20 Years Later Topps Crystal Is Still A Mystery

Drawing a blank upon hearing about 1999 Topps Crystal?  I was debating whether or not to use this for a post since very little is known about it.  But then I thought perhaps just talking about it could shed some new light on this set.

Right now, there are only five different cards known to exist that come with the Topps Crystal name – Craig Biggio, Wally Joyner, Ivan Rodriguez, Andy Brown, and Mike Mussina.  Every card that has surfaced is serial numbered to (99) copies.  Given how rarely you see these popup, I highly doubt (99) copies were actually made for each card though.

The reason why you probably haven’t heard of Topps Crystal is because it was never released.  Many people believe that Topps printed these cards as a test for what would eventually become 2000 Topps HD.  The printing technology between the two is very similar.  Topps HD was a minor success, but only survived for two years.  What makes the cards standout is that they are printed on thick plastic.  Its unfortunate that they didn’t catch on.  I think they look really well done.  Especially the handful of on-card autographs that include Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken, Jr., and Adrian Gonzalez.

Seeing that Topps Crystal was never officially released, it makes you wonder how these five cards found their way out.  The most logical explanation is that someone at Topps walked out the door with them.  The odds of finding a new Topps Crystal card are slim, but it could happen.  It would be cool to find one from the Phillies.  For all we know, one of Pat Burrell could be out there somewhere.

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.

Big Papi ’19 Topps Series 1 Contest! – NOW CLOSED

This contest is for a David Ortiz 2019 Topps Series 1 Professional Baseball 150 Years 1869-2019 Commemorative Medallion.  Good luck!!!

Contest Details:

  • This contest will end Friday, February 22, 2019 @ 8:00 p.m. EST.
  • To enter, please leave a comment in this post.
  • You can enter once per day.
  • The winner will be selected at random.
  • Please provide a valid e-mail address when entering.
  • The winner will receive an e-mail when the contest is over.
  • The winner has one week to send me their contact information or the contest will be held again.
  • Once the contest is over, I will need the winner’s mailing address so I can ship them this card for FREE!!!

8-Card Set Highlights The National’s Early Years

I love the National Sports Collectors Convention.  Its the show of all shows.  They don’t come any bigger and/or better.  I know its only February, but its never a bad time to talk about the National.

The 40th National Sports Collectors Convention will take place in Chicago this year 7/31-8/4.  I regret to inform you that I won’t be attending.  As much as I’d like to cover the show, see all of the cool stuff, and catch up with the awesome people, I don’t think its going to happen.  I’m from central PA, and its a good 12-hour drive to Chicago.  Flying is out of the question.  I want nothing to do with airports.  Atlantic City in 2020 seems like a better opportunity for me to get there.  If it was up to me, I’d have it in Cleveland every year.  That’s my all-time favorite location.

One of the most popular activities collectors like to participate in is going after promotional cards.  Every major manufacturer has something happening during the National.  Collectors (myself included) have been known to wait hours in line for those precious exclusive packs.

Today these promotional programs are all over the place.  That certainly hasn’t always been the case.  One of the earliest, if not the first promotional card set to be made for the National arrived in 1984.  The National got it’s start in 1980, and was held in the Los Angeles Airport Marriott Hotel.  By 1984, the show had grown and took place at the Aspen Hotel in Parsippany, NJ.  Only (8) cards are in this exclusive set.  They are Joe Collins, Willard Marshall, Larry Doby, Ed Lopat, Tom Gorman, Bud Harrelson, Bobby Thomson, and Gene Hermanski.  On the back of each card it states “5th Annual National Aug. 9-12, 1984” inside a black apple.  Beneath that it says “Sports Collectors Convention Aspen Hotel, Parsippany, NJ”.

I have a strong feeling those eight guys were the autograph signers for the National that year.  Back then that might have seemed like a lot.  Nowadays they’ll have eight signers all going at once, with a hundred more on the way.  “WE ARE NOW ACCEPTING ALL ACCESS VIP PLATINUM BADGES FOR RICKEY HENDERSON.”

Like a lot of cards from this point in time, they aren’t worth a lot.  You can easily find them for sale on the secondary market.  A complete set can be found for $10.  Its a neat snapshot of the National’s early years.

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.  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.

Sports Card Info Celebrates 10 Years!

On this date in 2007 Sports Card Info was born.  Blogs pertaining to sports cards were really taking off at that time.  While some are still around, many have burned out.  But Sports Card Info continues to move forward.

I’d like to thank everyone who takes time to visit each day.  As a token of my appreciation, I’ve got some 10th anniversary contests in the works.  Be sure to keep an eye out for them.

In the meantime, leave a comment on this post with a valid e-mail address by 11:59 p.m. EST on 12/27/17 for your chance to win an official Sports Card Info collectible pin.  Only (150) pins have been made.  That’s not a lot when it comes to pins.  I’ll announce who the winner is in the comment section on 12/28/17 and contact them by e-mail.  Good luck!!!

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.