Card of the Day: Kerri Strug 1997 Sports Illustrated for Kids April Fools Card #574

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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.

R.I.P. Frank Robinson – I Got Yelled At For Taking His Picture

Frank Robinson was one hell of a baseball player and manager.  He is the first player in history to be named MVP in both leagues, and the first African American manager in Major League Baseball.  For those looking for his rookie card, it can be found in the 1957 Topps set card #35.

For years Frank Robinson was on the autograph circuit.  He was a regular signer at the National Sports Collectors Convention, and various other shows throughout the country.  While I never got his autograph, I did run in to him during the March 2009 Philly Show and 2016 National in Atlantic City.

In March of 2009, the Philly Show recently moved from Reading to Valley Forge.  In my opinion, that wasn’t a great move.  I attended the show a few more times after that, but then decided to stop going.  I just didn’t enjoy the setup, and it became more focused on the autograph guests.  Lots of my favorite dealers began dropping out.  The attendance wasn’t there, and the price for booth space kept rising.  I’m not too sure what the state of the show is right now.  It still goes on in Valley Forge, but I haven’t been there since 2011.

Lets go back to that March 2009 show.  Former Phillies pitcher Marty Bystrom was one of the autograph guests.  He loved interacting with fans, and not once did he talk on his phone while signing autographs.  Yeah right!

Shortly before lunchtime, I remember buying a box and taking it over to the food court to open.  I think it was a box of 2009 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection Football.  While sitting at the table, I saw Frank Robinson walk in.

As soon as Frank Robinson walked in, I quickly snapped a picture from across the room.  I then continued going through my box.  The next thing I know he’s sitting at the table with me eating a muffin.  It was just us at the table, and nobody else around.  He made it well known to me that he didn’t like that his picture was taken without asking permission.  No “Hi.  Nice to meet you.”, he went right to the fact that I took his picture.  He acted like I shoved the camera in his face.  I was way on the other side of the room.  My thinking is this, in a world where everyone has a camera in their pocket and you walk into a show to sign autographs, people are going to take pictures whether you want them to or not.

Perhaps he woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning.  I don’t know.  Once I was finished opening my box, I left.  While waiting to enter the National in Atlantic City, he walked by.  The second he was gone, other people in line began exchanging similar stories.  It made me chuckle to know I wasn’t alone.

Product Highlight: NCAA College Basketball 2K3 for Nintendo GameCube

When an athlete doesn’t live up to the expected hype, their cards and memorabilia take a hit in price.  Its the natural law.  Unless that individual goes on to do something historically spectacular outside of their sport, prices will remain in the gutter.  But every now and then we’ll come across a crazy anomaly that defies this way of thinking.  Enter NCAA 2K3 College Basketball for the Nintendo GameCube.

I can imagine that in 2002 cards of Jay Williams carried some weight.  The Duke point guard was drafted second in the first round by the Chicago Bulls.  Right after the Houston Rockets drafted Yao Ming.  He did alright during his first year in the NBA, but nothing mind blowing.  In June of 2003, he suffered a severe motorcycle crash in Illinois.  He wasn’t wearing a helmet, didn’t have a license to drive a motorcycle in that state, and was in violation of the terms of his contract with the Bulls by riding a motorcycle to begin with.  Its safe to say that smarter decisions could have been made.  When he finally recuperated, attempts were made to get back into professional basketball.  None were that successful.  Jay Williams now works for ESPN as a college basketball analyst.

Today you can’t giveaway cards of Jay Williams.  The only cards that carry any real value are ones which have him teamed-up with stars like Michael Jordan, Yao Ming, or Kobe Bryant.  Trust me.  Collectors aren’t buying them for the Jay Williams part of the card.  In fact, they’re probably getting a good deal on a star relic and/or autograph.  Dual relics and/or autographs featuring stars and dud rookies tend not to sell for as much compared to if that star was pictured alone.

Its not uncommon for a popular rookie to be pictured on the cover of a video game.  Jay Williams received this honor with the release of NCAA 2K3 College Basketball in December, 2002.  The game was released for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube platforms.  Copies of this game for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox are readily available.  The GameCube version is a completely different story.  The general consensus is that Sega decided they didn’t want to release sports games for the Nintendo GameCube anymore.  NCAA 2K3 College Basketball just barely made it out.  What copies made it to the stores didn’t sell very well.  This led to the game becoming rare.

While copies of this game for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox can be bought for next to nothing, complete GameCube examples have been known to reach $200.  Although Jay Williams isn’t the driving factor, its interesting to see him attached to something that continues to sell for so much.

Topps Readies Exclusive Bowman Chrome Cards For The 2017 National

Of all the promotional programs that take place during the National Sports Collectors Convention, Topps usually draws the largest crowd.  For 2017, specially made Bowman Chrome cards make a return.  The 50-card set includes Hall Of Famers, current stars, and rookies.  Randomly inserted parallels and autographs will be thrown in.

Other than Opening DayBunt, and Sticker Collection, all 2017 Topps baseball products are eligible for this promotion.  Boxes of 2017 UFC Knockout and 2017 Major League Soccer can also be used.

Compared to last year, the biggest change is that (1) 4-card promo pack will be given out for each hobby box opened in front of a Topps employee.  This should drastically speed up the line while helping to extend the lifespan of the promo packs.  Before it was (1) promo pack for every (5) packs of Bowman and (1) promo pack for every (10) packs of everything else.  I would think that once the plastic is off the box you’d receive your promo pack.  It doesn’t sound like you would need to stand there and open every pack in front of them.  This should help move things along.

This promo was a big hit in Atlantic City last year.  I participated in it a lot and pulled numerous gold refractors including one of Babe Ruth #’ed/50 and an autograph of Julio Urias #’ed/30.  Both Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger will have cards in here.  As long as they’re still playing like they are, it’ll be fun to see the values of those cards.

Update:

Certain boxes will get you more than (1) promo pack.

Card of the Day: Brooks Koepka 2015 Sports Illustrated for Kids #407

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(2) 2012 Sportkings Series E Box Break – The Search For HK

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On Black Friday I pulled the trigger on a few boxes of 2012 Sportkings Series E from Blowout Cards.  Former Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas had a cut signature inserted into this product, and I’ve never seen it surface.  Sportkings also supposedly made a sketch card of him too that could only be obtained via redemption, but that too has gone undetected.  In order to get a 1/1 sketch, you needed to spell out the word “SPORTKINGS” a few times, and then mail those cards into Sportkings.  Every box had one base card containing a letter on the back, so it could get expensive.  Whether or not that Harry Kalas sketch was redeemed is a total mystery.  I don’t believe they let you choose which sketch you got.  If you met the criteria, they probably shipped you what was available at the time.  It was either redeemed, and is currently sitting in someone’s collection.  Or it was still in their inventory when Sportkings was sold to Leaf.  If that’s the case, who knows what happened to it.  The only sketch card from this product I remember seeing popup was of Phil Rizzuto.

Sportkings ran what I think was a decent promotional program during the 2012 National Sports Collectors Convention.  For each box of Sportkings Series E opened at their booth, you received a raffle ticket with a number on it.  That number would then be matched to a specially made relic card just for the show.  It would either be limited to (19) copies or (1).  I got lucky and received a Roberto Alomar/Eddie Murray Gold Version Dual Jersey #’ed 1/1.  A collector offered me $200 for it, and I took the deal.  Even though it was numbered 1/1, dual jersey cards usually never sell for that much unless they’re autographed or have crazy patches in them.  I wish Leaf would continue this program in the future.  At the time this promotion was offered, Dr. Price was still in control of the Sportkings name.

Here is what I pulled from my two boxes.  No Harry Kalas cut signature.  Its still floating around out there with a handful of other 1/1’s I need.

Relics

  • Roberto Alomar/Paul Molitor Double Memorabilia Jersey Silver Version
  • Paul Molitor/Ken Griffey, Jr./Scottie Pippen/Patrick Roy Decades 1990 Quad Jersey Silver Version

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Premium Backs

  • Doyle Brunson #246 – letter “G”
  • Mark Wells #237 – letter “T”

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Base

  • Dick Vitale #222
  • Martina Navratilova #251
  • Dick Weber #224
  • Annika Sorenstam #235
  • Man O’ War #241
  • Evander Holyfield #225

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