The 2023 Fall Sport Card and Memorabilia Expo takes place this weekend, and it is already the biggest and best show in the 35 years of the Toronto event. The semi-annual show is not only the largest hockey collectibles show in the world, but it is on a short list of the biggest sports collectible shows next to the National.
The show takes place at the International Centre on Airport Road Nov. 9-12 in Halls 3, 4 and 5. More than 500 dealers and corporate booths will be set up with more than 200,000 square feet of show floor space.
The event begins with a preview night Thursday, Nov. 9 (4-8 p.m.) with the show running Friday, Nov. 10 (11 a.m. – 8 p.m.), Saturday, Nov. 11 (10 a.m. – 6 p.m.), and Sun., Nov. 12 (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.). Saturday is Remembrance Day in Canada and it will be observed with a moment of silence at 11 a.m.
“This will be the biggest Expo ever,” said the show’s owner and promoter Steve Menzie. “It is already 25 per cent bigger than the Spring Expo with the addition of a third hall to accommodate the grading and authentication pavilion. Advanced ticket sales are up 50 per cent over the 2023 Spring Expo, and that show had a record attendance.”
Menzie said there is still a waiting list for dealers, and the popularity of the show continues to gain momentum in the Greater Toronto Area, as well as throughout Canada and the United States.
“Buyers, sellers, content creators and influencers are making Expo a ‘must attend’ event on their calendars,” Menzie said. “The Kids Trade Zone, Trade Night and an After Party, a phenomenal guest list, and on-site grading have been factors in making this the best show ever. The NHL schedule also allows us to have three current Toronto Maple Leafs players, which is always popular as well.”
The show takes place on the Hockey Hall of Fame induction weekend and the autograph line-up includes members of this year’s induction class along with a deep list of NHL superstars. Scheduled to appear are 2023 HHOF inductees Ryan Getzlaf, Pierre Turgeon, Mike Vernon and Caroline Ouellette, along with Dave Keon, Carey Price, Ray Bourque, Peter Forsberg, Brett Hull, Adam Oates, Doug Gilmour, Wendel Clark, Scotty Bowman, Dave Taylor, Charlie Simmer, Marcel Dionne, Gerry Cheevers, Max Domi, Denis Savard, Tiger Williams, Bryan MacCabe, Matthew Knies, Joseph Woll, Patrick Lalime, Bernie Parent, Les Binkley, Vincent Damphousse, Richard Brodeur, Larry Robinson, Lanny McDonald, Paul Coffey, Jacques Laperriere and Wayne Cashman.
Other stars include Dave Winfield, Tim Raines, John Gibbons, Mike Tyson and Ric Flair. Tyson’s pre-sales for autograph tickets already make him the biggest selling guest in Expo history.
“My goal has always been to grow representation from the other sports to better represent not only the big four, but also boxing, wrestling and other sports,” Menzie said. “We’ve really seen that as Toronto and Canadian collectors are passionate about other sports, there is a commensurate interest in other players and player reps that want to come to the Expo.”
On the show floor, there will be a lot of baseball, football, basketball and more soccer cards and memorabilia than ever thanks to the spike in popularity of the MLS due to the signing of Lionel Messi. But hockey is still the bread and butter of the Expo.
“Make no mistake, hockey still reigns supreme at the Expo, and Upper Deck remains the dominant content-related sponsor of the show,” Menzie said. “The response to Upper Deck Series 1, especially with the Connor Bedard Easter eggs, has been phenomenal and UD’s wrapper redemption at the Expo will be huge.”
Joining Upper Deck as a major sponsor and eBay is the show’s presenting sponsor, the show also has partnerships with Ultra PRO, Universal Distribution, Heritage Auctions, Tag, Pather, PSA, Mintink, Beckett, Sports Cards Live, JSA, Grosnor, KSA, Classic Auctions and MNT.
PSA On-Site Grading
“PSA is grading onsite at the Expo for the first time ever,” said Menzie, who noted that it is the first time that PSA has done on-site grading at any hobby show other than the National. “The Grading and Authentication Pavilion will feature onsite grading from Beckett, KSA and MNT, as well as submission service from TAG and CGC. On the authentication side, both JSA and PSA Auto are also authenticating previously signed items at the Expo along with another Canadian company, ICERT Services.”
In addition to the grading and authentication services, Menzie also said that vaulting, auction and consignment growth in the hobby is also mirrored at the Expo, COMC, PWCC and PSA Vault will be on hand, as will auction houses including Classic, Lelands, Goldin and Heritage Auctions, which has a much larger presence this year and has agreed to a multi-Expo sponsorship deal.
Hall 3 will also have a main stage with a weekend full of interviews and live podcasts. On Thursday’s Preview Night, Jeremy Lee of Sports Cards Live will be moderating a panel discussion called Hockey Hobby Talk: Is Connor Bedard the Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread?
Friday’s schedule includes a hockey content creators panel. There are also question and answer sessions with Bernie Parent and the LA Kings Triple Crown Line.
Saturday, the main stage features The Chase Podcast, giveaways for kids, Q and A sessions with Doug Gilmour, Peter Forsberg and Josh Gibbons, an interview with COMC CEO Tom Getsch, a panel to discuss investing in the hobby, and a table top hockey demo.
Sunday’s line-up features Q and A sessions with Ray Bourque, Dave Winfield, Larry Robinson and Tim Raines, along with SCME giveaways for kids.
While the show will be the biggest in Expo history, Menzie is confident that the Spring Expo will be huge with the release of Upper Deck Series 2 Hockey and other late season products that will include Bedard’s Young Guns card and other Bedard rookies.
“And hopefully the Leafs will be making a run at the Stanley Cup,” Menzie said with a smile.