The National Sports Collectors Convention wasn’t scheduled to end until 4 PM Sunday, but Mother Nature tried to change that. Chicago was in the bullseye of a phenomenon midwesterners know all too well this time of year.
— Cheryl Scott (@CherylScottWX) August 2, 2015
— Penns Cards (@HOFcardsforsale) August 2, 2015
Eventually, the lights came back, the storm passed and so did the 36th National. Five days of buying, selling, trading, breaking, autographing, grading and authenticating, auctioning…and walking. Lots and lots of walking for show goers, who plod along the concrete floor at the Stephens Convention Center just in case the next table has something they can’t live without.
While we can’t offer any concrete attendance figures, we can tell you that there were a lot of people at the show. Anyone who thinks the hobby is “dying” would have a different opinion after just one afternoon there. Changed yes, in many ways. But collectors are finding ways to collect no matter what and that’s a good sign for the industry as a whole.
The final day of the show–even when the floor is fully lit–is usually slow after about 2 PM as dealers pack up and head out, hoping to catch a flight, drive home or put a few hours of driving behind them before the day is over if they’re from outside the region.
On Saturday morning, the National got some added publicity from a live segment on a local TV station.
Saturday night, Panini brought in several big name athletes including Mike Tyson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Ryne Sandberg, John Smoltz and Ricky Williams (Pete Rose and Jabari Parker were originally announced but couldn’t get there) for its annual VIP party.
It was a little jolting–in a good way–to see Abdul-Jabbar posing and smiling with guests in some of the pictures that have been published. During his career and at times afterward, the often quiet, sometimes surly 7-footer wouldn’t have been caught dead at such an event. Those who purchased $10,000 worth of product–or won an invitatio through a contest–got a chance to hobnob with the celebs, have some snacks and drinks, get their photo taken and go home with a stack of special gold packs filled with special autograph and relic cards.
You can find just about anything at the National, which Shawn Anderson (and his son) prove in this blog post.
There were some international visitors, like this one from Sweden, who got contributions from a group of his fellow online box break participants to make his dream come true….and this guy, from Australia, who convinced Upper Deck to help him propose to his girlfriend on top of the Sears Tower during the week of the show.
Grading and authentication companies were busy. SGC took in some fresh to the hobby material, Beckett was busy and PSA customers lined up daily.
I just wanted to thank all of our customers who came out to support PSA at The National this week. It was the biggest show PSA has ever had.
— Joe Orlando (@JoeOrlandoPSA) August 3, 2015
At age 36, the National solidified its position as a drawing card.
We’ll have 12 months to see if the next one can live up to what Chicago seems to always deliver.
For more stories from the NSCC, click here.