Sunday, November 11, 2012

43rd Sports Card and Memorabilia Expo Review

Twice a year us Canadians have our big card show to attend in Toronto. This being the 43rd show it goes without saying it is always a great turnout and great place to find anything sports related.

This November's show again proved the collecting industry is still hot. People from around the world come into Toronto to be apart or experience the show that happens once in the Spring and once in the Fall. This includes companies within the industry like regulars Upper Deck, In The Game and Panini.

For the 43rd Show Upper Deck had a promotion involving expired Redemption cards in a "Trade-in and receive" program and their Priority Signings. Panini had a few promotions with a 4 card exclusive pack and a wrapper redemption exclusive for the Fall Expo.

With the Dealers, you can find anything you can think of at the show. From display cases, autographs, jersey's, goalie masks and of course cards. To top off the shows there are always autograph guests scheduled during the 3-day event. This Fall was the 1972 Team Canada Reunion along with other retired hockey stars and sports related guests.

This was my 12th show and I was excited to be apart of another promising event. I made it out on Sunday (final day of the show) and after hearing and seeing the highlights from Friday and Saturday it sure couldn't come any sooner.

I arrived when the doors opened and started my first of many rounds through the dealer rows. I noticed a lot of newer dealers throughout the show and some familiar dealers no longer there. The consistent on everyone's table was Panini Certified Hockey, Panini Score, and Upper Deck Series 1 for the wrapper redemption. I noticed a lot of unique items at a majority of the tables which included game used pucks, jerseys, sticks and even baseball bats which are rare at the expo since it being mainly hockey.
I did notice that a lot of the Football products were missing from a lot of tables. With the products being so strong this year I was hoping to grab a few but nothing really there to be found.

By the time I hit the middle rows, the autograph lines were packed. A lot of the focus seemed to be on the players coming today rather than searching for deals at tables. I for one was mainly there for the wrapper redemption from Panini and also to have a couple of cards authenticated by JSA, and to hand in a shipment into COMC (Check out my cards).

JSA was great, they handled authentication so quickly and efficiently. Both my Patrick Roy cards were completed within an hour and were both certified as authentic.

COMC was hard to find in the corporate area. They were on the end beside the Beckett tables. I met Geoff Holland from COMC. Great guy to talk with and was nice to discuss COMC and them working now within Canada. It was a super plus to be able to hand in my shipment and not worry about shipping it down to the US and adding that extra cost. I really hope they do well with the Canadian expansion and continue to provide a great service for collectors.

I had a great time with the Panini team. Really great guys and they have just as much fun about the product as the buyers ripping into the packs. I bought a box of 2012-13 Panini Certified Hockey in order to receive the 6 Expo Redemption Packs. I ripped through the box pretty quickly and did ok on the box bust pulling 3 relics (2 of which were numbered to /75 from the Kings) and an autograph of Peter Holland.

I started into my 6 Redemption Packs and came out pretty good. I managed to pull a Brett Lawrie Hot Rookie /399, Ryan Broyles Relic and a Cracked Ice of Sven Baertschi with an announced print run of  /25 or less. The Base cards are nice as well and with only 2 cards per redemption pack these cards will be hot.    

The best deal of the show that I saw for boxes was 2011-2012 Panini Rookie Anthology for $70!! Crazy price so I had to buy at least one of these boxes. On top of that Universal (distributor for Panini) had a Wrapper Redemption for these boxes where as you would receive 3 packs from the 2011-2012 NHL All-Star Game Wrapper Redemption packs from Panini. So I sat down with a Universal representative and ripped open the box. As you know I hold Rookie Anthology in high regard as one of the best products of the year, so I was thrilled to rip into another box of it. After the ripping was done I pulled an Autographed Jimmy Hayes, Dual Jersey Autographs of Erik Condra and Jake Gardiner, a Starting 6 of the Red Wings and the bonus hit was a two color patch of Erik Gudbranson. A very nice box to say the least.

I wasn't expecting much from the Redemption packs but I did manage to pull a Jason Spezza Certified numbered 4/5!
Now what would be said if I went to a Expo and not come away with at least something Baseball related. I didn't really see much in the way of card products for Baseball that were decent deals. I did however notice that a few dealers had some Bats for sale. Some were official bats, autographed bats and some game used. Being a lover of baseball, the history and the Blue Jays, I was able to find a very nice piece to add to my collection. I went to the "Everything Blue Jays Dealer", he had some nice autographed balls and some other oddities from the Blue Jays. This though was the first time I noticed he had Game Used Baseball Bats from previous years players. A lot of the bats he had were role players from teams past, but he did have a 1985 Game Used bat of Willie Upshaw. As soon as I saw it I had to have it. It has a little crack in the handle and is a great and very hard memorabilia piece to find of the Blue Jays former 1st basemen. It came from a Blue Jays executive who had a personal collection that he recently sold off after he had moved into a smaller residence.

Overall I found my experience at the show pretty good. The attendance might have been a bit slower on Sunday but talking with the dealers it seemed to be really good on Saturday with selling products. I think the Hockey Strike has effected the overall excitement of the Expo and it seemed to also take a hit on some of the dealers as well with Rookies not making names for themselves and nothing to cheer or really search out for. However I think the Panini Wrapper Redemption was HOT, HOT, HOT!!! It brought me to the show and I'm sure others as well. If you've never been to the Expo it is a definite must for anyone living in the area or close enough to take a trip to visit. The organizers always do a great job with the customers and dealers alike and should be for the years to come.


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