VIDEO: 2013 National Convention Opens in Chicago

The 2013 National Sports Collectors Convention is underway at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL.  A VIP reception featuring free autographs from Doc Gooden, Neal Anderson, Bob Beamon and Dick Fosbury kicked off the 34th NSCC show at 2:30 Wednesday.  Doors opened to the public at 4 p.m.

Stephens Convention Center NSCCThe Annual National Sports Collectors Convention is the multi-billion dollar collectible industry’s premier show, running for five days with attendance expected to push close to 50,000.  Over 800 exhibitors have filled the Convention Center with sports cards and memorabilia dating from the 19th century through recently released products from the card companies.  Booths were sold out two months ago and ticket sales were up by 25% in orders placed prior to the show.

It’s the ninth time the National has set up shop in Chicago since 1983 and fifth time since 2002.

“We are extremely excited that the 34th Annual National Sports Collectors Convention is returning to Chicago,” said John Broggi, NSCC Executive Director / Promoter.  “Chicago has an exceptionally strong sports tradition with very avid and knowledgeable collectors and a diversified sports fan base.”

While some come to fill out a set they’ve been working on, grab some fresh unopened boxes or trade in their redemption cards with the card companies inside the corporate pavilion, some come strictly to gather autographs of dozens of Hall of Famers and well-known personalities from all sports that have been recruited for a fee by TRISTAR Productions.

“With over 90 autograph guests headlined by, this is our best National Autograph Pavilion lineup ever.” said Jeff Rosenberg, TRISTAR’s Founder and CEO.

While millions of dollars in sports cards and collectibles are available for sale, there is much to see even if you don’t have much money to spend.  Auction companies have brought their latest high dollar consignments, hoping to entice bidders and woo new customers.  Some of the collection owned by Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick is on display including a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle graded PSA 10 (1 of 3) as is a rare collection of 1914-15 Cracker Jack baseball cards.

The big rush on Wednesday was for the card company promos.   A huge line formed at the Topps booth, with collectors waiting to grab National Exclusive promo cards.

It’s $25 to get in with kids 12 and under free.

Here’s a look around.