There are two certainties at The National. Well, maybe there are more than two, but the two I’m thinking about now, as I have my feet propped up and relaxing in my hotel room are: you will do a lot of walking and you will be standing most of your time on the convention floor.
That is, unless you meet Sean Walsh, the owner of Original Stadium Seats (booth 2270), based right in Cleveland. He’ll tell you to “grab a seat.”
If you are feeling nostalgic for your favorite old stadium, Original Stadium Seats may have the cure and a seat for your home, man cave or office as they sell, as the name implies, original stadium seats. Original Stadium Seats was born in 1987 as a smallish local stadium seat seller. Then in 1991, with new stadiums being built across the country, and old stadiums being torn down or demolished, they saw an opening and an opportunity.
“It seemed like a great fit,” explained Walsh, who was decked out in a Cleveland Indians cap and shirt. “These seats are beautiful. They look great in an office or man cave or any room of the house, if your wife will allow it. They get second looks, and you can buy it “as is” or we can clean it up and restore it for you, your home or office.”
Walsh has about 20 chairs/seats on display at the show and while standing with him for a few minutes he has customers shouting offers at him. He says that seats from Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park and other ballparks of yesterday are very popular. He has a couple seats from Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena that were attracting attention as well as an old wood bench that sat near the sidelines and end zone at Notre Dame football games. Luckily, Walsh says he lives just five minutes from the convention center, so he can replenish his supply each day as they sell.
What do customers look for in buying these vintage stadium seats?
Walsh says collectors are smart and they are looking for specifics. Like the number on the seat. For example, New York Yankee fans are looking for seats with the numbers, 2, 3,5,7 on them for obvious reasons. (Jeter, Ruth, DiMaggio, Mantle).
“Those are the most desirable,” added Walsh, while pointing out his Yankee Stadium seat that was for sale. “Just like an Atlanta Braves fan would like a seat with a 44 on it from old Fulton County Stadium.”
If a customer is looking for a chair that doesn’t appear as “beat up” or doesn’t want 30 year-old gum that was left underneath the seat portion of the chair, Walsh offers a restoration service.
“Our restoration process can make your stadium seat look like it did when it was first put into the ballpark right down to the original stadium seat color,and correct font for the numbers.”
Currently, Original Stadium Seats has one of the largest inventories of vintage and collectible stadium seats in North America. Walsh also is recognized as one of the foremost experts on stadium seats and stadium furniture and fixtures in the country.
“Seats and physical memorabilia have replaced signed sports cards for many collectors,” said Walsh. “I meet a lot of buyers (that) are longtime fans, but also businesses like bars and barbershops that want sports nostalgia decor or a conversation piece.”
Curious about these stadium seats, stop by and talk to Walsh. He might even let you take a load off, and sit down for a minute or two. His seat prices start at a couple hundred dollars and go up from there.
Dealer Booth Shut Down Over Fake Autographs
A dealer at the National Sports Collectors Convention had his booth shut down and his autographed items confiscated by police Thursday, according to a story on Fox 8 in Cleveland and reports on the floor of the I-X Center.
Fellow dealers alerted show officials and investigators from the Cleveland Police Financial Crimes Unit soon arrived on the scene, confiscating numerous items believed to be carrying phony autographs. Sources say the booth was operated by Tony Posada of My Favorite Player, who was taken into custody.
After complaints from several other exhibitors who had seen Posada’s inventory, NSCC security called police.
The booth, located not far from the East entrance to the convention center, remained empty on Friday.
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