2011 National Sports Card Convention

August 9, 2011

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Last week I attended the National Sportscard Convention in Rosemont Illinois. The National moves around the country from year to year, but having it in Chicago is a popular stopping point because it is pretty much centrally located and also it is easy access for people to attend if they want to fly there.

I should say normally, it is easy for people to fly there..

As Johnny G was arriving at the Omaha airport last Wednesday just before noon, and was going through TSA screening, the fine blue uniformed folks saw something they did not like on the scanners. We were ushered back from the security area and then shortly after a wave of police officers, a bomb sniffing dog, and others came through, we were moved off the concourse entirely. After a short 4 hour delay, we went back through security and finally got on my plane, and to Chicago, 4 ½ hours later than expected.

No complaints here, I am glad the TSA folks are doing their jobs!

Anyway, I arrived on Wednesday night for the “sneak peek” A chance for mainly dealers at the show to do deals with one another before most of the public arrives. Since I was already missing out on 3 hours of show time, I decided to do the so called “speed pass” route and went booth to booth, scratching some notes down in preparation for my full day at the show on Thursday.

Each of us in the realm of sport card and memorabilia collecting have our own niche. For some it is baseball cards. For others football autographs. For me…vintage Golf cards.

Yes they made cards of golfers too. Long before the likes of Tiger Woods and the more recent golf card products produced by Upper Deck in the early 2000’s.

I scraped around the show and found some nice vintage cigarette and tobacco issues from W.A. & A.C. Churchman Cigarettes. I saw numerous Bobby Jones Lambert and Butler rookie cards from 1926. I even found a guy that had a complete set of 1923 Copes Golf Strokes. (if you are in the golf card circles you know how rare this 32 card set is to find in any condition)

I picked up a few freebie catalogs, and made sure I ran into Reed at Baseball Card Exchange since I sold him a bunch of graded football and baseball cards during March Madness of this past year. I then headed to the Aloft Hotel to check in, grab a quick change of clothes, and then head out for the night.

I would recommend the Aloft Hotel to anyone – especially the younger crowd. It has a retro look to the rooms and lobby and the staff was very very friendly. They also had a kicking bar with a great selection in the main lobby (and nice drink specials I might add)

I decided to head to Gibson’s Steakhouse for a really good meal. Not surprisingly the place was wall to wall jammed as it is directly across the street from the convention center, not to mention the food is epic there as well. I finally secured a spot at the bar and introduced myself to a gentleman from Minnesota named Bill.

Bill was at the convention trying to complete his run of Topps Baseball card sets from 1952 until the present! WOW. That must be quite the collection. Bill was a great guy, we swapped collecting stories, talked about baseball players of today, the Yankees, the Twins, the Red Sox, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and solved most of the world’s problems over scotch and crown and cokes. He was going to try and find a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle rookie to round out his 52 set. This is the crown jewel of the Topps cards and also one of the most expensive. I thanked him for a good night of chatting at the bar and camaraderie.

For me it was back to the Hotel where I just missed closing time at the WXYZ Bar in the lobby (DARN) and off to bed for an 8 hour day the following day at the National!

Interested in Johnny’s trip to The National? Continue to part 2.

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