National Convention returns to the Windy City

With nearly three decades of history under its belt and the added clout of perhaps the strongest card and memorabilia market in the country, the 29th National Convention returns to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill., for its five-day from July 30 to Aug. 3.

Tristar Productions has been tapped to handle the autographing duties, an enormous task at a show that routinely attracts the largest and most imposing lineup of signers every summer. This time, with the National not conflicting with the Baseball Hall of Fame inductions for the first time in several years, the autograph lineup includes nearly a dozen baseball HOFers and more than twice that number from football. In all, nearly 100 autograph guests will be on hand over the course of the show.
The National VIP party on Wednesday, July 30 from 3:30-5 p.m. will be held exclusively for VIP ticketholders, offering week-long credentials and a gift package, and free autograph opportunities on Wednesday with NFL Hall of Famer Jackie Smith and former Cubs standout Milt Pappas.

The National will hold its grand opening for all consumers on Wednesday from 5-9 p.m., with free autographs from Cubs Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins, NFL Hall of Famers Roger Wehrli and Jackie Smith, as well as Pappas. Also, the first 3,000 attendees at the Sneak Peek will receive a specially created eTopps promo card of Babe Ruth created in the format of the turn-of-the-century Allen & Ginter’s cards.

In addition to the Ruth card, the first 3,000 attendees will receive a special 29th National coupon book loaded with valuable offers good throughout the week. One-day admission tickets (good for any day of the National, including Wednesday’s Sneak Peek) can be purchased at $15 in advance through the website ( or $18 door.

Other highlights:
Kids Free Week – All youngsters 12 and under will be admitted at no charge all five days, courtesy of, with special giveaways and other activities for Kid’s Free attendees. There will be special performances for kids by various entertainers, a kids trading table will be set up to allow youngsters to trade their cards for superstar cards and as an added bonus, NFL Players will provide several former players for free autographs.

Family Day Sunday –  One $25 admission charge will allow a family (up to six people) to attend the closing day of the National. During the day, there will be special performances for kids by various entertainers from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the trading table will be set up and a final National “free” raffle will give away sports collectibles from 2-3 p.m.

VIP Package holders will have the opportunity to be first in line for all autographs guests (behind Platinum VIPs), regardless of autograph ticket number.

National VIP Club members who purchase a VIP Package ($119 advance, $129 on site) or VIP All-Access Package ($249 advance, $259 on site) will receive a gift package worth hundreds of dollars, according to National officials, plus additional VIP perks.

Platinum VIP Package – National officials estimate the unique program provides $2,000-plus in value for the $999 price, with only 99 packages offered.

Each Platinum VIP Club Package holder will receive an exclusive invitation to the Press Party at Gibson’s Steakhouse on Wednesday afternoon, with hors d’oeuvres, beverages and the opportunity to meet some of the National’s celebrity autograph guests at this exclusive event.

For more information about the VIP packages or general information about the show, go to

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