By Ray Schulte, SchulteAuctions.com
From the time the doors to the Baltimore Convention Center swung open Aug. 4 on The National Sports Collectors Convention's "Sneak Peak" Wednesday, sports fans and collectors were treated to one of the largest and most extensive displays of collectible exhibits and athlete signings in the country.
|(Photo by Ray Schulte)|
The annual convention -- hosted in Baltimore for the first time -- attracts the top exhibitors from around the country, including auction houses, authentication and appraisal companies, and licensed trading card and collectible manufacturers. More than 300,000 square feet of convention space was filled with virtually every sports and entertainment collectible imaginable -- new and vintage trading cards, game-used equipment, signed photos, uniforms, pins, flags, programs, movie posters, score cards and movie props, to name just a few of the treasures on display.
One of the many highlights of the convention was the special Stephen Strasburg Heritage rookie trading card Topps produced exclusively for The National. One of the hottest players in the game today, Strasburg was the talk of the convention, and demand for the Strasburg limited-edition card created long lines at the Topps booth. Topps created 999 Strasburg cards distributed via a special on-site promotion over the five days.
In addition to memorabilia, many visitors flocked to the convention to get autographs and meet some of sports' greatest athletes including Joe Montana, Brooks Robinson, Bart Starr, Willie Mays, Gordie Howe, Jim Brown, Rod Carew, Eddie Murray and Bo Jackson.
It wouldn't be The National if there weren't promotional giveaways from the licensed trading card manufacturers. Topps, Upper Deck, Panini America and Press Pass partook in wrapper redemption promotions -- consumers purchase wax packs, open them and save the wrappers. After accumulating the number required by the trading card company, they approach the respective booths and redeem 'X' amount of wrappers for a special trading card usually produced to distribute exclusively at The National.
Comcast Sportsnet's newly-launched CSNBaltimore.com and PressBox broadcasted from the convention floor, interviewing some of the great athletes of the game and notable collectible industry representatives.
This was the first year Schulte Auctions set up as an exhibitor at The National. The Schulte Auctions booth displayed items from the August online auction, including photos signed Babe Ruth to his sister Mamie; notes on postcards from Honus Wagner and Ty Cobb; a Mike Curtis Baltimore Colts game-used helmet; a 1958 Baltimore Colts championship team-signed football; and the pair of cleats Brian Roberts wore during the last player at-bat at the old Yankee Stadium. The online auction closes Aug. 31 at 9:15 p.m.
Many exhibitors are hoping The National will consider Baltimore again in the near future. Right now The National is scheduled to return to Chicago in 2011. If you participated as an exhibitor or attended as a fan or collector and had a positive experience, send a note to Schulte Sports.
Issue 152: August 2010