ATLANTIC CITY – The five-day lovefest between collectors and sports cards is over for another year. Vendors at this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention were tallying up their sales or doing some last minute business with other dealers. Some had opted to skip the final day entirely. Still others were starting the process of packing up countless glass cases, cards, memorabilia and more as the day wore on Sunday.
The crowds for the week were strong with collectors and the curious walking and perusing up and down the aisles of the 400,000 square feet of floor space Atlantic City Convention Center has to offer. National organizers said the show’s attendance ranked among the top five all-time.
Floyd Soeder and his crew from Let’s Play Ball came to Atlantic City from Topsail Beach, N.C. and said they would be heading back home happy.
“Atlantic City was excellent,” Soeder said. “It was excellent on the buying end and the selling end.”
Soeder said the crowds were great and foot traffic was strong throughout the week.
Soeder deals primarily in vintage and graded cards and said that Mickey Mantle and others still drive the market along with legends like Ted Williams, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron.
“I think the hobby is in a great place,” Soeder said. “I think Mantle is still the king. …The higher the grade and the bigger the star, the better it does.”
The vintage card market has been white hot and was a big winner again this week at The National.
Like Soeder, John Goodman of Goodman Sports Cards in Long Island, N.Y. specializes in vintage and graded cards.
“It’s very strong,” Goodman said of the vintage card market. “It’s like blue chip stocks or like buying a Cadillac – the value never depreciates.”
Goodman said he was happy with how much he was able to buy and sell this week. He pointed out that the crowds were good but not quite as strong as those in Chicago last year. He mentioned the location of the Convention Center as one reason for the lesser crowds and the fact that Chicago is a major city.
Parking being at a premium in Atlantic City also didn’t help.
Goodman has been to more than 20 NSCC’s and said that all in all, Atlantic City was a success.
“I thought it was good, no complaints here,” Goodman said. “I have always done well in Atlantic City. I have bought well and sold well.”
Even former Major Leaguer Denny McLain said the crowds were strong.
McLain, the last pitcher to win 30 games in a season, was signing autographs and taking pictures in a booth and said that they had to find a printer to get more pictures for him to sign after just two days.
“We almost ran out of pictures by the end of the day on Thursday,” McLain said.
McLain said it makes him smile to see cards of guys he played with and against flying off the shelves.
“There is such a market for cards now and it’s the vintage stuff that’s selling,” he said.