Q&A – How Do I Attend The Topps Q&A During The National Sports Collectors Convention?

Question:  How do I attend the Topps Q&A during the National Sports Collectors Convention?

Answer:  The Topps Q&A meeting is one of the best events that you can take part in while attending the National Sports Collectors Convention.  The NSCC usually starts on a Wednesday, and Topps typically holds their Q&A meeting that following Friday.  The Q&A takes place after the NSCC has closed for the day, and is held either at the convention center or a hotel near by.  It depends on where the NSCC is taking place, and what’s available.

In order to attend the Topps Q&A you must sign-up for it at the Topps booth.  The event is limited to about (150) spots.  Its a wise idea to get to the Topps booth ASAP, because those spots fill up very quickly.  Badges for the NSCC usually can start to be picked up at 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. that first day.  The VIP Party starts at 2:30 p.m.  At 3:30 p.m. the show opens for VIPs.  General Admission gets in at 4:00 p.m.  If you’re a VIP, as soon as the show opens at 3:30 p.m. I’d run to the Topps booth and get my name on that list.

During the Topps Q&A you are encouraged to ask Topps employees anything you want pertaining to the hobby.  In between questions they tend to giveaway lots of prizes.  Everyone who attends usually receives a special gift on the way out when its over.  This gift is specially made for the Topps Q&A, and can only be obtained there.  In 2018, everyone left with a Francisco Lindor autograph #’ed/50.

The 2019 National Sports Collectors Convention takes place 7/31-8/4 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Chicago.  I think its safe to say Q&A attendees will leave with a special Chicago-related card.

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2019 Leaf In The Game Used Sports Set To Arrive In Time For The National

Earlier this week I was excited to announce that Leaf In The Game Used Sports is making it’s return in 2019.  Like I mentioned in my previous post, the 2018 version of this product was just loaded with one low-numbered hit after another.  I never had a bad box.

Leaf has released the official sales sheet for 2019 Leaf In The Game Used Sports.  As is the case with a lot of sales sheets, some of these autographs and patches could change between now and the time it actually comes out.

The configuration looks similar to last year – (12) boxes per case, and (5) hits per box.  July 31, 2019 is the set release date.  I’m sure it will be one of the eligible products that you can use for Leaf’s wrapper redemption program during the National Sports Collector’s Convention.

Leaf In The Game Used Sports Returns For 2019

Good luck trying to find a sealed box of 2018 Leaf In The Game Used Sports.  Its almost impossible.  Released on August 1, 2018 (the first day of the National), this product was a huge hit at the show.  If you couldn’t make it to Cleveland, various dealers carried it.  But their stock didn’t last very long.  Its been months since I’ve seen a sealed box surface.

What made this product so popular?  Boxes are loaded with low-numbered hits.  Five to be exact.  At an initial cost of $160-$165 per box, collectors quickly realized they were getting quite the deal.  Most boxes were solid, and delivered value that was equal to the box price.  Lots of times the value was much more.  Not mass-produced.  Low case production.  I think Leaf configured it this way because they knew it would draw people in.  As collectors began to catch on, the price of a single box began to grow.  The last time I saw a box listed for sale it cost $269.  I was lucky to get my hands on three boxes last year.  You can see what I pulled here and here.

I’m happy to announce that Leaf plans to bring back In The Game Used Sports for 2019.  While we don’t have a release date, box/case price, configuration details, and/or print run yet, Leaf did let a few images slip out.  These pictures are of cards from their “The Chosen Few” collection.  Randomly inserted are redemptions for some heavy-duty high-end cards.  If you pull one, Leaf will allow you to pick a card from their “The Chosen Few” inventory.  Obviously the sooner one is pulled, the more selection you will have.  More details to come.

Cobb, Cochrane, & Crawford Are Among The National’s Earliest Promos

Back in February I blogged about an 8-card set that highlights the early years of the National Sports Collectors Convention.  That set is from the 5th NSCC which took place in 1984 at the Aspen Hotel in Parsippany, New Jersey.  At the time of that writing it was the earliest promotional set for the NSCC that I had ever seen.  Today that all changes.

A 32-card set recently popped-up on eBay, and seems to be from the 2nd National Sports Collectors Convention.  In 1981, the second NSCC was held in Detroit, Michigan at the Plymouth Hilton.  This simple 32-card set includes a nice selection of all-time great players from the Detroit Tigers.  Notable names include Ty Cobb, Mickey Cochrane, Hank Greenberg, Sam Crawford, and Charlie Gehringer.  The backs are all blank.

I can’t say how exactly these cards were distributed.  Back then they didn’t have the elaborate promotional programs like they do today.  Dealers may have only gotten them.  I say that because you don’t see these cards very often.  Then again, they could’ve been handed out at the door to everyone that walked in.  Either way, its an awesome historical set from what has turned into the best sports card and memorabilia show on the planet.

The 40th National Sports Collectors Convention will take place in Chicago at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center 7/31-8/4.

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.

Card of the Day: Kerri Strug 1997 Sports Illustrated for Kids April Fools Card #574

Grand Opening – Sports Zone Toys & Comics

Sports Zone Toys & Comics is a card shop that’s been around for over ten years.  The shop recently moved into a new location – 359 Market St., Sunbury, PA.

I attended it’s grand opening this weekend.  Let me tell you something.  This is how every single brick-and-mortar store should look.  Its easy to get into, lots of space to move around, and very well organized.  Every collector should have this type of shop in their backyard.

Glass cases full of singles, sealed boxes, packs, OYO minifigures, bobbleheads, and new/used wrestling figures just cover some of the items you’ll find.  There are even some tables you can sit down at and rip open a box.  I highly suggest stopping in if you’re around the area.

To commemorate the grand opening, special OYO minifigures were made with the Sports Zone Toys & Comics name on them.  Along with the minifigure came a coupon.  These coupons ranged from $10 off of a $100 purchase, free bobblehead, free Fathead, etc…  Very cool!

I left with a new Nick Foles Super Bowl LII MVP bobblehead, and a Phillies TeenyMates Big Sip water bottle.  Next month I’ll be heading back as that’s when the Gritty bobbleheads are due out.