Saturday, April 23, 2011

What Can You Do With $1,000? Buy Some Mets Cards!

Twenty-six years of Mets team sets could cost you just under $1,000.

I found this eBay auction this week that is selling every Mets team set card from 1962 - 1988. The auction appears to include the Seaver and Ryan rookies... and Ed Kranepool!

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Easter Bunny Likes Baseball Cards in My House

I'm not big on giving out tons of candy to the kids. I'm not raising a pair of Todd Marinovich's, but I just don't want pass out chocolate and sugar by the basket. A little is fine. I'm have a soft spot for Peanut M&Ms and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, but a basket filled with it? Not so much. 

Instead, the Easter Bunny at our house gives out baseball cards and packs of them. The boys usually get a few packs of Topps, maybe an Upper Deck pack, t-shirts, and some chocolate candy.

I'm thinking of getting a few Jumbo Topps packs and maybe even some old-school wax packs this year!

Friday, April 15, 2011

WWYD What Would Yogi Do?

Another series loss, a double-header sweep, and the season highlight so far is a series win against the Marlins on the road: What Would Yogi Do?

I really like this card with Yogi and his coaches. For me this card has three classic pieces:
1 - Yogi
2 - Any card with just the coaches is good for me
3 - The black/white coaches' heads on a yellow background is greatness!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Can We Have a National App for That?

There should be a National App. 

The road map to building apps has become easier. The programs are better and there are plenty of consultants ready to do the heavy lifting if you need it.

To take the National to the next step, they need an App for the National Sports Collectors Convention. Apps for conventions are almost common at this point. For comparison, I downloaded the StarWars Celebration V app to my iPhone. It's for last year's event, but the set-up for the National can be similar.

If I were designing the structure, I'd go this route: 
  • Home Screen - Sign up for email newsletter option and countdown to the National
  • News - latest official information and tweets. 
  • Guests - the National could use a Tri-Star autograph list
  • Schedule - Hours of the show and link to buy tickets. 
  • Fan Photos - Anyone can upload tickets to a Flickr page
  • Exhibitors - List of dealers attending the show
  • Map - Map of convention space
  • Travel - Travel information, hotels, trains, etc. 
Let's get this going.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Who is that Vendor at the National?

When going to the National, it's nice to see some of the familiar faces and dealers that you've met at previous shows.  But most of the time you have no idea who these guys are.

I've met some great people at the National Sports Collectors Convention just by talking to them at their booth and getting to know them. I had to take the initiave to get to the know them and meet them. I think the National should help with this. It would assist the buyer and the seller.

Promote Your Product
Most of us the people who attend the National are not buying a product made by the people at the National, they are buying products made by the vendors at the National. I'd like to see the National help their vendors provide the following mandatory information on a sign at their booth or via QR Code:
  1. Vendor Name
  2. Vendor website and phone number
  3. Vendor location
  4. Number of years in business
The National can provide them with a sign template to display outside their booth and assist in the creation of the QR Code. This should be part of the mandatory requirements that vendors must do and provide in order to set up at the show.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tweet-up at the National

I've been blogging recently about Opportunities for Improvement with the National Sports Collectors Convention.

Assuming the National organizers recognize twitter (no evidence to support this yet), I'd like to see them organize a tweet-up. Other than posting prices on their facebook fan page, I haven't seen the National do a lot to hear what their customers are saying.

A National Tweet-up would provide organizers of the National to hear from their buyes.
  • What do they love about the National?
  • What bothers them? 
  • Where could areas be improved? 
These are all great questions anyone selling a product or service would love to hear from potential buyers.

My message to the National:
Use to schedule a tweet-up. Listen to their concerns. Give some door prizes to thank people for their time and interact with your buyers.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Blogger Central at the National Sports Collectors Convention

I'm continuing my blog posts on Opportunities for Improvement with the National Sports Collectors Convention. Last week I blogged about a Ron Santo charity, simple ticket prices and a free sneak peak.

These are all ways to improve partnerships, pricing, marketing and vendor opportunities with the National. Hitting those keys areas can make the National more than just a sports memorabilia show - it can become a premier conference standard.

My question to the National: Is this the media most influential to your buyers?
The answer: Probably not.

Most collectors and hobby enthusiasts are not referring to page 2 of the ESPN website for their hobby news. They are reading sites like this and this and forums like this. It's time the National made it easier for their most influential outlets to cover their event. They need to have a Blogger Central.

What is Blogger Central? 
It's a conference room with tables, chairs, outlets, free wifi and a place for bloggers to collect their thoughts and report on the National Sports Collectors Convention while they are at the event. Bloggers who want to write about the National should have to request credentials so they can have access to an area to report on their experience. Credentials should include:
  1. Access to Blogger Central room to report
  2. Access to some of the National organizers for interviews
  3. Access to behind the scenes of the National
Some of the blogs may not get the hits and media attention that some ESPN2 writers do, but in my opinion they are more influential to the buyers at the National.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wednesday Night Should Be Free at the National Sports Collectors Convention

Why should we pay $18 for a sneak peak? It makes no sense to me, but that's what the National Sports Collectors Convention keep doing.

The first night of the National (Wednesday) is their "sneak peak" night. I went to the 2009 Cleveland National and "sneak peak" was code for "there's hardly anyone there."

The vendors were not completely set-up and the ones who were, several were not ready for customers. The big name card companies weren't running any promotions and most didn't have their tables ready.

The hours for the "sneak peak" are 4pm - 8pm. Why should we pay $4.50 an hour to attend a half-empty card show?

The "sneak peak" should become a Red Carpet Kick-off.
Let's do this right and do the following:
  • Make the show free on Wednesday Night Only
  • Have Ozzie Guillen, Mike Ditka or a Chicago legend cut the ribbon to open the show
  • Offer special raffle prizes to the first 100 or so people who walk through the doors
  • Team up with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation as I blogged about here.
  • Make it mandatory for booth owners to be set-up by 4:00.
  • Give collectors a cheerleader tunnel to run through as they enter the show. 
  • Have a band rock out some music as people wait in line and enter the show. 
  • Run some CCTV of the event with monitors placed in the show.
Change the opening of the show into an event instead of way to collect $4.50 an hour from every collector who shows up expecting every booth to be ready.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

K.I.S.S. The National Sports Collectors Convention Prices

I'm continuing my blog posts on Opportunities for Improvement with the National Sports Collectors Convention. On Tuesday, I blogged about partnership and the opportunity the National has to honor Ron Santo's legacy by teaming up with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. 

We've all heard of the K.I.S.S. method for products and processes (Keep It Simple Stup...). I think the pricing structure for the National needs some adjustments. Right now, just to walk in the door to the National you have to choose:
  • One Day Pass - $18
  • VIP Package - $129
  • Super VIP Package $129
  • All Access VIP Page - $229
  • All Access Super VIP Package $279
Anyone else confused and find this insane? Oh, and this doesn't include any autograph tickets of the big name autograph stars signing at the TriStar autograph pavilion. You have to go their website and purchase that.   

I shouldn't have to create and Excel Spreadsheet to determine what admission ticket I need to attend a card show. It's the same show and the same dealers for everyone, can we cut the VIP, Super VIP, and Really Super Nice But Still Overpriced VIP packages?

Assuming you keep the $18 single day admission price, then offer a full weekend ticket plan for $50 and skip the rest of the items. I love autographs, but the Rick Reuschel complimentary autograph for a VIP ticket isn't worth the extra $100.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The National and Ron Santo's Legacy - Give to JDRF

This summer, the National Sports Collectors Convention should partner with Ron Santo's favorite charity, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

On Monday I blogged that I would dedicate the next several posts to ways the National can improve. Partnering with JDRF in honor of Ron Santo is a great first step.

Santo was a Chicago legend, a hero to many fans, and an inspiration to millions of Americans suffering from Diabetes.

I'd like to see the National partner with JDRF to raise money for the foundation. Some ideas to do this:
  • Turn the Preview Night (4 hours on Wednesday) to the JDRF night - all admission funds go to the foundation. 
  • Host an auction of memorabilia donated by some of the vendors attending and friends of Santo.
  • Host a dinner after the Wednesday night show to benefit JDRF
There are several things that can be done to raise money for this charity. With the National in Chicago, you have a collection of fans who had a connection to Ron Santo, cheered for him when he played and cried when he lost his final battle. Let's give his fans another opportunity to think of Ron and the causes that were close his heart. The National can:
  1. Provide focus on one cause for one person's legacy
  2. Grab the attention by making it a one night event or proceeds from the entire weekend 
  3. Engage and focus collectors
  4. Make it easy to take action by having an auction, a dinner or proceeds from the weekend donated. 
There is plenty of time to make this happen.

Monday, March 7, 2011

What's the Problem with the National Sports Collectors Convention?

Let's call them "opportunities for improvement."

The National Sports Collectors Convention has started their email marketing campaign, launched some prices and began spamming the facebook fan page. Does that sound familiar? Well, it should. It's the same process and product with problems we (collectors) have received for years.

My next blog posts are dedicated to identifying these opportunities and providing solutions for them.

I really want to see The National do well. I started the original facebook group for The National and along with VOTC, started the twitter hashtag #NSCC for use when discussing it. The next several posts will reveal:
  • Partnership Opportunities
  • Pricing Opportunities
  • Marketing Opportunities
  • Vendor Management Opportunities
I've thought a lot about these areas and how The National can take advantage in them. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Completing a Team Set - 1962 Fleer Dallas Texans

Bill Miller completes m 1962 Fleer Dallas Texans team set.

I love the feeling of completing a page in the sports card binder - especially when it finishes the team set. I started building the '62 Fleer Texans team set a year or so ago. It didn't need to take that long, but I didn't want to over pay for cards on eBay or find some looked worn out.

The Bill Miller card looks very different than others in the set. Most of the cards have players with a odd face and different frozen actions. Miller's card actually looks like he was running a pattern to catch a pass.

Now it's on to the next team set to build. I'm one card a way from finishing my '52 Bowman Large Dallas Texans team set a few away from finishing my '87 Topps Mets set. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Here Comes Cotton Davidson

Cotton Davidson, the quarterback of the 1962 Dallas Texans, nearly finishes my team set.

Cotton passed for 17 touchdowns in the 1961 season and is referred to on the back of the card as a "crackerjack short passer."

Monday, February 28, 2011

Duke Snider Autograph Memory

They are living legends. We can't learn enough from them fast enough. It was sad to hear of Duke Snider's passing.

I briefly met Duke at an MAB show May 20, 2007. It was a Mets show and Duke was there signing autographs.

The picture here is Duke signing a nice Dodgers jersey. The jersey belonged to the person immediately in front of me in line. Duke's autograph four years ago wasn't the best and he didn't say much to people in line. He signed a baseball for me with the HOF '80 inscription. He looked at me, said thank you and that was plenty for me.

I'm not a Dodgers fan, but you don't have to be on to appreciate Duke Snider. RIP.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pete Rose Leaving Field of Dreams Las Vegas

Pete Rose's seven year run with Las Vegas Field of Dreams is over. The Las Vegas Journal reports that Rose is no longer signing autographs at the Caesar's Palace store.

The move seems to have taken place immediately. The StarsLive365 website, that holds the Field of Dreams autograph schedule, has Dick Butkus, Andre Dawson and Joe Montana listed for signings. I went to this store quite a few times to get Pete's autograph.

I thought everything in the store was over-priced and you had to get special permission from Pete to sign something you brought in, but the overall experience was great. You get to sit right next to him as he signs your item, you get a few minutes to talk to him and you get a photo taken.

A few years ago Pete did a pretty cool autographcast from Las Vegas, I blogged about it here. At the time, I thought it was awesome. I could talk to him on the phone, he signed my item and then had it on the camera. Of course today with facetime and Skype, it's not as big of a deal, but I haven't seen other companies try running with this yet.

Pete may not be done with Las Vegas. According to the LVJ, Rose could be on his way to Luxor - further down on the Las Vegas Strip. A year ago there were some rumors that Luxor would be getting into the memorabilia business, perhaps this is part of it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Jerry Mays Key to eBay Combined Shipping

Hello.... Jerry.

This 1962 Fleer Jerry Mays card is the latest add to my Dallas Texans team set.

I really lucked out with my last four cards of this set. I found one eBay seller listing the last four Texans cards that I needed and was combining the shipping. All four cards cost $3.00 to ship. Not a bad deal.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Oh That Shifty Abner Haynes

I'm down to my final four for this completed team set.

Abner Haynes, 1962 Fleer, Dallas Texans is the latest addition. Haynes was the AFL Player-of-the-Year in 1960.

Once again, the back of the card has the great description. "Fleet, shifty Haynes sprinted 841 yards in 179 carries for an average of 4.7."

Oh that shifty Haynes.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Signings Hotline is on Twitter

Signings Hotline has a twitter account. You can follow them at

I'd like to see their twitter feed used for:

  • Offer some free autograph listing tips
  • Twitter contests for free autographs - I'm sure some of their sponsors would participate
  • Twitter trivia contests for 30 day free trials or membership extensions
  • Re-tweets of autograph show recaps from bloggers
  • Signings news from autograph companies like CSA, Mounted Memories, and MAB
I think it's great to see SigningsHotline on twitter.

I hope it's used for making connections with collectors, listening and learning more about the collectors' needs instead of treating it like a megaphone.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Collecting for Your Kids

When my boys were born, I wanted to start collecting something for them. I wanted something I could get for them every year. The conditions:
- It couldn't cost much
- It would be easy to obtain
- It would be easy to store

I decided to go with World Series programs. Baseball is probably my favorite sport and the World Series programs only cost about $10-15 a piece. Tip: Buy them on eBay after the series is over. 

The programs also give a recap of the season and can capture the era with all of the ads and other stories. Have you ever read an old program and see the "color TV" or "Yoo-hoo Sports Drink" ads?

I recently picked up the 2010 World Series programs. Of course this year MLB made two versions: one for the Rangers and one for the Giants. I ended up going with the winning team.

Of course, I go through all this work and some day they'll say, "Why the h--l did the old man get a Giants World Series program?"

Monday, February 7, 2011

1987 Topps Mets - New Team Set Project

I have a head start on my new team set project. Jason from The Writer's Journey sent me about 15 cards from the '87 set - all Mets!

Thanks to Jason for the great start on my new project.

I decided to go with the '87 Topps Mets set because this was a team that I watched a lot during the '87 season. I was a big fan of the WWOR crew when I was growing up in south Jersey.

Of course the '87 season was disappointing. I still blame Roger McDowell for part a good part in that.

I had a lot of the '87 Topps set during that season. Unfortunately they lined the pennant on my wall instead of a occupying a page in my binder. This set will stay in the binder.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Marvin Miller Autograph Baseball Arrives

Zap, Pow! That was fast. I received my Marvin Miller autograph baseball already.

The signing was on Saturday with Dick Gordon Sports and I had the autograph in my hand by Thursday. Great service. They even sent a picture of Marvin Miller signing the baseball. To me, this is better than a COA.

This is a great autograph to add to my collection and the first I've done through a memorabilia dealer.

It's a pretty good autograph considering Miller is almost 100 years old!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Marvin Miller Autograph Picture

When I paid for the Marvin Miller autograph I requested a photo of Miller signing one of the baseballs. Dick Gordon Sports said they would try, but couldn't guarantee it.

I've never picked up an autograph I didn't get in person until this one, and all my other autographs have a picture of the person signing the item. It's my own COA. I thought it would be helpful for my kids one day when I'm long gone and they are trying to make money for the iPad 15 or whatever!

As you can see in scan, Dick Gordon Sports came through. He emailed this photo to me yesterday. My baseball is on the way!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

One Card from Finishing a 1952 Team Set

James Phelan, card #122, nearly finishes my '52 Bowman Large Texans team set.

I used some eBay bucks to get this card for free. I'm a big fan of the eBay bucks now.

I really like the '52 Bowman style and the back of the card says, "He captained the 1917 Fighting Irish . . . " How many cards reference a player from the 1917 Notre Dame team?!

Now I just need to capture the elusive Jim Lansford to complete the set.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Super Bowl XLV Autographs? There's an App For That!

Super Bowl XLV has it's own app.

I downloaded the iPhone version today (I can't test the android version) and it's great for local fans, collectors and fans coming to watch the game.

The Super Bowl Events section list the events by date and selecting one of the events will bring you a list of the details and where the event is located. This listing includes autograph opportunities and memorabilia information.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

NFL Experience Autographs at Super Bowl XLV

Super Bowl week is hitting Dallas. I've been to two Super Bowl weeks (only to the game once) and the NFL Experience is awesome.

The card shows are cool and so is the NFL Experience. If you're in the Dallas area, definitely check it out and bring the following in your backpack:

  1. Mini Helmet with the Super Bowl logo
  2. Sharpie
  3. Camera
I say a mini helmet with the Super Bowl logo because you don't know who you're going to see. If you can fit mini helmet of your favorite team in the same backpack, then go for that, but if you have room for one, choose the Super Bowl logo helmet. I've picked up Larry Johnson and Todd McFarlane on a Super Bowl mini helmet.

NFL Experience schedule
Thursday: 5 to 10 p.m.
Friday: 3 to 10 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Monday: NFL Experience closed, NFL Shop open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Tuesday: NFL Experience closed, NFL Shop open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Wednesday: 3 to 10 p.m.
Feb. 3: 3 to 9 p.m.
Feb. 4: 3 to 10 p.m.
Feb. 5: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Feb. 6: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Yankees GM to Appear at MAB Autograph Show

Brian Cashman is making a rare appearance at an autograph show this weekend.

MAB's Pinstripe Passion Show is scheduled (snow permitting) for Jan. 29 -30. New York Yankees' General Manager Brian Cashman will be selling his autograph for $49 plus a $10 inscription.

This is the first time I remember seeing a front office executive sitting at an autograph show table to sell their signature.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Rabbit - Jimmy Saxton

I had a good eBay mail day this week - Jimmy Saxton!

This one goes with my '62 Fleer Dallas Texans team set I'm building. Where did they take this picture? It looks like a river bank in the background.

I have no idea why Saxton was nicknamed the "The Rabbit" when he played for Texas before jumping to the Texans. Wouldn't Jackelope be a little more fun?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Card so Nice, I Had to Buy it Twice

Actually, this card helped me with my 2011 New Year's Resolution: Check the spreadsheet before bidding!  

I already have this '52 Bowman Large card of James Hammond. The eBay auction bid was $4 so I placed the bid. After I won it for $4, I checked my spreadsheet and had my duh moment.

Oh well, it's $4, it's a cool card... I "won" auctions far worse than this I suppose.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Miles Austin Twitters His Party Location

Fans wanting a Miles Austin autograph need to start following him on twitter.

To promote a pre-Super Bowl party, Miles tweeted clues about the location and where he would be. Four hundred or so fans solved the riddles and were able to meet Miles Austin and get a few autographs.

Like it or not, twitter is bringing us closer to the athletes we cheer. If you're in a town with your favorite team (sadly I am not), I definitely recommend following some of the players on twitter. Now is the time to sign up with Super Bowl parties and athlete appearances becoming more common.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Marvin Miller Autograph Signing Through Dick Gordon Sports

Baseball would not be where it is now without Marvin Miller. It's a crime that he is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame. I think Red Barber said it best, "Marvin Miller, along with Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson, is one of the two or three most important men in baseball history."

That said, I'm making my first through the mail autograph order. Dick Gordon Sports is representing Marvin Miller at the MAB autograph show on Jan. 30. 

Dick Gordon Sports has a good reputation and solid reviews on and MAB has always been solid. I ordered an MLB baseball for autograph. 

I can't wait to get this one in Feb! 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Signings Hotline Forum Format

Signings hotline has a new format and honestly, I'm not a fan so far. I'm all for change and trying things new, but this isn't working:

  • Best Practice & Maintenance should not be the first forum working - I go to signings hotline for signings information, not maintenance. 
  • I have to click about 3 or 4 more times to get the same information than before the upgrade. 
  • Before the upgrade I could see what threads had been updated, now I can only see the most recent. 
I've belonged to Signings Hotline for years. I like the service, but this upgrade to the forums isn't working. Instead of spending times on redesigns, I'd rather see time spent on:
  • RSS Technology for getting updates
  • Mobile App Development

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tucson Tragedy Hits Baseball World

The tragedy in Tucson, AZ over the weekend is also affecting the baseball world.

The 9-year old killed in the weekend's shooting is the granddaughter of former Mets Manager Dallas Green. Christina Taylor Green is also the daughter of current Dodgers scout John Green. Christina was born on 9-11-01.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Super Bowl Tours in Dallas

I've been to one Super Bowl and to the Super Bowl week activities for two, but I've never been able to tour the Super Bowl locker rooms.

Super Bowl 45 will have tours of the locker rooms and other areas of the Cowboys stadium.

If you're going to be in the Dallas area during Super Bowl week, this is a must see! The events in the days before the Super Bowl are a ton of fun. There are a lot of autograph opportunities and chances to see current and former players. I wish I was going to be at this one!

More about the tours here.