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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2018 Little League World Series Pin Pickups

All eyes are on Williamsport, PA for the next week as the Little League World Series takes place.  Baseball fans from all over the world have made their way to Williamsport.  Hotels are booked.  Restaurants are packed.  Parking lots are full.  And pins have become the next best thing to currency.  Pins are all over the place.  They’ve got commemorative pins made for everything.

While the Little League World Series is going on, I usually pick a day to go up and look around their campus.  There is always a lot happening.  I’m a big pin collector.  I’ve got lanyards full of them.  Over the last few years I’ve found it a bit more difficult to score free pins from the corporate sponsors.  This is mainly due to you having to register with an electronic bracelet, and use all types of cell phone apps.  Perhaps that stuff is all great for the kids, but for an older pin collector like myself I find it to be an inconvenience.  Luckily, I take a handful of my Sports Card Info pins with me and use them to barter with these sponsors in order to get around all of that.  In some cases it works, and others not.

Dunkin’ Donuts was my first stop.  Little League came next.  Following that was 4th Street downtown, Penn College, The Thomas T. Taber Museum, and then some more businesses on Williamsport’s Golden Strip.  Pins just popup everywhere.  I was able to get a lot more pins from the corporate sponsors setup at Little League than originally thought.  My Sports Card Info pins really helped out.

Pin collecting at Little League is like opening a pack of cards.  You don’t know what might happen.  A man walked over and randomly handed me a pin.  I didn’t catch his name, but I believe it was Troy Lare.  He had what looked like a Little League World Series ring on.  Judging by the pin, he is an umpire from Maine.  Very cool find, and not something you can just pickup anywhere.  I have very few umpire pins.

At the end of the day, I ended up with (24) new pins that filled up (3) lanyards.

The Phillies lost to the Mets 8-2 in this year’s MLB Little League Classic.  Next year’s MLB Little League Classic takes place on 8/18/19 between the Pirates and Cubs.

I’d really like to see Topps have a corporate booth at Little League.  It seems like a perfect fit.  Hopefully someday they can work something out.  Topps could have pins, special cards, make your own baseball card, and perhaps bring in a big league player to sign autographs.

Dick’s Sporting Goods

Chick-fil-A

Pin Highlight: 2018 MLB All-Star Game Press Pin

Its hard to believe that we’re half way through the 2018 MLB season.  Phillies fans like myself should be thrilled with how the team is playing.  Especially when you compare what their record is now to what it was last year at this time.  The Phillies are 53-42, and half a game ahead of the Braves while sitting atop the NL East Division.

Earlier this year, I purchased a 2018 Topps Now Philadelphia Phillies Road To Opening Day Team Set.  If anyone from that team does something special throughout the season, Topps will send out a special card to those who purchased the set.  One of those special moments is placing #1 in the division at the All-Star break.  So I will have to keep an eye on the mail for that.  I’ll show it off when it arrives.

The 2018 MLB All-Star Game takes place in Washington D.C.  FanFest has lots of merchandise to buy.  But its the stuff not for sale that draws massive attention.  Pictured above is the press pin made for members of the media, and various MLB partners.  The center portion is made of a finely crushed marble powder, which was then mixed with a resin and molded into the shape of the U.S. Capitol Building.  That’s just not any marble powder they used either.  Its from the actual U.S. Capitol Building steps that were removed during a 1995 renovation.

I find it ironic that something as patriotic as this pin was made in China.  Well, the metal part of the pin and plastic container it comes in is from China.  A few have leaked their way on to the secondary market.  One completed sale ended at $125.

Pin Highlight: 2017 MLB Little League Classic – Cardinals vs. Pirates – Baseball Pin

There is no doubt that one of the major highlights during last year’s Little League World Series was the Major League game that took place at BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field.  In nine innings the Pirates defeated the Cardinals 6-3.  It even got it’s very own Topps Now card.

Three different pins were made to celebrate this inaugural event.  The first two are fairly simple to find.  One features the MLB Little League Classic name with logos from both teams.  A second has Fredbird and the Pirate Parrot on it.  The third pin is what you see pictured above.  As you can probably tell, it has the MLB Little League Classic name, team logos, and is in the shape of a baseball.  Unlike the other two though, this pin was not available for sale over at Little League.  A majority of them were given out to game attendees.  Only Little League players and their families, plus any Lycoming County residents lucky enough to win a lottery were allowed to attend the game.  Not much of the general public made it in.  All pins are made by WinCraft.

Sports Card Info has been known to get me into certain events for free, but this wasn’t one of them.  So how did I get one?  For a short time Fanatics had them for sale.  The day after I purchased mine, Fanatics pulled them off the market.  Why?  I don’t know.  The next thing I saw were them being handed out on T.V.

The 2018 Little League World Series takes place August 16-26.  Little League recently unveiled the official logo for the 2018 games.  The Phillies will take on the Mets August 19 in the second MLB Little League Classic.

Pin Highlight: Lord Darth Vader Star Wars Celebration 2017 40 Years Mystery Pin

The Last Jedi is here!!!  So many questions will be answered while new ones will take their place.  Its gonna be good.

Star Wars Celebration 2017 took place in Orlando, Florida.  Disney made a whole bunch of pins to commemorate this event.  One set contains twelve pins.  Two pins come packaged in a blind box.  You have no clue as to which pins you’ll be getting.

The checklist of pins includes:

  • Artoo-Deetoo
  • Han Solo
  • Grand Moff Tarkin
  • Lord Darth Vader
  • Luke Skywalker
  • Chewbacca
  • Stormtrooper – chaser
  • Princess Leia Organa – chaser
  • Aunt Beru – chaser
  • Uncle Owen – chaser
  • Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi – chaser
  • See-Threepio – chaser

The chaser pins are difficult to pull and are limited to 1,500 copies.

If the pictures on these pins look familiar, you’d be correct.  Most come from 1977 Topps Star Wars Series 1 Stickers.  Chewie’s pin uses the image from his Series 2 sticker from that same year.  I don’t believe Uncle Owen, Aunt Beru, and the Stormtrooper have stickers that use those exact pictures.  Those look to have been made just for this pin set.

Pin Highlight: 2017 Williamsport Sun-Gazette LLWS Gorilla Pin

Baseball season might be over.  The weather is getting colder.  Christmas music has begun to play.  But in my mind though its still the summer.  And that means the Little League World Series.  With that comes pins.  Lots and lots of pins!!!

The Williamsport Sun-Gazette was founded in 1801, and issued their first pin in 2004.  Since then, they have regularly sold pins while the Little League World Series takes place.  Every year its exciting to see what new designs they come up with.

Ten new pins were released this past August.  Each one is limited to only (125) pins.  In terms of pins, that isn’t many.  That’s probably why I haven’t seen any 2017 Sun-Gazette pins show up on the secondary market yet.  The Sun-Gazette never sells them online.  You have to purchase them in person.  Low quantity combined with in person only availability holds them back from surfacing.

Most of their pins are baseball themed.  Some aren’t.  The craziest pin they made for 2017 has nothing on it pertaining to baseball.  It measures 3″ and has a gorilla on top of the Sun-Gazette building.  They sold t-shirts with this image on them.  It reminds me a lot of King Kong or that arcade game Rampage.

Pin Highlight: Olive Garden 2017 Little League World Series Pin

Who doesn’t love the Olive Garden?  That list is fairly short.  Their pasta, soup, salad, and bread sticks are all delicious.  Its been almost two months since the Little League World Series came to an end, and there are still some pins that have yet to popup online.  One such pin comes from the Olive Garden.

During the 2016 Little League World Series the Olive Garden in Williamsport had pins.  A few of them have showed up for sale, but not recently.  This year’s pin has been seen even less.  You would think these would be all over the place given that the Olive Garden is a popular restaurant.  Especially when the world comes to Williamsport and people need to eat.  I think the price has a lot to do with it.  The Olive Garden charged $10 for one of these pins, or it was free with the purchase of a dessert.  Considering their pins are very small in size, that’s a lot of money.  Little was done to advertise them too.  It was basically word of mouth.  You know no advertising was done when you see a local fence company (Kriger Fence) have more pins show up on the secondary market compared to the Olive Garden.  Trust me, more people passed through the Olive Garden during the Little League World Series than Kriger Fence.

Most businesses in Williamsport don’t sell their Little League pins over the internet.  Almost all of them need to be acquired in person or on eBay.  Limited availability like this can drive up the demand for certain pins.  Which pins won’t end up surfacing that much is a total shot in the dark.  Fifty years from now we could learn that a pin was made for the ’17 LLWS and only be hearing about it for the first time.