The National is loaded with giveaways, specials, promotions and rare memorabilia

By Bert Lehman

The National Sports Collectors Convention returns to Chicago this year, after being hosted in Atlantic City in 2016. Chicago has always been a popular place for the National. Chicago hosted the event in 2015, and is scheduled to host it again in 2019.

Before we get ahead of ourselves and start taking about the future, let’s take a look at what this year’s National has to offer for collectors.

It seems like each year there are more and more activities for collectors to enjoy, and more promotional items for collectors to chase after. This year is no different.
Tristar Productions is once again handling the Autograph Pavilion, with more than 100 signers scheduled to appear over five days.

Breakers Pavilion

The Breakers Pavilion returns, and will feature a variety of athletes, YouTube and Twitch personalities participating at the Mike Berkus Main Stage. Also included will be giveaways, free breaks, and new product previews, just to name a few.

Panini, Topps, Upper Deck, Tristar and other manufacturers will be doing free group breaks on stage. Some of the spots on the stage will be given out on social media, live to attendees, and also by the individual case break operations.

The event will be broadcast via live video streams and social media to thousands of households around the country.

For those who get exhausted participating in the Breakers Pavilion, GTS Distribution will have a lounge area set up for retailers and breakers to rest and refresh away from the main floor and breaker pavilion. The lounge will be open throughout the event, and will have refreshments and snacks available.

“It’s really important for us to support the shops and breakers at the biggest show of the year,” said Mike Blumenson, category manager. “Our goal is to do anything we can to support our partners to make it a successful event for them, and hopefully the lounge area is a quiet space to take a break during the show.”

The following is an overview of the giveaways and major announcements leading up to the event. For more information on show hours, show tickets, autograph tickets, VIP perks and general show details, visit; call (866) 323-6722 or grab a program when entering the show floor in Chicago.

Giveaways and opportunities

There are so many things going on during the National – from Lego giveaways and card wrapper redemptions, to a live auction – it’s hard to keep track of everything over the five days. Here are some of the opportunities available to attendees during the show’s run.

Goldin Auctions will be conducting a live auction on Thursday of the show.

Never Enough Cards/Sports Evolution Marketing invites kids 12 and under at the National to build a free minifigure. Kids can create their own personal Lego Minifigure by selecting the torso, head, legs, accessories, hair, hat and more from thousands of Lego pieces.

Once the figure is completed, a Lego display magnet will be provided to allow the creator to display the minifigure.

The minifigure building will take place from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Each child is limited to one minifigure during the five-day event.

National exhibitor Lisa Stellato is also distributing 100 Limited Edition Lego Vitruvius minifigures each day to the first 100 attendees to visit the company’s booth (#948-949-951).

PSA has a variety of activities planned for the National.

First, attendees have the opportunity to win a signed, game-used bat from one of three baseball titans: Frank Thomas, Derek Jeter and Kris Bryant.

Sweepstake entries can be made in person at the PSA booth (#49), or online at The Thomas bat will be given away on Thursday, July 27, the Jeter bat on Friday, July 28, and the Bryant bat on Saturday, July 29. Winners will be announced each day of the sweepstakes at 4 p.m.

“The National Sports Collectors Convention is like the Super Bowl of the hobby, and each year we challenge ourselves to go bigger and better. So, this year we’re giving away Frank Thomas, Derek Jeter and Kris Bryant signed bats, all game used and totaling over $10,000 in value. Each bat is graded a PSA/DNA GU 10. And that’s just the beginning of what will be available at the PSA booth,” said PSA President Joe Orlando.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to take home free custom, encapsulated cards. Attendees can have their picture taken with any of the three game-used bats.

That picture will then be placed on a custom trading card and encapsulated in a PSA holder with a PSA special label.

“It isn’t often that fans can come this close to the actual bats used by these tremendous athletes, let alone hold the bats and have their pictures taken with them.

This is our way of giving back to the collecting community. And what better way to chronicle your time at the National than preserving that memory in a trading card,” Orlando said. “The best part is, it’s free.”

Visitors to the PSA booth can also take home PSA-graded cards for simply “checking in” on social media. Collectors can follow @PSAcard on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for promotional details.

Also available at the PSA booth will be free promotional miniature bats emblazoned with the phrase “Submission Stress Stick.”

Those who purchase a Gold or Platinum PSA Collectors Club membership during the show can receive signed copies of the book, Legendary Lumber: The Top 100 Player Bats in Baseball History. The book was written by Orlando, with Tom and Ellen Zappala.

Mile High Card Company (MHCC)will be accepting consignments at the National for its next auction. Those who consign items at the National will have the opportunity to win a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle PSA Authentic card.

For each $500 of value consigned to the September MHCC auction, one ticket will be earned for the drawing.

“Rather than just offering a perk to the biggest consignor, we wanted every one of our partners to have a piece of the action. It could be a well-known collector or a relative beginner, but someone will be walking away with the industry’s most iconic post-war baseball card,” said President and CEO Brian Drent.

The Mantle card will be given away at the MHCC booth (#1136, #1138) on Sunday, July 30 at 3 p.m.

Attendees can enter The Baseball Card King and BCW Supplies Sweepstakes for a chance to win sports memorabilia and protective supplies. To enter, attendees need to complete an entry form at The Baseball Card King booth (#644). Fifteen prizes will be awarded throughout the show.

Card manufacturers

The trading card companies will once again be in full force in the Corporate Pavilion. Giveaways, exclusive cards and sets and wrapper redemption programs will be held throughout the five days. Here is a brief recap of the promotions planned by the major manufacturers.


Leaf is offering three redemption programs at the National.

The first redemption is for a 2017 Conor McGregor/Floyd Mayweather dual autograph card, which is limited to five.

Collectors who open a box of any Leaf hobby product from 2011-2017 at the Leaf Trading Card booth will receive one entry into a daily drawing to win one of the cards. Collectors must be present to win. Times of the drawings will be announced at the show.

The second redemption is for a limited edition Jack Eichel memorabilia card. Collectors who open a box of 2016-17 ITGU Hockey at the Leaf Trading Cards booth will receive the card, which has some versions of it as low as one.

If collectors open a case of 2016-17 ITGU Hockey they will receive the complete five-card Jack Eichel memorabilia set and a Nolan Patrick/Nico Hischier dual autograph card.

For the third redemption, collectors who open a box of 2017 Leaf Pop Century at the Leaf Trading Cards booth will receive a 1/1 Pop Century Blank Back card. Those who open a case of the product will receive six 1/1 Blank Back cards and a random 1/1 Pop Century Signature Card.


Panini will be giving away 10 special cards to registered show VIPs. The cards will be distributed through a coupon inserted into each of the show’s VIP packages. The coupons must be presented at the Panini America booth.

The cards feature NFL players Mitch Trubisky, Christian McCaffrey, DeShaun Watson and Leonard Fournette; baseball youngsters Yoan Moncada, Andrew Benintendi, Dansby Swanson and Alex Bregman; as well as 2017 NBA Draft picks Lonzo Ball and Jayson Tatum.

Panini is also offering a wrapper redemption set that will feature base cards, rookie cards, legends, and basketball prospects. Rookies will be numbered to 399, legends will be numbered to 299 and the basketball prospects will be numbered to 199.


Topps will once again have an exclusive wrapper redemption program at its booth. The wrapper redemption packs will feature former and current MLB stars, as well as top MLB prospects in the 2017 Bowman design.

In addition, Topps will be revealing the National Baseball Card Day checklist during the National. The National Baseball Card Day promotion will be occurring at participating hobby stores on Saturday, Aug. 12.


Upper Deck

Upper Deck has several different promotions scheduled to take place during the National.

Collectors can find both Prominent Cuts cards, which feature a variety of personalities from various sports like Michael Jordan, Patrick Kane, Bobby Hull, Amanda Nunes, Connor McDavid, Ben Simmons and LeBron James, and NHL Top Shelf Rookie cards of the prospects this season in Upper Deck wrapper redemption packs.

Randomly inserted into these packs are limited autograph cards, as well as one-of-one cut autograph cards from Chicago legends. Collectors can put the 20-card base set together by opening these packs.

To receive one 2017 Upper Deck Wrapper Redemption pack, collectors need to purchase: Ten packs of 2016-17 NHL Upper Deck Series Two or 2016-17 NHL Fleer Showcase; Five packs of 2016-17 NHL Upper Deck Ice or 2016-17 NHL SP Authentic.

To receive three 2017 Upper Deck Wrapper Redemption packs, collectors need to purchase one pack of 2016-17 NHL Ultimate Collection or 2016-17 NHL Premier.
Packs must be purchased from a Certified Diamond Dealer who will provide collectors with an Upper Deck issued voucher for the redemption program. The program will begin at the start of the show each day and run as long as supplies last. Collectors can take advantage of the promotion up to four times per person, per day.

Upper Deck also has a promotion for those who enjoy cracking cases. Collectors can open a sealed case purchased from a Certified Diamond Dealer at the show of 2016-17 NHL Ultimate Collection or 2016-17 NHL Premier to receive: ten 2017 Upper Deck Wrapper Redemption packs and one case breaker raffle ticket good for a random memorabilia item, premium hobby pack/box, premium trading card or Prominent Cuts VIP Autograph card.

Finally, collectors who purchase five packs of any 2015-16 NHL Upper Deck product during the course of the show can receive a limited-edition Chicago Legends card. Players in the set include Bobby Hull, Jonathan Toews, Michael Jordan, Patrick Kane, and Stan Mikita.

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