By Bert Lehman
The National Sports Collectors Convention returns to Cleveland this year, after being hosted in Chicago in 2017. The last time The National was held in Cleveland was 2014.
With The National returning to Cleveland, let’s take a look at what this year’s National has to offer for collectors.
It seems like each 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 more than 150 signers scheduled to appear over five days. For more information on the Autograph Pavilion, see page 36.
Case Break Pavilion
The Case Break Pavilion returns, and will feature a variety of athletes, events and giveaways at the Mike Berkus Main Stage. Attendees can expect group breaks, including free breaks, a set collation contest, live podcasts, and new product reviews.
On-stage free group breaks will be hosted by Panini, Topps, Upper Deck, Onyx and other manufacturers. Spots in the breaks will be given out on social media, live to attendees, and also by the individual case break operations.
Case breaks will take place throughout the entire show. The event will be broadcast to live video streams and social media to many households around the country.
Those interested in the case breaks can follow @rippingwax on Twitter to stay up to date on the latest Case Break Pavilion announcements and giveaways.
On Tuesday, July 31 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.
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.
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, call 866-323-6722, or grab a program when entering the show floor in Cleveland.
There are so many things going on during The National – from Lego giveaways and card wrapper redemptions, to a live auction – it’s hard to keep track of everything over the five days. Here are some of the opportunities available to attendees during the show’s run.
Goldin Auctions will be conducting a live auction on Thursday of the show. See page 63 for more details.
Never Enough Cards/Sports Evolution Marketing invites kids 12 and under at The National to build a free minifigure. Kids can create their own personal Lego minifigure by selecting the torso, head, legs, accessories, hair, hat and more from thousands of Lego pieces.
Once the figure is completed, a Lego display magnet will be provided to allow the creator to display the minifigure.
The minifigure building will take place from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Each child is limited to one minifigure during the five-day event.
Kids can opt for another choice in receiving one of over 100 blind bag or boxes to choose from.
National exhibitor Lisa Stellato of Never Enough Cards/Sports Evolution Marketing will be running a promotion at Booth #1437/1433/1536/1532 to distribute 100 Limited Edition Lego Vitruvius Minifigures.
Each day at The National, starting Wednesday and continuing through Sunday, 100 of the limited edition minifigures will be distributed each day to the first 100 attendees. Each attendee is limited to only one minifigure for the entire five-day event.
PSA has a variety of activities planned for The National.
PSA will be awarding a trio of sweepstakes prizes during three days of the show – Thursday, Friday, and Saturday – that will consist of: a 1949 Bowman #27 Bob Feller card, PSA Near Mint-Mint 8, valued at $500; a PSA-authenticated LeBron James signed basketball from Upper Deck Authenticated, valued at $2,000; and a pristinely centered 1958 Topps #62 Jim Brown rookie card, graded PSA Near Mint 7, valued at $4,000. Sweepstakes entries can be made in person at the PSA booth or online at www.PSAcard.com/National. Winners will be announced each day of the sweepstakes at 4 p.m. EDT.
PSA is once again providing showgoers with the opportunity to take home free, custom encapsulated trading cards in special PSA-labeled holders. This time around, they will be photographed wearing either a Cleveland Cavaliers jersey with a basketball in hand or sporting a Cleveland Indians jersey holding a bat.
“Last year’s custom encapsulated card option was such a big success in Chicago that we are excited to bring the experience to collectors and sports fans in Cleveland too,” said PSA Vice President Steve Sloan. “What better way to preserve your memory of being at the show than with a custom trading card from PSA?”
Visitors to the PSA booth can also take home free PSA merchandise simply by “checking in” on social media. Collectors can follow @PSAcard on Facebook Instagram and Twitter for promotional details.
Authors Tom Zappala and Ellen Zappala and PSA President Joe Orlando, along with former Boston Red Sox All-Star infielder Rico Petrocelli have collaborated on a new book entitled An All-Star’s Cardboard Memories, and the book will be unveiled at The National.
The Zappalas will be available at the PSA booth on Friday, Aug. 3 and Saturday, Aug. 4 to sign copies of the book.
Mile High Card Company (MHCC) will be accepting consignments at The National for its next auction. Those who consign items at The National will have the opportunity to win a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle PSA Authentic card.
For each $500 of value consigned to a MHCC auction, one ticket will be earned for the drawing. The Mantle card will be given away at the MHCC booth on Sunday, Aug. 5 at 3 p.m.
Leaf is offering three redemption programs at The National.
The first redemption is for a two-card pack of 1948 Leaf Metal celebrating Leaf Trading Cards’ 70th anniversary. Cards include Shohei Ohtani, Stephen Curry, Conor McGregor, Lionel Messi, Ken Griffey Jr., Pele, John Elway, Baker Mayfield, Gordie Howe, Shaquille O’Neal and more.
Collectors who open a box of 2018 Leaf In The Game Used Sports or 2018 Leaf Pop Century at the Leaf Trading Card booth will receive a two-card pack of 1948 Leaf Metal.
The second redemption involves opening a case of 2018 Leaf In The Game Use Sports or 2018 Leaf Pop Culture at the Leaf Trading Card booth. Those doing this will receive a two-card pack of 1948 Leaf Metal, as well as a 1/1 autograph card from a list of names of: Whitey Ford, Jerry Rice, Nolan Ryan, Mike Tyson, Larry Bird, Lionel Messi, Conor McGregor, Pele, Shawn Michaels, Shohei Ohtani and more.
The third redemption involves opening a case of 2018 Leaf Metal U.S. Army All-American Football. Those who do that at the Leaf Trading Cards booth will receive an exclusive 2018 National Sports Collectors Convention bonus box. Each bonus box contains 12 autograph cards, all numbered to two or less. Only 50 sealed bonus boxes have been produced.
Attendees can also collect the complete 39-card Leaf 2018 NSCC National Promo set. Four Leaf VIP cards will also be available in the NSCC VIP bags.
Attendees who purchase a VIP Package for The National will receive a 10-card set from Panini consisting of many of the great young names in sports today.
From basketball comes the first three NBA Draft Picks starting with overall #1 pick DeAndre Ayton from Arizona and the Phoenix Suns. He is joined by Duke’s Marvin Bagley III of the Sacramento Kings and the best international player Luka Doncic who will play with Dallas.
Baseball is well represented with Ozzie Albies of the Braves, Rhys Hopkins of the Phillies, Rafael Devers from the Red Sox and pitching/batting sensation Shohei Ohtani of the Angels.
Finally the first three picks from this year’s NFL Draft are part of the Panini set. The Cleveland Browns #1 pick Baker Mayfield heads the list. Also included are #2 pick Saquon Barkley of the NY Giants and Sam Darnold of the NY Jets.
Topps will once again have an exclusive wrapper redemption program at its booth. Special refractors of Bowman cards will be part of the redemption program.
Topps always provides a great set for VIPs at The National. This year Topps is honoring current and former Cleveland Indian players in its five-player set. The set is in the style of the 1983 Topps regular issue with two images of the player. Featured in the 2018 set are current Indian players Corey Kluber and Francisco Lindor. A multiple-time All Star, 2017 Silver Slugger Winner and 2016 Gold Glove Winner, Lindor is just reaching his potential. Kluber is a two-time Cy Young winner and led the A.L. in wins, ERA and win-percentage in 2017.
Bob Feller is a name synonymous with Cleveland baseball. Winner of 266 career games, the Hall of Famer also threw three no-hitters and 12 one-hitters in a career interrupted by nearly four years of military service. Feller threw 279 complete games in his 18-year career.
Jim Thome is a 2018 Hall of Fame inductee. A member of the prestigious 600 Home Run Club, Thome played for the Indians 1995 and 1997 World Series teams. He had a career OBP over .400 and ended his career with 612 homers and 1,699 RBI. He was a five-time All Star and won an A.L. Silver Slugger Award in 1996.
Omar Vizquel played 24 seasons in the major leagues and won 11 Gold Gloves. A slick fielder, he holds the MLB record for most games played at shortstop and most double plays turned at shortstop. A three-time All Star, Vizquel had 404 stolen bases and 2,877 hits in his long career. He anchored the shortstop position for the 1995 and 1997 Indians World Series teams.
Upper Deck has several different promotions scheduled to take place during The National.
Collectors can find both Prominent Cuts cards, which feature a variety of personalities from various sports, and NHL Top Shelf rookie cards of the prospects this season in Upper Deck National Black packs. Randomly inserted into these packs are limited autograph cards. Collectors can put the 20-card base set together just by cracking these packs.
To receive three 2018 Upper Deck National Black packs, collectors just need to purchase one pack of 2017-18 NHL Ultimate Collection. Those packs must be purchased from an Upper Deck Certified Diamond dealer who will provide collectors with an Upper Deck issued voucher for the redemption program.
Collectors who like cracking cases can open a sealed case purchased from a Certified Diamond dealer at the show of 2017-18 NHL Ultimate Collection or 2017-18 NHL ICE and receive eight 2018 Upper Deck National Black packs and one case breaker raffle ticket good for a random memorabilia item, premium hobby pack/box, premium trading card or Prominent Cuts VIP Autograph card.
Collectors who purchase any five hobby packs of 2017-18 Upper Deck product during the course of the show can score two limited-edition Cleveland Legends cards of LeBron James.