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Monday, March 22, 2010

The Spoils of War - Card Show Review

It was a battle on Saturday at the 40th Annual Sports Collectibles Convention at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL.  Anytime you gear up for a card show it is like packing your bags for a long battle in the trenches.  I was armed with my Pittsburgh Steelers backpack filled with various lists, top loaders, and boxes so that I could hold my spoils.  After a quick breakfast and a shower, I headed out.  Here is my take on the show.

First, there were tons, and I mean tons, of autograph opportunities.  I think I listed many of the autograph guests in my last post.  The only problem I had with it is the fact that many of them were charging well over $50 for a single item.  Don't get me wrong, there were quite a few signors that were under $20, but $60 for Chris Johnson?  $90 for Derrick Rose?  $250 for Emmitt Smith?  If you wanted them to personalize it or sign something other than their name, it cost extra.  Not to mention the photo op session that they charged for before hand.  Where does all this money go to?  Once the event gets paid for, and then the promoter, and then the autograph sponsor, how much does the athlete get?

Second, with the popularity of Ebay,, Sportslots, and a plethora of other sportscard marketplaces, it still amazes me that "book value" is clung to like Linus to his blanket.  There were so many people walking around with a Beckett in hand.  It was almost comical.  I lost count of the number of dealers that relied on the perceived "book value" for pricing their cards.  If not for charging the exact price that is listed in Beckett, the majority of them at least posted the prices on the card so the casual observer would feel like they were getting a deal.  The worst instance was in the buying category, though.  I listened to countless numbers of collectors talking with dealers about buying.  Many of the dealers claimed they were buying and even had signs posted but I really didn't see much going on.  The only deals I saw take place were for vintage, condition sensitive baseball cards and some memorabilia.  In these cases, most collectors wound up taking a bath for the sake of walking away with something in their hands. 

Third, what recession?  I didn't arrive there until after 11:00 AM due to heavy amounts of traffic driving around downtown Chicago.  That coupled with the fact that it was blizzard like conditions.  I can't understand how it was in the 60s three days this week and then it snows...but that's another story.  The convention center was packed with people.  Considering the parking for the center was $13 and the admission was $10, this was not a cheap show.  Pair that with the cost of autos and you have a very pricey Saturday afternoon.  I didn't see money hampering anyone there, including myself.  Yes, I spent more than I care to share and I saw many more like myself doing the same.  It was good to see the hobby is still thriving, if not sometimes in spite of itself. 

My goals were to walk away with some player PC cards, a couple wax boxes, a set or two completed, and possibly an autograph.  Here is an idea of what I ended up with.

  • Player Collection Cards:  20+ Jaromir Jagr cards, 50+ Mario Lemieux cards, 4 Bill Guerin cards
  • Complete Sets: 7
  • Partial Sets: 1
  • Set Fill-ins:  70+ 2009-10 O-Pee-Chee Hockey cards, 15+ 2009-10 Upper Deck Hockey set (I am 1 card short!!)
  • Wax Boxes:  2007-08 O-Pee-Chee Hockey Hobby Box, 2009-10 Champs Hockey Hobby Box
  • Team Collections:  25+ Penguins cards
  • Game Used:  15 Game Used cards
  • Supplies:  1 box of 9-pocket pages

Overall, it was a great show.  I haven't been to this show in many years and it was definitely better than I remembered.  It was nice to see so many collector's actively involved in their hobby.  Despite the numbers of people there, I somehow managed to run into Sal from Puck Junk at one of the tables that featured a larger hockey selection.  It is always cool when you get to talk with a fellow collector about a hobby that you share in common.  That is another reason why I love this blog community.  Regardless of what or how we collect, we all share that common thread and the passion for our hobby. 

I should be posting some of what I ended up with over the next week or so.  I will also be posted my box breaks for the OPC and the Champs.  I am going on vacation from Wednesday until Sunday so my posting may be limited if not at all for those days. 


  1. I couldn't believe they scheduled that show on the NCAA Tourament opening weekend. Sounds like it was well attended though. Wonder what it would have been had it taken place last weekend instead. I was all set to go, meet Hobby Kings there and someone from my work and we all put the brakes on realizing the conflict.

  2. There were quite a few dealers with TVs and there were monitors set up in other areas of the event so you could find the games if you really wanted to.


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