The first full day of the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago brought out good sized crowds spread throughout the convention center floor. The biggest buzz on the show floor was the news the Leaf signed a deal with Ichiro to appear on autographs in the company’s upcoming baseball releases. Also a dealer was led out in cuffs after being caught apparently selling jerseys he was falsely claiming to be game worn. Modern single cards, especially those from Bowman rookie and prospect products were selling very well. Most bargin boxes were elbow to elbow with collectors jostling for position to find a bargain. As was the case with vintage discount boxes. Bryce Harper, Paul Goldschmidt, and Jurikson Profar seemed to be among the most heavily sold rookies at the show. I went to the Topps Q&A forum which allowed collectors to ask any questions of the Topps brass represented. Nothing really earth shattering came out of the 90 minute session. The biggest issue Topps seems to be focused on correcting is making a more information based website, as well as making sure the websites for collectors to enter promotional codes are actually functional upon the products release rather than days or weeks later. Additionally they addressed redemptions and the hope to make a more collector friendly method to deal with redemption replacements. The autograph lines were fairly short, as was the talent signing. The big guns begin coming out on Friday. The vast majority of the modern dealers I talked to were very happy. As an indication of how well modern product was selling, I offer you the pictures below. We featured ROC Sports Cards case of Bryce Harper cards and autographs that was completely full when we saw them Wednesday afternoon. As of Thursday afternoon only about 20 remained.
Internet and 3G issues aside, it was a fun first day the 2011 National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago. Words cannot describe the magnitude of the show. The last National that I went to was over a decade ago in St. Louis, and I would estimate nearly double the amount of tables. The convention center is huge, and the room is completely packed end to end. Today was the preview day, and I was able to move through about a quarter of the dealer tables in the four hours we were allotted. Tons of awesome vintage stuff, a lot of wax from the usual suspects such as Blowout Cards, Dave & Adams, and Atlanta Sports cards among others. There was more modern stuff then I expected, I’d guess about 25-30% of the overall tables. The most impressive modern showcase to be seen all day was the Bryce Harper showcase (pictured above) from the guys at ROC Sports Cards. The pair of brothers who run the operation at ROC are awesome guys and if you are at the show, I would highly recommend you stop over and check their stuff out at Booth #418 on the convention center floor. The VIP pre-show reception had around 300 collectors in attendance. Long lines for autographs from Don Kessinger and Bill Madlock as well as Dick Fosbury of the Fosbury Flop fame. The longest lines of the day were when the convention floor opened and former Cubs pitcher Lee Smith signed autographs at the Freedom Cardboard corporate booth. If your not a member of the Freedom Cardboard forum, and you collect baseball cards or sports memorabilia, you have got to sign up for their forum as its the best I have found online by far. They are also live streaming all National long through their site. Former White Sox Billy Pierce and Carlos May were the first true paid autograph guests of the weekend, and they had moderate traffic through their lines. Hopefully we will have the internet issues we had today taken care of and I plan to update periodically throughout the day tomorrow.