Category Archives: National Sports Collectors Convention

English Teen Chases Vintage Baseball Cards

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Owen Randell, a native of England, with his American grandfather Joe Kroes.

By Mike Payne

Of the thousands who attended the 36th National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago recently, it’s likely few travelled as far as 13-year-old Owen Randell.

It’s a long way from England to Chicago.

Randell was attending his first National with his grandfather, Joe Kroes, a resident of upstate New York. The 13-year-old from West Sussex, England, was visiting his grandfather in the States (Joe’s daughter is Owen’s mother) and, since Owen wanted to add to his vintage baseball card collection, Kroes thought it would be a great opportunity to head to Chicago and attend the industry’s biggest event.

Besides, Owen had already taken the tour of Fenway Park – home to his beloved Boston Red Sox. So while the two made the trip from New York to Chicago, Owen’s adventure began when he left his hometown south of London to fly to America.

So how does a kid smack in the middle of England’s Premier League soccer fan base come to checking out daily MLB highlights online – which Owen does through ESPN, MLB and YouTube? “I just started watching baseball when I would come over and visit family in the U.S.,” says Owen. “I really like it.”

A typical day for Owen consists of all the things kids his age do – school, sports, family. The big difference is while his friends are talking about the latest exploits of Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, Owen is checking to see how Big Papi fared the night before or looking into baseball’s rich history to get a better understanding of how the game itself has become so much a part of American history.

“Yeah, they’re not all that interested,” he says about his friends back home.

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2015 Topps Allen & Ginter National Die-Cut checklist

2015 Topps Allen and Ginter Baseball National Die-Cut Kris Bryant

By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

One of the most popular exclusives at this year’s National were the 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter National Die-Cuts.

Given to collectors who brought a sealed box of 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball to the company’s booth, the cards have the basic design elements with the addition of the X-shaped die-cut in honor of the brand’s tenth year. However, the checklist is very different, which is likely contributing to the set’s popularity on the secondary market. Delving beyond just baseball and a few of Ginter’s traditional quirks, the set also includes a sizable amount of football players.

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Dealers offer their take on the 2015 National Sports Collectors Convention

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

The 2015 National Sports Collectors Convention has come to a close. Other than Sunday, typically a slow day, the Chicago crowds definitely felt busier than last year in Cleveland. But more people doesn’t always translate into more sales.

Talking with several dealers in the show’s closing hours, it appears that sports card sales were solid overall. Results varied greatly from dealer to dealer but the majority of the sellers I spoke with felt good about the week.

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Topps gives out exclusive Jose Abreu autograph to 2015 National Q&A attendees

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

The National has no shortage of exclusive cards. However, one big one could easily slip by because it wasn’t advertised and it required a little work to get. At the end of their Q&A on Saturday, Topps announced that those in attendance would receive a special Jose Abreu autographed card. But the offer was only open to those who stuck around until the announcement was made.

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Scenes From the Show: A massive NSCC image gallery

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Wander the floor of the National Sports Collectors Convention and you’ll see things you wouldn’t imagine finding from both the past and the present.

Here’s just one small sampling of items seen at the NSCC and some of the other related events. Check out more than 100 images after the jump.  — Chris Olds

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Panini VIP Party a culmination for many following a busy National

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

Much of the attention surrounding Panini’s annual VIP party at the National centers around some getting their invitation for buying a large amount of product at the show. However, there are many others for whom it’s a way to let loose and celebrate. The Panini VIP party comes following a lot of hard work on the show room floor and working in the trenches in the weeks and months leading up to the National.

I first notice this miles from Soldier Field, the location of this year’s party. Blowout Cards has a bus taking its staff and some guests to the event. And you can tell right away they’re a team.

For the entire ride over, which is probably about an hour across town in heavy traffic, they’re joking and chatting away. There’s some talk on the bus about what to expect at the party, but not much. It’s more a matter of friends hanging out and enjoying each others’ company.

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Topps releases remaining NSCC sets online

 

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

If you missed the show of all shows, Topps has two show-only releases that you can still get — at least for a limited time.

Three limited sets of 5-by-7 baseball cards — one featuring notable Chicago icons and the other featuring game’s biggest young stars on High Tek stock — were only found at the National Sports Collectors Convention but now are available now on Topps.com. Two other sets showcase young stars of the NFL.

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Hockey has strong presence at the National

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor

For hockey collectors, the National Sports Collectors Convention can be a great opportunity to pick up a few bargains and there are plenty of rare and obscure pieces of memorabilia to be found on the floor. Whether it is the latest release from Upper Deck or Leaf Trading Cards, a vintage publication or game-used jersey, there is potentially something for everyone.

While hockey does not have the presence that baseball and football do at the National, Chicago is a strong hockey town in the wake of a Stanley Cup victory and several former Blackhawks signed on Wednesday before most of the Miracle On Ice team made an appearance the following day. The Upper Deck and Leaf corporate booths have seen plenty of hobbyists breaking boxes in order to receive redemption cards.

Want to take a peek at some of the hockey items that were available at the National? Read on after the jump. Read More »

Big Red Machine and more cap off National auto guests

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Media

Several of the greatest names in baseball history will be helping close down the 36th National Sports Collectors Convention today in Chicago and fans in attendance are excited to meet their heroes. Many of them are Hall of Famers and there will be four prominent members of the Cincinnati Reds that dominated the National League in the mid-1970s in the form of Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, and Pete Rose.

The game’s funkiest decade is very well-represented as the show comes to its conclusion and the talent appearing at the TRISTAR Autograph Pavilion will also include Eddie Murray, Steve Carlton, Joe Torre, Brooks Robinson, Ozzie Smith, Lou Brock, and Bruce Sutter. Maury Wills and John Candelaria will be VIP signers.

Who else will be signing on the last day of the National? Find out after the jump. Read More »

Panini VIP Party creates moments before memorabilia

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Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar waits for a photo to be taken with those in attendance at the Panini VIP Party Saturday night in Chicago’s Soldier Field.

By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor | Commentary

Gather a crowd of high-spending collectors, group-breakers, dealers, distributors and other industry executives in Chicago’s Soldier Field on a Saturday night and you’ll see a sea of backpacks, plenty of pack-ripping, some impressive cardboard and plenty of smiles. Even some tears.

Fathers and sons, husbands and wives — they were all in on the fast and furious frenzy that was ripping packs at the Panini America VIP Party. But all of those in attendance also had the chance to create moments of their own that didn’t involve handling a single card or a single autograph once they entered the home of the Chicago Bears.

Each of them had the chance to create some moments with some of the biggest names in the sports world — and on this evening selfies and snapshots were clearly in demand.

In fact, they were priceless.

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Iconic cards headed for auction appear at Beckett booth

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Media

Collectors that stopped by the Beckett Media booth at the 36th National Sports Collectors Convention had an opportunity to get an up-close look at some of the hobby’s most coveted cards that will soon be available for bidding in upcoming events from Beckett Auctions and Goodwin & Co.

These slabbed and graded treasures are the cards collectors dream about owning and the display included sporting legends such as Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Gordie Howe, Roberto Clemente, Johnny Unitas, and Lou Gehrig.

“In both auction houses, it’s zero percent consignment,” said Rob Springs of Beckett Auctions. “Goodwin is always zero percent, but Beckett dropped it down this month as well. For Beckett, we’ve got some cool items for Beckett. We’ve got a couple of autographed Babe Ruth baseballs and Bill Goodwin is out today doing a lot of consignments. You can see there’s a 1952 and 1953 Topps Mantle, the 1968 Topps 3-D Clemente test proof. There’s a gorgeous Gordie Howe, and Sport Kings Babe Ruth. So there is a lot of stuff coming in. Both auctions will be in August. The Beckett auction starts on August 9 and Goodwin will come a little bit later.”

Read on after the jump for an up-close look at these pieces of cardboard history. Read More »

Topps Q&A live blog from the 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.

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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 »

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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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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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.

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

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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 »

Case Breakers: Leaf Trading Cards Edition

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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 »

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

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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.

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

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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

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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.

 

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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Beckett Auctions lands Strasburg Superfractor

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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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Oyo Sportstoys heads to national with new figures

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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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Beckett Radio previews the National convention

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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 »