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It's National Week

It's the week of the biggest sports show of the year – The National. Who's signing? What's being given away? Are you going? See you in Chicago.
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With nearly three decades of history under its belt and the added clout of perhaps the strongest card and memorabilia market in the country, the 29th National Convention returns to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill., for its five-day from July 30 to Aug. 3.

Tristar Productions has been tapped to handle the autographing duties, an enormous task at a show that routinely attracts the largest and most imposing lineup of signers every summer. This time, with the National not conflicting with the Baseball Hall of Fame inductions for the first time in several years, the autograph lineup includes nearly a dozen baseball HOFers and more than twice that number from football. In all, nearly 100 autograph guests will be on hand over the course of the show.

The National VIP party on Wednesday, July 30 from 3:30-5 p.m. will be held exclusively for VIP ticketholders, offering week-long credentials and a gift package, and free autograph opportunities on Wednesday with NFL Hall of Famer Jackie Smith and former Cubs standout Milt Pappas.

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The National will hold its grand opening for all consumers on Wednesday from 5-9 p.m., with free autographs from Cubs Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins, NFL Hall of Famers Roger Wehrli and Jackie Smith, as well as Pappas. Also, the first 3,000 attendees at the Sneak Peek will receive a specially created eTopps promo card of Babe Ruth created in the format of the turn-of-the-century Allen & Ginter’s cards.

In addition to the Ruth card, the first 3,000 attendees will receive a special 29th National coupon book loaded with valuable offers good throughout the week. One-day admission tickets (good for any day of the National, including Wednesday’s Sneak Peek) can be purchased at $15 in advance through the website ( or $18 door.

Other highlights:
Kids Free Week – All youngsters 12 and under will be admitted at no charge all five days, courtesy of, with special giveaways and other activities for Kid’s Free attendees. There will be special performances for kids by various entertainers, a kids trading table will be set up to allow youngsters to trade their cards for superstar cards and as an added bonus, NFL Players will provide several former players for free autographs.

Family Day Sunday – One $25 admission charge will allow a family (up to six people) to attend the closing day of the National. During the day, there will be special performances for kids by various entertainers from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the trading table will be set up and a final National “free” raffle will give away sports collectibles from 2-3 p.m.

VIP Package holders will have the opportunity to be first in line for all autographs guests (behind Platinum VIPs), regardless of autograph ticket number.

National VIP Club members who purchase a VIP Package ($119 advance, $129 on site) or VIP All-Access Package ($249 advance, $259 on site) will receive a gift package worth hundreds of dollars, according to National officials, plus additional VIP perks.

Platinum VIP Package
– National officials estimate the unique program provides $2,000-plus in value for the $999 price, with only 99 packages offered.

Each Platinum VIP Club Package holder will receive an exclusive invitation to the Press Party at Gibson’s Steakhouse on Wednesday afternoon, with hors d’oeuvres, beverages and the opportunity to meet some of the National’s celebrity autograph guests at this exclusive event.

For more information about the VIP packages or general information about the show, go to – including autograph guests!

Killer Kardz
Here are what the card companies are going to be offering at the big event:

Topps has produced a five-card issue for the VIP package, with cards reminiscent of the original 1958 Topps cards. Some of the ’58 Topps cards in this set are variations on the original cards, including Mickey Mantle, Ernie Banks and Ted Williams with Yellow Team Letter variations. Topps has also created a special tribute card to Mickey Mantle as the “Home Run King” in 1958 – another card that never was, plus a pre-rookie card of Hall of Famer Bob Gibson.

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Upper Deck has produced a 24-card set of Upper Deck spokespeople as part of the 29th National VIP package. Each National VIP Club member will receive all 24 cards in this National exclusive Upper Deck creation, a veritable Who’s Who of sports celebrities:
Baseball: Joe DiMaggio, Daisuka Matsuzaka, Derek Jeter, Ichiro, Kosuke Fukudome, Alfonso Soriano, Derek Lee and Ken Griffey Jr.
Basketball: Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant
Football: Peyton Manning, Devin Hester, Tom Brady, Brian Urlacher, LaDanian Tomlinson and Randy Moss.
Hockey: Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, Bobby Orr, Jonathan Toews, Carey Price, Gordie Howe and Alexander Ovechkin.
This marks first time that Kane, Hester, Toews, Fukudome, Price, Lee, Moss and Soriano have appeared in a National Upper Deck VIP issue.

Upper Deck’s National VIP sets will also feature randomly autographed cards: Carmelo Anthony, Dennis Rodman, Jonathan Toews, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Patrick Kane and Yao Ming

**National VIP Triple Autographs: LeBron James/Kobe Bryant/Carmelo Anthony & Patrick Kane/Jonathan Toews/Carey Price.
Upper Deck will also offer a six-card set of National-exclusive redemption cards, which also include randomly inserted autograph variations.

Sport Kings is producing an exclusive trading card issue for National VIP Club members. The cards will feature both an original 1933 Sportking athlete and a current Sportking, with each representing the same sport. There will be 18 cards in total, with VIPs each receiving one card from these pairings: Laverne Fator and Ron Turcotte, Larry Holmes and Max Baer, Arthur Ashe and William Tilden Jr., Mark Spitz and Johnny Weissmuller, Mark Messier and Eddie Shore, Larry Bird and Nat Holman, Patrick Roy and Ching Johnson and Willie Mosconi and William Hoppe. More cards will be announced as the National draws closer.

Each National VIP will receive a random Sportkings card featured in a hard plastic holder with a Sportkings label affixed. National VIPs are the only group that will receive a free Sportkings card, which will not be available in any Sport Kings products.

Press Pass has created a NASCAR exclusive six-card set for National VIPs featuring NASCAR’s biggest names: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards. The photos are exclusive to this set and cards will include foil stamping and a special “2008 National” designation.

Cards 1-5 will be presented to VIPs in their gift bags. VIP members can redeem a special Press Pass “coupon” for the sixth and final card, which is Jeff Gordon, at the Press Pass booth, No. 629 in the Corporate Pavilion.

Finally, Press Pass will offer a National-exclusive base card parallel from 2008 Legends Football to anyone who opens a six-pack mini-box of the set.

To find out more about the show, visit The National's website at