Hobby Musings: National Continues to Thrill – We’re already two days into the 2016 National Sports Collectors Convention. Returning to Atlantic City for the first time since 2003, the show has provided its usual array of unique memorabilia from all walks of life.
As has been the case with many previous Nationals, vintage trading cards and sealed wax seem to be ruling the roost so far. All of the major card companies have been featuring their always popular wrapper redemption programs , but it seems as if Topps’ has been the most popular. On Thursday morning, there was a line around the corner for them even before 10am. Part of the reason they’ve done so well is the inclusion of impressive autographs like Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, both of whom have already been pulled.
With that being said, Panini’s silver packs have also been quite popular once again. I came across someone who had pulled a nice autograph of Rams rookie QB Jared Goff. In talking with people who have opened them, it seems as if the odds of pulling a hit have been easier, and there has been a significant increase in the amount of numbered cards in the packs.
Leaf has also seen its fair share of action at their wrapper redemption area. Their Babe Ruth Yankee Stadium seat cards have been pretty popular. It seemed like quite a few collectors were also taking advantage of their case break promotion for a mystery box with a variety of memorabilia.
Upper Deck has done a solid job of providing a comfortable atmosphere with plenty of seating and tables for collectors to bust their packs before turning in redemptions. Stopping by their booth on Thursday, a good part of their giveaway items were already gone thanks to avid participation. As they typically do, they’ve also had a raffle both days near the end of the day with prizes ranging from sealed boxes to signed memorabilia. If you happen to be at the show on Friday, be sure to keep an eye out for one of their Random Acts of Kindness envelopes hidden around the convention center.
The autograph lines for the Tristar autograph pavilion have been pretty packed so far, especially for the VIP signers. At the VIP intro party on Wednesday, fans lined up in droves to get one of the signers on hand, including former Phillies pitcher Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams. I happened to be in line for former MLB pitcher John Montefusco on Wednesday and even after nearly two hours, there was a still an impressive line for him. I do have to give him kudos though for taking the time to personally address each fan and delivering one heck of a signature. Today’s athletes could certainly take a cue from him.
While the presence of the major auction houses has been surprisingly minimal, there has still been a nice array of memorabilia on display. My mouth dropped when I saw this Tom Seaver game-used jersey at the Goldin Auctions booth. It wasn’t all super high-end stuff though. I found myself amused and happy to see this awesome Three Stooges photo with a page signed by Moe, Larry and Curly. A rare item in and of itself, I don’t think I’ve seen a single item signed by the three of them in person.
For bigger events, Wednesday on the main stage in the case break pavilion saw it being formally dedicated and renamed in honor of Mike Berkus. The most influential figure of the National, he passed away last fall. A multitude of people came on to stage to speak about Mike, and a large banner featuring him was unveiled. It seems a fitting tribute as Mike was the one who made the pavilion a reality to begin with.
On Thursday, Topps hosted its annual Q&A session with show attendees. Allowing everyone the chance to ask any question they desired, topics ranged from whether Topps would pursue an NBA license when it becomes available again to the future of Topps NOW. Offering a variety of prizes throughout the event, everybody received a specially stamped National 1/1 card from Allen & Ginter.
Overall, I would characterize the show’s mood as relaxed so far. There have been a fair amount of show attendees, including a good amount of children. It has been encouraging to see a larger number of families here at the show than in past years. It will be interesting to see how the attendance is heading into the weekend, which is typically when the show is at its busiest.
If you happen to be attending the show this weekend, be sure to stop by the main stage of the case break pavilion to see GTS’ own Rob Bertrand and Ivan Lovegren hosting. We were honored to have ABC News political director and 2016 Topps A&G card recipient Rick Klein on with us to talk about how his card came to fruition. He’s also all too happy to sign your card of him if you want to ask him. Beyond the guests, Rob and Ivan have been giving away a lot of cool items so far, so it could give you a chance to easily add something to your collection. If you happen to run into me, be sure to say hi and get some free cards. I’ll check back in with you later in the weekend.
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