Thursday, August 7, 2014

2014 National Sports Collectors Convention Recap

Hi everyone! This is post 1 of 2, or maybe more.

Well, the National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, has come and gone, but you already knew that.  This was the 35th NSCC, and it was, in a word, awesome.

The shows rarely aren't awesome. In fact, every time I have gone they have just gotten better and better. I think what I will do is just plaster random pictures of things between the words in this post, because I have so much to show.

This year I was able to experience the NSCC from a business side.  I was part of Layton Sports Cards' booth in the brand new group breaker pavilion.
You can see our booth, with the red sign, and behind that is the main breaking stage, where breakers were ripping in front of an audience all day long.  There were several special breaks, including a Grand Case Break, where 60 people won spots for free over the course of several weeks, and some won them at the show.
I don't think anyone anticipated just how busy the Group Breaker Pavillion was going to be, and I know we didn't anticipate how busy our booth was going to be. It was non-stop people coming up to talk, to inquire about group breaking, to inquire about LSC, and to find out how they could get into a break. We sold so many break spots right from the floor, it was amazing.  I mentioned this on Twitter in my random musings, but like it or loathe it, group breaking was the "it" thing at the show.  It has become a very big, and I would argue important; part of this hobby.
What I cannot understand are people who look down upon group breaking, badmouth it, etc. If it's not for you, don't do it.  No need to take the fun away from others who enjoy it.  There are so many types of collectors.  Some collect one sport, some collect multiple sports, some collect one brand, some build sets, some collect 1/1s, etc. You get the idea.  My point is that there is room for everyone and every type of collector. One size certainly does not fit all in this hobby, and that is a good thing.
Johnny Manziel has not taken one snap in the NFL, yet he is the biggest name in sports (LeBron too, ok). Manziel was bigger than LeBron in terms of presence felt. There were shirts, jerseys, sweatshirts, etc.  And people were buying them. I sold my Manizel Leaf Metal /50 for $100.  I find it pretty amazing that the Browns aren't going to start him, or at least they say they aren't going to.  Manziel is going to be the main draw for fans to go to the games.
I got the above Jordan card graded a 10 for two dollars.

In terms of aesthetics, the venue (the IX Center) was pretty cool. It was very big, and it had a ferris wheel in the middle.  An actual, functioning ferris wheel that I wanted to ride, but didn't have the time to. Some people even did breaks from the ferris wheel and it was awesome. There were lots of food vendors, and ice cream stands. I really wanted a soft serve cone, but we were too busy and I never got around to it! We did breaks almost all day and when we weren't breaking we were sorting cards, sleeving cards, or buying cards to open ourselves!  It was so much fun...a collector's utopia.
Here's a Beckett special printed Mantle #/500.  They were handing them out at the booth.

There were many redemption programs, but not nearly as many as I remember from years past, especially at Topps. I think companies might have realized that they really are a pain to deal with, people fight, and they just aren't really necessary.  Or at least as many as there were weren't necessary.  Anyway, in years past I waited in line after line to get special sets of Bowman Platinum with cards #/125. This year that didn't happen, because they did away with the set!  They did, however, have a small redemption program where you could get exclusive Allen and Ginter cards of hot players.  I wanted a Manziel, so I bought the required three hobby packs, took them to Topps, and opened them.  Three packs of Topps Series 2, would I get lucky with them?  Yes!
I pulled this Hosmer silk card #/50 in one of the packs.  A tough pull for sure, and a lucky one at that.  For ripping those three packs I was able to get my mini Manziel A and G.

The front.
And the back.  Manziel is the perfect example of how collecting is a gamble. He might be good. He might suck (Tebow...).  You just don't know.

Let's see, what else, what else...
Stay tuned for post two about the show, and my experiences there.  As a hint, it includes a recap of the above...