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.

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Topps and Tiger

Tiger Woods has had his share of ups and downs over the last ten years.  Between his lady troubles, DUI arrest, and injuries, it certainly hasn’t been all rainbows and sunshine.  It can be difficult for a normal person to go through all of that, and even worse for someone who is in the spotlight.  Some people would rollover and never be heard from again.  Tiger Woods actually worked through it, and has quite the comeback going right now.  Much better than any of his previous attempts at a comeback.  Not only is he making the cut in tournaments, he’s finishing reasonably high on the leaderboard.  Now ranked 88th in the world, he’s far from the Tiger Woods we use to know.  But still very entertaining to watch.  This recent comeback is stronger than others, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him win another tournament soon.

Even when Tiger was at his lowest, his cards didn’t take much of a hit.  He accomplished a lot in his golfing career before all the problems arose.  What issues he had were all external from the game, and really didn’t hurt what he already had under his belt.  It wasn’t like they found out he was taking steroids and they were coming for all of his trophies.  Something like that surely would have done him in.

Rookie cards of his continue to sell very well.  Autographs easily go for hundreds even thousands depending on the card.  In a world where plain one-colored relics are a dime a dozen, his hold up considerably strong.  In short, pulling a Tiger Woods rookie, autograph and/or relic is still worth bragging about.

When you think of Tiger Woods cards and memorabilia The Upper Deck Company first comes to mind.  Beginning in 2001, Upper Deck inked an exclusive deal with Tiger.  That deal continues to this day.  They never bailed on him like some other sponsors did.  Honestly, it would have taken a lot for Upper Deck to ditch him.  Upper Deck needs all the income they can get.  I haven’t seen a standalone golf product since 2014 Exquisite Collection.  Since then, golfers have been thrown into other Upper Deck sets like Goodwin Champions.

Before 2001, Tiger Woods cards were really hit or miss.  His 1996 Sports Illustrated for Kids card was and still is quite dominant.  Another would be his 1997-99 Grand Slam Ventures Masters Collection.  One product that I believe is drastically overlooked is the 1997 Topps Genuine Issue Tiger Woods Photos.  That’s correct.  Four years prior to his Upper Deck exclusive, Topps issued this small Tiger Woods-themed set after he won the 1997 Masters.

Its weird to see Tiger Woods pictured on a Topps product.  Topps isn’t known for it’s rich history with many golfers.  Over the years though Allen & Ginter has had it’s share including Arnold Palmer.  This set consists of six 8″ x 10″ photos.  Every pack has the same six pictures.  There are no autographs and/or relics to look for.

Here is the checklist:

  • #1 1996 US Amateur
  • #2 1997 USPGA Championship
  • #3 1996 Greater Milwaukee Open
  • #4 1997 USPGA Championship
  • #5 1997 Masters
  • #6 1997 US Open

Sealed packs range in price from $50-$75.

None of the photos have any type of design to them.  No borders or fancy coloring.  Just photographs.  In a strange way it kinda gives you a glimpse as to what a golf-focused Stadium Club set might have looked like.

Flashback Product of the Week: 1948 Topps Magic Photos

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Not only is 1948 Topps Magic Photos one of their earliest sets, it contains the first baseball cards made by Topps.  That’s a big deal in my book.  A lot of collectors seem to overlook this important fact.  Most are drawn to the 1951 Topps Red/Blue Backs when looking for those first Topps baseball cards.  Even that set doesn’t receive a huge amount of attention because it was more of a card game.

Throughout it’s (252) cards, you’ll find a wide range of people, places, and things.  Its far from just having baseball stars.  Each tiny card came out of the gum pack with a blank front.  On the back of every card is a trivia question that will give you a hint as to who or what will appear on the front.  In order to make the picture “magically” appear you needed to lightly wet the card front, apply a special chemical that came in the pack, and then expose it to sunlight.  Slowly a sepia colored photo would show up.

Based on the procedure needed to make the picture appear, its no surprise that most of these cards aren’t in the best condition.  You’re just asking for trouble when applying water, chemicals, and sunlight to a card.  Try giving that treatment to modern day cards.  I guess people weren’t thinking these would be worth that much.

The sepia-toned photos remind me of the 19th century Old Judge tobacco cards.  Topps is known for using retro designs especially today.  Its funny to think that one of their first sets was already using a retro theme.

Pricing ranges dramatically.  It all depends on condition and subject matter.  Fully developed pictures are in much higher demand.

The 2012 Little League World Series – Pictures, Pins, & That SUBWAY Guy

Its a proven fact.  I’m totally addicted to waiting in line for promos.  I do it a majority of the time while attending the National Sports Collectors Convention, and I did it again today while taking my annual trip to the Little League World Series.  It was a blast!  Take a look.

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Japan and Panama were playing.  Did you know that Panama’s national anthem isn’t Van Halen’s song Panama? 🙂

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Over in the corporate area, Jared Fogle a.k.a The SUBWAY Guy, was signing autographs and taking pictures.

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ESPN booth

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THE PINS:

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One of the ushers was nice enough to do a trade with me.  I had a few extra Honda pins, and I traded one of those for this usher pin.

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Wilson Trophy makes a lot of the sponsor pins.  On my way into the stadium I stopped by the Wilson Trophy tent and picked up this neat pin.  The two Little League players actually slide up and down the hill.  This pin is quite large, and is one of my biggest.

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Dunkin’ Donuts, Susquehanna Bank, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Wegmans, and SUBWAY pins

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Hilton Hotels, Kellogg’s, Chiquita, Honda, Relay For Life, and 2012 Little League World Series logo pins

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Genetti Hotel 3-pin set

In the end, I came out with a total of 20 pins.  Some of them are duplicates.  I don’t go to watch the games.  I’m there for the promos.  If your a pin collector and a baseball fan, this is the place to be.

And no.  I did not come across any ESPN pins.

Phillies vs. Rays – 6/23/12

The Phillies took down the Rays 7-6 yesterday when Jim Thome hit a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 9th.  I also got to see Rollins hit a 2-run blast, and Pierre hit a 3-run shot.  It was a great day for a game.

I’ve been wanting to get one of those golf shirts you see The Sarge and Tom McCarthy wear in the broadcast booth, but you can only get them at the Majestic Clubhouse Store inside Citizens Bank Park.  I found a nice navy blue shirt with a white Phillies “P” in the corner.  They were also having a special on pins.  Buy three and the fourth is free.  I jumped all over that.

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The Harry Kalas Memorial Statue

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Jimmy Rollins with Pierre on deck

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Hunter Pence with Ruiz on deck

Reading Phillies vs. Akron Aeros – 6/17/12

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If you recall, last March I was able to score some free tickets to a Reading Phillies game after meeting a gentleman while waiting in line to get into the Ephrata Rec Center Show I attend each year.  Well, Father’s Day was the time to cash in those tickets.  The seats were great!  Three rows behind home-plate.  If I was any closer, they could have asked me to play 🙂  I had never gone to see the Reading Phillies before.  The stadium has a lot of history, but comes with a modern feel.  Reading’s pitcher Julio Rodriguez had a no-hitter through 5 innings.  In the end, Reading won 4-2.  I picked up a team set and three new pins for my collection.  They were giving away Richie Ashburn style hats.

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Chun Chen (left) and Sebastian Valle (right)

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Chun Chen (left) and Sebastian Valle (right)

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The Crazy Hot Dog Vendor is one of many mascots used by the Reading Phillies.

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Ran into Screwball on the way out.

Hershey Bears vs. Charlotte Checkers – Bobblehead Night!

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Yesterday evening I headed to the Giant Center to see the Hershey Bears take on the Charlotte Checkers.  The Bears won the game 2-1 scoring two goals in the 3rd period.  The Bears are associated with the Washington Capitals and the Checkers are associated with the Carolina Hurricanes and the Florida Everblades.

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Before the game started, the Bears President-GM Doug Yingst had a special announcement to make.  Next year will be the Hershey Bears 75th anniversary.  To celebrate this giant occasion, on January 20th, 2013, the Bears will take on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in an outdoor game much like the Winter Classic we have witnessed over the last couple of years.  The game will be played in Hersheypark Stadium.

Its been a long time since I attended a hockey game.  This was my first time at the Giant Center.  I highly recommend the pretzels.  They aren’t those hard things you normally would find at a sporting event.  The pretzel I had was warm and soft.  I believe it was handmade right on the spot.

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Face-Off

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The first 5,000 fans that attended the game last night received Keith Aucoin bobbleheads.  This bobblehead features Aucoin in a home jersey.  They did make some rarer ones that have him in an away jersey, but you had to do something special to get your hands on one of those.

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The Bears booster club was selling a ton of pucks they got signed.  For a couple of bucks I picked up this Chris Bourque autograph.  Bourque currently plays LW for the Bears.  His father, Ray Bourque, played for the Boston Bruins and went into the HOF in 2004.  I also picked up a new pin for my collection.