It’s pretty clear the National Sports Collectors Convention is a summer vacation destination. Thursday was the first full day of the show and a look at the crowd that was lined up for the 10 AM opening made for a pretty impressive sight.
Weekday or not, the dealer booths saw pretty solid traffic. National officials called it the “largest Thursday crowd in recent memory”.
Those who take time off from work to either drive or fly to a card show are generally pretty avid collectors who come with money to spend.
Baseball Card Exchange, which again has a very large and spacious booth at the show, moved a vending case of 1979-80 Topps hockey (Gretzky rookie year) for somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000 and a 1986-87 Fleer basketball wax box. They had a second one available, priced at $35,000.
That’s also good news for Collect Auctions, which has one in its current catalog.
All of the big online retailers of current era boxes go all out for the National. They sell a lot of product, thanks to the National exclusive wrapper redemption programs being conducted by the major manufacturers. We caught up with Sean Bennett of Steel City Collectibles.
Among the sightings on the show floor: Former ESPN commentator Bill Simmons who has written a few epic pieces on the National in recent years. He used to be able to walk around fairly anonymously with a friend or two but not anymore. Simmons’ career has become headline news and while he’s probably able to afford a lot more stuff than he could a few years ago, there’s definitely a trade off for entering that realm of celebrity.
— PJ Clark (@TheRealPJClark) July 30, 2015
Hopefully he’ll turn another story on this year’s show via some online platform with national appeal. The first couple of journals he produced played a big role in the National not only remaining relevant at a time when it needed a spark, they’ve become must read segments each year.
Evan Mathis, who has carved out a nice career as an NFL lineman but is currently without a team, is making his first National visit. He’s not an autograph guest, though. Mathis is an avid collector who chases high-grade cards and older unopened product.
Also walking the floor and chatting up dealers…the FBI. A fixture at the event for a long time, the agent who has become a regular and has actually become acquaintances with a lot of folks. Mastro Auction reps have pleaded guilty but the investigation is not over.
Legendary Auctions is not at the NSCC as president Doug Allen awaits sentencing. Legendary’s booth area is now occupied by Goldin Auctions.
Eighteen members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey team that pulled the ‘Miracle on Ice’ upset over the Soviets and went on to win gold at Lake Placid were signing autographs on Thursday.