The big Toronto Sports Card and Memorabilia Expo draws crowds from North America..and beyond.
The last-minute touches continue to be made to the 32nd edition of what the promoter calls "the world’s biggest, best, and longest running hockey card and memorabilia show". The Toronto Sportcard and Memorabilia Expo takes place at the Toronto International Centre May 4-6. The show features over 400 booths, 800 tables, 250 dealers, and 100,000 square feet of rare collectibles from the world of hockey, football, baseball, basketball and non-sports.
Late additions to the autograph lineup include former NHL star Wilf Paiement, and a trio of baseball superstars headed by Hall-of-Famer Ferguson Jenkins. Also appearing will be potential Hall-of-Famer and Montreal Expo fan favorite Andre Dawson, as well as 1971 American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner Vida Blue. All three will be signing Saturday May 5 at 10:30 am. Autographs are $20 each with proceeds going to the Fergie Jenkins Foundation.
In addition, two trading card manufacturers – Upper Deck and In The Game – have announced details of their redemption programs for the event. Upper Deck has also disclosed details of a unique Sidney Crosby product that will be available exclusively at the Expo. Additional details are below.
“I’ve been promoting this show for a long time now,” says Al Sinclair, President of the Expo. “Its’ success over the years is the result of a lot of hard work, but it is also a testament to the loyalty of a large group of dealers and collectors who set two weekends per year aside to make this a can’t-miss event.”
The roster for the upcoming show includes no fewer than eight Hall of Famers and a group of hockey stars – namely the “Broad Street Bullies” – that still send shudders down the spines of fans some 30 years after their heyday.
On Friday, attendees can obtain an autograph from legendary Boston Bruin coach and general manager Harry Sinden (5 pm, $30 per item). Sinden also coached Team Canada to a memorable triumph in the 1972 Summit Series versus the Soviet Union. Also appearing Friday is baseball great Bob Feller (7 pm, $30 per item). Known as “Rapid Robert,” Feller generated fear in opposing batters’ hearts with a filthy fastball that helped him win 266 career games over an 18-year career with the Cleveland Indians in the ‘30s, ‘40s, and ‘50s.
Former NHL star Wilf Paiement, a 14-year NHL veteran who fired 356 career goals, will be appearing on Friday at 3 pm. His autograph is free to anyone who purchases a weekend pass to the Expo.
Saturday’s autograph guests include two linchpins from the Edmonton Oilers’ dynasty in the 1980s: defenseman Paul Coffey ($35 per item, $45 per bulky item, 2 pm); and goaltender Grant Fuhr ($30 per item, $40 per bulky item, 12 noon). This dynamic duo hoisted nine Stanley Cups between them. Also slated to appear is the great Boston Bruin defenseman, Raymond Bourque ($80 per item, $110 per bulky item, 4 pm).
No NHL team represented rough-and-tumble hockey better than the Philadelphia Flyers of the mid-1970s. NHL scribes at the time paid tribute to the club, which played their home games at The Spectrum located on Broad Street in Philadelphia, by labeling them “The Broad Street Bullies”. The Flyers utilized a combination of talent and intimidation to claim back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975. Twelve members of those teams are scheduled to appear on Sunday headed by Hall of Famers Bobby Clarke, Bernie Parent, and Bill Barber. Other Flyer greats at the show include Dave Schultz, Wayne Stephenson, Reggie Leach, Rick MacLeish, Orest Kindrachuk, Ed Van Impe, Bob Kelly and brothers Joe and Jim Watson. Please note that Stephenson is a recent addition to the lineup while Gary Dornhoefer has been dropped from the original lineup.
Prices for the Flyers are as follows: Clarke – $49 per item, $65 per bulky item; Parent – $25 per item; Barber – $25 per item; Schultz – $25 per item; all others – $15 per item per player; 12-player Super Ticket – $219 per item, $239 per bulky item. Van Impe, MacLeish, and both Watsons will be appearing at 11 am. Clarke, Barber, Schultz, and Leach are scheduled to appear at 1 pm. Parent, Stephenson and Kindrachuk are scheduled to sign at 3 pm.
“This is an exciting lineup for us,” explains Andrew Goldfarb of A.J. Sports World. “Hockey fans shouldn’t miss Bobby Clarke. This will be his first public signing in Canada. He was one of the first superstars from an expansion team and a key part of Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series.
“In fact, I like the whole lineup we have assembled because there is something for everyone.”
Tickets for Friday’s autograph guests will be available Friday afternoon in the autograph area of the corporate section. Tickets for Saturday’s guests will be available as of 10 am on Saturday, while tickets for Sunday’s guests will go on sale at 10 am on Sunday. All autograph tickets are limited in quantity, and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“This continues to be a win-win situation,” explains Sinclair. “A.J. Sports World has a larger network for autographed items and that works to their advantage. We have the world’s best hockey memorabilia show, and there is no reason why we can’t have the world’s best lineup of hockey autograph guests. This will spur more interest from the general public and that translates into more interest in the show.”
Upper Deck and In the Game will offer a corporate presense including redemption programs.
In The Game’s redemption program allows collectors to receive special foil-stamped cards numbered out of 10, or even one-of-one game-used memorabilia cards. A unique set entitled Maple Leafs Forever (devoted to members of the Toronto Maple Leafs) will be adorned with game-used memorabilia and available exclusively at the show. Collectors will be eligible to receive these cards by opening a variety of In The Game’s 2006-07 products at their booth. Details are available on their web site at www.itgtradingcards.com.
Upper Deck, meanwhile, is offering a redemption program for collectors of their 2006-07 BeeHive and 2006-07 Fleer Hot Prospects hockey brands. Anyone who opens a box of either product will receive one autographed Priority Signings Young Star Edition card. Quantities will be limited and will be an exclusive to the Expo.
Upper Deck will also be offering a Sidney Crosby item exclusively at the Expo. His limited-edition All-Star vinyl collectible will be available for $100, with a limit of one per customer.
No other sports collectibles show in the world offers the astounding selection of hockey collectibles as does the Expo. With the the high-profile success of youngsters Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, and Evgeni Malkin helping drive the market, the level of enthusiasm for hockey collectibles continues to be high.
As usual, the Expo will host avid sports card and memorabilia collectors from across Canada, the United States and Europe. Everyone has the opportunity to interact with the most prominent hobbyists in the hockey world.
Professional Sports Authenticators (PSA) will have a booth at the Expo for the first time, and will be offering authentication services through their PSA DNA program. Please note that PSA will not be providing onsite grading services at this show.
The show hours are 1 pm to 10 pm on Friday, and 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday and Sunday.
The Toronto Sportcard and Memorabilia Expo has taken place twice annually since 1991. This is the 32nd Expo and it has established itself as one of the industry’s can’t-miss events.