Ephrata Lions Club Sports Card Show Turns 40 Years Old

For the past 40 years the Ephrata Lions Club has held their annual Sports Card Show & Auction.  To keep a show going like this for 40 years is quite impressive.  This is the longest-running one-day show on the east coast.

I’ve been attending this show since 1997.  Each year they have at least one autograph guest.  To celebrate their 40th anniversary, two signers were placed on the schedule.  First up, signing at 11:00 was former Phillies manager, and 2008 World Series champion Charlie Manuel.  Second, signing at 11:30 was former Eagles tight end, and Super Bowl LII champion Brent Celek.

Both Charlie Manuel and Brent Celek arrived on time, and had a steady line of collectors wanting their autographs.  One of the best things about this show is the cost.  Charlie Manuel was only $25 for any item.  Brent Celek was $30 for flats, and $40 for premiums.  Not bad at all.  Only (250) tickets were sold for each guest.  I was ticket #11 for Charlie Manuel.

(70) dealers, plus the items for the auction take up about two basketball courts.  Admission is $5.  You want to hear about a deal?  Lunch consisted of (2) hot dogs, (2) bags of chips, and a bottle of water.  All of that for $5.  Its a great fundraiser.  I believe the cost, combined with great autograph guests is why this show has survived so long.

Is it the biggest show?  Of course not.  That honor belongs to the National.  But what it does have is a fantastic following, core group of dealers, and a lot of nice stuff.

If you’re a Penn State, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, and/or Philadelphia Phillies fan, this is the show for you.  Talk about a heavy concentration of those teams.  There usually is a good mix of both vintage and modern cards.  At least two dealers were selling new wax boxes.  Products that were released on Friday 3/29 were available to purchase at the show on Saturday 3/30.  Tons of dollar boxes for you to sit down at and flip through too.

My main Phillies guy I collect is former broadcaster and Hall of Famer Harry Kalas.  He doesn’t have a ton of stuff to collect.  On Saturday, I ran into four Harry Kalas/Richie Ashburn bobbleheads that the Phillies gave out in 2002.  I also ran into a Harry Kalas auto from 2005 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Classic.  You know there is a great concentration of Phillies memorabilia at a show when you run into that much Harry Kalas stuff.

In addition to meeting Charlie Manuel and getting his autograph on my bat, I picked up a few neat items for my collection.  Great deals could be found.  An older gentleman had a couple of tables setup inside the door.  From him I got a Penn State Nittany Lion bobblehead from 2002 that was part of a deal with McDonald’s.  I also bought a Hartland Collectibles statue of a hot dog vendor from 2006 from the same guy.  Total impulse buy, but looks great on my shelf.

One of my favorite souvenirs from the day was a freebie.  The Ephrata Lions Club put together a multi-page booklet that documents the history of the show.  Very cool!

I highly recommend checking this show out.  Definitely worth it.  They usually hold it the last Saturday in March at the Ephrata Recreation Center.

Former Phillies manager, and 2008 World Series champion Charlie Manuel.

Charlie Manuel’s autograph on my bat.

Neck deep in it.

Penn State Nittany Lion bobblehead from 2002 that was part of a deal with McDonald’s.

Hartland Collectibles statue of a hot dog vendor from 2006.

Free booklet documenting the history of the show.

Autograph guests through the years.  The show began in 1979, but signers didn’t start until 1980.

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