Recapping the 2019 National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago4 min read


Goodbye for now, Chicago. Last week was amazing.

We are now just past the 40th annual National Sports Collectors Convention (NSCC), which was held from Wed., July 31, through Sunday, August 4, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont (IL), but the good vibes still abound. Tens of thousands of rabid collectors made their way through the show and seemingly most of them had some kind of interaction at PSA’s corporate booth (#1436). Whether it was by submitting items for authentication and grading, joining the PSA Collectors Club, entering our National “Jordan a Day” Sweepstakes or, perhaps, landing a free custom, encapsulated T206 card with their own faces gracing the aged card fronts, most show-goers passed through PSA’s hotbed of activities.


PSA’s top-notch operations and customer service teams handled thousands of submissions during the course of the five-day show with several notable items standing out. Amongst the best of the best were three signed baseballs from 1949 that held early signatures of a then-17-year-old Mickey Mantle during his minor league playing days with the Independence Yankees of the Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri (KOM) League. The collection of baseballs and a few other Mantle-autographed pieces came from the family of former minor league pitcher Bob Mallon, who was Mantle’s roommate at the time. That season, the Yankees finished in first place atop the eight-team KOM League with a record of 71-53 as Mantle batted .313 with seven home runs and 63 runs batted in.

Another impressive collection that arrived in the Windy City for submission purposes included four – yes, that’s right, four – 1933 Babe Ruth autographed cards. Three of the cards were from the ’33 Goudey Baseball set, while the fourth gem was sporting the “Sport Kings” moniker. The Babe’s beautiful, bold signature, like the man himself, came through loud and clear on each of the four card fronts and one of the PSA-authenticated and graded cards reportedly sold for as much as six figures right there on the convention show floor! Needless to say, even 71 years after his death, The Sultan of Swat remains the top dog in the industry.


Gary Vaynerchuck, otherwise known as “GaryVee” on social media, was also in the house in Chi-town and made his presence felt every day. In fact, the wine connoisseur/entrepreneur turned trading card enthusiast, was hanging at Jason Koonce’s OTIA Sports table throughout the show and spent a portion of one afternoon signing a series of GaryVee’s Topps “entrepreneurial” baseball cards featuring big leaguers who have developed a business outside of hardball to highlight in the set. Each of GaryVee’s signatures, written in blue Sharpie, was witnessed and certified via a PSA “In The Presence” signing by veteran PSA/DNA autograph authenticator George Renaud.


During three specific days of the show (Thursday, Friday and Saturday), PSA gave away one of three different 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan #57 rookie cards – all graded by PSA; Near Mint-Mint 8, Near Mint-Mint 8.5 and Mint 9 – to one lucky sweepstakes entrant. The promotion was a huge hit and for the final giveaway on Saturday, August 3, we awarded the highest graded Jordan rookie card in the bunch. The winner of the PSA Mint 9 beauty was Lawrence Shineparre of Michigan (left), who was only too happy to swing by the PSA booth moments later to pick up his prized new keepsake, which is valued at nearly $4,000 on the secondary market. He simply entered the contest online and walked away with top honors. Enjoy your latest acquisition, Lawrence, courtesy of OTIA Sports.


And once again, PSA’s free custom, encapsulated trading cards for show-goers was a rousing success. This year’s cards sported a tobacco twist as PSA paid homage to the cherished T206 cards that were distributed between 1909 and 1911. Choosing from five different uniforms (Philadelphia A’s, Detroit Tigers, “Pittsburg” Pirates and two variations of old-time Cubs jerseys), National attendees young and old, male and female lined up to get their mugshots. Less than 10 minutes later, each one was walking away enthusiastically with their very own prized T206 cards. This happened more than 300 times a day while the promotion lasted through Saturday evening.


The Nicholson Family from Atlanta was all smiles after receiving their PSA custom T206 cards.

Posted by Terry Melia

Terry Melia is a hobby veteran who has served in various PR, marketing and content roles for industry movers and shakers including The Upper Deck Company and SCP Auctions and is currently working as PSA's Public Relations and Content Specialist.

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