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National Convention Ready to Open: Preview of Giveaways, Card Manufacturer Programs

National Sports Collectors Convention filled with giveaways, access to unique memorabilia and plenty of exclusive trading cards courtesy if card manufacturers. The hobby's five-day main event is ready to kick off in Rosemont, Ill.

The quiet din you might find at small sports card and memorabilia shows is in stark contrast to what the National Convention is like these days. Not only is there a buzz from the thousands of daily attendees, dealers and convention personnel, but there is howling from the trading card company booths, people applauding “pulls” from the case break pavilion, carnival-like barkers announcing prize winners and numerous TV camera crews filming.

The National is no longer a niche event for like-minded souls, but an event that attempts to appeal to the masses. Think San Diego’s Comic-Con on a smaller scale.

This year’s show, held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill., July 29-Aug. 2, will feature 450,000 square feet of show floor. National Convention leaders say advance ticket sales are ahead of any past National, which enters 2015 in its 36th year. A few more numbers courtesy of The National: There will be 1,000 exhibit booths, a 25,000-sq.-ft. Case Break Pavilion, 30,000 sq.-ft. Autograph Pavilion, 100,000-sq.-ft. Corporate Pavilion and 300,000 square feet of dealer space. Attendance is expected to be in the 40,000-50,000 range.


This year’s show will also feature two live auctions, held Thursday and Friday of the five-day run. Heritage Auctions will host Thursday, and Goldin Auctions will debut a live event this year on Friday. Both auctions will be held at the Muvico Theater, within walking distance of the convention center.

The following is an overview of the giveaways and major announcements leading up to the event. For complete information on autograph signers, courtesy of Tristar, click here. For information on show hours, show tickets, autograph tickets, VIP perks and general show details, visit or call (866) 323-6722.

Among the giveaways at The National will be an “Evolution of the Baseball Card” poster and a Walter Payton autographed poster, (below) both courtesy of PSA.

Among the giveaways at The National will be an “Evolution of the Baseball Card” poster and a Walter Payton autographed poster, (below) both courtesy of PSA.

Giveaways and opportunities
Memorabilia of three Chicago sports icons – Michael Jordan, Ernie Banks and Walter Payton – will be given away by PSA at the 2015 National Sports Collectors Convention. PSA also will offer special rates for items submitted at the show for authentication and grading.

“To celebrate the National’s return to the Chicago area, PSA will hold daily sweepstakes at the show for prizes related to three of the top players in the history of the Chicago Bulls, Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears, respectively,” said PSA President Joe Orlando. “We’ll give away a 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie card graded PSA Mint 9 that is valued at more than $2,600, an autographed Ernie Banks baseball bat and an autographed Walter Payton poster.”

Visitors to the PSA booth (No. 1436) can register for the sweepstakes, which will be held during the three middle days of the show. There is no cost to enter, and the winners do not need to be present at the time of the drawings.

“The Banks autographed bat will be awarded on Thursday, July 30; the Payton autographed poster on Friday, July 31; and our grand prize, the Jordan rookie card, on Saturday, August 1,” said Orlando.

PSA will also display PSA Set Registry Master Sets for Jordan, Payton and Banks.
While supplies last PSA will also give away free “Evolution of the Baseball Card” posters at The National.

Beauty photography

Beauty photography

The 24-by-36-inch full-color poster depicts 18 PSA-certified baseball cards dating from an 1887 Old Judge Cap Anson to an autographed 2014 Bowman Chrome Kris Bryant card. Other cards illustrated on the poster are T206 Honus Wagner, 1915 Cracker Jack Joe Jackson, 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth, 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle and 2001 Finest Autographs Albert Pujols signed card, all featured in PSA holders.

“Baseball cards have gone through a visual and technological revolution. The poster provides a vivid sampling of some of the iconic cards that have captivated collectors for generations,” Orlando said.

Wheatland Auctions will be giving away a Muhammad Ali single-signed boxing glove (PSA/DNA), with a retail value of more than $800. Visit booths 433 and 435 to sign up. You can also register to win at The drawing will be held Aug. 9.

Wheeler Collection will be giving away a free case of Legends & Treasures, a new flagship card series offered by the company. Available for viewing at booth No. 672, Legends & Treasures features cards from all the major sports and will include 1-of-1 painted art pieces, rare patches, un-circulated and silver proof state quarter cards, hidden coins and silver rounds, gold gram bar cards and more.

Register at the booth for the free case break, to be held on the Case Break Pavilion main stage at 4 p.m. Friday. Wheeler Collection will also be giving away Jared Kelley artwork each day of the show.

And finally, Memory Lane will have a genuine 1930 Babe Ruth game bat at its booth (No. 1001), and attendees can stop by between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. each day of the show and have their picture taken with the 34¾-inch, 37.4-ounce white hickory bat.

Vintage case break
The National will be hosting the first ever “National Vintage Break” (hit draft) sponsored by Heritage Auctions (and, located at the Case Break Pavilion on the Main Stage on Saturday, Aug. 1 at noon.

Heritage Auctions is teaming up with to bring in some spectacular vintage collectibles, including a Babe Ruth signed baseball, to highlight the first-ever National Vintage Break.

The event will be limited to 15 participants who will assemble on the Main Stage to participate in the live vintage break (hit draft), which will be simulcast online. Each participant will purchase a spot with a $2,500 entry fee. Using, the 15 participants’ names will be selected to determine draft order. The live draft itself will then take place on the main stage where participants can select the available slots shown below. The estimated value of the significant vintage cards/memorabilia the winners can take home totals more than $40,000.

Items available include the following:
– Babe Ruth signed baseball with Gary Cooper and the cast of The Pride of the Yankees
– Michael Jordan signed 1984 rookie style jersey
– Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris signed baseball
– Lou Gehrig signed album page
– 1955 Jackie Robinson signed World Series greatest thrill questionnaire
– Ted Williams signed baseball bat
– 1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig #92 SGC 70 EX+ 5.5
– 2010 Albert Pujols game-used bat
– Wayne Gretzky game-used, signed hockey stick
– Mickey Mantle signed baseball bat
– 500 Home Run Club multi-signed baseball
– 1961 Topps Mickey Mantle #300 PSA NM 7
– 1932 Ty Cobb signed check
– Michael Jordan & Muhammad Ali signed, oversized photograph
– 1909-11 T206 Sweet Caporal Ty Cobb, red portrait PSA VG 3.

“We are incredibly excited to host this historic National Vintage Break event, at the National, on our Main Stage,” said Mike Berkus, founder, National Sports Collectors Convention. “Chris Ivy of Heritage Auctions and David Gelfman of have created a high-profile live event that attracts and includes current trading card collectors and vintage memorabilia collectors simultaneously on-site and online, a truly unique and exciting concept.”

Card manufacturers
The trading card companies will be in full force in the Corporate Pavilion. Giveaways, exclusive cards and sets and wrapper redemption programs will be held through the five days. Here is a brief recap of the promotions planned by the major manufacturers.

Collectors who rip a box of select 2015 Leaf products at the National will receive a show-exclusive seven-card pack. Base cards in the Leaf bonus packs are based on the 1990 Leaf baseball design. One in seven packs will contain an autograph card.

Anyone buying a case of select 2015 Leaf products at the show will receive a bonus autograph pack from 2015 Legends of Sport on top of the bonus packs for their boxes. All autographs in the case breaking packs are numbered to 10 or less.

The qualifying products for Leaf’s National promotion include the following:
– 2015 Leaf Legends of Sport
– 2015 In The Game Used
– 2015 Clear Cut Football
– 2015 Leaf Pop Century
– 2015 Leaf Masterwork Sports Edition.

The Panini Wrapper Redemption set will include Rookie Memorabilia cards numbered to 25. A draw will be the spectacular College Variations subset, a 15-card chase highlighted by college baseball shots of NFL quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Jameis Winston.


This year’s Team Colors chase features 10 players near and dear to the hearts of most Windy City fans, including Scottie Pippen, Jimmy Butler, Matt Forte and Dick Butkus. Sketch cards will also be included.

Panini will also be doing free Kids Breaks and Live Redemption Card Trade-up during the week of the National as well as its National Panini Party.

Topps will offer a host of events during the National. A two-hour, question-and-answer session will be held during the show on Saturday morning. The session is available for the first 150 people to sign up at the Topps booth.

Topps will offer Allen & Ginter box redemptions. In celebration of Allen & Ginter’s 10th anniversary, Topps has created exclusive Allen & Ginter die-cut cards featuring baseball, football and other figures, exclusive to The National.

Each sealed hobby box of Allen & Ginter brought to the Topps booth will yield one exclusive pack of either baseball or football subjects with the chance at special autographs. The hobby box must be opened at the Topps booth in front of a Topps employee. Available while supplies last.

In the Gypsy Queen box redemption, collectors get a chance to get a three-card pack of Kris Bryant, Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton on the 2015 Gypsy Queen design.

Hobby boxes eligible for the Gypsy Queen redemption include:
– All 2015 Topps and Bowman Baseball hobby boxes, excluding Opening Day.
– Football: 2014 Bowman Football, 2014 Bowman Chrome Football, 2014 Bowman Sterling Football, 2014 Topps Chrome Football, 2014 Topps Chrome Mini Football, 2014 Topps Platinum Football, 2014 Topps Prime Football; 2014 Topps Supreme Football, 2014 Topps Finest Football, 2014 Topps Fire Football, 2014 Topps Football Jumbo HTA, 2014 Topps Museum Collection Football, 2014 Topps Triple Threads Football, 2014 Topps Valor Football and 2015 Bowman Football.
– Soccer: 2015 MLS Soccer hobby box.
– UFC: 2015 Topps UFC Knockout hobby box.

Topps will also be holding Pack Wars and other games throughout the National with prizes given out to winners. Stop by the Topps booth for a schedule of games.

Upper Deck
Upper Deck’s wrapper redemption program brings back the Prominent Cuts set featuring a variety of personalities from various sports. Randomly inserted will be very limited autograph cards plus 1-of-1 cut autograph cards from deceased Chicago legends. Players in the Prominent Cuts Redemption include: Patrick Kane, Steph Curry, Shaquille O’Neal, Maria Sharapova and others. Collectors just need to purchase five packs of 2014-15 NHL Fleer Showcase, 2014-15 NHL O-Pee-Chee Platinum, 2014-15 NHL Masterpieces, 2014-15 NHL SP Authentic, 2015 Goodwin Champions or 2015 Upper Deck Dinosaurs to receive one 2015 Upper Deck Prominent Cuts Promotional Pack. Collectors need to purchase one pack of 2014-15 NHL SP Game-Used or 2014-15 NHL UD Premier to receive three 2015 Upper Deck Prominent Cuts Promotional Packs.

The program will begin at 10 a.m. each day starting on Thursday and run as long as supplies last. Collectors can take advantage of the promotion up to four times per person, per day

Collectors can purchase an eligible case from a Certified Diamond Dealer at the National and will receive the following: 10 2015 Upper Deck Prominent Cuts Promotional Packs, one Case Breaker Raffle Ticket good for a random memorabilia item, premium hobby pack/box, a premium trading card or Prominent Cuts VIP Autograph Card.