By Ross Forman
The National Sports Collectors Convention returns to Chicago this year, after being hosted in Cleveland in 2018. The last time the National was held in Chicago was 2017.
With the National returning to Chicago, let’s take a look at what this year’s National has to offer for collectors.
It seems like every year there are more and more activities for collectors to enjoy, and more promotional items for collectors to chase after. This year is no different.
TRISTAR Productions is once again handling the Autograph Pavilion, with around 130 signers scheduled to appear over five days. For more information on the Autograph Pavilion, see page 68.
CASE BREAK PAVILION
This year’s National will feature breakers from over 60 breaker operations.
The Ripping Wax Case Break Pavilion will feature athletes and events, plus giveaways, many group breaks, including free breaks, a set collation contest, live podcasts, new product previews and more.
Panini, Topps, Upper Deck, Onyx and other manufacturers will be doing free group breaks on stage. Spots in the breaks will be given out on social media, live to attendees, and also by the individual case breaking operations.
Case breaks will take place throughout the entire show, and broadcast to live video streams and social media to households around the country. Collectors can follow @rippingwax on Twitter to stay up to date on the latest Ripping Case Break Pavilion announcements and giveaways.
For those who get exhausted participating in the Case Break Pavilion, GTS Distribution will have a lounge area set up for retailers and breakers to rest and refresh away from the main floor and breaker pavilion. The lounge will be open throughout the show with refreshments and snacks available.
On Tuesday, July 30 from 6 p.m. to midnight, the Case Break Pavilion will be open for those interested in learning more about case breaking. This event has free admission, and is first come first served.
GTS will also offer product services, including product shipping to and from the event, show specials and other unique opportunities.
“It’s really important for use to support the shops and breakers at the biggest show of the year,” said Mike Blumenson, category manager. “Our goal is to do anything we can to support our partners to make it a successful event for them and the lounge area has proven to be a relaxing place to take a break during the show.”
GIVEAWAYS & OPPORTUNITIES
The following is an overview of some of the giveaways and major announcements leading up to the event. For information on show hours, show tickets, autograph tickets, VIP perks and general show details, visit www.nsccshow.com or grab a program when entering the show floor in Chicago.
Once again, long-time National exhibitor Lisa Stellato of Never Enough Cards/Evolution Sports Marketing is running a promotion aimed at kids. Visit their booth to receive a Limited Edition Honus Wagner T206 Facsimile Signature Series card sequentially numbered to 250.
Each day of the National starting Wednesday, July 31 and continuing through Sunday, the Limited Edition Honus Wagner cards will be distributed to the first 50 attendees. Each attendee is limited to only one Wagner card for the five-day event.
In addition, Thursday through Sunday between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m., all kids under the age of 12 will be able to choose between a Pokemon Poke Ball filled with Pokemon figures and stickers or a Lego Minifigure pack. Each child is limited to one Pokemon Ball or Lego Minifigure for the five-day event.
Professional Sports Authenticator will host a “National Card Grading Competition” at this year’s National. The contest, which is open to 77 different contestants, will be held at PSA’s corporate booth during designated time slots from Wednesday, July 31, through Saturday, August 3. The overall winner will earn a $1,000 check.
“Card grading is both a fun and challenging pursuit, so we expect this competition will be a popular attraction during the National,” said PSA President Steve Sloan. “It’s not the easiest of assignments, so it will be interesting to see not only who competes but who ultimately wins.”
Contestants will first need to pay a $20 entry fee to secure a grading slot. Once their day and time slots are finalized, they will each have 15 minutes with which to grade a total of 25 different encapsulated vintage and modern trading cards. The test will include counterfeit cards as well as “no grade” cards. Contestants are encouraged to show up at least 10 minutes early for their one and only card grading opportunity. To sign up for the contest, visit PSA’s National Card Grading Competition landing page on the PSA website.
Contest rules are simple. Contestants will use a computerized grading system to indicate a grade for each card being evaluated. Grading materials will be provided including a loupe for magnification, a ruler for measuring, a lamp for proper lighting, and laminated printouts outlining PSA’s grading standards and no grade definitions. The winner will be determined by PSA’s grading judges who will compare the participant’s grades with a pre-established answer key.
The grand prize winner will be announced at PSA’s corporate booth at 4 p.m. (CDT) on Saturday, Aug. 3. In addition to the $1,000 grand prize, the winner will take home a PSA backpack and PSA’s five-card fantasy promo set from the 2019 National. The runner-up and third-place finisher will also both win assorted PSA swag along with the company’s five-card National fantasy promo set. Each of the remaining 74 contestants will all walk away with one random card from PSA’s National fantasy promo set just for participating.
“PSA’s grading competition should prove to be enlightening and entertaining for everyone attending this year’s National,” Sloan added.
PSA will also be giving away a trio of sweepstakes prizes valued at more than $10,000 during three select days of the show: Thursday, Aug. 1; Friday, Aug. 2; and Saturday, Aug. 3. Three different PSA-graded and encapsulated 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan #57 rookie cards of the Chicago Bulls Hall of Famer (PSA NM-MT 8, PSA NM-MT+ 8.5 and PSA MINT 9, respectively) will be randomly awarded. Sweepstakes entries can be made in person at the PSA booth (#1436) or online at https://www.PSAcard.com/National. Winners need not be present and will be announced at 4 p.m. CDT at the PSA booth during each of the three designated days.
To interact with collectors and sports fans alike, PSA is once again providing show goers with the opportunity to take home free custom encapsulated trading cards in special PSA-labeled holders. This time around, the cards will feature a tobacco card twist.
Visit the PSA booth to be featured on your very own T-206 trading card. As always, the card is 100% free to all PSA booth visitors.
Teaming with Mile High Card Company, PSA has produced an incredible, limited-edition set of five “2019 NSCC Promo” cards that features baseball legends Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, Nap Lajoie and “Shoeless Joe” Jackson.
Exclusively distributed at the National, the complete set of all five promo cards will be given to new PSA Platinum Collectors Club members who either purchase memberships at the show or who attend the show and provide their proof of purchase (after July 1, 2019) for memberships secured online. New PSA Gold Collectors Club members who attend the show and provide proof of purchase will be randomly awarded one of the five promo cards. Note: Any memberships purchased prior to July 1, 2019, are not eligible to receive the cards.
As with every National, trading card companies will also be providing free cards to all VIPs.
Upper Deck is providing an exclusive five-card set to all VIPs. The set includes Serena Williams, Ben Simmons, Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky and DeAndre Ayton.
The Topps VIP set will be a 35th Anniversary version of the 1984 set. Included are Chicago greats Ernie Banks, Kris Bryant, Carlton Fisk, Ryne Sandberg and Frank Thomas. It will be available to VIPs as part of their package.
VIPs will receive the following cards courtesy of Leaf: Steph Curry, Kyler Murray, Harrison Ford and Wander Franco.