By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Basketball Editor
As the 2014 National Sports Collectors Convention keeps rolling along, many great items are turning up on the show floor and commanding the attention of the crowd.
One of the greatest things about the National is the diversity of collectibles that can be bought, sold or even traded for. Since the beginning, it has always been about baseball items, but fans of other sports are well-represented as well.
Let’s take another look at some of the treasures that popped up over the course of the show on Saturday after the jump.
1) 1969-70 Topps Basketball Unopened Pack
While there has been a few boxes of 1986-87 Fleer Basketball turning up on the floor, tracking down an unopened pack of the landmark 1969-70 set from Topps proves to be a slightly tougher challenge.
With the potential to find a pack-fresh Lew Alcindor rookie card, the purchaser will likely have to debate the merits of keeping the pack sealed or taking a major risk in order to find a piece of history.
2) 2014 Exquisite Collection Gold Spectrum Rory McIlroy
One of the most talked-about products at the National has been the recently released 2014 Exquisite Golf from Upper Deck. Loaded with great cards of many of today’s biggest names, it has proved to be a popular break among collectors.
With Beckett Grading Services being in the house, many people have taken advantage of having the ability to quickly slab their cards at the show. One collector pulled this one-of-one McIlroy card and made sure they took the time and effort to protect it.
3) 1985 O-Pee-Chee Pro Wrestling Stars Series 2 Box
While this set bears a copyright date of 1985, it was actually produced in late 1986. Released only for the Canadian market at the time by O-Pee-Chee, it featured action photos from WrestleMania II and the set is made up of 75 cards.
Over the years, wax supplies for this release have dwindled and prices have risen dramatically. One of the main draws here is the fact that the set features the rookie card of Randy “Macho Man” Savage (with Miss Elizabeth, of course) and there is the potential to pull more than one copy in a box.
4) Signed Production Line Photo
The Detroit Red Wings dominated the NHL from the late 1940s to the mid-1950s and their lineup boasted many all-time greats who are members of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The club’s offense was led by the legendary Production Line made up of Sid Abel, Ted Lindsay and Gordie Howe. Items featuring signatures of all three members are increasingly scarce as Abel passed away almost 15 years ago. Red Wings fans are very respectful of the club’s history and traditions, so a piece of this nature takes on major significance to them.
5) 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle
This item was not for sale on the floor, but the collector who brought it in for Beckett’s raw grading service was more than happy to show off a major piece of their personal collection.
Most collectors are aware of what the 1952 Topps Mantle means to the hobby and several copies can be found among the dealers at the National. While they are not cheap, they serve as one of the industry’s holy grails and will continue to show growth as time goes on.
Stephen Laroche is the editor of Beckett Hockey and Beckett Basketball magazines. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at SLaroche@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter @Stephen_Laroche.