One of the hobby’s longest running shows is set to return next month. The event, dubbed The Pittsburgh Area Spring Spectacular XLI, is now anchored in a new location but as usual, it will be full of sports card dealers and autograph sessions.
This year, the three-day show will take place from Friday, May 17 through Sunday, May 19. After a long tenure in a different Pittsburgh suburb, the event returns to the Monroeville Convention Center for a second straight year in 2019. Although it is a regional event, it is known by many card and autograph collectors around the country.
“The show has run since 1989 with this being the 41st (event),” says Executive Vice President of Main Line Autographs, Jim DiCandilo.
Local collectors may still remember this as the ‘Robert Morris show.’ For many years, it was held at Robert Morris University in Moon, Pa. But with the closing of the former location, the show moved east to Monroeville last year. After a successful event, the show will be held in Monroeville again and is poised to remain there. Some collectors had wondered if the show would be moved back to Robert Morris. However, Main Line Autographs says the show is in Monroeville to stay.
“We are planning to have the show in Monroeville and are not looking for a different site,” DiCandilo confirmed.
The convention center makes sense as it offers the event a prime location. It hosts many similar types of trade events and is well known in that regard. Not only is it conveniently located near many hotels and restaurants, it also includes a large amount of nearby shopping and attractions.
Card collectors will appreciate a wide selection of cards with several dozen dealers from more than 20 states and provinces expected to have booths. Last year, the show included a wide range of cards from the pre-war era through the present day. This year shouldn’t be any different.
Collectors wanting to have their cards graded will also have that opportunity. SGC has attended in years past and is scheduled to attend again this year, accepting submissions.
Cards are only one part of the event, of course. With approximately 40 guest signers, autograph seekers will have an opportunity to snag a variety of signed collectibles, too.
Headlining the autograph portion of the event are greats such as Bob Gibson, Pete Rose, Tony Perez, Steve Garvey, and Andre Dawson. They will be joined by plenty of other Hall of Famers and legendary athletes from around the country. As usual, Pittsburgh sports fans will also appreciate the local flavor of the event. Several Pirates, Steelers, Penguins, and Pitt Panthers are scheduled to sign, including Joe Greene, Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward, Ron Francis, Jack Lambert, Kevin Stevens, Dick Groat, Kevin Greene, Mark May, Rickey Jackson, Johnny Majors, and more. There is an option to order autographs by mail if you’re unable to come to the show.
While most autographs will cost collectors some money, guests attending early enough on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday will have the chance to score some free autographs. Former Pittsburgh Pirates Steve Blass and Fred Cambria will offer a free autograph to the first 250 guests through the door on Friday. On Saturday, 1973 AL Rookie of the Year Al Bumbry will sign free autographs for the first 250 attendees. And Sunday, the first 250 guests can receive a free autograph from 1967 AL Cy Young Winner Jim Lonborg. All free autograph guests will also sign additional autographs for an extra fee.
Beckett, JSA and CAS will be accepting autograph submissions at the show.
Admission is $7 per day or a discounted three-day pass is available for $18 (children age eight and under are free). The event will also include free parking in the convention center’s lots and hourly door prizes will be given away.
Those wanting to get the full experience of the event can sign up for a special VIP package. Sold for $99, the package is limited to only 100 tickets. The VIP package includes admission to all three days of the show, early admission on both Saturday and Sunday (VIP guests can enter a half hour early each day), $100 of autograph tickets with guests randomly drawn by Main Line, front line access to autograph guests, and five free autographed 8X10 photographs from guests that have signed at past Main Line Autographs events.
Hours for the show vary by day. On Friday, the event will run from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Doors will open Saturday at 10:00 a.m. with the event ending at 5:00 p.m. Sunday will be the final day of the show with hours from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Tickets to the event as well as those for autograph guests can be purchased on the Main Line Autographs website.