The National Sports Collectors Convention
A Historical Perspective - 33 years and still going strong!
In 1980 a group of collectors gathered in a small hotel ballroom at the Los Angeles International Airport Marriott for what became the 1st National Sports Collectors Convention. From that event has come the once a year extravaganza that is the premier showcase event of the collectibles industry. Seeking to involve collectors from around the country, founders of the National stipulated that the event should move around the country to insure all collectors and exhibitors could participate. Early Nationals were held in St Louis, Chicago, Detroit as well as the NY
The National has grown to be a mega-event which can be housed in only a few locations in the country. But it still attracts all aspects of the collectibles industry. No other event can boast of participation by most of the licensing agencies of the major professional sports world along with dealers of vintage card and collectibles and the most current collectible products anywhere. With support from the major card manufacturers, card grading services, auction houses as well as from the licensees of these groups, the National is the event to attend each summer. The recently completed 32nd National Sports Collectors Convention was held in Chicago, IL at the Donald E Stephens Convention Center. It was a return visit to a site which has been extremely successful in the past and 2011 was no exception. Attendance was strong and reviews from the industry were extremely positive from attendees, exhibitors, manufacturers and licensors. Plans are already underway for the 33rd National to be held August 1-5, 2012 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore MD.
Autograph guests at the National are legendary and last years show was no exception, starting with the "Sneak Peek" on Wednesday night. Local favorites Lee Smith, Bill Madlock and Don Kessinger provided free autographs. The National hosted the first ever Olympic Pavilion and 1968 Olympic Gold Medal High Jump Champion Dick Fosbury joined the former Cubs greats The parade of superstar celebrities continued throughout the week. In past years, the National has hosted almost every conceivable superstar possible including Wayne Gretzky, Joe Dimaggio, Muhammad Ali, Cal Ripken Jr., Shaquille O'Neal, Magic Johnson, Mickey Mantle, Wilt Chamberlain, Joe Namath, Joe Montana and others. 2011 was the first appearance of former Heavyweight Champ Mike Tyson and also the first appearances of newly inducted Hall of Famers Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar.
The National is the event with the strongest tradition, best autograph guests, largest roster of dealers of vintage and new collectibles and the biggest selection of cards and memorabilia all under one roof. It's been said, "If you can't find what you're looking for at the National, it probably doesn't exist!" The National is the event of the year and is the place you should be in 2012 as collectors, dealers, distributors, manufacturers, licensors and everyone else in the collectibles industry all participate in the worlds most spectacular sports and entertainment collectibles industry.