It's a 'National' Attraction This Week

This National Sports Collectors Convention officially kicks off today, with the “sneak peek” hours kicking off at 3:30 until 8 p.m. tonight.

Whether you are already in Chicago or on the way later in the week, here is what’s happening from the card manufacturers, some of the free giveaways and other tidbits.

The National Convention has grown from so much more than simply a sportscard show. It now has become an interactive event geared toward all ages with enough to keep someone busy for the duration of the show.
Aside from the hundreds of dealer tables and the dozens of autograph guests, manufacturers and other companies offer a variety of wrapper redemption programs, prize offerings and special deals to keep you running from booth to booth at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center from Aug. 3-7.

While you can get the latest updates on what’s happening at the show at, here is an overview of some of the special offers, giveaways and redemption programs taking place at the National.

Free stuff
Not everything at the National is catered to VIP attendees and those forking over cash for new product. If fact, the National makes a point to offer different attractions that are free.

During Wednesday’s Sneak Peek event, there will be free autograph signings by a trio of Cubs – Lee Smith, Bill Madlock and Don Kissinger.

Joining the former Cubs will be Olympic gold medalist Dick Fosbury. The high-jumper is in town to help kick off the Olympic Pavilion at the National. More than 100 exhibitors will be part of the pavilion and will be buying, selling and trading Olympic collectibles of all types. The 17th Annual Collectors Fair is hosted by the Olympic Collectors Club and is the first ever held in North America.

For the first 5,000 attendees at the event, PSA has announced it will hand out free copies of the September issue of the Sports Market Report magazine.
The 184-page issue is devoted to local legends from each major sport, who have helped make the Chicago area one of the best sports towns in America. From Michael Jordan to Bobby Hull, Gale Sayers to Ernie Banks and more, several great athletes are profiled through collectibles that hobbyists and sports enthusiasts desire.

PSA will also give away a free poster featuring Babe Ruth. The 24-by-32-inch “Tribute to the Sultan of Swat” posters depict several superb Ruth sports collectibles, including a signed handprint of the Babe.
“The highlighted items are from the outstanding Twinight Collection, which is quickly becoming one of the finest overall collections in the hobby,” said Joe Orlando, president of PSA. “To celebrate PSA’s 20th anniversary, these beautiful posters and copies of SMR will be handed out free to convention attendees at the door while supplies last.”

Wrapper redemption programs
Open a box of any 2011 Leaf product at the Leaf booth and get one free metal promo card. Five promo cards in all will be available –  Muhammad Ali, Pete Rose, Vince Lombardi, Nolan Ryan and Cam Newton.

Leaf will also be giving away one 2011 Leaf Pop Century autograph pack with the purchase of various multiple boxes and cases of select product.

In the Game
In The Game will have a redemption program at the National featuring the product Decades: The ’80s. Open any box of Decades: The ’80s at the In The Game booth and receive a game-used memorabilia card stamped 1/1 especially for the 32nd National.

There will also be a Special Decades National-exclusive version for sale at the show. The specially marked box not only qualifies for the redemption program but will also get you a free autograph of Miracle on Ice legend Mark Wells.
In addition, Dominik Hasek autograph cards will be found randomly in the special National version of Decades. 

ackley.jpgTopps is creating a special five-card 2011 Topps Heritage set. Each card will be sequentially numbered to 299 and will feature five rookies who did not appear in the original 2011 Topps Heritage set:
– NC1 Dustin Ackley (Aug. 3)
– NC2 Dee Gordon (Aug. 4)
– NC3 Mike Moustakas (Aug. 5)
– NC4 Michael Pineda (Aug. 6)
– NC5 Zach Britton (Aug. 7).

To obtain any one of these cards, collectors must open five packs of 2011 Topps/Bowman trading cards at the Topps booth. Each customer will be limited to one card per day.

Tristar will provide VIPs with the additional three cards needed to complete the 10-card 32nd National-exclusive Obak 10-card set with a purchase of a hobby pack of Tristar Obak Baseball 2011 or Tristar’s Signature Impact Wrestling trading cards from a show dealer. Open the wrapper at the designated Tristar booth in the Autograph Pavilion and each wrapper can be redeemed for one card.

Upper Deck
During each public day of the show, Upper Deck will conduct its foil pack wrapper redemption program starting at noon. Fans who purchase five packs of specified Upper Deck card packs from Certified Diamond Dealers at the show will receive a voucher they can bring to the Upper Deck booth to receive one of four different 2011 National event-exclusive, five-card packs.

Each day there will be a different five-card collection redeemed, available while supplies last. A full list of the acceptable products and the players available each day will be displayed at the Upper Deck booth with information on which retailers at the show will be selling them.

To make things even more exciting, Upper Deck has randomly inserted autograph cards of several players into some of the packs.

Another special promotion occurring at the show involves Upper Deck’s North Carolina Basketball product. Fans who purchase a hobby box of Upper Deck’s UNC Basketball product from a Certified Diamond Dealer will receive a special raffle ticket which they can bring to the Upper Deck booth. On Saturday, at 5 p.m., Upper Deck will take all the entries and raffle off a variety of prizes, including a Michael Jordan autographed Upper Deck Authenticated (UDA) No. 23 UNC jersey.

UDA will have two daily giveaways taking place at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

“We are pulling out all the stops to make Upper Deck’s presence at the 32nd National Sports Collectors Convention a memorable one for our fans in attendance,” said Mike Phillips, Upper Deck’s director of hobby sales. “By creating promotions that help support the efforts of our Certified Diamond Dealers, we can help create a situation where fans are seeing real value in purchasing through the right channels. Being able to provide so many unique giveaways and promotions during this show is also a great way to give back to our fans who have always been very engaged with our brand and products. We can’t wait to get out there and have the chance to interact more with them.”

The wrapper redemption base set for this year’s show in Chicago will incorporate 19 superstars from the worlds of basketball, football, hockey and entertainment on a vertically modified 2011 Donruss Elite Football  design. The base set will be accompanied by three different parallels (numbered to 25, 10 and 5), including some autographs.

In addition, there are three striking insert sets punctuating this year’s wrapper-redemption spectacle – a 10-card set devoted to the top NFL and NHL rookies of the 2010-11 season, an eight-card School Colors insert that pays tribute to local heroes from the Bears, Bulls and Blackhawks and a two-card Headliners insert honoring the Super Bowl and Stanley Cup exploits of the Green Bay Packers and Boston Bruins, respectively.

Panini will also be randomly inserting instant-redemption cards good for autographed memorabilia, including 8-by-10s, mini-helmets, hockey pucks,
basketballs, oversized display cards and much more.

Those who pony up to be VIPs will get plenty of perks.

Panini will offer a base set that features Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, John Wall and Blake Griffin. The first four cards will be inserted into VIP bags, along with a special coupon directing VIPs to the Panini corporate booth to obtain an additional two cards.

Super VIPs will get a six-card set featuring some of the top 2011 NFL rookies from this year’s rookie class: Cam Newton, Mark Ingram, A.J. Green, Blaine Gabbert Jake Locker and Terrelle Pryor. Super VIPs will find a coupon in their VIP package, when brought to the Panini booth, can be exchanged for the set.
A special six-card, VIP-emblazoned cello-wrapped set from Upper Deck will be available to all show attendees who show their VIP passes to The National. The player lineup for this set includes Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Sidney Crosby, LeBron James, Bobby Orr and Landon Donovan.

VIPs get a four-card pack from Topps in the style of 1961, continuing the National tradition of providing a 50th Anniversary version. The set will include Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson, Lou Gehrig, Mantle/Maris combo card & President John F. Kennedy.

Press Pass will offer VIPs a nine-card 3-D pack with a coupon for a 10th card from Press Pass corporate booth. Drivers featured are Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Danica Patrick, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick – plus 3-D glasses.
In the Game, Leaf and Tristar will also offer specials VIP sets.

Topps will be conducting a special auction for VIPs, to be conducted at the VIP reception from 2:30-4 p.m. on Wednesday.

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