Pin Highlight: 39th National Sports Collectors Convention

Its no secret that I had a great time while attending the National Sports Collectors Convention this year.  I’ll be talking about it forever.  Sports Card Info pin/t-shirt, Topps hat, and pulling a Babe Ruth/Shohei Ohtani dual relic #’ed 1/1.  All while surrounded by some of the most museum quality sports memorabilia known to man.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

I was very happy to see the NSCC selling show-branded merchandise.  Its been a long time since we’ve had stuff with the show’s name on it.  This past year they went all out.  Five different types of t-shirts, poster, and a pin.  Some of this could only be purchased online or in person at the show.

When I saw they had a pin, I needed to pick one up.  Pins were a regular thing they sold for awhile, but then stopped.  Show-exclusive bobbleheads should be next.

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More Photos From The 2018 National + Cool Idea!

I can only speak for myself, but the 2018 National Sports Collectors Convention has got to be one of the best shows I’ve ever attended.  According to the National, it had the best attendance they’ve seen in the last twelve years.  PSA also mentioned that they had a record number of submissions during the show too.  Records were being broken all over the place.  It was quite the spectacle to see.

Cleveland continues to be my favorite location.  I’ve been to seven Nationals, and four of them have been at the I-X Center.  Its easy to get to, not in the city, and I usually can park near the entrance.  The National takes place in Chicago at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center next year July 31 to August 4, 2019.  As much as I enjoy the National, I don’t plan on going to Chicago.  I hate to miss it, but I do not enjoy the process of flying or driving twelve hours.  The next National I’m looking to attend is in Atlantic City in 2020.  I was there in 2016, and things worked out fairly well.  Given the attendance seen this year, once the Atlantic City show is over I wouldn’t be surprised if it just alternates between Chicago and Cleveland for awhile.

In my opinion, Leaf and Topps had the superior wrapper redemption programs.  I did nothing with Upper Deck or Panini.  Topps does a nice job with their exclusive Bowman Chrome refractors.  Leaf had a huge hit with their 2018 In The Game Used Sports boxes.  At the show, these were selling for $160-$165 per box.  Now they go for $270.  The Leaf Originals Metal promos that you’d receive for opening boxes at their booth have also gained a lot of traction on the secondary market.

I have a cool idea.  Wouldn’t it be fun to see a remote controlled blimp flying around the National?  I’ve seen them before at hockey games randomly dropping coupons.  It could fly over the crowd and drop packs to sports collectors below.  Each day a different manufacturer could sponsor the packs being dropped.  Who wouldn’t want some exclusive blimp parallels?  How about mounting a camera on it too?  I bet it would even have it’s own Twitter account.  I can see this idea really “taking off”.

Although the National has been over for a month, I’d like to share some photos I didn’t post on my Day #1Day #2, and Day #3 coverage.  There are a few aerial shots.  Pictures like that always remind me of Where’s Waldo.  You never know what you might see.  Who knows?  You could be in there.

Bill Belichick 2002 Super Bowl XXXVI Game-Worn Headset.  You can hear everything with this.  I mean EVERYTHING.

Rob Bertrand of Go GTS Live handing out prizes.

Behind the TRISTAR curtain.

Leaf Booth Finds During The 2018 National

To celebrate their 70th anniversary, Leaf created a set of 2018 Leaf Originals Metal cards that were handed out during the National Sports Collectors Convention.  I opened a few boxes of 2018 Leaf In The Game Used Sports at their booth, and got the pull of a lifetime.  I also walked away from the Leaf booth with a nice stack of these promos that pay tribute to the original 1948 Leaf set.  They cover a wide variety of sports, and come in all sorts of colors.  I like the simple design combined with chrome technology.  Leaf is very underrated, and produces some nice looking products.

Look at what I got!

  • Liangelo Ball Red #’ed/3
  • Anfernee Simons Red #’ed/3
  • Greg Maddux Green #’ed/5
  • Errol Spence Jr. Black #’ed/7
  • Gordie Howe Black #’ed/7
  • Derrius Guice Black #’ed/7
  • Earl Campbell Pink #’ed/10
  • Dennis Rodman Pink #’ed/10
  • Chloe Kim Purple #’ed/15
  • Shohei Ohtani Purple #’ed/15
  • Kyle Kuzma Purple #’ed/15
  • Jerry Rice Purple #’ed/15
  • Stephen Curry Blue #’ed/20
  • Pete Rose Blue #’ed/20
  • Josh Rosen Blue #’ed/20
  • Whitey Ford Blue #’ed/20
  • Josh Rosen
  • Lamelo Ball
  • Magic Johnson
  • Cal Ripken Jr.

Leaf sold Babe Ruth Yankee Stadium seat relics at their booth too.  Each is stamped commemorating the 2018 National.  The photos used for these remind me a lot of their 2017 Babe Ruth Immortal Collection.  I chose the one picturing Babe Ruth in a tuxedo signing what looks to be a series of baseball bats.  Where do you think those bats are today?

If you weren’t able to attend, be sure to checkout my Day #1Day #2, and Day #3 coverage.

(2) 2018 NSCC Topps Wrapper Redemption Pack Break

Upon taking my box of Museum Collection to the Topps booth during the 2018 National, I received (2) wrapper redemption packs in return.  Inside each pack are (4) exclusive Bowman Chrome cards.  Parallels and autographs could also be found.  Although I didn’t get any autographs, I did pull two nice parallels.  Take a look!

If you weren’t able to attend, be sure to checkout my Day #1Day #2, and Day #3 coverage.

Parallels

  • Michael Kopech Red Refractor #’ed/5
  • Walker Buehler RC Orange Refractor #’ed/25

Base

  • Rhys Hoskins RC
  • Shohei Ohtani RC
  • Joey Votto
  • Nick Senzel
  • Noah Syndergaard
  • Bryce Harper

The 2018 National – Day #3

My third and final day of the 2018 National Sports Collectors Convention has come to an end.  I spent most of it browsing the show floor and taking pictures of all the amazing items.

The first stop I made was to Chicagoland Sports Cards where I had them open a new case of 2018 Leaf In The Game Used Sports.  I chose the box on the upper left corner.  Boy did I pick a good one.  One of my hits is a Babe Ruth/Shohei Ohtani dual relic #’ed 1/1!!!  Like I mentioned earlier, I’ll go into full details about what came out of my boxes I bought in Cleveland once I get home.  The scans will look nice.

At 5:30 p.m. Topps held their Q&A session.  This was the first time I had ever attended one of these meetings.  It was fun and educating to hear collector’s questions and concerns.  Only (150) spots were available for this meeting.  Everyone that attended the meeting received a specially made Francisco Lindor autograph #’ed/50.  Not every card uses the same photo of Francisco Lindor either.  At least (3) different photos were used.  Here is a video of the entire Q&A courtesy of Sports Card News/Sports Card Radio.

Every collector should be able to attended at least one National.  No show gets better than this.  I’ll be heading home on Saturday.  I’ve got a feeling the weekend will be very crowded.

This show was a blast.  I got to meet some awesome people, take great pictures, get some autographs, and pull some cool cards.

Exclusive Francisco Lindor autographs given out during the Topps Q&A

Showing off my Babe Ruth/Shohei Ohtani dual relic #’ed 1/1 at the Leaf booth

Getting to hold a Hank Aaron 1954 Topps #128 PSA 10

1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle SGC 9

1917 Collins-McCarthy (E135) #147 Babe Ruth SGC 8

Willie Mays – 1952 Topps SGC 9, 1951 Bowman SGC 9, 1953 Topps SGC 9.5

1961 Topps Dice Game # Mickey Mantle SGC 1.5

1909 Sweet Caporal T206 Honus Wagner SGC 4

Babe Ruth Tobacco Tin

1956 Oversized Baseball Signed by 53 Yankees in 1956 Spring Training

Penn State Athletic Director 1992 Fiesta Bowl Trophy

1976 Topps Football 15 Box Cello Case $110,000

NFL logo patches

Vintage golf balls

The 2018 National – Day #2

Day #2 of the 2018 National Sports Collectors Convention is in the books.  I was there right when the doors opened.  This is the first time in six years that I can remember the National having merchandise for sale.  I ordered a t-shirt a few months ago, but they have different shirts at the show to buy in addition to posters and pins.  Yes I said pins.  It use to be a regular thing that the National would issue pins, but its been a long time since those days.  This merchandise is for sale in the West Entrance.  I picked up another shirt and pin first thing this morning.

At 11:45 a.m. Jack Ham started signing autographs and taking photos with fans.  I had a little time to kill.  I went in search of a box of the new 2018 Leaf In The Game Used Sports.  Not every dealer/vendor has a box of this stuff.  The only two companies I saw selling them were Blowout Cards and Chicagoland Sports Cards.  I think Blowout Cards is buying up a lot of these boxes and cases from others to sell themselves.  I took the box over to the Leaf booth and broke the seal.  In return I received a special 2-card pack of Leaf Metal Originals.  These celebrate Leaf’s 70th anniversary and come in a variety of parallels.  Before I left, I handed two of the Leaf employees Sports Card Info pins.  As a thanks I was handed a stack of those Leaf Metal Originals packs.  Once I get back home I will go into full details about what I pulled from the boxes/packs I opened here in Cleveland.  I will say this.  From my box of 2018 Leaf In The Game Used Sports, I pulled an autograph/relic of Pelé #’ed/3.

Once I wrapped things up with Leaf, I headed up to the TRISTAR autograph pavilion.  This went a lot smoother compared to Wednesday night.  It only took me 30 minutes to get my Jack Ham signature.  Jack Ham is a really nice guy, just like Ickey Woods.  I got him to sign my black/gold Penn State football.  He was very interested to see which other Penn State signatures I have on the ball.  Its been a few years since I’ve been to the National, and I think TRISTAR’s employees are getting snippy.

I pulled the trigger on a vintage Philadelphia Eagles bobblehead from the 1960’s.  This is the second vintage bobblehead in my collection.  I purchased it from the same dealer I bought my vintage Phillies bobblehead from while attending the National in Atlantic City.

Marty’s Sports Card Exchange has some of the best deals on wax.  They are also one of the authorized Topps vendors who’s products are eligible for the Topps wrapper redemption program.  I purchased a box of 2018 Topps Museum Collection Baseball which got me (2) promo packs upon breaking the seal at the Topps booth.  Like I mentioned before, its better to show off what came out of my packs/boxes after I return home.  But I did get a Red Refractor #’ed/5, Orange Refractor #’ed/25, and an Ohtani from my Topps promo packs.

The rest of the day was spent wandering around checking out everything the National has to offer.  One of my favorite things to do is checkout what the auction houses have on display.  There are a lot of items here that once they’re sold will go into hiding and won’t be seen again for a very long time.

Friday, August 3rd is my last day for attending the 2018 National.  The big event of the day is the Topps Q&A meeting which I heard is already filled up.  All (125-150) spots were taken opening night.  I’m really interested in hearing the topics discussed.  I also have a feeling those attending leave with a special something.  We’ll see…

Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker and 1988 HOF inductee Jack Ham

1971 LeRoy Neiman Signed Original Hand Drawn Sketch of Muhammad Ali

1921 E121 American Caramel “Series of 80” “Babe” Ruth

Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig signed baseballs

Tom Brady rookies

Circa 1906 Jack Coombs Game Worn Philadelphia Athletics Rookie-Era Jersey

The 2018 National – Day #1

The 2018 National Sports Collectors Convention is officially underway.  It is the greatest gathering of collectors, dealers, manufacturers, and other prominent hobby individuals all under one roof.  This year’s National is taking place in Cleveland at the I-X Center.  I like this location the best as I find it the easiest to get to.

I arrived at the I-X Center around 2:00 p.m.  Thanks to Sports Card Info I’m eligible for media credentials.  That got me into the show before the 3:30 p.m. opening time set for VIPs.  I immediately went over to the Topps booth and signed up for the Q&A meeting scheduled for Friday at 5:30 p.m.  Topps leaves (125) spots open, and they fill up fast.

The TRISTAR autograph pavilion was my next stop.  I bought a few autograph tickets – Ickey Woods and Jack Ham.  Ickey Woods started signing at 5:30 p.m. today and Jack Ham is scheduled for 11:45 p.m. on Thursday.  I didn’t know this.  But having media credentials gets you a discount on autographs.  Ickey Woods normally would’ve been $29, $19 for the media.  Jack Ham $59, $55 for the media.  Way cool!

You almost need a Ph.D. to understand how the autograph signings work.  I had ticket #1 for Ickey Woods.  The first level of people who get their autographs are the ones who spend about $300 on the high-end All Access Platinum Passes.  After that come those who purchase single tickets like myself.  TRISTAR never mentioned that they were accepting tickets like mine.  All I heard were the high-end passes.  After waiting awhile I finally showed them my ticket and they told me I could go in.  Who knows how long I sat there for no reason.  Just a communication error on their part.

One of the best things about the National is meeting all of the people you talk to online.  I met Rob Bertrand of Go GTS Live, Susan Lulgjuraj of Topps, and former Eagles/Broncos guard Evan Mathis with his impressive collection.  Of course, Ickey Woods too.

The National is a monster of a show.  Its the show of all shows.  Nothing else comes close to beating it.  There is a lot to take in.  It closed at 8:00 p.m.  Before leaving for the night, I snooped around some booths and got pictures.  I’m looking to add another vintage bobblehead to my collection.  I’ve already inquired about a few Philadelphia Eagles ones.  I’m also possibly looking to add a Mike Schmidt 1973 Topps Rookie to my collection too.  I’ve found three.  One graded a PSA 3 for $85, a PSA 5 for $125, and a PSA 5.5 for $175.

Ickey Woods – Get some cold cuts!

Susan Lulgjuraj of Topps

Rob Bertrand of Go GTS Live

Former Eagles/Broncos guard Evan Mathis

Mickey Mantle 1953 Topps PSA Gem Mint 10

1910 Old Mill Cigarettes T210 Joe Jackson Series 8 SGC 4.5 – $500k+