By Ray Schulte, SchulteAuctions.com
The multi-billion dollar collectibles industry is eagerly awaiting the arrival of Aug. 1. For the second time in three years, Baltimore will host the 33rd annual National Sports Collectors Convention, Aug. 1-5, at the Baltimore Convention Center.
The five-day, family-oriented event is the largest sports and entertainment collectibles show in the world. It's a place where sports and entertainment collectors, fans and dealers can buy, trade and discuss collecting memorabilia, such as trading cards, vintage game-used equipment, autographs, and other sports and entertainment items. They will also have the opportunity to meet, get autographs from and even take pictures with current and former athletes.
This event is as important to the city of Baltimore as it is to the collectors. Local businesses such as retailers, downtown restaurants, hotels and rent-a-car companies will benefit financially from the event, with approximately 40,000 collectors, fans and exhibitors converging on the Baltimore Convention Center.
The Baltimore Business Journal reported that the 2010 convention had the highest economic impact in Baltimore that year, out of 25 top-ranked conventions. The National's estimated financial impact on Baltimore was more than $15 million.
The National will transform approximately 300,000 square feet within the Baltimore Convention Center into a sports fan and collector paradise. The event will feature approximately 90 high-profile athletes, including current and retired players and Hall of Famers. Brooks Robinson, Eddie Murray, Frank Robinson, Cal Ripken, Jim Palmer, John Havlicek, Gordie Howe, Barry Sanders, Ron Turcotte, Barry Larkin and Rod Carew are among those who will sign autographs in the Tri-Star Autograph Pavilion.
In addition, more than 750 dealers from around the country will be exhibiting, including new and vintage game-used memorabilia exhibitors, authentication companies, trading-card manufacturers, national auction houses, appraisal companies and sports/entertainment collectible dealers. Many prominent Baltimore and Washington, D.C., exhibitors will be present.
"Baltimore was a great host for our 2010 National," said John Broggi, NSCC executive director and promoter. "We are looking forward to returning to Baltimore in 2012 and creating another exciting and memorable experience for collectors, sports fans and retail merchants throughout Maryland."
For more information on the show and how to purchase National Sports Collectors Convention admission tickets, visit its official Web site, NSCCShow.com. Admission tickets can be pre-purchased online and will be available on-site at the Baltimore Convention Center throughout the event. For an update on which athletes are scheduled to sign and to pre-purchase autograph tickets online, visit tristarproductions.com. Autograph tickets can be purchased at the event as well.
Follow Ray @ twitter.com/SchulteSports and e-mail him at Ray@SchulteSports.com.
Issue 172: April 2012