The last of three 2022 editions of The Philadelphia Sports Card and Memorabilia Show brought collectors to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks over the weekend. As long time hobbyists know, the event has a history that dates back to the 1970s and while things are a bit different now, it’s still a hotbed of avid collectors and the show attracts some of the hobby’s top dealers.
Weather can be a little iffy this time of year in Eastern PA but thankfully it was a chilly rain, not ice or snow that greeted attendees on Saturday, which is traditionally the busiest session of the three-day gathering.
Lines were fairly lengthy at the entrance early in the day but my wife and I made it inside in fairly short order and entered the room to see a sizable crowd already walking the floor.
Just inside the entrance, we took in the Hunt Auctions booth. Unfortunately, there was a leak in the roof with a few buckets on the floor to catch the raindrops…not far from about a million dollars worth of sports cards and memorabilia. Luckily the water was kept at bay.
Hunt had numerous pieces on display that will be part of the company’s big live auction scheduled for December 12, including game-used jerseys from some Boston Celtics legends.
My initial impression of the event was that it was larger than I had anticipated. An experienced crew runs the show and although it was packed, it didn’t feel overwhelmingly busy or too crowed to be able to enjoy yourself.
As always, the larger regional shows bring out plenty of eye candy for those who appreciate higher end vintage cards. There aren’t many places where you can see some of the hobby’s most iconic cards–and a 1952 Topps pack. Robert Edward Auctions showed off some of the top items in its auction, which was closing Sunday night.
There were well over a 100 dealers with mountains of sealed product both current and vintage, piles and piles of singles to pennants, bubbleheads and high end memorabilia from the big auction houses. For many dealers, it’s the last major show they’ll be attending in 2022 so they come with plenty of material and are usually ready to deal, especially on the newer material.
The show attracts a wide variety of collectors so you’re likely to see a table full of vintage autographed cards next to some current action figures.
A lot of the booths that had “dollar boxes”–anything from a quarter up to five bucks–seemed to be making an absolute killing and those were many of the busiest booths on the floor, much like The National.
There were still a few dealers that had pandemic pricing but many of them were dealing in reality… and looking to make deals. In general, the mid to higher end vintage prices were strong while the modern and lower end cards were cheaper and more readily available to wheel and deal on.
One of the bigger draws was Goldin’s presentation of the 62nd home run ball smashed by New York Yankees MVP Aaron Judge to break Roger Maris’ single season American League record. It’s currently up for auction with bidding at over $1.1 million.
The other major draw were the autograph signers. Current and former stars–many with Philadelphia ties–were on hand over the course of the weekend. Philadelphia Eagles legendary linebacker Seth Joyner had a nice steady line during his entire appearance.
Former Red Sox and Phillies All-Star closer Jonathan Papelbon was in attendance. While he had his share of confrontations with opponents and even a teammate or two, I can tell you it that he was extremely cordial, upbeat and kind with each and every fan with whom he interacted.
The Phillies’ all-time saves leader (and recent Savannah Bananas pitcher) had a huge smile on his face, was glad to exchange high fives with customers and would kneel down and talk to the kids that came to see him. He was an absolutely outstanding signer who seemed to appreciate being there.
Hall of Famers Jim Palmer, Wade Boggs and Vladimir Guerrero were both among Saturday’s autograph signers. In his post playing days, Boggs has always been a great autograph signer and a popular show guest who chats up fans who pay to see him.
The current generation wasn’t forgotten either. Young Phils’ star Bryson Stott was among those who made an appearance.
Kyle Schwarber was probably the star of the (card) show as far as demand, fan interaction and overall star power. In my time photographing and being around the Phillies slugger, he was glad to joke around, spent extra time with kids and seemed very personable to show goers.
MMA and UFC icon Chuck Liddell had a number of rabid fight fans waiting to meet, greet and take a fist pose picture.
There were a number of other current and past Eagles signing over the weekend and with the season they’re having, enthusiasm was strong.
During a few hours on the floor, I managed to pick up some cards for my own collection, grab some others I’ll flip at the shop where I work and even added a few to a growing collection my young daughter has grown fond of. Not a bad way to spend a rainy day.
The next Philly Show is set for March 10-12, 2023.