Search Sports Card Radio


Posted by: Ryan

Some random thoughts about the National Sports Collectors Convention. Check out some of the videos and photo galleries from past Nationals at the very bottom of the page. The videos can give you a feel for the show and what to expect.

The Right Mix
Going to the National really opened my eyes to how many different types of collectors there are. Set builders, vintage guys, modern guys, wax rippers, bargain hunters, and that's just the start. It's all in one room. It's intoxicating. It's pure heaven. You'll buy stuff that you would have never bought before. $3 Blaster Boxes even though you'll get nothing good? I'll take two!

Despite the overwhelming amount of dealer tables, you can easily feel like you've seen enough after a day or or so. Not every table will have something you are interested in, you can check out what fits your collecting style. I'd stay for 10 days if it went that long and totally go broke, but I guess people have to go home at some point.

Should You Go?
Stop what you're doing. Go check your bank account. Check the flights to Cleveland. Tune up the old car and check gas prices. Do people still hitch hike? Ok, maybe not. Try Amtrak or Greyhound if you want to rough it.  Call in sick. Lie to the wife. Send the kids to the in-laws. Don't worry about a hotel room right now. I travel a lot, hotels just do last minute. The "Hotels Tonight App" and Priceline's "Express Deals" make it unnecessary to ever have to book hotels in advance. Especially in Cleveland, I mean c'mon.


Is it Really That Cool?
I've been to a few TriStar Shows, and some other decent local shows near San Francisco, CA. For cards, nothing compares to the National. Not even close. Every time I go to a smaller show, I always enjoy myself, but it leaves me longing for the NSCC. I usually go home and think, is it July yet?

I don't make any money, at all, by going to the National. In fact, I blow and lose a ton. I'm losing money writing this as I could be working on building a profitable website about Pogs. I don't get a comped trip to the NSCC and I certainly don't wear a polo shirt that says Sports Card Radio on it while there. I write this stuff because it's fun and I want people to think about coming to the NSCC someday. Everything I spend related to the National, last year it was well over $5,000, comes out of my own pocket. The National is a charmed event, and I'd be the first guy to tell you if it wasn't worth it.

Male Senior Citizen Show
The demographic is male, overweight, and older. Would you expect anything different? To me, this is actually one of the golden ages of sports card collecting. In 25-50 years all the 1990's collectors who stayed involved in cards will be dead or close to it. Just milk these old men for all they are worth now. Besides, it's not the role of NSCC organizers to get young people involved in the hobby, they aren't the ones producing new cards!

More Set Builders Than Group Breakers
No I'm serious. It's true. Group Breaker Pavilion? Wait till you see all the tables with vintage cards. Graded Vintage Cards are no joke. The PSA Set Registry is no joke. Andrew Luck, Yasiel Puig, Johnny Manziel? At least half the people at the National could care less about those guys. They are looking for Mantle, Mays, Williams, and maybe even a Shoeless Joe.  

Wheel & Deal
You'll find some dealers that seem like they don't want to sell anything. Don't worry, that goes down at coin shows too. Just keep looking and you'll find deals. If I'm buying single cards, I always make an offer lower than what they are asking. Every time they've taken it. Don't insult them, but try to get a good price. I've gotten really good deals on autographs of Hank Aaron, Joe Montana, Pete Rose and many more. Less than what they would cost elsewhere (like on eBay). Sometimes a lot less.

Blowout Cards, DA Card World and Steel City Collectibles have dirt cheap prices on current wax products. Some of the box prices are regulated by Panini and Upper Deck, but most of it isn't. Many of the prices on boxes are around or cheaper than wholesale pricing. If I was a dealer I would find a way to ship a bunch of stuff back with me.

Who Really Makes Money
The top players in the economic food chain at the show as I see it. Unofficial of course.

  • PSA and BGS Grading
  • The Soft Serve Ice Cream Cart <----- $MONEY$
  • Large Auction Houses
  • Topps (even though they don't have anything for sale)
  • Blowout Cards/DA Card World
  • Any ATM Machine On Site
  • The guy who bought 10,000 jersey cards for $0.50 each
  • TriStar Productions
  • COMC
  • The athletes signing autographs for money
  • eBay Seller Probstein123 (who even takes Sunday off)
  • The guy who had the $1 table in Baltimore

The Topps Line
Topps typically offers up a few different wrapper redemption programs that are always very popular. So popular that drama usually ensues about the "line" to get the limited cards. One person even began taking signups for a "class action lawsuit" against Topps because he didn't get a set. The lawsuit of course never materialized and he was in line the very next day.

What's even more amazing is Topps spends far less marketing themselves at the show compared to Panini, and believe it or not, even some Group Breakers. Every corporate company at the National would kill for the line Topps gets. Every single one of them. Topps can handle the situation however they see fit. What a fortunate position they find themselves in. The worst thing that could happen is for the line to disappear.
The Random
The characters at the show are priceless. I randomly met some guy who was toting around a 1970's looking rolling suitcase. Inside he had two things. A full body wet suit that was infamous because it somehow got him kicked off a popular sports card forum. I won't get into the story. The other thing he had inside the suitcase was this old card from like 1918 that was worth $18,000. I looked it up, it was worth at least 18 grand.

It's striking how young some of the Topps employees are.

People will talk your ear off. Not the card dealers for the most part. It's usually guys promoting a website or some kind of service. Nobody cares about your website when there are 500 dealer tables with treasures to be found. C'mon.

It's amazing how many fake autographs and/or cards get "authenticated" by PSA, BGS, JSA, etc. at shows like this. Scary. You guys need to tighten it up, even though I know you're on a short turnaround at shows. I let some things go last year that were egregious errors and I for sure won't bite my lip this year.

Panini spends so much money on marketing, and it's on full display at the National. If they just spent that money on making better cards the word would spread without any effort.

The Midwest is a hotbed for sports collectibles. It should come as no surprise why the National is held in Chicago or Cleveland as of late. If you live in California like I do, or on the West Coast, don't complain. They make these things called airplanes and they are fantastic.

Post Show Fun
Sometimes after the show can be just as fun as browsing dealer tables all day. One time I went to a dinner held by sports card forum Freedom Cardboard. I tell you what, the free pasta was much needed after blowing a bunch of money during the day. What's even better is you get to meet and talk to people about what they like and dislike about the hobby. For me, that is fun.  

The Mojo Break/Layton Sports Cards party at the 2013 NSCC in Chicago was a blast. It was at a bar in what seemed like a really busy casino and a couple girls, way out of my league..... or price range..... made me feel like I had a chance for a second. I can't remember those girls names, but I met several collectors who didn't want to go home either. Everyone was all smiles. I was certainly high on life.

Stuff I'm Looking For at the 2014 NSCC
Tony Wroten, Dennis Schroder, Eric Bledsoe, Michael Olowokandi, any of the good Cubs prospects (Soler, Almora, Bryant, Baez), Barry Bonds autographs, any cheap PSA/DNA certified autograph cards, .10 cent boxes all day long, 1st Generation Beanie Babies, and certainly anything related to the online poker boom of the mid 2000's.



Videos From Past NSCC Shows

2013 National Sports Collectors Convention - Chicago

2012 National Sports Collectors Convention - Baltimore

Photo Gallery's From Past NSCC Shows  

Past NSCC Write-ups  

By @SportsCardNews -


Food Chain

Let's get one thing straight. Panini and Topps could care less about your shop or online business. You are a dime a dozen. Panini and Topps sell products to wholesale distributors or quasi ones. Those are the real customers. That's who Panini and Topps stroke off. You know who else gets fluffed and buffed? The sports leagues and athletes. Without a license from a sports league or players association, just about everyone at Topps and Panini would be looking for another job.

Where are you on the food chain? Not anywhere near the top. Last I checked the sports leagues, players (and agents), PBM Graphics, card companies, and distributors all get dimed out before you do. All five have built in margins before the product hits your hobby shop or Breakers.TV webcam. Think about that before starting a business, especially one centered around selling boxes of sports cards.

Anyone Can Buy Wholesale. Literally.

Despite all that, want to buy sports card boxes at wholesale? Easy. Might be able to complete all the paperwork from your sofa depending what state you live in. Figure out the requirements for your state, and you could be placing an order for some boxes by the end of the day.

Make sure to pay any sales tax, if applicable, to your state. Pay your state/federal income tax like you normally would. You don't even have to sell the boxes if you don't want to. Just tell the sports card distributor you "sell online" or do "group breaks". There are several distributors that will sell to you without any or much vetting process. Or, once you have your tax id number, just sign up for the business to business Dealer Net and buy products off there.

Quasi Distributors

Maybe you don't want to fill out a few pieces of paper and deal with some minor tax stuff. No worries. You can and will find boxes of cards priced near or below that of wholesale distributors. You are probably already familiar with these places, DA Card World, Blowout Cards, Atlanta Sports Cards, Big T Sports Cards, Steel City Collectibles are a few in this category. Anyone and everyone can order from these websites.

Here are a couple newer products that are cheaper at quasi-distributors. Prices are from May 3, 2014.

Wholesale Price Quasi Wholesale Price
2014 Topps Tribute Baseball: $198 Blowout Cards Price: $194.95
2014 Famous Fabrics Big Apple Baseball: $85 Steel City Collectibles Price: $74.95
2013-14 Panini Totally Certified Basketball: $85 Blowout Cards Price: $84.95
2013-14 Score Hockey Jumbo: $50 Steel City Collectibles Price: $49.95

Illegal Rafflers Can Become Dealers

It's astonishingly easy to buy sports card boxes at wholesale cost. There is no barrier to entry. Hobby shops and online sellers have no protection aside from their reputation and level of customer service. The card companies and wholesale distributors don't weed out bad actors, essentially allowing anyone to become a dealer.
Sports Card Illegal Raffler
U of Mississippi Razz, whose business email is: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. was doing breaks of 2014 Bowman Baseball Jumbo, I guess, in between running illegal raffles. During the few minuets I watched his live stream on, the breaker used the homophobic slur f****t.

MVP Sports Cards
3333 Bardstown Rd Suite 5  
Louisville, Kentucky 40218

This card shop, located in Kentucky also advertises that they conduct illegal raffles (razz, razzing) on BoxBusters.TV and their Facebook Page.
MVP Sports Cards
MVP Sports Cards

Sin City Sports Cards
3650 S. Decatur Blvd #11
Las Vegas, NV 89103

Well known in the "razzing" community, Sin City Sports is supposedly closing their brick and mortar location. I've witnessed Sin City Cards raffling off spots for a case of 2013 Panini National Treasures Football on Breakers.TV.

Sin City Sports Cards


DA Card World Raffles

For a short time DA Card World conducted illegal raffles. Quasi distributors aren't necessarily the most noble or sharpest knives in the drawer. If a company is "proud" to take part in illegal activity, what else might they be willing to do?


Side Note: Are "Group Breaks" Even Legal You Jerk?

I have no idea. Maybe they are illegal. You could pay the best lawyer to tell you they are legal or not. Guess what? Lawyers don't make laws. If you encounter legal trouble for conducting group breaks, guess what your lawyer will say? "That's unfortunate. Let me look into this for you (pause) at $250 an hour. Trust me, we can beat this."

Raffles, like the ones you clowns do on BoxBusters.TV, are clearly illegal. Clear as day. If you need a lawyer to explain how those raffles are illegal you might be the dumbest person on planet Earth.

Products Are Weak

Blowout Cards, DA Card World and other quasi distributors would sell boxes for more if they could. Problem is, there isn't much demand for sports cards. Shocking, I know. You think Topps and Panini give a crap about the quality of their products when they let athletes sign cards like this?

Topps Fail Autograph Pau Gasol Fail Autograph Panini Prizm Fail Autograph

Panini and Topps are trying to "hit the numbers", just like every business you've probably worked for. And in a low margin game like producing licensed sports goods, attention to detail isn't high on the priority list. Churning out sticker applied autographs and using redemption cards clearly doesn't suggest they care about the perception of their product. Panini and Topps know they have enough people out there with a gambling itch. Are you one of them?


So wait! There are a few products each year that have demand. Yes! Whoo Hoo! This is when hobby shops and online sellers make all their money right? Wrong! This is when Panini, Topps, and the wholesale distributors cash in!

Remember where you are on the food chain. You think you're going to make money on Bowman and National Treasures before those ahead of you at the dinner table? Please. You're going to get what they call "allocated". If you bought enough of the junky products over the last year, maybe you'll get all the good boxes/cases you need. Maybe. The card companies and distributors eat before you do. Remember that.

Comped Out

When was the last time Topps or Panini invited you to the NFL Rookie Premiere, or a VIP party? Never? Shame, because you could have gotten face time..... with your distributor..... at these events. One sports card distributor told me he had been going to the NFL Rookie Premiere for the last 15 years. The freebies that get sent distributors way will make your mouth water. Autographs, jerseys, free stuff, a direct line of communication. You shop owners and breakers don't get much of that. Think about where you are on the food chain to figure out why.

Eliminate Bad Actors

Anyone should be given a shot to start a sports card business. But there needs to be far more regulation from distributors and card companies when bad sellers arise. Illegal "razzers" should not be able to buy from a wholesale distributor and conduct a business. It's a slap in the face to hard working shop owners and group breakers trying to run a legitimate operation. It takes money out of their pocket. Selling cases/boxes is hard enough, allowing individuals who freely flaunt illegal activity to become dealers gives further credence that the sports card industry is a joke.

  2013 National Sports Collectors Show
Cleveland NSCC
Show Dates: 7/30/2014 - 8/3/2014

International Exposition (I-X) Center - Cleveland, OH
Wednesday 7/30/2013 4pm-8pm
Thursday - Saturday 10am-6pm
Sunday 8/3/2013 10am-5pm
National Website
  UPDATED: Links - Videos - Blogs - Tweets From The 2014 NSCC

General Admission:
$20 Advance - $25 Day Of Show
VIP Package:
$129 Advance - $139 Day Of Show -
Includes admission to all days. Gift Package. 12 select free autographs. + More+     

Super VIP Package:
$179 Advance - $189 Day Of Show -
Includes everything in VIP + Double Gift Package, 18 select free autographs and Free Parking.
All Access VIP Package:
$229 Advance - Includes everything in VIP + First in line privileges to autograph guests. 5 Free TriStar Autograph Authentications and 2 Photo opportunists with autograph guests.
All Access Super VIP Package:
$279 Advance - Includes everything in All Access VIP + Double Gift Bag, 18 select free autographs and Free Parking.
NOTE: VIP guests can get in 30 minuets early which can be helpful if you want a popular wrapper redemption offer or get in line for an early autograph signer.

- Buy Tickets on NSCC Website -

You can also buy admission tickets the day of the show. No lines, real easy, you'll just pay a couple $ more.


Panini's 3rd Annual National VIP Party - Information  

2014 National Free Giveaways
2014 Panini National Convention Julius Randle

Panini 2014 Wrapper Redemption Packs

- 60 Total Cards
- Rookies #/499
- Memorabilia Rookie #/99


Card Images/Info and Here

Details on what boxes you need to purchase
in order to get packs of these cards is here.

2014 Panini National Convention VIP Johnny Manziel RC

Panini 2014 VIP Set

- 6 Total Cards

  • Johnny Manziel - Cleveland Browns
  • Blake Bortles - Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Jose Abreu - Chicago White Sox
  • Masahiro Tanaka - New York Yankees
  • Dante Exum - Utah Jazz
  • Andrew Wiggins - Cleveland Cavaliers


Card Images/Info

A coupon for this set will be inserted in every VIP
package ticket holder. You can redeem the coupon
at the Panini America booth for the six card set.


2014 Panini National Convention Tools of The Trade LeBron James Jersey

Tools of the Trade Update Wrapper Redemption

- 6 Total Cards

Base Jersey #/175
Prime Jersey #/25
Super Prime Laundry Tag #1/1

  • LeBron James - Miami Heat
  • Tim Duncan - San Antonio Spurs
  • Damian Lillard - Portland Trailblazers
  • Derrick Rose - Chicago Bulls
  • Chris Paul - LA Clippers
  • Rajon Rondo - Celtics

Promotion limited to the first 200 customers during
each day of the National and will be available through
the purchase and redemption of the following products:

2013-14 Gold Standard Basketball
2013-14 Elite Basketball
2013-14 Prestige Basketball
2013-14 Prizm Basketball
2013-14 Pinnacle Basketball
2013-14 Totally Certified Basketball

2014 Panini National Donruss Rated Rookie Pack

Donruss Wrapper Redemption

- 3 Cards

  • Masahiro Tanaka - New York Yankees
  • Jose Abreu - Chicago White Sox
  • Yordano Ventura - Kansas City Royals

The first 50 collectors who bring and open a hobby box
of 2014 Donruss Baseball to the Panini America booth
during each day of the National will receive a three-card
National Rated Rookie Wrapper Trade-In pack featuring
the three cards with a special “National” stamp.

Card Images/Info


2014 Upper Deck National Sports Collectors Convention Johnny Manziel

Upper Deck Wrapper Redemption

Purchase 5 Packs Of
2013 Fleer Retro Football
2014 SPx Football
2014 Upper Deck Football (Hobby)
2013-14 Fleer Retro Basketball
2013-14 SP Authentic Basketball
2013-14 NHL SP Authentic
2014 SP Authentic Golf
2014 Goodwin Champions

Or 1 pack of 2014 SP Game-Used Golf

Wrapper redemption starts at 10:25 on Thursday - and you
can recieve up to 4 packs per day, per person. You must
purchase the packs from a Certified Diamond Dealer with
an Upper Deck issued voucher. Autographs are randomly
inserted in packs, and every 25th person who redeems packs
at the Upper Deck booth gets an autograph card.

More Info/Photos and Here



Topps Allen & Ginter Mini Wrapper Redemption

- 2 Cards

  • Jose Abreu - Chicago White Sox
  • Masahiro Tanaka - New York Yankees

Collectors must open 1 Hobby Box of 2014 Topps
Allen & Ginter Baseball at Topps' booth #455 and 
you get 1 of the mini cards above.


Topps Mini Card Wrapper Redemption 

- 8 Total Cards

  • Jadaveon Clowney
  • Johnny Manziel
  • Derek Jeter
  • Jim Brown
  • Jordan Cameron
  • Mike Trout
  • Albert Belle
  • Bob Feller

Collectors must open 3 hobby packs of any 2014
Topps product (except for 2014 Topps Opening Day
Baseball and 2014 Topps Mini Baseball) at Topps'
booth #455 and you will get 1 of the mini cards above.




Read about past Nationals to know what to expect in Cleveland for 2014.

Sports Collectors Convention Sports Collectors Convention
2013 NSCC Chicago 2012 NSCC Baltimore

Videos From Past NSCC Shows
2013 National Sports Collectors Convention - Chicago
2012 National Sports Collectors Convention - Baltimore

Photo Gallery's From Past NSCC Shows


 Kevin Isaacson Industry Summit
Photo: Michael F (@MikesStadiumSC)
Advanced Photoshop Work: Me


I was able to sit on the sofa the last few days and follow the 2014 Industry Summit via twitter and all the 
"inside" sources I have .... which are none. Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see an announcement bragging about
a 'record breaking' number of attendees. That's ok - less is more often times. 

Seemed to me (from the sofa) Panini stole the show with some 'innovative' ideas they've been working on.
A patch card DB, Panini Rewards - that replaces redemption cards, and 14/15 NBA rookie cards are all things
(if Panini pulls them off) should go a long way in engaging collectors even further. 

Topps (from the sofa) seemed about the same. Said they were making less product and they are "made to order"
so I guess that means the sales are down. They plan to advertise on Nickelodian. I bet that's not cheap. If sales are
down, it's because your product isn't compelling - not because you don't have ads on Nickelodian. Good luck.

Upper Deck is 25 years old, but acts like one twice as old. At least there are signs of life in SoCal.
Don't expect many innovations as they are just buying time to sell once that's possible.

Group Breakers. The companies are on record they account for about 10% of sales. That's no chump change
when you add it all up. That's probably why I've been very vocal on looking for ways to legitimize that business
model. They should work together on figuring out ways they can operate without risk of breaking raffle and 
lottery laws. Trust me, 10% of $100,000,000 is enough to get a lawyer out of bed one day. 


Thanks to the tweeters from the event. My comments below are not meant to patronize their work in any way.


Day 1



After posting a sheepish apology on Leaf's Facebook page


Day 2



 For a heck of a lot less than you think .....



 So .......... they just figured out this would be a good idea?



This is probably more difficult than making the cards bro!



That's because it's not selling through at retail.



 Tek wasn't that popular back in the day, but Stadium Club was pretty cool.



Ads on TV are hard to measure, expensive and in the hands of an amateur - a great way to burn money.



Referring to a Beckett Business Solutions service. Seems like a good idea.


 I owned a card store. You can't have employees if margins are < 10%



Where "due diligence" = who offered the most guarantee $$$$$$$$$$



Remember the NBA said similar things when Panini originally got an exclusive. Panini now releases 20+ products per year.



That's the million dollar question - but they are only offering up 75k. 


That's because fat cat in Italy screamed - STICKERS MAKE MONEY!!!!

          Goldin employee: my boss wants to be the Jeff Bezos of the industry (re: putting money back into company) #lvis


Amazon doesn't make a profit. Shareholders have though ....

Day 3



That's nice. If I spent $500 on a box of trading cards, I'd think the company would thank me.

Update: Check that, no thanks


Yes, that's because it will be $16,000 a box.


Sweet. Hope they still do JUMBO boxes that deliver further value.


Worked well back in the early 2000's - not sure why they don't do this every year.


I thought I was the only person in the world who questions business models?


Hope everyone else in the business copies this.


I wonder if Kevin Isaacson would call this innovative?


Can't say I didn't tell all ya'll (on August 11, 2013)


I thought they were saving the hobby!!!!!!!


I bet sales to un-opened box retailers are down similar percentages.


They say this to a group of hobby shop owners mind you.


What a great idea Topps!!!!


6 months ago was bad? Before that must be a term not appropriate for children then.


Exactly. If the product is live and there's no CL - then you can complain.


Shows you how clueless this guy Isaacson is.


 So if you like high end hockey .... you've got plenty of time to save up!


Day 4

Nothing cool ever happens this day .... at the Summit that is.