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The National is Here: Your Guide to Giveaways, Displays and More

The National Sports Collectors Convention, opening July 30, has numerous giveaways, rare displays and more; here’s a guide to make sure you get to all of the attractions. You have until Aug. 3 to see everything.

The Disney World of sports memorabilia shows has finally arrived. While reading this before you make the trip or now glancing at this while lounging in your hotel room in Cleveland, you’ve no doubt been looking forward to this show since the last installment in Chicago.

This year’s event at the I-X Center in Cleveland has some new attractions, namely a 12,000 sq.-ft. case break pavilion, but the 35th annual National Sports Collection is brimming with giveaways and things to gawk at all five days of the show’s run from July 30-Aug. 3. The following is an overview of the major announcements leading up to the event. For information regarding the autograph pavilion, CLICK HERE. For complete information on show hours, tickets, autograph guests and general show details, visit

Giveaways and Case Breaks
Even though we’d like to buy dozens of unique items to fill our man caves while at the National, sometimes the pocketbook dictates otherwise. BCW is trying to make that scenario a reality, however, through a Fan Cave Sweepstakes drawing that will be held at the conclusion of The National.

BCW will be awarding sports cards and autographed sports memorabilia to the lucky winners of the 2014 Fan Cave Sweepstakes. All of the cards and memorabilia will be protected by holders or display cases provided by BCW Supplies. Prizes include a Larry Bird signed Celtics Jersey, Jim Brown signed Browns helmet, Peyton Manning signed official NFL football, Joe Namath signed N.Y. Jets jersey, rare single cards and sets, plus much more.

All the prizes will be displayed at the BCW Corporate Booth #1455 at The National. BCW will award the prizes shortly after the show. Learn more at

The debut of the National Case Break Pavilion will take place at the 35th Annual National Sports Collectors Convention, as well.

“Plans have been underway for two years to bring this exciting new hobby venue to the National floor,” says Mike Berkus, show manager of The National. “Ever since we founded The National in 1980, it has been the goal of ours to constantly add more and more excitement to our National event. Over the years we have successfully added many wonderful and exciting components to the show, exclusive pavilions that house autographs, corporate sponsors, Olympics and attendee benefits like the VIP programs and Family Day. Now we are proud to present the very first Case Break Pavilion.” Sports Collectibles is the title sponsor of the Case Break Pavilion & Center Stage, which will be housed in a 12,000 sq.-ft. arena adjacent to the Corporate Pavilion and across from the Autograph Pavilion. A grand opening is planned for Wednesday, July 30 at the Pavilion, including a ribbon-cutting ceremony, free entries into the Grand Case Break Event (Saturday, Aug. 2, at 11 a.m.) and a free autograph signing by former Cleveland Indians slugger Carlos Baerga.

PSA giving away Diamond Stars ‘Cards That Never Were’
Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) will give away specially created 1930s Diamond Stars-style “cards that never were” of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bob Feller and Joe DiMaggio during The National.

Sponsored by Historic Autograph Co., the PSA-certified fantasy cards will be given to new and renewing Gold and Platinum level PSA Collectors Club members while supplies last. PSA will also display a complete set of original 1934-36 Diamond Stars cards that ranks No. 1 on both Current Finest and All-Time Finest lists on the PSA Set Registry.

2014 Babe Ruth, Brave

“After the tremendous popularity of the fantasy Babe Ruth Cracker Jack baseball card we helped design for last year’s National, we’ve again commissioned renowned artist Arthur K. Miller to create original artwork of cards that might have been, but never were. This time, he’s produced beautiful images of how Ruth, DiMaggio, Feller and Gehrig might have looked in the historic Diamond Stars set. Those colorful images are now part of a limited-edition set that will be available only at The National,” said PSA President Joe Orlando.

The first 500 visitors to the PSA booth (#169) who sign up for a Gold or Platinum level PSA Collectors Club membership or who renew their membership at the show will receive fantasy Diamond Stars-inspired cards. Gold Level memberships receive one randomly selected card, and Platinum memberships receive the complete five-card set.
The original Diamond Stars set of 108 cards that will be on display at the PSA booth is from the Charles M. Merkel collection and has an unmatched weighted grade point average of 8.70.

Memory Lane hosting rare Babe Ruth artifacts
Ever wondered what it would feel like to hold Babe Ruth’s bat? Fans will get that chance each day during The National.

Memory Lane Auctions will have a genuine 1932 Ruth game-used bat at its booth inside the I-X Center. Between 11 a.m.-2 p.m. July 31-Aug. 2, visitors can take some swings with the lumber.

The bat will be part of an exhibit of Ruth memorabilia that will be on display at booth #101. A historic signed check, classic high-grade baseball cards, autographed photos and other items will be among the more than two dozen pieces showcased. All are currently in private collections but will be on display together for the first time at the Memory Lane booth.

The items include a rare panoramic photo of the 1915 Boston Red Sox featuring the young star; a 1916 Sporting News rookie card graded PSA 8; a 1927 Yankees payroll check, signed the day he hit his 60th home run; a signed baseball graded 8.5 by PSA/DNA complete with the box he used to mail it to a fan; a signed magazine photo depicting his famous “called shot” in the 1932 World Series; a photo signed by both Ruth and Lou Gehrig during a barnstorming tour; a 1942 War Bonds exhibition game baseball signed by Ruth and several other Hall of Famers; and a photo personalized to a young Joe DiMaggio that shows Ruth in a suit and tie during an awards presentation at Yankee Stadium.


Card manufacturers
The National is a haven for new card releases, with all of the manufacturers represented, and all participating in some form of wrapper redemption program and issuing cards exclusive to the event. Here’s a recap of promotions for each company as announced to date.

Leaf Trading Cards has unveiled a four-card VIP set made exclusively for The National.
The Leaf VIP set will include the Cleveland Browns’ Johnny Manziel, No. 1 NFL draft pick Jadeveon Clowney, 2013 NBA ROY Damian Lillard and 2013 No. 2 overall NBA pick Victor Oladipo. An additional six cards in the same format will be available during the show at the Leaf Corporate Booth #569.

In addition to the card set, Leaf will have a redemption program which awards customers with gift cards which can be used for items in Leaf’s corporate booth space.


Panini is planning a wrapper redemption program, case breaks and player appearances at the company’s booth.

Collectors will receive one randomly selected, blind-wrapped memorabilia card (base versions are limited to 175 copies, Prime versions are numbered to 25 and Super Prime versions are numbered to only one) for each box of selected 2013-14 Panini America NBA product they open at the Panini America booth.

The promotion will be limited to the first 200 customers during each day of the National and will be available through the purchase and redemption of the following products: Gold Standard Basketball, Elite Basketball, Prestige Basketball, Prizm Basketball, Pinnacle Basketball and Totally Certified Basketball.

Press Pass
Press Pass has created a five-card VIP set exclusive to The National. VIPs will receive this set as part of their VIP Gift Package when they check in at The National. The set includes racing greats Danica Patrick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson.

In addition to the card set, Press Pass will host a redemption program. Purchase a box of 2014 Press Pass NASCAR on the show floor and receive a ticket which can be redeemed at the Beckett Media Corporate Booth #1542 to receive a blind-wrapped pack containing one National-exclusive Redline green parallel numbered to five along with a random autograph or material card from a top driver.

Topps will be running a number of programs at its booth this year at The National – wrapper redemption, box redemption, Pack Wars and, for the first time, case breaks at the Topps booth.

Topps will again offer collectors exclusive cards when they open any three 2014 Topps/Bowman Packs (except Opening Day and Topps Mini Baseball) at the Topps booth. This year, there will be eight cards featured in the 2014 Allen & Ginter design. These cards are exclusive to the NSCC and available while supplies last – Johnny Manziel, Jadeveon Clowney, Jim Brown, Jordan Cameron, Derek Jeter, Mike Trout, Bob Feller and Albert Belle.

Rip open a full hobby box of 2014 Allen and Ginter at the Topps booth and receive a NSCC exclusive Jose Abreu or Masahiro Tanaka card while supplies last.


Topps will host a meet-and-greet Thursday at 6:30 p.m., headed by Alan Narz. This is a chance for collectors to meet the people behind the products in Q&A format. Narz will host and facilitate games and give away special prizes. Collectors must sign up at the Topps booth, it’s first come, first serve.

Also visit the Topps booth to participate in packs wars and other games for a chance to win Topps products.

Upper Deck
Upper Deck will be busy at The National. The company will have an area of its booth dedicated to kid-focused activities, with a “Draw Your Own Trading Card” games and tournaments, along with the opportunity to have a personalized 25th anniversary trading cards – for free!

As part of Upper Deck’s wrapper redemption promotion, collectors need to purchase five packs of 2013 Fleer Retro Football, 2014 SPx Football, 2014 Upper Deck Football (hobby), 2013-14 Fleer Retro Basketball, 2013-14 SP Authentic Basketball, 2013-14 NHL SP Authentic, 2014 SP Authentic Golf, 2014 Goodwin Champions or one pack of 2014 SP Game-Used Golf to receive one 2014 Upper Deck National Sports Collectors Convention pack. Every 25th collector will receive a free Fleer Retro autograph pack from football or basketball. These packs must be purchased from a Certified Diamond Dealer who will provide collectors with an Upper Deck-issued voucher for the redemption program.

The program will begin at 10:25 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.


There will also be a special giveaway each day at the Upper Deck booth to help celebrate the company’s 25th Anniversary. The days and times are as follows: Wednesday (4 p.m.), Thursday (5:25 p.m.), Friday (3 p.m.), Saturday (1:25 p.m.) and Sunday (1:25 p.m.).

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