They often work in tandem. Sometimes in packs. Thieves who know that sports cards are hard to track made life at the National Sports Collectors Convention difficult for at least five different dealers between Friday and Saturday.
Hardest hit was long-time vintage football card and memorabilia dealer Mike Hattley of Touchdown Treasures in Greenwich, Conn. Sometime Friday, a mint, graded 1965 Topps Joe Namath rookie card was stolen from his booth along the front wall of the show at Stephens Convention Center. He placed the value at $15,000.
The BVG-graded card was lifted, Hatley believes, while he was distracted by the thief's accomplice.
Hattley is offering a reward for the return of his card and hopes dealers and grading companies will keep an eye out for a possible match. He acknowledges, though, that "it's a needle in a haystack".
You can reach him via email at [email protected] with any information.
On Friday about noon, Chicago area dealer Tony Gordon of Fat Daddy's Sports had a book of vintage Bowman and 1952 Topps baseball cards stolen from his table (#341) in the back of the room. The cards, Gordon said, are commons in lesser grade. Gordon handed out flyers to dealers in the room afterward, hoping someone might spot the binder. The '50 Bowman cards were in 12-pocket sheets while the other years were in nine-pocket holders and the '52 Topps in eight-pocket sheets. Each card was in an individual sleeve and priced in a blue Sharpie. If you have any information, call him at 773-616-3705.
Two other valuable vintage baseball sets were stolen Friday. One dealer lost a 1953 Bowman Color set while a dealer set up near Gordon reported having a 1963 Topps set valued at about $9,000 stolen. On Saturday, Gordon says another dealer told him he had a binder of cards stolen from his table.
To see all of the stories from the National Sports Collectors Convention, click here.