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.

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Batman Turns 80 – Here’s His Rookie Card

Created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, Batman made his debut to the world in Detective Comics issue #27.  The date on the cover states “May 1939”, but it was actually released in March of that year.

2019 marks Batman’s 80th anniversary.  For the last 80 years Batman has been fighting one evil-doer after another in order to keep Gotham City safe.  Despite being introduced to fans in 1939, it took until 1966 for Batman to receive what I like to call his “rookie card”.

Thanks to the success of the Adam West and Burt Ward Batman television series, fans saw multiple card sets released in 1966.  Topps issued five different sets all based on the campy Batman show.  The first is the 1966 Topps Batman Black Bat set.  It consists of 55-cards, and the artwork is done by Norman Saunders.  Saunders is best known for working on the 1962 Topps Mars Attacks set.  Card #1 simply features “The Batman”.  They call it the Black Bat set because the picture’s caption is inside a black bat.  Other sets released that same year include the Blue BatRed BatThe Riddler Back, and The Bat Laffs.  Like most vintage cards, condition is everything.  The value of this card can range anywhere from hundreds of dollars to thousands based in it’s condition.

Batman will always remain one of my favorite superheros.  I was first introduced to him while watching reruns of the old show from the 1960’s.  Then I discovered Tim Burton’s Batman starring Michael Keaton.  That movie is ingrained into my mind.  I prefer my Batman to be much more serious than campy.  Growing up, I had tons of action figures.  The first one I remember getting was of Batman from the 1989 Toy Biz DC Heroes line.

Today’s fans know Batman as a very serious character.  Thanks to comics such as Batman: Year One, The Killing Joke, and The Dark Knight Returns, those days of camp are fairly over.  Tim Burton’s films also helped, along with Batman: The Animated Series.

I wish this card had a more serious tone to it.  This image reminds me of what I look like on the opening night of the National Sports Collectors Convention.  Batman just looks way too happy.

On a side note, wouldn’t it be neat to see Michael Keaton return as Batman?  It could be a follow-up to Batman Returns.  Even though Batman Returns had two sequels – Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, other than Michael Gough playing Alfred Pennyworth you don’t see a lot of connections to the original two films.  Going back like this worked for the Halloween franchise last year.  With all of the reboots and restarts DC Comics films are currently going through, its not that far of a stretch for it to happen.

In case you were wondering, Robin’s “rookie card” is #2 in the Black Bat set.  Lots of famous characters from Batman’s Rogues Gallery have rookie cards in here.

Mickey Mouse Turns 90 – Here’s His Rookie Card

When you hear the name “Mickey” and the words “rookie card” in the same sentence, most people are going to think of that famous #7 who played for the Yankees.  It makes sense they would.  Mickey Mantle is one of the most notable and collected sports figures.  His cards have fetched millions.  That 1951 Bowman rookie card is an icon of the industry.  So are many of his other cards.

What if I told you twenty years prior to Mickey Mantle’s rookie card, another Mickey was already making his cardboard debut.  Of course I’m talking about Mickey Mouse.  I believe he’s a bit more well-known around the world than that Yankee guy.  Mickey Mouse is right up there with the McDonald’s Arch and Nike Swoosh as far as most recognizable symbols go.

In 1928 Mickey Mouse made his public debut in the short film Steamboat Willie.  It was a total hit.  Animated short films eventually turned into full-length features.  Everything snowballed from there bringing fame and fortune to Walt Disney.

Disney is the king when it comes to merchandising.  They’ll slap their characters on anything if they think it will sell.  Three years after being introduced to the world, Mickey Mouse received what is now considered to be his rookie card.  Drawn by Floyd Gottfredson, this premium was made available during the May 27, 1931 Mickey Mouse comic strip.  In that particular story, Mickey had his picture taken.  Fans of his could get a copy of that picture if they wrote in during the “High Society” story line.  This is the card they’ed receive.  It measures 3-3/8″ x 5-3/8″.  At the bottom it reads “Gobs of Good Wishes, Mickey Mouse” and “Me too, Butch”.  As you can see, Mickey’s streetwise friend Butch is standing in the background.

Very few of these cards exist.  When they do popup, the asking price is usually in the thousands.  Another card featuring both Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse was released in 1931.  That one comes from the Wills Cinema Stars tobacco card set.  Its much more common though.

Mickey Mouse celebrates his 90th anniversary this year.  His 1931 First Newspaper Premium Picture Card takes us back to a time when he was fairly new and just beginning to make an impression on the world.  Truly an interesting piece of history.  Four more years would have to pass by until Mickey Mouse’s 1935 Gum Cards would be released.

Sports Card Info Turns 7 Today

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Thanks For The Support!

Happy Birthday! – Sports Card Info Celebrates 5 Years

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Five years ago today I founded Sports Card Info.  At the time sports card blogs were in their infancy with only a few that had been around for an established amount of time.  It all began when eBay allowed users to create guides for other collectors.  How To Spot Fake Sports Cards That Are For Sale was the first guide I put together and it took off.  Eventually I stopped writing eBay Guides and started up my own blog – Sports Card Info over on Blogger.  After five months on Blogger, they locked me out of my own blog because they deemed it as spam.  That’s when I moved Sports Card Info over to WordPress.  Its been here ever since.

Within the last five years, Sports Card Info has obtained sponsors from Dave & Adam’s Card World, Orange County Sports Cards, Atlanta Sports Cards, Lil’ Teammates, Bleacher Creatures, OYO Sportstoys, In The Game, Panini, and Press Pass.  In fact, Press Pass sent over the first product Sports Card Info ever reviewed – 2009 Element Racing.  All of these sponsors help keep Sports Card Info going.  I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing a lot of products and using many of the “hits” in weekly contests.

By far one of the coolest things to happen was having OYO Sportstoys turn Sports Card Info into it’s very own collectible minifigure.  When Sports Card Info began back in 2007 I never expected something like that would happen.  Maybe someday it will get it’s very own baseball card.  Weirder things have been put into packs.  But nothing can really compare to the steady stream of products I get to review and use for contests.  If it weren’t for all the daily viewers, Sports Card Info probably wouldn’t exist.

Lets hope the next five years are just as successful.  I’ve gotten to know a lot of great people since starting this blog.  Thanks for checking out Sports Card Info!!!

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FedEx dropped off five boxes yesterday from Panini to review.  Five boxes on Sports Card Info’s 5th anniversary.  Lets keep going!

Sports Card Info Turns 4!

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Four years ago today Sports Card Info began it’s life.  Since the beginning, there has been 3,000+ blog posts, 5,000+ comments, over 400,000 views, tons of box breaks & reviews, and almost 80 contests.  Thanks everyone for stopping by and checking out Sports Card Info.  I hope you’re all around to see what happens when its time to celebrate the big 5th anniversary next year.

Happy Birthday!

Sports Card Info Turns Two!!!

Today Sports Card Info turns two years old.  Two years ago today I started Sports Card Info over on Blogger, but for some crazy reason Google shut me down because they thought I was spam.  I originally started SCI because I wanted to link from the Beckett Message Boards to some of the guides I had written on cards.  Since Beckett wouldn’t allow users to have a link in their signature to eBay, I had to move some of my popular guides over to Blogger.  In May of 2008 I moved the site over to WordPress since I was shut down and the site has grown steadily ever since.  Thanks to the now retired Mario from Wax Heaven, I have been able to obtain new products from Press Pass, TRISTAR, and hopefully Upper Deck soon to review and use for contests.  Wax Heaven gave me some great ideas to help further improve my blog.  Blowout Cards is now an official sponsor of SCI too.  In return for displaying their logo in the sidebar, they give exposure to specific blog posts I send to them.  When I started blogging two years ago I never thought I would be teaming up with manufacturers and distributors.  As of right now, SCI has received well over 100,000 total hits and averages about 400 visitors per day.  2009 was a great year for SCI and I hope 2010 goes even better.  I’d like to thank everyone that has visited this year and has taken part in many of the contests.

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