Mike Berkus, the founder and director of the National Sports Collectors Convention, or The National for short, passed away Nov. 20 after a brief battle with brain cancer. He was 69.
Berkus was the face of the National, handling nearly all of the public relations duties in conducting television and other media outlet interviews, along with emcee duties for events like the Vintage Break at the 2015 National in Chicago.
The news caught many in the hobby by surprise, with the hobby community sharing their thoughts and prayers on social media over the weekend.
Upper Deck posted, "The hobby lost a great advocate and friend in Mike Berkus who ran the @natsportsshow. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family."
Goldin Auctions posted, "RIP Mike Berkus. Hobby pioneer. Founder of National Sports Collectors Convention. Great guy and good friend thoughts and prayers to family."
The National Convention is the crown jewel of the hobby, drawing tens of thousands of collectors, fans and members of the hobby every years at its destination of choice. John Broggi serves as the co-director of The National.
Stay tuned for more on Mike Berkus in the days ahead.