Looking Back On The 2016 National – Atlantic City, NJ

Today is July 29, 2020.  This was suppose to be the first day of the 41st National Sports Collectors Convention making it’s return to Atlantic City, NJ.  Thanks to COVID-19 this won’t be happening right now.  Currently it has been postponed until December 12-16, 2020.  Honestly, I don’t see that date sticking either.  Between COVID-19, weather, and the holiday season you’re just asking for trouble.  It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if the National eventually gets cancelled altogether for 2020.

The last time the National was held in Atlantic City, NJ was back in 2016.  I attended this one.  Meeting people in-person who you only talk to online, sharing photos of high-end artifacts that only Mike Trout could afford, and participating in wrapper redemption programs were all major highlights.  If I remember correctly, 2016 Topps Chrome Baseball was released around this time and it was on fire.  Everyone was looking for rookies of Corey Seager, Trevor Story, Kenta Maeda, and Luis Severino to name a few.

Collectors should be picking-up their VIP packages, and running to the Topps booth to sign-up for their Q&A session.  But not today.  Hopefully one day we can return to normal.

In the meantime, enjoy these photos I got when I was there in 2016.

Getting my own baseball card made at the Topps booth.

Babe Ruth baseball bat from the 1930s.

Bobbleheads!

You never know what you’re going to find.

Pulled this Kevin Smith autograph #’ed/25 from an Upper Deck wrapper redemption pack.

Pulled this Julio Urias autograph #’ed/30 from a Topps wrapper redemption pack.

Great prices on boxes.

Wade Boggs not looking too happy.  Get him some chicken!

Fidel Castro Vintage Single-Signed Cuban Baseball.

Merry Christmas!  Shitter was full!

Is 2020 Bowman Sapphire Edition Baseball On The Way?

Over the weekend an interesting photo popped-up on Instagram.  The photo shows a bunch of Lency Delgado 2020 Bowman Chrome Atomic Orange Refractor Autographs.  What has people talking is the Atomic Orange aspect of the picture.

As far as we know, 2020 Bowman and 2020 Bowman Chrome will not have Atomic Orange Refractor Autographs.  Its also too early for 2020 Bowman Draft.  So what product will these cards be used for?

Its very possible Topps could be gearing-up for a 2020 Bowman Sapphire Edition Baseball online-exclusive release.  These cards look very similar to 2019 Bowman Draft Sapphire Edition.  Collectors/flippers have been all over these Topps online-exclusive products, especially when they pertain to prospects and rookies.

2019 Bowman Draft Sapphire Edition initially cost $35/box.  They are now selling for close to $200/box.  2020 Bowman 1st Edition cost $360/24-pack box.  Currently they’re selling for almost $700/box.  Its extremely fun to watch, and even more fun if you’re fast enough to get in on the action.  I’d never suggest using modern-day sports cards as a wise investment though.

As a member of the Topps 582 Montgomery Club, I hope club members get a crack at buying a box first.  If in fact these cards are meant for 2020 Bowman Sapphire Edition Baseball.  Trying to compete with the general public can be brutal.

Have you noticed how much people complain if they’re not fast enough when it comes to getting their order in with online-exclusive products?  They complain even more if they do get their order in, but the product doesn’t sell out immediately after.

Hobby Oddities: Cards Mounted On Cheap Plaques

Every card show has that one dealer with a booth jam-packed with them.  It wouldn’t matter if the card show consisted of only three dealers.  I guarantee that one of the three is selling base cards mounted on cheap plaques.  We’ve all seen them.  Where do they come from?  Why do they exist?  Do people really buy them?

I guess the plaques are suppose to make the base cards more desirable.  My running theory is that they’ve always targeted people who don’t know much about the hobby.  They’re hoping to catch that person who thinks if a card is mounted on a plaque it means that it’s special and/or valuable.  Rarely is that the case.  Sentimental value for certain individuals is really the only thing they have going.  Perhaps owning one brings back some great childhood memories.  The Big Apple Card Company out of Sunrise, FL was a major contributor to their mass-production.  Various other companies issued them too.

Odd, cheap, and annoying accurately describe these things.  They’ll never disappear.  If there was an all out nuclear war the only things left would be cockroaches and these plaques.

Q&A: Why Do Some Topps Boxes From The 80s Have Black Marks On Them?

Question: Looking on eBay I see so many 1980s Topps boxes with black marks on the covers.  What are the black marks for?

Answer: As a way to help distributors/stores clear out old inventory that had been sitting for awhile, Topps allowed for some products to be returned.  The distributors/stores would get a little money back.  Once Topps received those products back they would place black marks on the box covers.  Then Topps would ship them off to discount outlets.  In order to qualify for this the cases and/or boxes had to be complete.  Nothing tampered with.  Back then Topps did not seal their boxes in plastic like they do today.  Its very possible the people sending them back compiled packs from multiple boxes just to make a complete one.  That is the true origin of those black marks.  Complete boxes from the 1980s without the black marks will always be more desirable.  But this practice was so common you see them everywhere.

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.

Card of the Day: Jimmy Stewart 2015 Panini Americana – On The Tube #5

Artist Jared Kelley Returns To Work On SAGE’s Sportkings

Since the announcement that SAGE will be producing the next incarnation of Sportkings, little information has been provided about it.  So far, the two Walter Payton promo cards found in 2018 SAGE Hit Premier Draft Low Series are what we have to go on.  Granted its only two cards, I do like what I see.  I’m a total sucker when it comes to artistic sets, and that is what Sportkings has always been.

On the reverse side of those Walter Payton promo cards, SAGE does list what we can expect:

  • Game Worn Cards
  • On-Card Autographs
  • Spectacular Patches
  • 1/1 Sketch Cards w/ Autographs
  • 1/1 Hand Painted Art Cards
  • Original 1933 Sportkings Cards

After some intense investigating, I’ve learned that artist Jared Kelley is working on some cards for the next edition of Sportkings.  Specifically the 1/1 Hand Painted Art Cards.  If that name sounds familiar, its because Mr. Kelley worked on various products when Dr. Brian Price had control of the Sportkings brand.  I’m glad to see that SAGE brought him back.  His artwork is amazing.  Every now and then one of his Hand Painted Art Cards pops up for sale.  Most remain in collector’s private stash.

When talking with Mr. Kelley, it sounds like SAGE could be looking at a summertime launch for Sportkings.  That’s not definite.  Although it would be great to see them release it during the National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland.

Here is a little taste of the 1/1 Hand Painted Art Cards that Mr. Kelley has been working on for SAGE’s Sportkings set.  No checklist quite yet, but we know Kevin Durant, Mickey Mantle, and Ty Cobb are in the mix.

 

Topps Customer Service Makes Good On Goof

No company is perfect.  Mistakes are bound to be made.  How those mistakes are handled are what make or break their customer service department.  Ask any collector about their experience with a card manufacturer’s customer service, and you’re guaranteed to be flooded with great stories and horrific ones.  With the internet overloaded with so much negativity towards company’s customer service, I’d like to share a positive experience.

On August 21, 2017 I purchased card #504 from the 2017 Topps Now set celebrating the 1st MLB Little League Classic At Historic Bowman Field.  This was such a cool game that took place at a stadium that isn’t far from me, and I visit a few times every summer.  I had to have one of these cards.  I placed my order and eagerly awaited for my card to arrive.  When the package showed up, I dove into it like a child on Christmas morning.  But there was a little problem.  Inside was card #503 of Bartolo Colon commemorating him being the 18th player in MLB history to defeat all 30 clubs.  Definitely not the card I purchased.  The receipt had the correct card listed though.

I fired an e-mail off to the Topps Store (storehelp@topps.com) and explained to them what had happened.  That was a Friday night right before a three day holiday weekend.  The following Wednesday I received an e-mail back from a Topps customer service representative.  In the message they informed me that a replacement card had been ordered, and they supplied me with a prepaid FedEx label so I could ship the incorrect card back.  Not long after they received the Bartolo Colon card, my correct card arrived.

A big thank you to the Topps customer service team for taking care of this so promptly.  If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, I suggest following the same steps I took.

It was announced that the Phillies and Mets will play in the 2nd MLB Little League Classic next year on August 19, 2018.  We should see another Topps Now card for this.  Relics and autographs from this game would be great.  I’d also like to see a Topps Now card next year celebrating the Phillie Phanatic’s 40th birthday.  We have yet to have a Topps Now card featuring a mascot.

On Location: Inside The Penn State All-Sports Museum

Located inside Beaver Stadium is the Penn State All-Sports Museum.  Shortly after it opened in 2002, I remember taking a tour through it.  That was long before Sports Card Info existed, and I’ve always wanted to go back.  That’s exactly what I did over the weekend.

This museum is a mecca for Penn State fans.  Between the two floors it covers major moments from every sport they’re involved in.  Penn State memorabilia galore.  Given that the school was founded in 1855, it has a lot of history.  Football probably gets the most coverage, but all sports get their good share of recognition.  You don’t need to be a Penn State fan to appreciate all of the historical artifacts on display here.  Just being a sports fan is enough.

Once you’re finished visiting the museum, a guide will take you into the stadium.  Getting to see the field without anyone else around is really cool.  Usually the place is packed with 100,000 fans.

Before leaving, I stopped by the gift shop and found a new pin for my collection.  I was looking for a bobblehead, but didn’t find any.  The closest I got to a bobblehead was a Penn State-themed nutcracker.

I didn’t realize that John Montgomery Ward attended Penn State.  He assisted in helping them start their baseball program, and played one season for them in 1875.  Then he got kicked out for stealing some chickens.  Ward eventually went on to have a very successful professional baseball career.  The Baseball Hall of Fame inducted him in 1964.  You can find cards of him in the 19th century Allen & Ginter and Old Judge sets.

If you’re passing through State College, PA I highly suggest stopping.  They don’t charge for admission, but donations are appreciated.

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The 1886 College Nine.  Standing: Halter, Jackson, Rose, Mock, Quigley, Mitchell.  Seated: McLean, Gibson, McClaren, Lencz.  Robert Gibson actually made it to the pros.

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Vintage Penn State baseball memorabilia.  Two game baseballs from 1905 and one from 1906.

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John Cappelletti’s Heisman trophy

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1986 National Championship trophy

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1969 Orange Bowl trophy

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Early 1900s basketball jersey.  Game ball from 1921.

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The Gene Wettstone Most Valuable Gymnast Award

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The Nittany Lion mascot is based on the eastern mountain lion which went extinct during the late 1800s.  This one was shot in 1856.  Considering the techniques for stuffing an animal back then are nothing like they are today, its in great condition.  Its probably one of the finest examples of a taxidermied eastern mountain lion.

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Sears sponsored fencing trophies.  When was the last time Sears could sponsor anything?

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On Location: Inside The Pro Football Hall of Fame – Canton, OH

Over the weekend I took a trip to Canton, Ohio and visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  I first visited back in 1998.  That year, guys like Paul Krause and Anthony Munoz got inducted.  It was also the year Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were neck and neck in the single season home run race.

Going through the Hall of Fame is a blast!!!  They’ve really changed a lot since the last time I was there.  Right after buying your tickets to get in, you’re greeted by a photographer who will take your picture in front of a green screen.  When you’re finished touring the museum, you can stop and see your pictures before leaving.  They put a whole photo package together for you.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is the holy land for any football fan.  You can sit there and open every high-end football card product on the market today, and it will never come close to the fun stuff you see inside this place.  All the way from professional football’s 1892 birth certificate to memorabilia used by players today.  The Hall of Fame covers everything.

Its difficult to pick what parts of the Hall of Fame are my favorite.  Every corner I turned there was another priceless artifact.  The older memorabilia fascinates me the most.  Mainly because its a miracle that its still around.  The Hall of Fame Gallery filled with all of the inductee busts is really cool too.  That was dramatically better looking than what I remember it being.  But if I had to pick one artifact to be my personal favorite, it would probably be the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

The gift shop is massive and contains every NFL themed item you could possibly think of.  I bought three new pins, lanyard, golf shirt, and a Hall of Fame mini helmet.  I also ate lunch at the Hall of Fame Cafe.  They serve lots of stuff from hot dogs and hamburgers to gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.

Take a look!!!

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Pro Football’s Birth Certificate – this is an expense sheet from the Allegheny Athletic Association dated November 12, 1892.  The “game performance bonus to W. Heffelfinger for playing (cash) $500.00” is the earliest evidence of someone being paid to play football.

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Jim Thorpe’s Carlisle Indians Letterman Sweater.

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(Top Middle) Arnie Herber’s sideline coat, (Top Left) Butch Gibson’s 1934 N.Y. Giants jersey, (Top Right) “Wooky” Roberts Canton Bulldogs jersey.  Also seen in this picture is the helmet worn by Link Lyman in the 1934 NFL Championship Game, game ball signed by the 1925 N.Y. Giants, and coach’s cap worn by Redskins founder-owner George Preston Marshall.

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Jerseys of Bob Waterfield #7, Bronko Nagurski #3, and Sid Luckman #42.

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Jerseys of Johnny Unitas #19 and Doak Walker #37.

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Jerseys of Jim Brown #32, Lance Alworth’s AFL All-Star jersey #19 , and Sonny Jurgensen #9.  Helmets of Dick Butkus (left), and Tommy Nobis (right).

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Jerseys of Peyton Manning #18, Reggie White #92, and Tony Gonzalez #88.  Shoulder pads of Cortez Kennedy and college helmet of Larry Allen.

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Tim Tebow jersey – this jersey was worn during the playoff win over the Steelers in 2012.  Tebow threw an 80-yard bomb to win the game 29-23.

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Miami Dolphins Perfect Season.

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The “Immaculate Reception” Turf – Franco Harris removed this piece of turf at the exact spot where the “Immaculate Reception” took place in Three Rivers Stadium.

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Toys!!!

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The inaugural Hall of Fame class from 1963.

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Jim Thorpe

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Vince Lombardi

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O.J. Simpson

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Mike Ditka

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Dan Marino

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John Madden

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Team Postcards – (Left) 1911 Nutshell Tigers of Canton, (Right) Game action from a 1900 game.

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World Football League football – they didn’t make it.

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United States Football League football – they didn’t make it either 🙂

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Player bench from the last game Vince Lombardi coached at Lambeau Field.  Green Bay, Dec. 31, 1967.

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LeSean McCoy wore this jersey, gloves, and cleats in a game against the Lions in Dec. 2013.  On that day, in blizzard conditions, McCoy ran for 217 yards setting a new franchise record.

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Vince Lombardi Trophy

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Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl XLIII ring.

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“I’m ready to go in coach, just give me a chance.  I know there’s a lot riding on it, but it’s all psychological.  Just gotta stay in a positive frame of mind.” – Ace Ventura