A large crowd of collectors who bought VIP passes packed into a room filled with pizza and snacks prior to the official opening of the 2014 National in Cleveland. Organizers brought former Atlanta Braves' great Dale Murphy and 1990s Tribe star Carlos Baerga in for free autographs.
Memory Lane's move to bring a Babe Ruth bat in and have collectors hold it (with gloves on) was a hit. Several took advantage by having their photo taken.
Traffic on the show floor was light; not unusual for the opening but no doubt the hundreds of dealers and others set up are hoping things pick up.
The grading company booths were busy, especially PSA, which is offering on site grading and giving away the 'Cards That Never Were' promos with the 1934-36 Diamond Stars theme.
Media attention for the show has been good. At least two local TV stations were on hand Wednesday afternoon, doing stories from the show, including Fox 8:
Sporting Life Art Cards is giving away 100 promotional cards each day of the show. The ”Card of the Day Giveaway” details will be revealed each morning using social media sites on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In addition, collectors will have an opportunity to receive a second free card, just by posting the card on one of the above mentioned sites. The first cards were handed out at the VIP Party on Wednesday.
“The cards that I create are extremely labor intensive, and to create these promo cards has been a massive undertaking”, commented Jerrold Andrews, owner of the Sporting Life trademark. “The normal production of any card that I create is about two dozen, including variations.” Andrews creates all the art work himself, using a unique culmination of digital and hand rendered art, and then hand assembles and distresses each card to varying degrees. The goal is to have the end product look and feel like an artifact from a 100 year old attic find.
Andrews created the first “distressed art cards” in 2008 with his Sporting Life brand, and also owns the Sport Kings trademark, which he currently leases to a third party card producer. The former Ford Motor Company Art Director has been involved in the hobby for over four decades.