collector would have a ball browsing through his inventory.
Recently I caught up with The Pin Man and he was nice enough to answer a few questions for the blog.  Be sure to check out The Pin Man on eBay.  He has a ton of great stuff.
  • How did you come to the decision to deal mainly with pins?

I got into selling pins by accident.  I discovered selling on eBay in 1998 and I bought a bag of pins at a swap meet and put them on eBay.  They all sold out so I got more and more and now I am the Pin Man.  I was also fortunate enough to be living in Southern California, which happened to be where three major pin makers are located.

  • Over the years, I’m sure you’ve seen a ton of cool pins.  What are some of the most interesting ones that you have owned?  Why did you find them interesting?

The most interesting pins that I had were prototype pins from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.  They were interesting because they were the prototypes of many of the pins that were sold in Atlanta.  I ended up selling all of them to a few Olympic pin collectors.

  • What is the best part of your job?

I love working for myself and being able to make sure that all of my customers are always satisfied no matter what I have to do to provide that satisfaction.  I also love sports and being involved in some of the major sports events throughout the year such as the All-Star Game, World Series, and Super Bowl.  I also love the hustle-bustle of working shows and meeting new people.  I have also made a lot of good friends (like you) through this business.

  • What are some of the most in demand pins collectors are after right now?

The most in demand pins right now are Packers and Super Bowl 45 champions pins.  Also in demand are press pins.  Unfortunately the NFL lockout is going to put an end to the demand for the NFL pins.  I am also going to have an exclusive Opening Day pin for the Colorado Rockies that will be in huge demand on April 1st when I am selling at Opening Day.

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  • Would you like to see pins integrated into trading cards somehow?

No I really don’t think that it works.  I believe that it has been tried by Score a few years ago and it just didn’t work.  I think the problem is that pins can’t be easily put in packs without the potential for damage to the cards.

  • Do you have a personal collection?  If so, what is in it?

I have a small personal collection.  I am originally from Detroit so I like to collect pins for the Tigers, Red Wings, Pistons and Lions.  I also collect pins from events that occurred in Detroit like the 2005 All-Star Game and Super Bowl 40.

Want to learn even more about The Pin Man?  Take a look at this article by Steve Stoler of WFAA-TV Dallas/Fort Worth.

There’s Just Something About Those Gold Collectibles Relics

Maybe I’m paranoid, but something just doesn’t sit right with me when I look at these “Game-Used Memorabilia” cards made by Gold Collectibles during the early 2000’s.  Lets face it, these gold cards don’t have a lot of demand in The Hobby and they barely sell for anything.  I saw a card like this at a show last November (sitting right next to an NSA card) and wondered how authentic these pieces could be.  A majority of the time you’ll find these cards graded, if you want to call it that, by PRO or WCG.  PRO and WCG don’t hold any credibility, and grade almost anything that comes through the door a 10.  Unlike NSA cards, these Gold Collectibles relics are on player checklists though.  There is just something about them I don’t trust.  I sure wouldn’t buy one if I was looking for an authentic relic.  I think we can all agree on one thing.  These things are UGLY!!!

What do you think?  Do they deserve to be in the same category as those NSA relics?

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2010 Las Vegas Sports Collectibles Industry Summit

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On April 11-14, 2010 the sports collectibles industry will be having its trade show/conference that usually takes place in Hawaii, but instead this year it will be in Las Vegas.  I’ve never attended this conference, but would really like to someday.  You get the chance to meet industry leaders and listen in on discussions about The Hobby.  Of coarse, just like The National, one of the biggest draws to this are the promos that many of the guests receive.  In the past, one of the most popular promos are the Black Boxes provided by Donruss/Playoff (Panini).  I purchased a Black Box a few years ago and inside were seven 1/1 printing plates, and two of them were autographed.  Black Boxes aren’t the only promos flying around either.  There are a ton of autograph and memorabilia cards for collectors to snatch up.  I e-mailed Kevin Isaacson who is one of the event hosts to see if they could let me know what kind of promos they plan to have this year.

Attending this conference isn’t like going to The National, for one thing it costs a lot more.  The early bird special is only $299.  For more information you can check out their website here.  Who knows?  Maybe someday Sports Card Info will be a sponsor too.

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This Manning autograph was a promo during the ’07 conference.

CC Collectibles Show With Bill Bergey

This morning I made the 40 minute drive to the Marysville Lions Club to attend one of the CC Collectibles shows.  The show was a little bigger than your standard mall show and I got to see some of the regular dealers.  Former Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagle’s linebacker Bill Bergey arrived around lunchtime to sign a few autographs.  They had a lot of Eagles memorabilia you could purchase for Bergey to sign, but I took along my football.  I think this was the last autograph on this football because its getting a little full.

It didn’t take long to look through many of the dealer’s tables.  I picked up the following singles for my personal collection:

  • Lynn Swann ’08 UD Premier Dual Jersey #’ed/65 – this was the first Swann relic I’ve seen in person.  Goes great with my old relic collection.
  • Christy Mathewson ’09 Topps Commemorative 1905 World Series Patch – I know its a manufactured patch, but I really like Mathewson cards and it looks cool.  I go by his college and grave everyday on my way to school.
  • J.A. Happ ’04 Bowman Chrome First Year – One dealer had an album full of Phillies cards.  As soon as I found this one I knew I had to have it.
  • Shane Victorino ’03 Bowman’s Best First Year – Another dealer had a huge stack of Victorino cards from 2003.  Even though he is in a Dodgers uniform I bought it.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many Victorino rookies at one dealer’s table in all my life.

I also purchased a box of ’09 Absolute Memorabilia Football from a dealer located in York, PA.  I pulled the following hits:

  • Shonn Greene Jersey/Ball/Jersey Auto #’ed/299
  • Jason Smith Jersey Auto #’ed/25
  • “Cadillac” Williams Prime Jersey/Shoe #’ed/50
  • Leon Washington/Jerricho Cotchery/Thomas Jones Triple Patch #’ed/25

Overall it was a decent show.  A lot of Phillies, Eagles, and Steelers stuff.  Another dealer had a box full of vintage graded cards going all the way back to the 30’s.  It was fun looking through all of those cards.  I give this show 3 hot dogs out of 5 (1=poor & 5=perfect).

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Bill Bergey has autographs in ’97 UD Legends, ’99 UD SP Signature, and ’04 UD Legends.

Historic Heisman Photo Sums Up The ’09 National

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Ron Dayne, Billy Sims, Eric Crouch, Gino Torretta, Jason White, Mike Rozier & Steve Owens

During the National we became good friends with Dave and Jim Maser who run THE PIN MAN.  They have pins for almost anything you can think of.  I purchased a bunch of Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Phillies, and various other pins from them including one that states the Tampa Bay Rays won the ’08 World Series.  Dave and Jim are from Colorado and attend shows all over the country.

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Dave and Jim are friends with Mary & Scott of Crescent Collectibles who were setup across from them.  Crescent Collectibles was able to go behind the TRISTAR curtains and obtain autographs for their shop.  Since Dave and Jim of THE PIN MAN know Crescent Collectible so well, they helped me get “backstage” too.  At first I thought I was going to meet Billy Sims and have him sign my football, but I got a whole lot more.  Mr. Sims signed my football and then called over six other Heisman Trophy winners who were back there signing stuff for TRISTAR.  They all came over to take a group photo.  This was a great way to end the 2009 National Sports Collectors Convention.