The 42nd National Sports Collectors Convention has returned to the Jersey Shore and after a three and a half hour trip we arrived in Atlantic City Wednesday, ready to tackle Day 1 of the hobby’s five-day extravaganza.
I personally love cities like Vegas and AC with their many attractions but we’re here primarily to work so it was into the parking garage and on to the lobby of the convention center around 11 AM. For whatever reason I was expecting a long lines but we strolled right up and picked up our credential from the friendly ladies behind the counter. My wife is along for the week-long ride as a paid VIP so she picked up the bags with the promo cards and autograph tickets.
The VIP bag also included the NSCC program (a must if you ask me), PSA’s magazine and even a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle. Well, a reprint, anyway. Many items in the bag were heavily dedicated to the Mick and the iconic ’52 Topps card. As we all know, that one is making headlines at the moment.
Many of the tables were still being set up and dealers were putting the finishing touches on their booths ahead of the VIP entry later in the afternoon.
To be completely honest, I felt like my head was spinning five minutes into the walk around the floor. Even not fully set up, the first impression of the National is how massive the show truly is. If you’ve never been to the show, there is seemingly no end in sight to the dealer’s tables, booths, displays and just flat out sports stuff. It’s hard to describe in a few words. You just have to see it first hand to believe it and to fully appreciate it.
By 2 o’clock on Wednesday we made our way to the VIP meet and greet which featured Philadelphia legends Greg Luzinski, Ron Jaworski and Bernie Parent. The Jaworski line just kept growing and growing in the lead up to the opening of the signing. By the time the signing started all three lines were rather long.
That was about the time they opened the side door for entrance into the convention. It wasn’t a crazy mad rush but it was definitely full steam ahead with purpose for many crossing the threshold.
— Sports Collectors Daily (@SportsCollector) July 27, 2022
Even the best of us that go in with a game plan get side tracked and end up walking in circles and just taking in the amazing amount of high quality material in the 460,000 square-foot room.
The crowds were strong all afternoon and there was plenty of money changing hands.
I made it a point to stop by Pennsylvania legend Levi Bloom’s 707 Sports Cards as he always has incredible vintage in stock. We checked in with another hobby pioneer, Kit Young. We had a nice conversation about cards and family and all kinds of fun stuff.
The general feeling among dealers was that show goers came ready to buy. Many were busy from the time the crowd reached their table until the final minutes early in the evening.
I managed to run into a few people that I actually see on a daily basis back home at the shop, so that was kind of fun and refreshing. On the athlete and celebrity front, I managed to catch up with former Philadelphia 76ers top draft pick Michael Carter-Williams and a few other athletes.
At one point toward the back of the building we saw a growing line and wondered–as we often do when we see lines– what’s at the front of it. It was none other than Gary Vee there shaking hands, kissing babies and giving motivational speeches. To his credit, he was taking a good bit of time with each person that stopped to see him. He’s become a National regular and has brought a lot of eyes to the hobby over the last 2-3 years. He loves the action.
We made it a point to stop by the Heritage Auctions booth, which always includes a lot of historic memorabilia in large display cases and a small army of armed guards.
Speaking of jaw dropping, there were plenty of grails at Goldin as the company showcased a PSA 1.5 T206 Honus Wagner, a 1997-98 Upper Deck Michael Jordan All Star jersey autograph numbered to 23, triple logoman cards and so much more.
One of the highlights for a Michael Jordan guy like me was the Dynasty Collection which includes a single game used sneaker from each of his NBA Finals clinching championship victories.
I also got to spend some time with the super busy president of SGC Peter Steinberg. Our chat centered around the epic 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle the company graded as a 9.5 that is trending to sell for an estimated $10 million or more, smashing the world record for a single card. That interview will be up on the website shortly.
All in all, it was a very active first day as many expected. Some customers did complain about the lack of available parking and spotty cell service but it appears the ‘sneak peek’ set the table for what should be among the most well attended National shows in the event’s history.
My wife and I made it back to the hotel room and just enjoyed a burger overlooking the bay. That’s a solid way to end a great day.
For full coverage of the 2022 National, check out our special section.
Follow Sports Collectors Daily on Twitter for show coverage and more all day.