2017 National Sports Collectors Convention: Day 3 | Ep. 128

Day 3 of the 2017 National Sports Collectors Convention was another great experience. It started out with a trip to a favorite bargain table where I picked up more classics from the 1980s. I’ve accepted the fact that I have a minor addition to rookie cards from the 1970s and 1980s. I’ve acquired a sizeable amount of these at the show and plan to grab more if the price is right. There was only one new Frank Thomas acquisition today and to my delight, it was free. The seller was so surprised he had one I still needed that he just gave it to me. It wasn’t much of a loss on his end because the card was a common base card from 2009 Upper Deck First Edition.

I bumped into a few familiar faces today from online and previous conventions. It was nice to catch up if for just briefly with these fellas. One of the things about shows this big is that you get to know a variety of different types of people; it’s a great networking opportunity. I did a ton of walking today, more than normal. At least if felt that way. I put an effort toward securing brief videos with key contacts from leading auction houses and businesses within the hobby. I’ve known or known of these fellas for years from previous interaction both online and in person. There are still three more I’d like to get with a possible redo on a fourth.

I didn’t buy a lot today but made it a point to look for one graded vintage card to add to my collection. I wasn’t out for anything specific but knew I wanted something centered regardless of grade. I like looking at the cards, not just having them. To me, this is of paramount importance when it comes to buying vintage. I found myself at a bargain bin later in the day and came upon a discount box of miscellaneous graded cards. I searched through them and something caught my eye. I skipped over it but after a few cards forward, I went right back to this one card and added it to my pile. This card would beautifully accommodate my desire to acquire one graded vintage card while at the show.

Now, before I get into it, I must say one thing – getting a big card doesn’t always have to equate to making a big financial commitment. The cost of this card was incredibly cheap but to me, the significance of the card is worth much more.

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Enter the 1967 Topps Hoyt Wilhelm. This card features the most immaculate centering I’ve ever seen on a card from 1967 Topps Baseball and one of the best overall. While it’s somewhat difficult to see in the image here, I invite you to believe me on this. This card has every reason to grade high. It features perfect centering, a clean surface, razor sharp edges and corners and an excellent registry, which together make for a stunning appearance.

This card, while highly under appreciated, might be one of the single best looking cards I’ve ever seen in the entire hobby. The grade confirms someone at PSA still felt this card isn’t perfect in every way. Grade: 7.5. Price I paid for a card that’s 100x more attractive than it’s overlooked: $12.

The day continued as I dug through a variety of bargain boxes in search of beater vintage and other gems. I was excited to find a small stack of 1990s and early 2000s inserts. The following is a pic of what I added today.

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I didn’t pay more than $5 for any single card here. The majority of which were had for $1-2, sometimes $3 each. I often bought these in little bits of quantity at a time making this a very fruitful day.

As for the stuff I didn’t buy but thought was worthy of pics for this article, please enjoy the following.

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JP Cohen: President, Memory Lane, Inc. is such a professional. I always make it a point to say hello when I see him at shows. He’s let me see some of the most amazing pieces in person. Today, he invited me to see a T206 Honus Wagner. This is the second time he’s let me hold one of these. The first being at a show in Long Beach, CA back in 2012.

Anyway, I was excited to know I’d get another chance to hold one of these amazing cards again. In any condition, this is the most valuable of all sports cards in existence. It’s so important to the hobby, an entire book has been written about it. It’s difficult to accurately describe how important this card is to the hobby. A big thanks goes to JP for his willingness to allow me to hold an example of this card yet again.

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Heritage Auctions is one of the vendors on display during this show and their inventory is always impressive as well. I took some pics but not before getting permission from a number of security guards, which was welcomed. I thought it would be nice to have a run of pics of some of the notable signed baseballs HA had on display. From left to right: Thurman Munson, Babe Ruth, Connie Mack, and Lou Gehrig.

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At around 535p, I got a tip that Topps was holding a Reception and Q&A in a side room in the convention center so I headed over to see what that was about. Excellent complementary food was available as well as an opportunity to hear from Topps executives. It was an educational finish to a great day. During the questions episode, I was lucky enough to get called upon to ask a question.

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My question was about the issue the hobby is dealing with a type of fraud regarding doctoring relic cards i.e., when you remove a plain swatch and replace it with an extravagant one. Essentially, I asked if Topps had plans to mitigate this issue in some way. While the answer we received was vague, it did appear they were aware of the issue and had it in consideration.

My thought, while only one possible solution and incredibly laborious was to do the following:

Once a set of the relic cards are made, scan the front and back of every single one into a database for buyers to reference. If what they have is shown, it’s authentic. If it isn’t, it’s not. This would be especially helpful and efficient to use for serial numbered relic cards. For everything else, this could be incredibly time consuming. But again, this is just one way to go about this.

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After the reception, we were all directed to walk out in an organized fashion, which was completely fine with me. Since I was standing in the back of the room, I was one of the first one’s to exit the room. As we left, they handed out an exclusive Ian Happ card, which I thought was a nice gesture.

I don’t prospect so I didn’t know who this guy is; I’d only heard his name in passing over the past year or so. Regardless, however, this is an excellent freebie.

Looking back, I think it would be kinda funny if the fellas at the door handed out a card of a player that once played for the Chicago Cubs but hasn’t been relevant in a long time. I can just hear it now:

Topps Executive over the microphone at the podium: “We’re excited to announce that we’re giving you each a free card on your way out.”

Audience: Clapping with ardent excitement over muffled conversation.

When they walk out the door, each attendee is handed a raw copy of Sammy Sosa’s 1993 Topps baseball card.

Audience: “Thanks?” ::shrug:: 😐

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