BY ROSS FORMAN
The 40th National Sports Collectors Convention certainly lived up to billing as the hobby’s premier event. It was, without question, the Super Bowl of Sports Memorabilia – cards, autographs, game-used souvenirs and so much more.
“The National always is the best show of the year – and this year’s was great, an active event that brought out a lot of really cool stuff,” said longtime Ohio-based dealer Kevin Savage. “The crowd (size) was really good; there were strong sales and the buying was very good, too.”
Collectors had plenty to pick from. Just consider:
- Ian Desmond worn cleats, dual autographs: $65.
- Chicago Stadium seat, with wood base: $225.
- Paint pens: $10.
- Autographed authentic replica jerseys: J. Watt ($250), Ken Griffey Jr. ($800) and Mike Trout from the 2012 MLB All-Star Game ($850).
- A 1973-74 Topps Basketball wax box, 36-pack version: $17,900.
- Al Kaline-signed 11x14 photo: $25.
- There was a table of University of Oregon game-used football helmets ($200) and team-issued jerseys ($125).
- Emmanuel Ogbah’s $400 game-used jersey from a game on Oct. 21, 2018.
- Vintage baseball pocket schedules: $1 each or 6-for-$5.
- Autographed basketballs: Oscar Robertson ($200), Julius Erving ($140), Jerry Tarkanian ($550), Bill Walton ($125) and Kobe Bryant ($250).
- A 1966 Chicago White Sox team-signed baseball, with Moose Skowron, Tommy John and others: $200.
- Eloy Jimenez or Joey Bart autographed baseballs: $100 apiece.
- A box of 1990 Upper Deck French Hockey, high series: $400.
- Chicago Cubs’ World Series bobbleheads featuring Joe Maddon, Jon Lester, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and others: $20 each
- 1969 Woodstock Music & Art Fair, 3-day unused tickets, graded 9 Mint from PSA/DNA: $120.
- Winky Wright autographed boxing glove: $40.
- White Sox sun hats from the 1950s and ’60s were $55; other similar hats were $70.
- A 1935 Chicago Cubs’ Junior Booster Club pin: $35.
- Comiskey Park seats: $300.
- Goalie skates, with multiple signatures each, including Tony Esposito and Eddie Giacomin: $200. The seller said, “I can knock $20 off,” the list price.
- Louis Stadium seat: $800.
- A full game-worn uniform of baseball umpire Rick Reed, along with an autographed ball: $500.
- Jamie Morris game-used University of Michigan helmet: $1,500.
- Eminem framed, signed record: $750.
- Frank Thomas autographed jersey: $165.
- A framed photo of Vince Lombardi, along with Lombardi signed check: $1,375.
- Ichiro-signed baseball: $350.
- Derek Jeter-signed baseball: $625.
- Joe DiMaggio-signed baseball: $575.
- Sandy Koufax-signed baseball: $485.
- Babe Ruth-signed baseball, personalized: “To My Friend Joe”: $12,500.
“The show was phenomenal,” said dealer Lisa Stellato of Never Enough Cards, Inc., Port Jefferson Station, N.Y. “We were non-stop busy from Thursday on. The crowd was energized; this might have been the largest crowd The National has drawn in a very long time.”
Stellato said the 2019 National ranks among the top 5 of the 30 she has worked at. “The hobby is very strong right now,” Stellato said. “There is a lot of interest in vintage cards, new cards, among player collectors, for case-break collectors, and more. Everyone seems to be enjoying the hobby now. Most fellow table-holders seem to be happy where the hobby is at now.
"I had very high expectations for this year’s National – and the 2019 National exceeded those high expectations."