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


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


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:


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)



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 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


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 …


Box Busters: 2015 Panini NFL Sticker Collection

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

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Beckett Auctions lands Strasburg Superfractor


Devin Grant holds the 2010 Bowman Chrome Stephen Strasburg Superfractor along with his godson, Tristan, who is his “collecting buddy.” The card previously sold for $21,403.

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The 2010 Bowman Chrome Stephen Strasburg Superfractor is headed to the auction block one more time — this time it’s via Beckett Auctions.

The card originally sold for $17,403 raw in 2010 and then sold to Leaf Trading Cards for $21,403 so it could be placed into a repack product. Devin Grant pulled it from a pack and attempted a charity fundraiser in 2011 but ran into roadblocks with state laws about such a venture.

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Box Busters: 2014-15 Panini Excalibur basketball

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Join Beckett Basketball‘s Eric Norton and Chris Olds as they rip into premium boxes of 2014-15 Panini Excalibur in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2015 Panini Cooperstown baseball

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Justin Grunert as they rip into boxes of 2015 Panini Cooperstown in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Oyo Sportstoys heads to national with new figures


By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Oyo SportsToys hopes it can build a little fun into the National Sports Collectors Convention.

The Acton, Mass.-based company will be at the show starting Wednesday in Chicago with a limited edition NSCC-branded figure for some collectors to pick up. The first 100 collectors — 40 adults, 60 kids — who visit Booth No. 616P each day of the show will receive one of the miniature NSCC figures. There will only be 400 released.

From Thursday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., there will be 45-minute sessions for kids — 10 kids per session — to build on field sets and Zamboni kits with gift bags afterward from Never Enough Cards.

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Memorabilia from historic Jordan game up for auction


By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Basketball Editor

Heritage Auctions has put a major piece of NBA history up for bidding as the backboard and rim from Michael Jordan‘s final game as a member of the Chicago Bulls can be owned by a lucky collector.

This item is the net upon which one of the most notable shots in basketball history was made. On June 14, 1998, the Bulls were poised to eliminate the Utah Jazz and earn the second three-peat in franchise history and Jordan delivered an incredible 45-point performance. With less than a minute to go and down by three points, Jordan scored on a layup and then stole the ball from Karl Malone soon before sinking his last shot, a 20-foot jumper, and taking an 87-86 lead and, ultimately, the championship. The moment has gone down in sporting history as “The Shot” and the game itself had the highest television ratings for an NBA game.

“This is arguably the most recognizable basket and backboard in the sport,” said Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Auctions at Heritage in a press release. “The story of the greatest basketball player of all time effectively ended here, in the glass and metal of this special artifact. To own this is to secure ultimate bragging rights in the highly-competitive world of Michael Jordan collectibles.”

When does bidding end for this piece of history? Find out after the jump. Read More »

Your Turn: Who’s your favorite Hall of Famer?


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

This year’s Baseball Hall of Fame inductions are set for Sunday afternoon in Cooperstown, N.Y., with the latest class of legends joining the other 306 former players, executives, managers and umpires already enshrined.

Joining the Hall this year are Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio, but we have a bigger question for you on this legendary weekend. (Click here to see their best early cards.)

Who’s your favorite Hall of Famer?

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To rip or not to rip … that is the Ginter question


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

It’s a question that has probably sparked many a debate for collectors during the last decade, and a situation that ultimately comes down to a personal choice about what to do with your cardboard.

With the latest edition of Topps‘ popular Allen & Ginter line arriving this week, the question arises again with a new batch of Rip Cards and a third helping of Double Rip Cards.

Do you rip it? Do you dare to tear?

The concept isn’t unique to Topps’ retro brand — it’s something that we’ve seen before in late-1990s Pinnacle cards with oversized releases containing a regular-size card inside. However, the cards back then weren’t found one per case and they weren’t serial-numbered and among the rarest cards in a brand. Now, though, the debate can be had — and if you’re lucky enough to pull a Double Rip then the debate might be twice as tough.

It’s one that I am faced with myself.

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Ryan Cracknell joins Beckett Media team


Beckett Media welcomes a major addition to its collectibles team with the hiring of Online Hobby Editor Ryan Cracknell, who will produce hobby-related content for as well as some of its print titles.

Cracknell has spent the last several years as Managing Editor of Cardboard Connection, and also has served as a columnist for Non-Sport Update magazine for nearly a decade. In addition, he also was a regular contributor to Canadian Sports Collector. He begins his work for Beckett at The National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago.

“Ryan is a significant addition to our team and will play a big role in our online news initiatives,” said Beckett Editorial Director Mike Payne. “He knows the business and how it operates, and has proven himself a motivated news gatherer.”

Cracknell will be covering all aspects of the hobby including daily news and product information for

“The Beckett name has a longstanding history in the hobby,” Cracknell said. “I look forward to joining this team, connecting with collectors and helping them get the hobby information they need. Just as the hobby continues to evolve, I’m excited to be working with a group committed to being at the forefront of that evolution.”

Beckett Radio previews the National convention


By Derek Ficken | Beckett Radio Host

For the past month, Beckett Radio has previewed the National Sports Collectors Convention, which starts Wednesday in Chicago. Host Derek Ficken has interviewed numerous card companies, distributors and even the man behind the Convention, Mike Berkus. If you are planning to go to the National, or you just would like to know what kind of things will be going on next week, tune into each episode below for the latest with some of the biggest names in the hobby.

To subscribe to Beckett Radio via iTunes Podcasting, click here. Beckett Radio episodes are posted every Thursday at 4 p.m. Central and they bring you the most up-to-date content and interviews from around the industry. Read More »

First look: 2015 Topps Strata baseball cards


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Strata is coming to baseball and it’s including some of the biggest names in the game with some of the biggest pieces possible with nothing but hits in single every pack.

And it’s all under plastic.

Set to arrive on Dec. 9, 2015 Topps Strata will include one autograph and one Relic per box and 12 boxes per case.-Every other box, according to Topps, will include an autographed Relic instead of a standard one. Every autograph will be signed on-card.

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Topps reveals Ginter buyback auto list


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

This year’s edition of Topps‘ popular Allen & Ginter line is the 10th version of the retro-styled brand and one of the inclusions in this year’s product that makes it stand out is something we’ve seen before.


Each box includes two regular-sized buyback cards and one framed mini buyback. In some instances, though, the cards are autographs.

On Thursday, Topps released the list of signers for the buybacks.

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Ripping Retail: 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter baseball

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds as he rips into a blaster box of 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter in this latest episode of Ripping Retail.

What will he find inside? Watch and find out …

SCP Auctions partners with Basketball Hall of Fame


By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Basketball Editor

SCP Auctions has been named the new official auction and appraisal partner for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

As part of their multi-year partnership, fans and collectors will be able to experience an annual auction where the Hoop Hall will benefit from the proceeds. In addition to this, SCP has become a key sponsor of festivities for the upcoming Class of 2015 Enshrinement and is a partner for the annual Family Reunion Dinner that is scheduled to take place on September 10. This year, the Hall of Fame will welcome legendary talents that include Dikembe Mutombo, Jo Jo White, and Lisa Leslie.

“SCP Auctions is extremely proud and excited to be the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s new auction partner,” said SCP Auctions President David Kohler. “As one of the country’s premier sports memorabilia auction houses, we look forward to creating a great working relationship with the Hall of Fame as well as with many of basketball’s greatest legends.” Read More »

First Look: 2015 Sportkings Vault

By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Media

Last year, Leaf Trading Cards purchased the Sportkings brand from In The Game and as the hobby awaits the next release of the iconic multi-sport product, there is a special release hitting card stores in late August in the form of 2015 Sportkings Vault.

In recent months, older In The Game hockey cards were stamped and released as a Vault edition and sold out at the factory level. This time, each box will contain one previously-released and specially-stamped Sportkings autographed card or autographed memorabilia card from a sporting legend along with four memorabilia cards. Drawn from the previous six releases, there is the potential to pull cards from such prominent names as Muhammad Ali, Cristiano Ronaldo, Mario Lemieux, and Pete Rose.

The production run for 2015 Sportkings Vault will be limited to just 140 10-box cards, making for a total of 1,400 stamped autographed or autographed memorabilia cards and 7,000 stamped memorabilia cards. Each card will also be hand-numbered. Read More »

Panini To Host Breaking Events At The National

Panini Slider 4

By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Media

Panini America‘s corporate booth is regarded as one of the top destinations for those attending the National each year and in 2015, they have added some new elements that will appeal to collectors of all ages.

In a positive move that helps promote the hobby to youth, Panini will be hosting four Free Kids Case Breaks that will be hosted by Bryan Gavin of Ultimate Box Breaks. These will be held next Thursday, Friday, and Saturday with two breaks being held on the latter day.

How do young collectors sign up for these breaks? Find out after the jump. Read More »

NSCC Notebook: What’s in store at the National?


By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

The National Sports Collectors Convention is about a week away … here’s a rundown of some of the promotional events planned for the biggest show for sports cards and memorabilia.

Beckett Covers program
Memorable Beckett Media covers from the past have been reproduced in trading card form and can be found at 15 different booths on the show floor (click for info). This year, there’s a new twist for those who take on the challenge and collect them all — the first 200 collectors who do so (limit 50 per day) will receive an autographed and BGS-slabbed card from a set of 10 different signers. Those memorable covers will include Bo Jackson, Emmitt Smith and Cal Ripken Jr. to name a few. (Details at the link above.) Beckett Media and Beckett Grading Services will have new products available and specials at the show, which will mark the debut of Beckett Vintage Collector.

Card company wrapper redemption programs
Each of the card companies in attendance will have programs for collectors. Check out the links below for the basics from each company:
Topps – VIP set and wrapper redemptions plus collector Q&A on July 30 Aug. 1
Panini America – VIP set and wrapper redemptions plus VIP Party on Aug. 1 
Upper Deck – VIP set and wrapper redemptions plus case break on July 31 and Diamond Club event on Aug. 1. The company also will have a scavenger hunt during the show.
Leaf Trading Cards – VIP set and wrapper redemptions. The company also will have “double box redemptions” for those who are recorded talking about Leaf. 
will have a free bag for any who buy a packaged product and bring it to the company’s booth. That will also enter that person into autographed memorabilia drawings.

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Topps Vault adds signed memorabilia to lineup


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

For more than a decade, the Topps Vault program has helped get behind-the-scenes collectibles from the making of our collectibles into collectors’ hands.

Now, the lineup of Vault items on contains more than just photo transparencies and player contracts as the company has added autographed memorabilia into the mix.

A selection of more than 500 autographed photos, baseballs and bats have been added to the site’s inventory — a selection that includes the inexpensive and somewhat obscure to legends such as Sandy Koufax and Hank Aaron from the past as well as stars of today like Miguel Cabrera, Yu Darvish, Madison Bumgarner and Yasiel Puig.

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Box Busters Retro: 2006 Playoff Contenders football cards

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Beckett Sports Card Monthly‘s Chris Olds joins Reed Kasaoka of Baseball Card Exchange to open boxes of 2006 Playoff Contenders cards in this latest Box Busters Retro video.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Kris Bryant signs with Fanatics Authentic


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

MLB’s biggest rookie has a new home.

Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant has signed with Fanatics Authentic on an exclusive basis for autographs and memorabilia, according to a report from

Bryant joins a stable of signers from the past and present whose autographs for card companies will go through Fanatics — if they sign — unless they have pre-existing deals that have not yet been exhausted. Fanatics will also launch its own memorabilia lines featuring Bryant’s autograph on items and have a booth at this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention beginning July 29 in Chicago.

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BGS Diary (July): Digging vintage, Kris Bryant, ‘Eight Men Out,’ minis and The Dude


By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor | Commentary

For the last few months, I’ve submitted a few cards a month to Beckett Grading Services to finally get some of the cards I like into slabs. Selecting which cards to submit has been easier said than done — and the results can be interesting, too.

Here is the batch I got back from BGS for June — so here is my latest BGS Diary entry. See which cards I decided to submit … after the jump.

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Topps commemorates Todd Frazier’s Home Run Derby win, Mike Trout’s All-Star MVP


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The Derby champ and the MVP are now noted on cardboard.

Cincinnati Reds slugger Todd Frazier was the MLB All-Star Home Run Derby Champ and Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout was The Midsummer Classic’s MVP and Topps has commemorated both with a three-piece wall art offering released Friday.

Available only on, these 10-by-14 prints are styled after the 1960 Topps All-Star subset design and are printed on glossy card stock.

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Who’s your top NFL rookie this year? Tell us & win


Tell us who will be the NFL’s top rookie this season and we’ll award two of you a box and album of the new Panini stickers.

Leave your pick with a reason why in the comments below and we’ll pick two winners at random on July 24.

Look for a Box Busters video for this one right here on Monday.

Beckett Auctions’ Boys of Summer sale ends Sunday


Beckett Auctions is set to close its “Boys of Summer” Auction on Sunday. There are several amazing items showcased this month and, as always, there is something available for everyone.

Baseball collectors will love this beautiful Cooperstown Hall of Fame bat containing more than 45 autographs, including legends like Ted Williams, Sandy Koufax, Willie Mays and Nolan Ryan. Are you a big Yankees collector? If so, then be sure and check out the team-signed baseball from the 1950s that includes both Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra. There have also been several 3-D Test Proof items added to the Benanti Collection, which include several proof cards from the 1968 Topps 3-D Test Proof set. The Texas T-Card Find has also been expanded, adding many 1910 Old Mill T210 cards. This current auction ends this Sunday at 9 p.m. Central with a 15-minute extended bidding window on certain items.

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