Pin Highlight: Little League Store ESPN Pin

Exactly one month from today the 2017 Little League World Series begins.  People from all over the world will flock to Williamsport, PA.  Collectible pins sold at the official Little League Store and other businesses throughout Williamsport have begun to slowly popup.  Pins from Dolly’s Diner and the Thomas T. Taber Museum are already available.  As the Little League World Series approaches, many more will follow.  The Little League Store doesn’t sell all of their pins online.  A lot of neat ones can only be purchased in person.  I just added a new glow-in-the-dark superhero-themed Dugout pin to my collection.

ESPN issues pins for the Little League World Series every year.  They have for a long time.  Who and how they are distributed is a total mystery.  They show up on eBay, but I’ve never seen anyone from ESPN hand them out.  Other collectors have wondered the same thing.  While supplies last, the Little League Store now sells an ESPN pin.  This is brand new for 2017.  Enough people complained over the years about not getting an ESPN pin, so they decided to make one for sale.  I bet these will sell fast.  There is no year printed on them.  Because of that, Little League might have plans to use this pin design for a while.  Either way, its an official Little League ESPN pin.

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“Pin-Up” of the Week: Thor: The Dark World – Disney Soda Fountain & Studio Store Pin

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SPOILERS

I guess you can tell that this has nothing to do with sports.  Although I think Thor would make one hell of a ballplayer.  Ever since Disney purchased Marvel, they’ve been churning out superhero pins left and right.  Especially when they release a new movie.  To coincide with the release of Thor: The Dark World, Disney released a limited edition pin set which could be purchased at their Soda Fountain & Studio Store in California.  Each pin in the set is limited to 400, except for the El Capitan marquee one which they made 500 of.  The above pin is one of those exclusive pins from that set, and currently sells for $30.00.

I’m a sucker for superhero movies.  They’re my favorite.  Marvel has just done a fantastic job with this whole Avengers story line.  Every movie gives fans one more piece of the puzzle, and leaves us wanting more.  I thought Thor: The Dark World was an interesting follow-up to The Avengers.  Make sure you stick around for the two post credit scenes.  ABC’s Marvels Agents Of Shield is suppose to involve the events of Thor: The Dark World within one of its upcoming episodes.  Maybe it will be their job to take down that left over frost monster which is still running around Earth.

We find out that the Tesseract is considered one of the Infinity Stones in the Marvel cinematic universe.  Volstagg and Sif entrust the Collector with the Aether (which is also an Infinity Stone) because having two of them stored together would be too dangerous.  Did anyone realize that when Jane was standing next to the Aether it was really big, and then when Volstagg and Sif gave it to the Collector is was small enough to hold it in your hand?  What is up with that?

This is probably the nerdiest post I’ve ever written.  But that’s why I love these movies.  They get the mind working.  One more little tidbit.  Samuel L. Jackson plays Nick Fury in a lot of these films.  Right now you see him advertising the Capital One Quicksilver credit card.  I’m sure we’ll see him play Nick Fury again in the next Avengers movie where there plans to be a character called Quicksilver.

Interview with Dan Fox of Fox Sports Cards

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On YouTube, there are over 50,000 videos of collectors opening packs and boxes from all over the world.  Watching other people rip open a product can really help you decide if it might be right for you.  One of the most popular channels collectors subscribe to is FoxSportsCards, which is a card shop located in Marion, IL.  Recently, I interviewed Dan Fox of Fox Sports Cards to learn more about the store, views on the hobby, and his collection.

  • Can you tell me the history of Fox Sports Cards? When did it open & what inspired you to open a card shop?

Fox Sports Cards opened in Dec. 2006.  It was opened to address the fact that Marion had no Sports Card shop.  There was only one small store in all of southern Illinois, and it was not doing a lot of the things I felt collectors were looking for.

  • What are some of your best selling items?

Our best selling items would be new wax, single cards, vintage and memorabilia.  The wax sells pretty evenly across all price points.  We do sell a lot of high end wax, but we also sell a bunch of med-level and lower-end wax as well.  Baseball sells the most here in Cardinals country.  Football is next, then basketball products, and recently we began selling hockey, and it has been really selling well.

  • What type of events take place at your store?

We host bi-monthly Trade Nights at our store every month.  We try to host two or more autograph signings a year here at the store.  Our most recent signing was New York Giants star running back Brandon Jacobs.  We strive to have some Cardinal players every year as well as athletes from other sports. To be honest, I feel these signings are some of the most important things our store can do.  They provide our young collectors a lifelong experience and memory of meeting some of their favorite stars in their home town.

  • In your opinion, what is the state of the hobby right now?

I feel the hobby is contracting a bit right now due to several factors.  First, I put the blame directly on the stores and store owners.  Sadly, many of the people who own card stores today are not only NOT promoting their store, they are NOT promoting the hobby at all.  In today’s multi-media, tech-savvy world, if we don’t provide you some reasons to visit our stores a couple times a week, then why would you?  I see too many owners bemoaning the state of the hobby, while they continue to do NOTHING to change its’ course.  Our store and its’ business continue to expand and grow at a very strong rate.  We promote, continue to change/evolve, bring in new products and try new/different promotions to give our customers many good reasons to visit us often.  I also would put some blame on the big three manufacturers for the lack of support for brick and mortar accounts.  Donruss, Topps, and Upper Deck have all turned a blind eye to many of the distribution problems plaguing the hobby.  They have allowed wholesalers to start selling their products directly to consumers at pricing and at or below direct dealer account prices.  These artificially low prices give the consumers the perception that the product isn’t worth the suggested retail price.  It also allows pack searchers and the like to blend in online, and sell adulterated boxes on eBay and through websites looking just like every other online seller.  Last time I checked, these online sellers have NEVER hosted a Trade Night, and NEVER brought any new kids into the hobby. They provide NO SERVICE at all to the hobby.  Once they put the majority of card stores out of business, Wal-Mart and Target will be your alternative, and good luck with that.

  • With all the advances in technology, do you find it difficult for kids to get involved with collecting?

I feel its still very easy to get kids interested in card collecting.  In many ways, that hasn’t changed since I started collecting in 1968, cards are cool.  Its still a rush to pull your favorite player out of a pack.  The fact that there are now autographs, pieces of jersey, stamps, coins, and all sorts of other quirky cool things built into cards today makes it even easier than it was in 1968 to spark an interest.  Stores should have a presence on the web, you don’t have to sell, but at least be online, do some YouTube, Facebook, etc… Show the younger collectors that you will make an effort to market to their segment.  Too many stores consider these steps to NOT be worth the time and trouble.  Along these lines, I would love to see Topps, Upper Deck, and Donruss run marketing directed more at today’s marketplace.  Think of how many collectors would get back into card collecting of Topps ran a 1 minute spot showing a collector opening a box of Triple Threads Baseball, or UD showing someone opening Premier Baseball, 60 seconds of pure marketing genius.

  • Do you have a personal collection? If so, what is your favorite piece?

I do still collect.  My favorite pieces are my 1962 Topps Tarkenton rookie, 1955 Bowman Willie Mays, Smoky Joe Wood cut autograph,  Adrian Peterson rookie auto, and an autographed card from Pete Pihos.

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  • What has been your favorite box of cards that you have opened?

My favorite box of cards to open is either Premier baseball (or football or basketball), Triple Threads baseball (or football, or basketball).

  • What are some of the biggest pulls that customers have received?

We’ve had a couple Pujols autos pulled, a Sandy Koufax auto, some Honus Wagner relics in Topps Sterling, Michael Jordan auto out of Black, Jordan auto out of Premier, and a Jordan/Magic/Bird/Irving quad auto pulled in Black as well.

I would like to thank Mr. Fox for taking the time to answer my questions.  If your ever passing through Marion, IL be sure to stop by Fox Sports Cards.

Win a FREE Box of 2009 Topps Series 1 Baseball

Our friends over at Sports Card Fun announced another contest today.  They want to know how you store your collection.  The winner will receive a FREE hobby box of 2009 Topps Series 1 baseball cards.  Here are the contest details:

Here’s the topic:
How big is your sports card collection and how and where do you store it?  (For example, on shelves, special bookcases, in binders, a safe, etc.)

As always we WANT THE DETAILS! You’re welcome to tell us about your collection, how big do you think it will get? did you learn the hard way about storing and protecting and displaying your cards?

Here are the rules and additional guidelines for you to follow:
1. Stick to this topic: How big is your sports card collection and how and where do you store it?
2. You must write a MINIMUM 200 WORDS (less than 200 words do
not get entered to win)
3. All essays must be turned in by Sunday February 22nd, 2009
5. Use our contact form to submit your finished entry.
6. Entries of our choice will be posted on Sportscardfun.com

Remember,  Sunday February 22nd, 2009 is the deadline!

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Here is Sports Card Info’s entry:

I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I probably have one of the most organized sports card collections in the world.  My collection consists mainly of Phillies, Dolphins, Dan Marino, Scott Rolen, and relic cards of older players.  But I’m one of those collectors that has the constant urge to bust a box of cards, which means that I usually have a lot of cards to keep organized.  My Phillies, Dolphins, Dan Marino, Scott Rolen, and autographed cards are all placed in individual albums.  The baseball and football base cards are all in white cardboard boxes.  If I pull any serial numbered inserts or rookie cards with Chrome stock I always place them in either the baseball or football top loader box.  Since I open a bunch of boxes which usually yield jerseys and autographs of less desired players, I have two white boxes for baseball and football memorabilia cards.  In my office I have a few shelves hanging on the wall that contain some of my most valuable cards.  I just can’t seem to place them in a box where I wouldn’t see them.  I learned my lesson the hard way when not keeping your collection in order.  When I first started collecting, I would mix baseball and football cards together.  After years of doing that over and over again, I realized that it was really difficult to find something I thought I might have.  Over a period of a few weekends, I separated all my cards by sport and have kept it that way ever since.  Now you won’t catch me even placing a card upside down in a box.