Ephrata Lions Club Sports Card Show Celebrates 40 Years

One of the longest running sports card shows in the country is celebrating it’s 40th anniversary next year.  Since 1980 the Ephrata Lions Club has held it’s annual sports card show.  Its been going for as long as the National Sports Collectors Convention.  The 2019 show will be held at the Ephrata Recreation Center Saturday, March 30.

40 years is a tremendous accomplishment for a card show.  In honor of this momentous occasion, there will be (2) autograph guests instead of the normal (1).  Signing from 11:00-1:00 will be former Phillies manager, and 2008 World Series Champion Charlie Manuel.  The second guest will be former Eagles tight end, and Super Bowl LII Champion Brent Celek signing from 11:30-1:30.  The cost will be $35-$45 per guest depending on what you want to get signed.  Only (250) tickets will be sold for each guest.  You better get there early, the show opens at 8:30.

The show itself consists of (70) tables, and takes up about two basketball courts.  There usually is a good supply of both vintage and modern cards.  Someone almost always has current wax boxes.  Especially if VSM Sports Card Outlet decides to setup.

I haven’t been to this show since 2015.  Jim Palmer was the guest in 2016, and Brooks Robinson was there in 2017.  Both of whom I already had autographs of.  Last March Tony Perez was there, but I wasn’t able to attend.  I’m going to try and make it this time.  Card shows with signers like this don’t popup in my area as much as they once did.

When I first got into collecting, the Ephrata Lions Club Sports Card Show in my mind was the biggest show in the world.  I didn’t think they got any larger than that.  The National put that into perspective.  So did the Philly Show when it was held in Fort Washington and Reading.  Of all the ups and downs this industry has had, to keep this going strong for 40 years is amazing.  I’m already craving one of those 10:00 a.m. hot dogs they serve up.

More details about the show can be viewed on their website and in this press release.

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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.

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.

Leaf Booth Finds During The 2018 National

To celebrate their 70th anniversary, Leaf created a set of 2018 Leaf Originals Metal cards that were handed out during the National Sports Collectors Convention.  I opened a few boxes of 2018 Leaf In The Game Used Sports at their booth, and got the pull of a lifetime.  I also walked away from the Leaf booth with a nice stack of these promos that pay tribute to the original 1948 Leaf set.  They cover a wide variety of sports, and come in all sorts of colors.  I like the simple design combined with chrome technology.  Leaf is very underrated, and produces some nice looking products.

Look at what I got!

  • Liangelo Ball Red #’ed/3
  • Anfernee Simons Red #’ed/3
  • Greg Maddux Green #’ed/5
  • Errol Spence Jr. Black #’ed/7
  • Gordie Howe Black #’ed/7
  • Derrius Guice Black #’ed/7
  • Earl Campbell Pink #’ed/10
  • Dennis Rodman Pink #’ed/10
  • Chloe Kim Purple #’ed/15
  • Shohei Ohtani Purple #’ed/15
  • Kyle Kuzma Purple #’ed/15
  • Jerry Rice Purple #’ed/15
  • Stephen Curry Blue #’ed/20
  • Pete Rose Blue #’ed/20
  • Josh Rosen Blue #’ed/20
  • Whitey Ford Blue #’ed/20
  • Josh Rosen
  • Lamelo Ball
  • Magic Johnson
  • Cal Ripken Jr.

Leaf sold Babe Ruth Yankee Stadium seat relics at their booth too.  Each is stamped commemorating the 2018 National.  The photos used for these remind me a lot of their 2017 Babe Ruth Immortal Collection.  I chose the one picturing Babe Ruth in a tuxedo signing what looks to be a series of baseball bats.  Where do you think those bats are today?

If you weren’t able to attend, be sure to checkout my Day #1Day #2, and Day #3 coverage.

(2) 2018 NSCC Topps Wrapper Redemption Pack Break

Upon taking my box of Museum Collection to the Topps booth during the 2018 National, I received (2) wrapper redemption packs in return.  Inside each pack are (4) exclusive Bowman Chrome cards.  Parallels and autographs could also be found.  Although I didn’t get any autographs, I did pull two nice parallels.  Take a look!

If you weren’t able to attend, be sure to checkout my Day #1Day #2, and Day #3 coverage.

Parallels

  • Michael Kopech Red Refractor #’ed/5
  • Walker Buehler RC Orange Refractor #’ed/25

Base

  • Rhys Hoskins RC
  • Shohei Ohtani RC
  • Joey Votto
  • Nick Senzel
  • Noah Syndergaard
  • Bryce Harper

2018 Leaf In The Game Used Sports (2) Box Break

The 2018 National Sports Collectors Convention is now closed.  The final autograph has been signed, and the last pack has been opened.  But I’ve got a few more blog posts coming that highlight what I pulled from the boxes I opened while I was there.  If you weren’t able to attend, be sure to checkout my Day #1, Day #2, and Day #3 coverage.

One of the hottest products to debut on the National’s opening day this year was 2018 Leaf In The Game Used Sports.  It was released on August 1.  Each (1) pack box contains (5) cards which are all hits.  I usually don’t do much with unlicensed products, but something about this one made me want to bust a few boxes.  Its a good thing I did because I pulled some amazing cards.  Not every dealer carried this product.  The only two dealers that I saw selling it were Blowout Cards and Chicagoland Sports Cards.  I purchased a box from each.  At the time Blowout Cards was selling them for $165/box, while Chicagoland Sports Cards had them for $160/box.

Both of these boxes were opened at the Leaf booth, which got me a bunch of Leaf Originals Metal promo packs.  I’ll make a separate blog post about all of the promo cards I got.

Brian Gray and the folks at Leaf did a fantastic job with this product.  Very fun to open.  Feast your eyes on these hits.  I’m still in shock with what I pulled.  The Babe Ruth/Shohei Ohtani card came from Chicagoland Sports Cards.  They opened a new case for me and I picked the upper left box on the top.  Pelé is from Blowout Cards.  Cleveland continues to be the location where I have the best luck.  I think it has something to do with the same Burger King I stop at on the drive out.  Its my lucky Burger King.  And you can’t know where it is 🙂

Auto/Relic

  • Pelé Auto/Relic Red #’ed/3

Relics

  • Babe Ruth/Shohei Ohtani Reflections Bat/Jersey Gold #’ed 1/1
  • Vince Carter Jumbo Patch #’ed/3
  • Frank Thomas Enshrined Prime Relic Magenta #’ed/3
  • John Smoltz Enshrined Prime Relic #’ed/6
  • Ozzie Smith/Paul Molitor/Tim Raines Draft Class History Relic #’ed/12
  • Joe Namath/Mickey Mantle/Mark Messier/Walt Frazier/Lawrence Taylor/Mike Bossy City of Champions Relic Blue #’ed/6
  • Karl Malone Legendary Kicks Shoe Relic Red #’ed/3
  • Goose Gossage Nickname Hall of Fame Relic Blue #’ed/6
  • Yogi Berra/Gordie Howe All-Time Enshrined Relic Blue #’ed/6

The 2018 National – Day #3

My third and final day of the 2018 National Sports Collectors Convention has come to an end.  I spent most of it browsing the show floor and taking pictures of all the amazing items.

The first stop I made was to Chicagoland Sports Cards where I had them open a new case of 2018 Leaf In The Game Used Sports.  I chose the box on the upper left corner.  Boy did I pick a good one.  One of my hits is a Babe Ruth/Shohei Ohtani dual relic #’ed 1/1!!!  Like I mentioned earlier, I’ll go into full details about what came out of my boxes I bought in Cleveland once I get home.  The scans will look nice.

At 5:30 p.m. Topps held their Q&A session.  This was the first time I had ever attended one of these meetings.  It was fun and educating to hear collector’s questions and concerns.  Only (150) spots were available for this meeting.  Everyone that attended the meeting received a specially made Francisco Lindor autograph #’ed/50.  Not every card uses the same photo of Francisco Lindor either.  At least (3) different photos were used.  Here is a video of the entire Q&A courtesy of Sports Card News/Sports Card Radio.

Every collector should be able to attended at least one National.  No show gets better than this.  I’ll be heading home on Saturday.  I’ve got a feeling the weekend will be very crowded.

This show was a blast.  I got to meet some awesome people, take great pictures, get some autographs, and pull some cool cards.

Exclusive Francisco Lindor autographs given out during the Topps Q&A

Showing off my Babe Ruth/Shohei Ohtani dual relic #’ed 1/1 at the Leaf booth

Getting to hold a Hank Aaron 1954 Topps #128 PSA 10

1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle SGC 9

1917 Collins-McCarthy (E135) #147 Babe Ruth SGC 8

Willie Mays – 1952 Topps SGC 9, 1951 Bowman SGC 9, 1953 Topps SGC 9.5

1961 Topps Dice Game # Mickey Mantle SGC 1.5

1909 Sweet Caporal T206 Honus Wagner SGC 4

Babe Ruth Tobacco Tin

1956 Oversized Baseball Signed by 53 Yankees in 1956 Spring Training

Penn State Athletic Director 1992 Fiesta Bowl Trophy

1976 Topps Football 15 Box Cello Case $110,000

NFL logo patches

Vintage golf balls