For collectors within driving distance of Cincinnati, the day after Thanksgiving means something other than standing in line at a department store in the freezing cold. It means the annual Thanksgiving weekend sports card show at Moeller High School is getting underway.
Launched in the late 1980’s, the show has become a fixture on the Midwest circuit. This year’s event will feature 90 dealers from several states and around 150 tables of vintage and modern cards and memorabilia.
Autograph guests for this week’s show include former members of the 1970’s Big Red Machine Tony Perez, Ken Griffey Sr., Cesar Geronimo, George Foster and Don Gullett, former Red Dave Parker and wrestling legend Mick Foley. Prices range from $20-35 for regular items.
Promoter Steve Schell, who took over the event more than a decade ago and also runs regular monthly shows and a spring show at Moeller, sends postcards to a mailing list of thousands of collectors who have made it part of their Thanksgiving tradition.
“It’s the largest show in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and any state south of us as well as directly east of us,” he told Sports Collectors Daily. “This is the show to attend if you want to buy, sell, trade or just see memorabilia and cards you will never see elsewhere.”
Admission is reasonable; just $3 per day with a weekend pass costing $6 and a $15 VIP pass that allows entry one hour earlier on Friday and no wait in the autograph lines.
The show opens Friday at 11 a.m., when Schell says “a whole lot” of collectors show up while their better halves go Black Friday shopping.
“That’s one reason we sell VIP Passes. That way there is a line at 10 a.m. for the VIP passes and again at 11am for everyone else and it spreads the crowd out.”
Friday is the largest attendance day of the year for any of the shows he runs and overall, the Thanksgiving show attracts about 25% more collectors than a similar 3-day event just after the start of the baseball season in April.
Saturday’s hours are 10-5 and Sunday’s 10-4.
Since 1991, about 300 guests have signed autographs at Schell’s events.
Here’s one collector’s tour of the room from the 2011 show.