Topps Q&A Live Blog from the 2015 National

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Coming up at 11AM 11:15 AM EST we’ll be live tweeting the Topps Q&A from the 2015 National Sports Collectors Convention with highlights, announcements and comments.

So check back shortly and hit the refresh.

Opens with questions from the crowd.

Will paraphrase as best as possible.

Question: In 2012, top card in Bowman was Ultimate Prospect. I spent a lot of money on that and was wondering about information on the card and holdup.

Topps: The card is made. We’ll check to see who the holdup is. But the card is made.

Collector is reading a redemption letter and pointing out lack of personal info on replacement and not happy with replacement for a Hope Solo autograph.

Topps: Up front that she will not be signing the card. Hard to say what value will be exactly and do best.

Collector responds that he would have been happy with better communication.

Topps: All the cards that have been put in product as redemptions, the cards are made and waiting for athletes to sign. We’re not going to wait forever and have collectors waiting. We have a room in Pennsylvania that has thousands of redemptions that are made and ready to be sign.

Sorry, small connection glitch.

Collector asks about production issues in 2015 Allen & Ginter.

Topps: We’re talking with production company and should have an announcement about it in a couple of weeks.

Question about Strata Santa Claus cards from a couple of years ago.

Will Topps be getting back into the NBA.

Topps: We’re always actively talking and will see what we can do when non-exclusive license.

Question about 2014 Bowman Chrome Kris Bryant autograph being inserted in 2014 Bowman and Bowman Chrome.

Topps: The 2013 Bowman Draft cards came late and could have been destroyed or inserted in later product. We opted to use them. Didn’t sign all of 2014 cards at once so inserted what had in Bowman and rest in Bowman Chrome after they arrived.

Alan Narz is doing giveaways.

The lights just went out. They’re back. So are the questions.

For the buybacks, were complete sets or singles bought?

Topps: Alan Narz bought them all for us. Asks crowd whether prefer stamp or not on buybacks.

Crowd is a resounding “Noon stamping.

Topps: Research says stamps are preferred. Talks about how 60th Anniversary will have different colors.

Another glitch. Sorry.

Susan brought up to talk about greater social media presence.

What are plans for 2016 football?

Topps: We plan to be making 2016 football cards.

 

 

First Look: 2015 Panini Gridiron Kings football cards

2015 Panini Gridiron Kings Rookie Red Frame

Following in the footsteps of Diamond Kings and Court Kings, 2015 Panini Gridiron Kings Football focuses on an art-based touch.

Boxes are moderately small, arriving with 12 packs. Each has eight cards. As far as what’s in each box, there’s one autograph, one memorabilia card and more than a dozen additional inserts and parallels.

Read More »

Panini adds Mike Tyson to VIP Party guest roster

Mike Tyson v Reggie Gross

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

He’s been the world heavyweight champ, had a Hangover, joined the WWE Hall of Fame, a man who forever changed video games and is “the baddest man on the planet.”

But now Mike Tyson is a Panini America VIP Party guest.

Tyson is the latest addition to a roster that includes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, John Smoltz, Pete Rose and Ricky Williams, among others, for a Saturday night event attended by those who spend $7,500 on a list of selected products on the show floor from a selected list of dealers.

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Young collectors get the spotlight in Panini Kids Break

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Walk into a primary classroom and you’re likely to see one of two things. Some are filled with kids who are bored, restless and counting down until the clock hits three. Other classrooms are filled with excitement. It was like the latter at the Panini Kids Break on Friday afternoon at the National.

It was “criss cross, apple sauce” all the way for most of the kids as they sat on the red carpet as a case of 2014 Absolute Football was busted. The children were eager to see what cards were pulled, whether it was their team or not. To them, a cool card was a cool card. None mentioned what an autograph or other rarity might be worth.

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Star-Studded Saturday Autograph Lineup Has Something For Everyone

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Media

The TRISTAR Autograph Pavilion has been extremely busy thus far this week at the 36th National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago and the demand for some of the world’s most iconic athletes will be strong on Saturday.

While recent Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Pedro Martinez had to cancel his appearance at the show, his fellow Class of 2015 members Randy Johnson and John Smoltz are ready to meet their fans. Throw in other prominent names from the national pastime such as Rickey Henderson, Cal Ripken Jr., Bill Mazeroski, Reggie Jackson and Mike Piazza along with a trio of Chicago Cubs teammates in Andre Dawson, Greg Maddux, and Rafael Palmeiro.

Some fans in attendance may be surprised to see a very controversial guest as Hulk Hogan will be making an appearance after recently being fired by World Wrestling Entertainment for comments he had made. Fans of the squared circle will be able to meet 16-time world champion Ric Flair along with boxing legend Mike Tyson.

Who else will be among Saturday’s crew of signers? Find out more after the jump. Read More »

First Look: 2016 Topps Tribute baseball cards

 

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The first baseball card set revealed for 2016 is a high-end brand that was a bit of an enigma this year.

It’s 2016 Topps Tribute, a hit-based continuation of the brand that faced printing issues this year and a recall of the product as autographs arrived out of packs with ink concerns. But perhaps making up for all that next year will be the arrival of Superfractors and Chromax printing technology to offer a new twist for the brand.

The rest of the Tribute model also returns with three autographs, three Relics and six parallels in every hobby-only box when it arrives on Feb. 24.

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First look: 2015 Topps Vault Originals

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

An upcoming Topps baseball card set will go big while focusing on photography from the past.

The brand is 2015 Topps Vault Originals and it will arrive in September packing an autograph in every pack and dimensions that help enhance the on-card autograph size as well as classic Topps photos. The company teased it at the National Sports Collectors Convention this weekend in Chicago.

Read More »

John Smoltz, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar join Panini America VIP party guest list

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

One of the newest Baseball Hall of Famers, a hardcourt legend and two more young NBA stars have been added to the Panini America VIP Party guest list for Saturday night.

Former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz and Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar headline the latest batch of signers for the exclusive event. Joining them will be Chicago Bulls rookie Bobby Portis and Milwaukee Bucks star Jabari Parker, who also were announced on Friday.

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Jim Craig Partners With Lelands To Sell Miracle On Ice Collection

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey

To American hockey fans, there are few home-grown players as beloved as Jim Craig and the goaltender for the national team which defied the odds to defeat the Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics. The game, known as the Miracle On Ice, changed the game forever as it helped the sport grow and a group of college kids went on to win the gold medal by defeating Finland.

Craig has partnered up with Lelands to sell off his collection of personal memorabilia. Among the items presented for sale are his gold medal, the white jersey and stick from the Miracle On Ice, the blue gold medal game jersey and flag that was draped over his shoulders afterward, along with his mask. The price for all of these treasures is a lofty $5.7-million and he spoke with Beckett Hockey at the 36th National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago as most members of the team appeared for a public autograph signing. His decision to bring these items to the collector’s market came in recent months.

“I think the biggest thing was when one of my teammates (Bob Suter) passed away,” he said. “I saw the reality that as you get older, there’s different things you have to think about. I had thought about different items over time that had been shown in the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Sports Museum of Boston, and all these other places. Now, they’re at home. So when they were appraised, they gave a really high value and I learned that collectors really love these types of things and they really take care of them. In my mind, I was ‘mine are in my closet, is someone going to steal them? What am I going to do?’ It was also time to take care of the family. I have two children. My son is getting married and hopefully we’ll have grandkids. When you look around here, you see how people love these things, so it’s not an auction – it’s a collection.” Read More »

BGS Vintage Challenge: Ryan Cracknell

BVG Challenge Mars Attacks Raw Card

During the 36th National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago, Beckett Media’s editorial staff were asked to hit the floor and bring back a vintage card to be graded. Each staff member participating in the project will present the results of their hunt to readers during the show.

The Card: 1962 Mars Attacks #50

Name: Smashing the Enemy

The Cost: $35

The Cost to Grade: $15 at show

Find out more about the card and its final grade after the jump.

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Clemente RC Sale a “Market Changer”

1955 Topps Roberto Clemente #164 PSA Mint 9 -$310,700 Image courtesy Heritage Auctions, HA

By Mike Payne

Of the first 129 lots sold during the first night of the two-night Heritage Auctions Platinum Night auction Thursday night at the National Sports Collectors Convention, it was a piece of cardboard that shocked Chris Ivy the most.

A 1955 Topps Roberto Clemente Rookie Card, graded a Mint 9 by PSA, sold for an eye-popping $310,700 with buyer’s premium.

“That’s a market changer,” Ivy, Heritage Auctions’ Director of Sports Auctions said. “That far exceeded our expectations.”

The card had a $25,000 starting bid.

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Scenes at the show: National Sports Collectors Convention (Friday)

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You can find virtually anything at the National Sports Collectors Convention. Look for a gallery of images — just a small selection of scenes from the show — after the jump.

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Pete Rose, Ricky Williams among first Panini VIP Party guests revealed

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

A hit king and a gridiron legend will be among those on hand to meet guests at the Panini America VIP party in Chicago on Saturday during the National Sports Collectors Convention weekend.

Baseball’s career hits leader Pete Rose and former NFL and Texas Longhorns star Ricky Williams were revealed as the first two guests — with more to come — for a party for those who spend $7,500 on a list of selected products on the show floor from a selected list of dealers.

Eligible attendees will receive 500 silver VIP packs after they sign up for the event and then gold VIP packs at the event with cards made just for the program. The guests will sign photographs noting the event for attendees as well.

Read More »

Local Legends Shine As Part of Friday’s National Auto Lineup

Sayers

By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Media

There will be many familiar faces making an appearance at the 36th National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago on Friday and local sports enthusiasts will have an opportunity to reconnect with many of their heroes from the past and present.

Standout shortstop Luis Aparicio, base stealing master Tim Raines and consistent catcher Carlton Fisk will represent the south side and the Chicago White Sox while Cubs fans can catch up for Dennis Eckersley. From the world of football, the incomparable Gale Sayers is set to appear while the past and present for the Chicago Bulls is recognized by Dennis Rodman and Joakim Noah.

What other legendary athletes are signing today at the National? Read on after the jump to find out more. Read More »

BGS Vintage Challenge: Stephen Laroche

Hull 74-75

By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Media

During the 36th National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago, Beckett Media’s editorial staff were asked to hit the floor and bring back a vintage card to be graded. Each staff member participating in the project will present the results of their hunt to readers during the show.

The Card: 1974-75 O-Pee-Chee WHA #50

The Player: Bobby Hull

The Cost: $40

The Cost to Grade: $15

Why did Beckett Hockey‘s Editor choose this card? Find out after the jump. Read More »

In Search of Bob Christian

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Bob Christian compiled a .224 lifetime batting average in 54 major league games. That included 4 home runs and 19 RBI. In 1968, he was a September call-up by the Detroit Tigers where he doubled in three at-bats. Three.

And I was thrilled to pay $350 for his autograph.

This is what the National Sports Collectors Convention is all about – finding the Bob Christians of the world. And when looking for a guy like Christian, it’s not easy. I needed his signature to add to my almost-complete 1968 Detroit Tigers autograph collection.

Why would anybody in their right mind pay that much for a non-descript ballplayer? My wife would ask the same question. But anyone who has been searching for that one difficult signature to complete a team autograph set (hello 1961 Yankees collectors needing Duke Maas) understand. And the reality of Bob Christian is that he wasn’t around long enough to sign a lot of items, even if there was a big demand back in the late 1960s and early ‘70s. For one thing, he spent his last season as a ballplayer playing in Japan.

But what really makes him a tough signature is the fact that Bob died of leukemia. He was just 28 years old.

Read More »

Case Breakers: Leaf Trading Cards Edition

Leaf Stage 1

By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Media

Boxes are being cracked open at a fast and furious pace in the Rippingwax.com Breakers Pavilion at the 36th National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago this week and trading card manufacturers are taking to the Amazon Sports Collectibles Main Stage to show off their latest releases.

This morning, collectors in attendance were given an in-depth glance into 2015 Leaf Pop Century and the process of making the premium non-sports release courtesy of Brian Gray, President of Leaf Trading Cards, and representatives from Topshelf Breaks. Three lucky collectors in the audience was a free spot in the break and there were many big pulls that included one-of-one autographed press plates along with signed cards from the worlds of sports and entertainment.

“I’ve got to tell you, I’m really impressed with the Breakers Pavilion,” said Gray, whose favorite hit was the Gene Wilder autograph. “It’s improved year over year and no manufacturer should ignore it. A manufacturer that ignores the box breaker category is doing themselves and the hobby a real disservice. To see this many breakers who are excited and pumped, it’s good. For the customer it is to be able to buy in inexpensively without opening a case, which is something a lot of collectors don’t get to do because of the cost of cards currently. It’s something great to be a part of and we’ve got to keep pumping up this category. It’s important.” Read More »

2015 Panini Prestige Football Variations

2015 Prestige Football Variations

2015 Panini Prestige Football variations are plentiful. That said, they’re not hard to spot. Rather than just a straightforward image swap, the set offers two different looks for rookies.

All base set rookie cards show first-year players in their college uniforms. Their NFL teams and draft spot are prominent, but they’re distinctly NCAA-themed as far as the images go.

A total of 40 players have variations in Prestige that show them in their NFL gear.

2015 Panini Prestige Football variations are not hard to pull falling 1:6 packs or four per hobby box. This should keep prices in line and make it a little more realistic for those wanting to track them all down.

You can see all the variations and their base cards for easy reference at the jump.

Read More »

At the National: Exploring Japanese baseball cards

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Florida-based Prestige Collectibles is one of the more-unusual stops at the National Sports Collectors Convention and they sell nothing but Japanese baseball cards and memorabilia. Here’s a short interview with Robert Klevens (above) and a gallery of images below.

 

Fighting cancer with the support of the Fighting Irish

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Daniel Alexander is braver than most people can fathom. He has been battling pediatric brain cancer for a significant part of his young life. But that hasn’t stopped him from being an important part in many peoples’ lives.

After Daniel was diagnosed, his mom looked for support. That led her to Friends of Jaclyn, a foundation that pairs children with pediatric brain cancer with local college and high school athletes. Daniel was partnered with the Notre Dame baseball team and made an honorary member of the squad. What started as a pairing has blossomed into something more like family.

Read More »

Media break adds Chicago buzz + win Olds’ stuff

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor | Commentary

The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

That’s how I’d describe the Media Break Wednesday evening at the National Sports Collectors Convention where I was among a panel of 10 media members — two from within the hobby and eight luminaries from the Chicago sports scene — were witnesses to a group break.

We got the swag — and in my case the winnings will be yours.

Five boxes of 2014 Panini Playbook were ripped and three teams assigned per person. My teams? The hometown Chicago Bears, the Cleveland Browns and the San Diego Chargers.

My competition? A who’s who of Chicago Media — Emmy winner Chet Coppock, former Chicago Bears quarterback Bobby Douglas, ESPN 1000’s Chuck Swirsky, Fox Sports Chicago’s Gerald Clarke, fellow hobby media member Rich Mueller, the Mancow Muller Show’s Al Roker Jr., the Chicago Mustangs’ Taylor Bond, Chicago rock legend Jimy Sohns and CSN Chicago’s Luke Stuckmeyer.

In other words, it was a who’s who and I was the “Who?” …

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Father-Son Duo First to Collect Beckett Covers Set

When 11-year-old Landen Miller and his father, Tom, arrived at the 2015 National Sports Collectors Convention Wednesday, they – like so many others – were after cards.

But the cards they were after did not come from packs, rather they were the chase cards in the Beckett Media Beckett Covers set.

The Millers collected all 15 Cover Cards in the set by visiting the required dealers/companies where purchases netted the cards. They then ran – literally, at least for Landen – to the Beckett Media group where they were the first to turn in the set.

“I mapped it out [ahead of time] so I knew where everything was,” Landen said. Added his father, “Once we got down to the last two cards I kind of thought we would be first.”

The Millers, of Wendell, N.C., finished just ahead of another North Carolina collector, Brandon Winstead.

The first 200 collectors to compile all 15 Cover Cards and present at the Beckett Media booth for documentation will receive a blind-wrapped and BGS-slabbed autograph card.

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Olympians, Buckner and Mookie Highlight Thursday’s National Auto Lineup

mookie buckner

By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Media

The 36th National Sports Collectors Convention is in full swing and the long lineups for autographs at the TRISTAR Autograph Pavilion from sports legends will continue on Thursday as over 30 athletes, including several members of the United States hockey team that won gold at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.

Among the other highlights of tomorrow’s lineup of signers are Bill Buckner and Mookie Wilson, who are forever linked because of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series when Wilson’s fluke hit bobbled past Buckner’s glove and the New York Mets defeated the Boston Red Sox for the title.

Who else is signing tomorrow at the National? Find out after the jump. Read More »

Ripping Panini America NSCC wrapper redemption packs with Tracy Hackler

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Beckett Sports Card Monthly‘s Chris Olds joins Panini America‘s Tracy Hackler to rip some wrapper redemption packs from the floor of the National Sports Collectors Convention.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

We’ll give away some of the hits in this break randomly to commenters … so let us know what you think.

Rollie Fingers, Pierre Pilote and Bret Saberhagen highlight National VIP Party

Shortly into his welcoming message to the VIP party crowd, National founder Mike Berkus was up front in not knowing exactly how many people to expect. The room was packed for the kickoff event, which was sponsored by Topps. It included pizza, sliders and an autograph appearance by a Hall of Famer known for his slider.

VIP Party Fingers

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Nickels turned into thousands via vintage wax

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A visual tour of just some of the vintage wax boxes and packs at the Baseball Card Exchange booth at the NSCC. So much pocket change turned into thousands of dollars. Check it out …

Making a $100,000 case for vintage at the National

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Reed Kasaoka of Baseball Card Exchange talks about a vintage case — one that’s not as old as you might think — with a six-figure price tag at the National Sports Collectors Convention.

It’s not sold yet, but there’s already at least one interested buyer.

 

The calm before the 2015 National begins

2015 NSCC Pano

With a couple of hours to go before the 2015 National Sports Collectors Convention officially kicks off, there’s some scrambling, some relaxing and the occasional yellow cart zooming that may require some dodging. Banners are going up, display cases are being filled and items are being priced.

There’s plenty of activity happening everywhere and the Donald E. Stephens Center. Dealers are catching up with each one another and some early transactions are being struck. But the biggest thing to take in is just how big the National truly is, even when it’s not fully set up.

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Promotions To Keep Collectors Busy At The National

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Media

The 36th National Sports Collectors Convention opens today in Chicago and hobbyists from all over the world are about to convene on the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. Whether they are breaking boxes or hunting for a great item for their personal collections, there are plenty of opportunities to participate in some of the exciting promotions offered by trading card manufacturers and other key hobby figures.

In addition to offering show attendees great prices on its latest print publications, Beckett Media staff will be in attendance to talk about the hobby. Beckett Auctions will be present as well and is offering up opportunities to consign collectibles for future events while Beckett Grading Services expects to have a very busy show and those wishing to have their cards can take advantage of special rates.

Beckett will also be offering up an epic treasure hunt which can bring up to 200 lucky collectors a special limited Cover Card signed by a sports legend. After tracking down the 15 cards exclusively released for this year’s National from a variety of locations on the floor, they can bring the cards to the booth to receive a random autograph from past cover subjects Emmitt Smith, Bo Jackson, Frank Thomas, Cal Ripken Jr., Pete Rose, Stan Musial, Mike Modano, Jose Canseco, Dennis Rodman, or Mike Tyson. Only 50 cards will be handed out each day.

What is in store from the card companies in attendance? Find out after the jump. Read More »

Miracle Signers

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In a reunion for the ages, 19 members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team that shocked the Soviet Union en route to capturing the gold medal in Lake Placid will be together again signing autographs at the 36th National Sports Collectors Convention.

The Olympic champions will be signing on Thursday, July 30, in the TRISTAR Autograph Pavilion in the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. Autographs for all 19 players can be purchased individually. A “Super Ticket” – One Autograph Ticket for 18 of the players – is also offered at $400 for a flat item. Mark Pavelich is not included as part of that Super Ticket.

Signing times for each Olympian:

THURSDAY, JULY 30

Jim Craig                    12:00 p.m.

John Harrington       12:15 p.m.

Neal Broten                12:30 p.m.

Ken Morrow               12:30 p.m.

Mike Ramsey              1:00 p.m.

Mark Wells                  1:00 p.m.

Eric Strobel                 1:30 p.m.

Phil Verchota              1:30 p.m.

Steve Christoff           2:00 p.m.

Jack O’Callahan          2:00 p.m.

Rob McClanahan        2:30 p.m.

Dave Silk                      2:30 p.m.

Dave Christian            3:00 p.m.

Steve Janaszak            3:00 p.m.

Mark Johnson              3:15 p.m.

Mike Eruzione             3:30 p.m.

Craig Patrick               3:30 p.m.

Mark Pavelich             4:30 p.m.

Buzz Schneider           4:30 p.m.

 

At the National … on Twitter (Tuesday)

 

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The Show of all Shows began with a group-breaker evening Tuesday night inside the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill., and that’s just one example of how there’s even more action online than ever before for the National Sports Collectors Convention. 

Thanks to technology and group-breakers, you can buy new cards straight from the show floor. Thanks to Twitter, you can already go behind the scenes with insiders as they prepare their booths for the biggest show of the year, which opens Wednesday evening with a VIP reception.

Highlights from Tuesday (and before) included breakers breaking, collectors traveling and, it seems, many more readying themselves for the 36th-annual show event while tweeting with #NSCC15 and #NSCCshow. (Look for even more here on Beckett.com/news as the show unfolds in the coming days and be sure document your own journey if you’re there with those hashtags. You might see yourself right here, too.)

See plenty of the preparation and some of the breaker highlights … after the jump.

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Dare to Tear: Ripping a 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter Double Rip Card

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Would you dare to tear? Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds rips his 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter Double Rip Card in this tear-worthy Box Busters video.

What will he find inside? Watch and find out …

Get the back story on this card — and his stance on the whole ripping debate — here.

Chicago’s hometown heroes at the 2015 National

Kris Bryant Fanatics Signed Photo

By Ryan Cracknell

Planning for the National Sports Collectors Convention is years in the making. Whether by chance or by fate, the locations have turned out to be places with a hotbed of hobby appeal. Last year in Cleveland, there was the homecoming of LeBron James and Johnny Manziel-a-mania.

For this year’s National, Chicago might be even hotter. From hot rookies to reigning champions to the biggest name in the modern hobby, there’s plenty of local buzz that adds to the hometown flavor.

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Beckett Media, Beckett Grading focus on vintage at National Sports Collectors Convention

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

It seems that booth after booth at the National Sports Collectors Convention is lined with cardboard memories from the distant past of baseball cards and beyond, the era where the bubble gum was as vital as the statistics on the backs of former childhood treasures.

With this year’s NSCC set to start on Wednesday at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in suburban Chicago, Beckett Media‘s focus will be on the sports cards, trading cards, autographs and memorabilia of 1980 and before.

How? With the launch of a new magazine, a debut of a new book and a Beckett Grading Services special where those classic cards can get service like no other found at the show.

“Vintage is a strong market. Maybe the strongest in our industry,” said Andy Broome, BGS’ senior vintage card grader. “Prewar continues to grow. I think this National will be stronger than last year’s. And last year’s was a near-record for us.”

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Box Busters: 2015 Panini Clear Vision football cards

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Join Beckett Football’s Chris Olds and Justin Grunert as they rip into boxes of 2015 Panini Clear Vision in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …