baseball card stores in houston

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Top Shot sales are just the start. Coming off his seventh Super Bowl victory, Brady announced this week the launch of his own NFT company called Autograph. Mavericks billionaire owner Mark Cuban started an NFT art gallery, and athletes including Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and PGA Tour golfer Bryson DeChambeau have created and sold NFTs.

'More time on their hand'

For card dealers like Ron Gustafson, owner of MVP Sports Cards & Collectibles in Sebastian, Florida, the timing of Topps' plan to hit the public market is fascinating. From his 1,000-square-foot shop in a strip mall near the coast, Gustafson has witnessed firsthand the remarkable rebound of a business that in recent decades has trended more in the direction of traditional retail.

Gustafson, who has three daughters, opened his store in 2017 as a passion project and side gig to the tax business he's owned since 2008. He said that when the pandemic hit, things were very slow at first because of the shutdowns and concerns about the economy. The resurgence began around the time the NBA restarted its season in the Orlando bubble in July, he said.

"That really helped as far as getting sports fans back," Gustafson said. "The card market just completely skyrocketed. Maybe folks were home and more people had more time on their hand."

Even with store occupancy limits and appointment viewing, Gustafson said he recently recouped his initial $250,000 he put into the business and is now seeing gains. While Topps controls most of the baseball card market, the more popular products right now are football cards and the most expensive are basketball, he said. Panini America owns the licenses for those leagues.

A surprise customer

Gustafson said his most interesting appointment of the year came one Saturday in March, after he got a call from someone asking if his store had any boxes of Panini's Prizm football cards, which he sells for $1,500. Gustafson said he did, and the man told him he'd be there in a half hour.

When he arrived, the man asked Gustafson if he happened to have any rookie cards for Alex Bregman, an infielder for the Houston Astros. Gustafson said he didn't and asked why he was looking.

"He said, 'Because I'm Alex Bregman,'" Gustafson said. "Sure enough, he grabbed the last three Prizm boxes off the shelf and let us take a picture."

Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros at MVP Sports Cards & Collectibles in Sebastian, Florida.

Bregman was in Florida for Spring Training. The Astros play about 90 miles south of Sebastian, in West Palm Beach but had a game that day against the New York Mets in the nearby town of Port St. Lucie. Gustafson said he originally planned to attend the game that day and was going to let his store manager run the shop.

"Had I gone to the game I would have missed Alex Bregman," Gustafson said. Instead, he met Bregman and made a $4,500 sale.

Gustafson said he's still unsure about where the digital market is headed. Panini has a blockchain product with online card auctions, though it has very "niche popularity," he said. The physical card with a handwritten autograph is still what excites collectors, he said, and so does buying and owning boxes of packs that go up in value as rookies from that year turn into stars.

Still, there are plenty of ways that blockchain could make even the traditional card market more efficient and trustworthy, Gustafson said. For example, there's no good way to price old and rare cards. Sellers still tend to look on eBay to see the last transaction price. Others send cards off by mail and pay to have them graded by specialty authenticators. Those processes are tedious and imperfect.

"Folks are warming up to the digital side of things because of what digital currency is doing from an investment standpoint," said Gustafson, adding that he's invested a bit in cryptocurrencies bitcoin and ethereum. "Collectors still want something physical in return."

WATCH:The rise of NFTs and why people are collecting moments and assets differently

Источник: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/11/baseball-cards-collides-with-nfts-and-spacs.html

Bay area sports card shows 2021

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The 21-and-over club is currently operating with a reduced Jan 02, 2021 · Comic Book & Non-Sports Card Show 2021: January 31, 2021: Annandale Volunteer Fire Department Annandale, VA: East Bay Comic-Con 2021 Cancelled: January 31, 2021: Crowne Plaza Concord/Walnut Creek Concord, CA: QuadCon Cedar Rapids 2021 Postponed: January 31, 2021: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cedar Rapids Convention Complex Cedar Rapids, IA 4H Sports Cards and Memorabilia Show. bay area sports card shows 2021

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Источник: http://svijet-ezoterije.com/ptscpvac/bay-area-sports-card-shows-2021.html

Why Did Someone Pay $5 Million for a Baseball Card in 2021?

Rob Gough, with the 1952 Mickey Mantle card he paid a record-setting $5.2 million for last month. Photo: Berk Communications

This time last year, the only sports cards Rob Gough owned were the ones he’d collected as a kid. Somewhere in his possession are plastic sheets filled with Michael Jordans, Shaquille O’Neals, and assorted members of the 1990s Cincinnati Reds, all mass-produced and worth roughly the cardboard they were printed on. These days, Gough’s collection looks a bit different. The entrepreneur says that by mid-January of this year, he had spent $10 million on various trading cards, a spree that culminated with his biggest purchase yet: $5.2 million for a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle in nearly perfect condition. With that, he shattered the record for the price of a single card.

It was a jaw-dropping purchase but hardly an isolated event in a suddenly torrid sports-card market. The previous record for the priciest sale ever had been set just months before, in August 2020, when a one-of-a-kind 2009 Mike Trout baseball card sold for $3.936 million — a massive jump from the $400,000 it went for in 2018. In September, a Giannis Antetokounmpo card sold for $1.812 million (a record for a basketball card), and earlier this year, one of Patrick Mahomes sold for $861,000 (setting a record for football). On eBay, overall domestic sales for trading cards were up 142 percent in 2020.

“I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything like this in my career,” says Jeff Rosenberg, the president and CEO of Tristar Productions, a Houston-based memorabilia company that promotes collectible shows.

Some of the increased interest in trading cards can be attributed to onetime collectors rediscovering their childhood hobby during the pandemic, as people stuck at home direct their disposable income to a sentimental pastime. But another trend, which had already begun before last March, has helped drive the headline-grabbing, six- and seven-figure purchases.

Historically, the collectors who buy up rare baseball cards have been driven by emotion; the cards’ investment potential was secondary to what Rosenberg calls the “visceral experience” of owning them. Now, he says, that calculus is starting to flip, and cards are increasingly being seen as investments first. “Over the last several years,” Rosenberg says, “I’ve seen a bunch of younger folks come in. And some of them like the cards. [To] others, it’s really a strategic asset. These cards to them are no different than a stock portfolio.”

Indeed, Gough says his purchase of the Mantle card had more to do with profit-making than it did fandom.

“I would say 70 percent investment, 30 percent from an emotional standpoint,” he says. “I think this card is going to continuously beat the S&P 500. So what am I gonna do? Take the $5.2 million and put it in the market? Put it in a house, where you’re going to get 3 to 8 percent a year? Or put it in Mickey Mantle?”

Ken Goldin, the founder and executive chairman of Goldin Auctions, which has handled the sale of many high-end cards, says he’s also seen a rise in younger buyers over the past several years. His explanation: Millennials and Gen-Zers who come into money “may not want to purchase stocks and may not want to purchase art, and they’re looking for a nontraditional asset that they enjoy.”

But according to Goldin, it’s not just individual buyers swiping up the top cards. He says sports collectible funds have formed with the sole purpose of buying and sitting on valuable trading cards, while some existing alternative investment funds now allocate a portion of their portfolios to trading cards.

Cards of Lou Gehrig ($801,960), Stephen Curry ($984,000), Patrick Mahomes ($861,000), and Michael Jordan ($738,000) were among those sold earlier this year through Goldin Auctions. Photo: Goldin Auctions

This isn’t the first boom for the higher end of the industry. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, sale prices for rarities like the Honus Wagner T206 — long considered the holy grail of baseball cards — alerted the general public that the cards they collected and quite possibly threw away as kids could have real value. Card companies responded to the increased interest by overproducing their sets, rendering most of their output from the era more or less worthless. Ken Griffey Jr.’s 1989 Upper Deck rookie card, once the hottest card in the hobby, famously turned out to not be very rare at all: The company is estimated to have produced more than 2 million of them. (One Kansas man owns hundreds.)

Card-makers eventually started to build artificial scarcity into their products: Some are produced in extremely small quantities; in some cases, just one of a card may be made. Now the most sought after of these cards — in the right condition, as determined by an independent evaluator — are suddenly selling for as much as the most iconic ones of yesteryear.

All of this lends itself especially well to the investor mind-set. Mickey Mantle’s place in history is well established, but a younger player like Antetokounmpo could still see his stock rise down the road. Buying his card now is a bet that he’ll remain a star for many years, that his cards will remain sought after, and that they’ll sell for a higher price later. That these modern cards can be even scarcer than the vintage ones — there’s only one of the record-setting Antetokounmpo, for instance, compared to nine 1952 Topps Mantles graded at least as high as Gough’s by the authenticator PSA — only adds to the appeal as a rare asset.

“For the first time, perhaps in history, sports collectibles are sort of a cool thing to do,” says Ezra Levine, the CEO of Collectable, a fractional ownership platform that lets users buy and sell shares in valuable cards. “You have athletes and influencers and celebrities who are into the hobby. You have mainstream media outlets getting into it.”

Just last week, Goldin Auctions announced it had raised $40 million in funding from the Chernin Group, in a funding round that included notables like Mark Cuban, Kevin Durant, Logan Paul, Mark Wahlberg, and Deshaun Watson.

Even those rooting for prices to continue rising indefinitely concede that certain aspects of the hobby are bound to cool off: the demand for less-scarce modern basketball cards, for instance, or the hype around athletes who play above their usual level for a couple of weeks and see their card values spike. But they say they’re confident the “Willy Wonka golden ticket cards,” as Goldin calls them, will continue to increase in value over time.

“It depends what your time horizon is,” says Rosenberg. “Will prices ebb and flow? Yes. At some point, the pressure will change. But what do I see in the near term? There’s still more people who are finding out about this and buying.”

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Why Did Someone Pay $5 Million for a Baseball Card in 2021?Источник: https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/02/why-are-sports-cards-so-hot-right-now.html

Classic Astros card: Rookie Bagwell

November 25th, 2021

As part of the celebration of the 70th anniversary of Topps baseball cards, we've asked fans (as well as our staff) to submit their all-time favorite baseball cards, and we've broken them down by team. We'll be revealing submissions regularly throughout the season, ranging from the famous to the weird, and everything in between.

Classic Astros rookie card: Jeff Bagwell, 1991 Topps Traded
It’s weird seeing Jeff Bagwell without his trademark goatee (see the best facial hair card, below), but the first baseman had a clean-cut look when he broke into the big leagues. He makes up for the lack of facial hair here with a sweet mullet, which is accentuated by the interesting choice to forgo sideburns.

Bagwell was initially a Red Sox farmhand, but Boston infamously traded Bagwell to the Astros for veteran pitcher Larry Andersen in ‘90. Bagwell went on to play 15 years in the Majors, all for Houston, debuting in ‘91 and putting together a Hall of Fame career. -- Thomas Harrigan

Jose Altuve, 2019 Donruss Optic
This card proudly proclaims what Jose Altuve was in 2017: the American League MVP.

The letters, with a comet-like trail behind them, stand atop a portrait-style photo of Altuve taking a swing. The back of the card reads, "Altuve reached the top of his game in 2017, putting together a year unlike any other in recent history."

The Astros star won the MLB batting crown in '17 by hitting .346, led the AL with 204 hits, hit 24 home runs, had 32 stolen bases and led Houston to a World Series championship.

Joe Morgan and Sonny Jackson, 1965 Topps
Joe Morgan’s '65 rookie season was also the first year after Houston’s baseball franchise changed its name from the Colt .45s to the Astros. However, Morgan had cups of coffee with the team in '63 and '64, so his first Topps card in '65 depicts him wearing a Colt .45s hat.

Morgan appears alongside Sonny Jackson on the card, which dubs the two “1965 rookie stars.”

Morgan ended up finishing second in the '65 NL Rookie of the Year voting, kicking off a Hall of Fame career. Jackson, meanwhile, made his mark the following year, also finishing second in the NL ROY race. But unlike Morgan, Jackson wasn’t able to keep it up and played his final Major League game on his 30th birthday in '74.

The card was submitted by Robert Pitts Jr. of Eureka, Calif., who wrote:

“My dad grew up in Houston and got to see the opening years of the Colt .45s and the Astros. … When the Astrodome was completed, tours for the public were happening in which my dad and his dad (my grandfather) went to one in December 1964. My Dad had a new hobby of videography and took the family 8mm camera with him. A few months later, April 27, 1965, they went back for one of the first home games of the new Astros team. The camera went again with my dad.

“At second base was Joe Morgan in his rookie year. I discovered the video footage just this past year when digitizing my dad's 8mm film and seeing the awesome experience he and Grandpa had. I recently purchased this card and, with the film, I will always have a great story of my grandpa and my dad, with Hall of Famer Joe Morgan.” -- Thomas Harrigan

Best Astros facial hair card: Jeff Bagwell, 2019 Topps Stadium Club
Bagwell sported a goatee for most of his 15-year career, but he took it to another level toward the end, as you can see from this card. What an amazing work of art, even groomed so that there was a point at the end of it. The warmup jacket only makes it that much better.

Clearly, Bagwell decided to let the beard grow as a part-time veteran player, but why not? He was on his way to the Hall of Fame with a résumé that featured 449 home runs and a career OPS of .948. He also had a Rookie of the Year Award and MVP Award to his name. Plus it gives off a great "wise older guy" vibe when chatting with the youngsters.
-- Manny Randhawa

Carlos Correa, 2015 Topps Chrome
On this card, a young Carlos Correa, uniform already dirtied, looks the ball into his glove as he makes a play at shortstop. Correa was a 20-year-old rookie in 2015 -- but not just any rookie.

The Astros phenom won the AL Rookie of the Year Award after batting .279 with 22 home runs and stealing 14 bases in 99 games, just beating out fellow star shortstop Francisco Lindor of Cleveland. Two seasons later, Correa helped lead Houston to the 2017 World Series championship.

This card was submitted by Elijah Juarez of San Antonio, who got it signed by Correa in person.

"This Carlos Correa card is my favorite because I went to Academy after going to an Astros game and ran into him at the store," he explained.

Craig Biggio, 1988 Fleer
Biggio is beloved in Houston after spending all of his 20-year Hall of Fame career with the Astros. Initially a catcher, Biggio was part of the '88 Fleer set before making his big league debut later that year.

The card depicts an all-business Biggio with a bat on his shoulder, clad in a blue warmup jersey featuring the club’s '80s era rainbow shoulder stripes.

“Craig Biggio is THE MAN in Astros History,” wrote Houston’s Austin Cook, who submitted this card. “He’s my favorite player still and it’s fun watching [Cavan] Biggio play now.” -- Thomas Harrigan

Casey Candaele, 1993 Upper Deck
Casey Candaele is probably not the first player you think of when you think of Astros cards. But this card is a great example of how beautiful the 1993 Upper Deck set is. Each card has “Upper Deck” at the top, with the letters spaced out. And each image has a sort of “3-D” look to it because it is in the foreground of the card -- in other words, the “Upper Deck” is always behind the player.

This card, in particular, is special for its amazing action shot, capturing Candaele leaping for a line drive at shortstop during a game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Whether it’s an illusion created by the photo or his actual vertical, Candaele could jump. To top it off, the baseball is just in between the words “Upper” and “Deck.”

There are many cards in this set that have incredible visual appeal, but this one is unique. Jared of Pensacola, Fla., submitted this card in our survey, and he summed it up best.

“I grew up a huge Astros fan, still am,” Jared wrote. “Would gravitate to anything Astros, and I thought it was just the coolest card when I was little.”

That’s it, right there: This is just the coolest card. -- Manny Randhawa

Iconic Astros card: J.R. Richard, 1980 Topps
Standing 6-foot-8 and pairing 100 mph gas with an electric slider, J.R. Richard was an imposing force on the mound.

Despite some control problems, the right-hander became one of the National League’s premier pitchers in the late 1970s, averaging 18 wins, 281 innings and 261 strikeouts per season while posting a 2.88 ERA from ’76-79. He is one of nine pitchers in the Modern Era (since 1900) to reach the 300-strikeout mark in multiple seasons.

Richard was en route to another brilliant campaign before he suffered a stroke on July 30, 1980, causing a sudden end to his career.

Richard’s 1980 Topps card was submitted by Craig Maguire of Olean, N.Y.

“This is my favorite card because this was the year I started collecting them as a kid. The Astros were my favorite team, but being from New York, I didn’t have much opportunity to see them live or on TV, so the cards were my attachment to the team. Even as a 10-year-old, I could see by that high leg kick and imposing figure, J.R. was mean business,” Maguire wrote.
-- Thomas Harrigan

These Astros uniforms are most associated with the early- to mid-2000s, so it seems odd to see Altuve, the signature Astro from the current era of Houston baseball, wearing one.

But the Astros didn’t change to their current uniform set until 2013, Altuve’s third season in the Majors.

This is Altuve’s Topps card from 2012, showing the second baseman making a jump-throw while wearing Houston’s pinstriped home jersey from that time period. -- Thomas Harrigan

Johnny Edwards, 1971 Topps

Edwards was an underrated catcher during the 1970s, and was the immediate predecessor of Johnny Bench in Cincinnati. While with the Reds, he was selected as an All-Star each season from 1963-65, and over that span hit .268/.334/.410.

Jose L. submitted this card in our survey, and it just might be the most worn card submitted. But that hasn't lessened its value to him at all.

"When my brother and I were young in the early ‘70’s, we collected baseball cards," Jose wrote. "When we had a fight one day, we damaged the card of my favorite player at the time, Johnny Edwards. I still have the card, and am going to give it to his two year old grandson, when he gets older."

That's a beautiful gesture.

Astros insert card: George Springer, 2017 Allen & Ginter Autograph

The Allen & Ginter autograph inserts feature that brand's trademark miniature portrait cards encased in a picture frame-style border.

This one comes from the year Springer helped lead the Astros to a World Series championship, winning World Series MVP honors along the way.

"I like the George Springer 2017 Topps Allen & Ginter autographed card because Springer is my favorite baseball player," writes Luke Clymer of Mechanicsburg, who sent in the card.

Carlos Correa and George Springer, 2013 Bowman Sterling

Here’s a blast from the not-too-distant-past. Prior to being a perennial powerhouse, the Astros had little to look forward to outside of their farm system. While those days are long gone, I bet some fans still remember the hype that surrounded these fresh-faced prospects in 2013. At the time, Correa and Springer ranked as the Astros’ No. 1 and No. 3 prospects according to MLB Pipeline. And they were on a crash course for the big leagues, with Springer making his debut in 2014 and Correa coming up not too long after in 2015.

The two lived up to their hype and brought Houston home its first World Series trophy in 2017, taking down the Dodgers in seven games. Springer has since departed to the Blue Jays and Correa is a free agent at the end of the 2021 season. But they proved those evaluators right in 2013, and that’s as much as you can ask for from young prospects. -- Nick Aguilera

Yogi Berra, 1987 Topps Team Leaders

Berra in an Astros uniform? You better believe it. And it was magnificent. Our own Astros beat writer Brian McTaggart submitted this beauty in our survey, and summed it up nicely:

"There was something magical about Yogi Berra in an Astros uniform," Taggs wrote.

You may be wondering: When exactly was Berra with the Astros? We're glad you asked. The Hall of Fame Yankees catcher, who won three MVP Awards and 10 World Series rings with New York, was a bench coach for Houston from 1985-87. -- Manny Randhawa

Cruz didn't look a day under 25 in his 1981 Donruss card, as the then 33-year-old was an ageless wonder throughout his 19-year career in the big leagues. Cruz was a prolific base stealer, swiping 317 with the Cardinals, Astros and Yankees.

One of the most underrated stars of his era, Cruz was a stalwart in the Astros’ lineup for the better part of two decades. Coming over from St. Louis in 1975, it didn’t take long for Cruz to make an impact, as he stole 25 bases or more in four of his first five seasons to start his tenure in Houston. Cruz was recognized as an All-Star for the first time in 1980 and came in third in AL MVP Award voting after hitting .302 with 36 stolen bases, leading the Astros to the playoffs.

His finest season came in 1983, as he led the Majors in hits with 189, swiped 30 bags and swatted 14 homers, three shy of his career-high. He earned the first of two Silver Slugger Awards that season. -- Nick Aguilera

1990s throwback card: Randy Johnson, 1999 Fleer Ultra

One of the best Trade Deadline acquisitions of all time, Johnson was dealt from the Mariners to the Astros on July 31, 1998, and went on to post a 10-1 record, a 1.28 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 84 1/3 innings over 11 starts for Houston.

Johnson became a free agent after the 1998 season and signed with the D-backs, so there aren’t many cards depicting the Big Unit in an Astros uniform.

The 1999 Fleer Ultra set had one and it’s a beauty. Snapped from behind home plate, Johnson looks like he’s firing the ball directly at the camera. It gives you a sense of what it might have been like to step into the box against the intimidating lefty. The big script font also makes it obvious what era this is from before you even see who it is. -- Thomas Harrigan

Oftentimes, great baseball players end up in the coaching ranks, and sometimes we're even surprised when we discover an all-time great is coaching for a particular club.

For instance, did you know Ken Griffey Sr. once served as a first-base coach for the Rockies?

Here we have a card of Fox, a Hall of Fame second baseman who spent most of his career with the White Sox, in an Astros uniform with the words "2B coach" beneath his photo. That's because Fox finished up his playing days with Houston from 1964-65, and transitioned into coaching with the organization.

Who was he coaching at second? Another future Hall of Famer, one who was just a rookie at the time.

"When the Astrodome was completed, my dad and his dad went on a public tour of the new stadium in December 1964," wrote Robert P. of Eureka, Calif. "My dad had a new hobby of videography and took the family 8-mm camera with him. A few months later, on April 27, 1965, they went back for one of the first home games of the new Astros team. The camera went again with my dad. At second base was Hall of Famer Joe Morgan in his rookie year.

"In my research, I realized Hall of Famer Nellie Fox was also there as the newly appointed second-base coach. I am a huge proponent for mentorship and it thrills me to think of Nellie Fox ending his career at second base in 1964 to then accepting the second base coach role to start mentoring Joe Morgan and give him the lessons he would use to become a Hall of Famer himself."

That's pretty cool. -- Manny Randhawa

Vinny Castilla, 2002 Donruss Fan Club

It's hard to picture Castilla slugging home runs for any team but the Rockies, where he had all six of his 30-homer seasons and both of his All-Star years.

But here he is in an Astros uniform, after playing the only season of his 16-year career in Houston in 2001.

Castilla signed with the Astros after he was released by the Devil Rays that May, and he went on to hit 23 homers with 82 RBIs for Houston.

Ryan’s ‘87 Topps card, which features an action shot of the fireballer rearing back to throw a pitch, was mentioned by Ryan Mixson of Dimmitt, Texas. Mixson bought the card at a flea market and brought it to an Astros game in 2019 in hopes of getting it signed by the man himself.

“The day started off terrible,” Mixson wrote. “My girlfriend (now wife) had bought the tickets which stated the game started at 6:30. Instead we arrived to a game that had begun two hours prior and it was already the sixth inning. So I made my way over to the seating area behind home plate. I couldn’t actually get in, but I talked to the security guards and they encouraged me to just wait it out. [Jeff] Bagwell, [Craig] Biggio, any of those guys were constantly coming up to go to the bathroom or get stuff, they said. I never saw Bagwell or Biggio, but there was Nolan Ryan standing with his wife, Ruth. I feel a little ashamed now for asking for his autograph during a baseball game with his family, but back then I was 19 and an idiot. He signed the card and shook my hand and even at his age, and his politeness, that guy scared the crap out of me.”

The ‘87 season was Ryan’s age-40 campaign, as well as his second to last year with the Astros before moving on to the Rangers. He later returned to the Astros as a special assistant, a role he filled from 2014-19. -- Thomas Harrigan

Sometimes, it’s as simple as: “This is just a good-looking card.”

Bergman was a solid first baseman/outfielder for the Yankees, Astros, Giants and Tigers from 1975-92. His is far from a household name, but this card is amazing given the confluence of factors -- the vibrant rainbow Astros uniform and the rare orange Houston helmet.

The card is so good, a Tigers fan submitted it for the sheer aestheticism.

“I’ve always been a fan from when he played for the Tigers,” wrote Jimmy H. of Taylor, Mich. “I just like this card because of the bright green and the uniform that the Astros had at the time.”

Who doesn’t love a card like this? -- Manny Randhawa

Craig Biggio, 1994 Topps Finest
This card is from right when Craig Biggio was entering his prime, and it's a wild, '90s-looking card, with tons of bold colors framing Biggio as he makes a throw from second base.

The Hall of Famer won his first Gold Glove Award in '94, and he lead the National League in doubles and steals, but the story that fan Randal Alvarado of Indio, Calif., told about why he sent in this card is the best part.

"One day while I was sick, I was watching baseball highlights, and Craig Biggio came up in the highlight video," Alvarado wrote. "And I kept watching highlights of Craig Biggio because I was like, 'Wow, he is such a good player.' So the next week, I went to the store and picked up a baseball card pack, and inside the pack was Craig Biggio, and I said to myself, 'Hey, I was just watching highlights of him last week.'"

Jose Tolentino, 1992 Topps
On the surface, this 1992 Topps card doesn’t seem all that special. After all, Jose Tolentino appeared in only 44 Major League games, all in 1991, hitting .259 with a home run. But to an anonymous fan who submitted this card in our survey, it was very special, indeed.

“I am not an Astros fan, nor is Tolentino my favorite player,” the fan wrote. “The reason why this card is my favorite is because it was the last card I needed to finish the 1992 Topps set, the first one I ever completed from scratch. I even had the micro version of this card [1992 Topps Micro] before getting the real one. I found this one, finally, at a comic shop with a card shop at the back of it. All I remember was paying the $0.10 or so for the card and running out of the store screaming that I finally finished the set.”

Topps Micro! Remember those? Tiny little versions of the 1992 Topps set, an interesting little experiment that didn’t really go anywhere. This card of Tolentino represents the sheer joy of collecting an entire set of baseball cards -- doesn’t matter who the last guy is, just that you have him.
-- Manny Randhawa

Источник: https://www.mlb.com/news/best-astros-baseball-cards

A sports collectibles store becomes a part of Houston memorabilia

Dluhy, laughing, informed the man that he was, in fact, still alive and kicking.

His store, however, is going away.

This week, Dluhy will close the final outpost of Sports Collectibles of Houston, which at one point included five stores in Houston, Austin and San Antonio. Dluhy's business mirrors the ups and downs of the baseball card industry. He was among the first of a handful of entrepreneurs who set up shops in the late 1970s and early 1980s as the hobby grew from a rite of passage for kids into a billion-dollar industry.

By the early 1990s, according to some industry estimates, Houston had between 75 and 100 full-time trading card dealers. Now, there are no more than one or two in the Houston metropolitan area.

"The shops are disappearing," said Dave Jamieson, author of the book "Mint Condition: How Baseball Cards Became an American Obsession." "When I was growing up, every little town had its own card shop, and some had more. Now, you're lucky to find one in a county. The industry has contracted, and the card shops have contracted, too."

Business 'a killer'

As with other aspects of retail, eBay and other online retailers now command many of the customers who used to walk into stores like Sports Collectibles of Houston and other retail outlets.

"I'll miss the one-on-one contact with people. That will be the hardest thing," said Dluhy, 67, who will retain his personal collection of cards and memorabilia and continue his eBay outpost. "But this business is a killer if you depend on business that walks through the door."

For years, though, Dluhy and his counterparts made a good living on cardboard. Dluhy grew up in Rosenberg as a collector and kept his cards, as did other Houston collectors who bought and sold cards in the 1970s at John's Treasure Chest, a coin store in the Meyerland area, and at shows sponsored by collectors Tom Kennedy, a longtime reporter with the Houston Post, and Tom Koppa.

Dluhy, who worked from 1972 until 1987 as an advertising salesman for the Post, opened his first Sports Collectibles store in November 1979.

"I had met (Oilers quarterback) Dan Pastorini and (Astros pitcher) Joe Niekro and started doing auctions and things," he said. "People were opening stores around the country, and I told my wife, Betsy, that cards may end up like hula hoops, but wouldn't it be fun to have the first trading cards store in Houston."

He began sponsoring shows in the 1980s, based on relationships with Pastorini, Niekro, Nolan Ryan and others, and expanded from weekends only to full-time business at a time when the once-staid card industry began to pick up steam with the expansion of major league licenses from Topps, the longtime industry standard, to Fleer, Donruss and others.

"It became a bonanza," he said. "I was making money and having a good time. We opened two more stores in Houston and stores in Alief and Clear Lake. 1989, when Upper Deck came on board, was the all-time high, and then it started to level out."

The 1989 launch of Upper Deck, coupled with the mergers-and-acquisitions mania of the 1990s, may have helped spell the doom of the 1980s boom.

Investors began to speculate in large blocks of individual cards of star players like Cardinals infielder Vince Coleman who turned out not to be stars in the long run. Increased prices and the promise of quick profits prompted oversupply, with large print runs by companies like Dallas-based Pro Set and others, which eventually diluted values.

"People couldn't get their hands on Upper Deck fast enough, and Topps and the other companies came out with new products to keep up," Dluhy said. "They kept trying to outdo each other and come up with more ways to sell things."

'A rat in the woodpile'

At the height of the rookie card craze in the early 1990s, Dluhy said he received a call from a distributor offering him a group of Jeff Bagwell rookie cards from Upper Deck.

"He told me that I had to buy them all, and when I asked how many there were, he told me he had 10,000 of them," Dluhy said. "That's when I told my wife, 'There's a rat in the woodpile here.' "

At the height of the gold rush, in 1992, the investor Ron Perelman paid $82.5 million to buy Marvel Entertainment, the parent company of the comic books chain. He subsequently spent $265 million to purchase Fleer, a longtime card manufacturer, and $150 million on SkyBox, which focused on NBA cards.

Marvel, of course, continues today as one of the prime movers of the entertainment industry. But Fleer and SkyBox are no more, as are the long-ago pipe dreams of quick money through cardboard.

"A lot of people got burned when they bought a 1989 Score factory set and then a few years later found it listed as being worth $12," Dluhy said. "The companies made you buy huge allotments each year, and we figured we could put it all in the warehouse and in 10 years it would be worth more."

By 2000, only a dozen card shops remained in Houston, and many collectors began a greater emphasis on pre-1980 cards and on autographs and other memorabilia. Among the primary movers in the latter category is Houston-based Tri-Star, headed by Jeff Rosenberg, who was one of Dluhy's most loyal customers in the 1980s, and Bobby Mintz.

"Larry and the other stores were so important to us. It was what we did on the weekends," Rosenberg said. "They helped establish card collecting that was something that was more than just a hobby - something that can be a mainstream business."

Online expansion

Dluhy said he expanded his brick-and-mortar operation to eBay, and online sales eventually accounted for about half of his business.

Pete Williams, whose book "Card Sharks" tracked the Upper Deck-fueled boom years, said a lot of hobby shops have turned to gaming products such as "Magic: The Gathering," "Pokemon" and other products. Other promoters have moved into the comic books industry and the Comic-Con craze.

There are a few holdouts such as Howard Lau, whose Houston Sports Connection store in west Houston has been in business for 27 years and may be the last full-line sports card store in Houston.

"I still come to work like a kid in a candy store," Lau said. "I wish there were more stores. It would be better for the hobby. But the Internet is tough to beat. You have to adapt, change your business and give your customers what they want."

Dluhy said his store remained profitable, but his wife's death five years ago and other aspects convinced him that it's time to get out of the retail business.

"One of the guys I had helping me is ready to go on cruises and enjoy his grandkids, and I'm ready to do the same," Dluhy said. "I may still get a boothat some of the shows so I can talk and visit with people.

"I think the industry, with all its ups and downs, will continue. It always has."

Источник: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/article/A-sports-collectibles-store-becomes-a-part-of-6103944.php

TRISTAR Houston Show draws record crowd with big names, hungry collectors

The milestone 35th annual TRISTAR Collectors Show in Houston, held June 4-6 at NRG Arena, was record-breaking, riding a perfect storm of a red-hot collectibles industry hungry for the first major, multi-guest show in about 15 months.

In fact, Friday June 4 was the biggest Friday at a TRISTAR show in company history, with more than five times the normal attendance for the promotion, which has been holding three-day shows in Houston since 1991.

“This was the biggest Friday night, by far,” said TRISTAR vice-president Bobby Mintz. “There is a lot of excitement in our industry right now for multiple reasons. Everything in the hobby is hot right now, especially cards … most collectors have not been to a major show since February 2020 … there have been no in-person autographs at a show with 25 to 30 guests since early-2020 … and there were some big-name signers, such as Jalen Hurts, Ted Simmons and Larry Walker, among others.”

Photo Gallery: Behind the scenes at TRISTAR Houston show 

The three-day show also featured appearances by Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Willie Roaf, Johnny Manziel, Bob Lilly, Will Clark and others. The top autograph signers were Bagwell and Biggio, who had not made a signing appearance together in Houston in three years. Other top signers were Hurts, Manziel, Drew Pearson and Ja’Marr Chase. Another strong signer was new Hall of Famer Larry Walker in his first public signing in 20-plus years.

“It was an absolutely fantastic show, a great crowd with people spending money,” said longtime dealer Mike Stoner. “Houston always is a good show market, and this show was as good or better [than past area shows].”

“I was cautiously optimistic, though personally very nervous,” Mintz said. “But everything went smooth; it couldn’t have gone any better.

“I think this show really bodes well for the summer, particularly, the National Sports Collectors Convention.”

Mintz predicted the 2021 National will be the biggest since the 1991 National in Anaheim, Calif.

“We had the most new customers at a show in a long, long time,” he said. “How do I know that? Based on the questions that the customers were asking in the autograph pavilion, such as, ‘Do you have pens we can use? Will someone tell the player where to sign the item? Etc.

“It’s very exciting that there is a new generation of people, future collectors.”

More: New company making LeBron 'most collectible name in basketball'

TRISTAR delivered a socially-distanced show, with larger aisles between dealer tables, six feet between signers and fans, multiple sanitation stations around the venue, and more. Keep Everyone Safe was the show mantra for TRISTAR — and they delivered.

“People were definitely very focused, excited for the show,” said longtime dealer Roger Neufeldt. “There were more people looking at vintage cards [than past shows], particularly older football cards and sets.”

Neufeldt sold a 1948 and 1949 Leaf football set hours after the show opened on Friday. He said the hot vintage baseball cards included the usual suspects: Mickey Mantle, Roberto Clemente, Stan Musial and Duke Snider. Ozzie Smith rookie cards (1979 Topps) were also strong sellers.

Neufeldt also spotted many vintage collectors under the age of 21, which brought a smile to his face. And there were more set-builders at the Houston show than at any show over the past few years, he said.

Dealer Randy Cook said the Houston show attracted some young collectors, including a 7-year-old boy who repeatedly visited Cook’s dealer table. Cook also noted many show attendees had not been to a show in 20 or 30 years.

Florida-based dealer Art Smith said it was a “fantastic” show, which truly shows the strength of the hobby. He noted demand for cards of Nolan Ryan, Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Hank Aaron and others.

“This show did better than I expected [and] shows there was pent-up demand for a major regional card show.”

Artist Isaac “Ike” Rodriguez was at the Houston show painting and promoting his brilliant pieces. He left with a smile on his face.

“It was a solid show,” Rodriguez said. “There were top-notch dealers and a good crowd … a really big crowd. The show was better than I expected.”

Rodriguez reported his prints sold well and he also sold four full-size original pieces. Plus, he acquired several commission jobs from customers.

Rodriguez was recently named the official artist for the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, replacing the late Robert Hurst. He was painting former Baylor basketball star Sophia Young at the TRISTAR show. An All-American in college, Young went on to a nine-year career for the San Antonio Silver Stars in the WNBA.

“It’s very bittersweet,” Rodriguez said. “I want to do a great job with the art for the Texas Sports Hall of Fame — not only for myself, but also for Robert, to keep his legacy alive.”

Show Calendar: State-by-state listing of card shows across the country 

Stoner said his sales at the TRISTAR show included 15 to 20 single-signed baseballs. He also was selling candy bars, with proceeds being donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, a charity and veterans service organization that offers a variety of programs, services and events for wounded veterans.

“I think everyone had a good time at the show,” Mintz said.

That includes the autograph-signers.

Former Yankee pitcher Ron Guidry, for instance, asked for the photo of teammate Chris Chambliss hitting the walk-off home run from the 1976 ALCS.

“He was so nervous to go up to Chris to ask him to sign the photo, even though they’ve been friends for 45 years and still speak weekly. He had never asked him for anything,” Mintz said.

Guidry plans to hang the photo in his office.

T.J. Ford made his first show appearance, while Hurts was “caring, professional and very specific to sign an item where the customer wanted it signed,” Mintz said. Same for Chase.

The all-around nicest guest for the whole weekend, Mintz said, was former Texas A&M star and Heisman Trophy winner Manziel. “He was just super nice to the people, offering tips on which pens to use, location to get an item signed, and more.”

Pearson, the former Dallas Cowboys great, was making his first public autograph appearance since he was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The next TRISTAR Show in Houston is Feb. 4-6, 2022.

AROUND THE SHOW

With pen and paper in hand, not a wad of cash, I looked at the offerings at the show. Oh, for an endless supply of cash.

Here’s a look at some of the souvenirs seen at the Houston show:

• Jose Altuve autographed, framed jersey, with two photos: $500.

• A game-used base from the April 3, 2018 game with Baltimore at Houston: $250.

• Houston Astros’ World Series-winning celebration 16x20 photo, framed, with 20 autographs: $2,000.

• George Springer game-used equipment: cleats ($450), bats ($450), batting gloves ($300).

• Pina Power player bobber of Yuli Gurriel, signed: $300.

• Houston Aeros magazine: $20.

• Brad Ausmus on a surfboard bobblehead: $20.

• Milo Hamilton bobblehead: $30.

• Bill Belichick signed 8x10 photo

• Bart Starr signed 8x10 photo, with inscription and JSA COA: $450.

• Carl Hubbell & Lefty Gomez dual-8x10 photo, with PSA: $125.

• The 1961 full issue of Who’s Who in Baseball: $35.

• Box of 2020 WWE Topps Finest cards: $150.

• 2021 UFC Panini Prizm box: $80.

• How ‘bout some 11x14 photos: Bob Lilly and Mel Renfro, dual-signed ($40); Evan Gattis ($50).

• Blow-out Specials: Signed, framed 8x10 photo of Donovan McNabb, in his Syracuse uniform ($60); Andre Ware in Detroit uniform ($60); Mark McGwire ($200); Tim Hardaway ($80) and Mel Ott, not signed ($40).

• Ohio State helmet signed by Archie Griffin: $350.

• Houston Texans helmet signed by Andre Johnson: $600.

• MLB cubed baseball: $25.

• Earl Campbell autographed football, in case: $200.

• Bum Phillips signed white panel football: $200.

• 2020-21 Panini NBA Hoops complete set with rookies: $80

• 1989 Upper Deck baseball, low-number series packs: $15.

• Full-color sublimation basketball hoops, with one player featured, such as, LeBron James: $30, or 2-for-$50.

• 1989 Donruss baseball box: $30.

• 1992 Topps Traded Baseball set: $15.

• Tom Brady signed, framed 18x24 poster: $2,000.

• Luka Doncic signed 16x20 photo: $600.

• Mike Trout signed 16x20 photo: $500.

• Ted Williams signed 16x10 photo: $350.

• Jim Brown on his first Sports Illustrated cover (Sept. 26, 1960): $30.

• Joe Namath on his first Sports Illustrated cover (Jan. 20, 1969): $200.

• Undertaker casket & figure set, signed: $200.

• Dak Prescott signed Dallas Cowboys helmet: $399.

• Mickey Mantle or Joe DiMaggio signed 11x14 photo: $350.

• Billy Cannon signed 11x14 photo: $30.

• Autographed baseballs: Joe Torre ($95), Early Wynn ($100), Bill Mazeroski ($75), Wade Boggs ($100), Preacher Roe ($75), Billy Herman ($100).

Источник: https://sportscollectorsdigest.com

Baseball card stores in houston -

SportsCard-Stores.Com

Can't find your favorite store here? Add the store to our directory.

Alans
903-753-0493
Longview, Texas 75601

All Around Sports
(210)521-7282
San Antonio, Texas 78238

Austin Sports Connection
512-458-6433
Austin, Texas 78757

Austins Sports Connection
559-225-9321
Austin, Texas 78757

Bankston Sportscards
254-755-0070
Beverly Hills, Texas 76711

Big Mike's Hobbies and Toys
903-297-7814
Longview, Texas 75604

C and S Baseball Cards
(281) 577-8210
Porter, Texas 77365

Cards and Comics Connection
936-756-4839
Conroe, Texas 77301

Collector's Den
(940) 851-0777
Wichita Falls, Texas 76306

Cosmic Comics
972-264-0617
Grand Prairie, Texas 75051

Dj's Sports Cards
972-840-1377
Garland, Texas 75041

Dollars and Cents
972-289-7970
Mesquite, Texas 75149

Extra Inning Sports Cards
409-823-3236
Bryan, Texas 77803

Faust Stamp and Coin Co.
806-792-5616
Lubbock, Texas 79414

Finish Line Sports Cards
972-257-0325
Irving, Texas 75062

Gil's Infield
972-709-6055
Duncanville, Texas 75116

Greg's Sportscards and Collectibles
956-461-3510
Donna, Texas 78537

Heroes and Fantasies
210-681-1114
San Antonio, Texas 78250

Heroes Collectables
281-497-0221
Houston, Texas 77077

J and M Sportscards
915-591-5050
El Paso, Texas 79925

Kopriva's Collectibles
254-774-9188
Temple, Texas 76504

Major Players
915-751-9210
El Paso, Texas 79924

Major Players
915-849-6800
El Paso, Texas 79936

MC's Hobbies
325-338-5286
Abilene, Texas 79605

Mvp Sports Collectibles
361-814-4739
Corpus Christi, Texas 78411

Nick's Baseball Cards
972-248-2271
Dallas, Texas 75248

Odyssey Ii
281-647-0255
Katy, Texas 77449

R and A Sportscards
940-691-1246
Wichita Falls, Texas 76308

Shoebox Sports Cards
409-895-0100
Beaumont, Texas 77708

Signature Collectibles Inc.
469-366-1026
Plano, Texas 75093

Smp Sports Cards
817-251-1752
Grapevine, Texas 76051

Southwest Card World
(979) 485-9506
College Station, Texas 77845

Sports Card Shop
903-291-8135
Longview, Texas 75604

Sports Cards Plus
210-524-2337
San Antonio, Texas 78230

Sports Cards Plus
210-524-2337
San Antonio, Texas 78230

Sports Collectibles of Houston
713-721-0075
Houston, Texas 77096

Sports Stuff
361-937-8909
Corpus Christi, Texas 78418

Sports Stuff and More
832-4555831
THE WOODLANDS, Texas 77386

Sportscard Shack
713-455-5357
Houston, Texas 77015-2774

Strike Zone
281-484-7875
Houston, Texas 77089

Tedz Collectibles
210-732-6653
San Antonio, Texas 78213

The Scoreboard of Carthage
903-693-2718
Carthage, Texas 75633

Timeless Treasures & Collectibles
(361) 903-8958
Corpus Christi, Texas 78418

Triple Cards and Collectibles
214-509-5263
Plano, Texas 75074

Triple Play Sports Cards
(254)690-8521
Killeen, Texas 76543

Wayne's World of Sportscards
817-691-1246
Wichita Falls, Texas 76308

What's On Second
210-590-8444
San Antonio, Texas 78217

Источник: https://www.sportscard-stores.com/directory/Texas

How baseball card mania is colliding with NFT boom to revive Topps and change the game for dealers

On a recent family ski trip in California, my kids and I popped into an old baseball card shop in the city of Sonora, a former gold mining town in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

As a former rabid card collector, I lit up when I saw the sign for BJ's Cards and Collectibles on the town's main drag. With baseball season about to begin, I bought each of my sons, ages 5 and 8, a pack of 2021 Topps cards.

Before ringing me up, the owner, Bill Wiley, was apologetic in informing me that each pack was $5.50. That's more than a 100% markup from pre-pandemic levels. During the lockdowns, he said, the popularity of sports cards had soared and small dealers like BJ's were having to pay top dollar to distributors to get inventory. It didn't matter whether you were talking about single packs or the rarest of collectibles.

"This is the busiest since I can remember," Wiley, who opened the store with his son in 1992, said in a phone interview this week. "I closed down for nine weeks and when I reopened, there was incredible demand for sports cards."

Those $5.50 packs I bought my kids in February would now cost $7, according to Wiley, who said he's paying $148 for a box of 24 packs to make $20 in profit. At the other end of the market, a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle rookie card sold for a record $5.2 million in January. A month later came the most expensive basketball card transaction in history — a rookie trading card of Dallas Mavericks star guard Luka Doncic was purchased for $4.6 million. And in April, a rookie Tom Brady card was bought at an auction for $2.25 million, a record for football.

Wiley, 68, said buyers today are much different than they were during the heyday of the industry in the 1990s, when collectors would come in and spend hours looking through boxes of random cards.

"A lot of these people are new to the hobby and looking at it as a form of maybe a little bit of gambling," he said.

The unforeseen revival of the sports card industry that sellers like Wiley are experiencing is colliding headfirst with two other booming trends that have captured the attention of investors: non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs).

On Tuesday, Topps said it's going public through a SPAC, meaning that it's being acquired by a publicly-traded blank check company. In the announcement, the 83-year-old sports card and chewing gum company touted both the popularity of physical collectibles and its expansion into NFTs, or digital items that live on blockchain technology.

Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, who bought Topps 14 years ago, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" that the digital business, primarily apps, is growing rapidly and that blockchain will be a big part of the future. However, he said physical cards are still driving much of the current business.

"The cardboard cards are still extremely popular — we appeal to kids," Eisner said. "The digital cards are very popular — we appeal to teenagers and young adults. And with blockchain, we think we'll appeal to everybody."

Topps' revenue in 2020 climbed 23% to $567 million, and the company is projecting sales growth of 22% this year followed by 12% expansion in 2022. Through next year, physical goods and confections (Bazooka Gum and Ring Pops) will still make up close to 90% of revenue. In addition to its flagship baseball cards, the company sells cards for Europe's UEFA Champions League, the National Hockey League, World Wrestling Entertainment and Star Wars.

Eisner said the company had settled on the SPAC transaction based on the trajectory of the existing business, and that the blockchain "explosion came after we made this decision."

By explosion, he's referring to products like NBA Top Shot, made by league partner Dapper Labs. Consumers are paying up to hundreds of thousands of dollars for a video highlight of a LeBron James dunk or a Zion Williamson blocked shot. The clips are purchased as NFTs, which have unique codes on blockchain that certify their authenticity.

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers at a game against the LA Clippers at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on July 30, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Mike Ehrmann

A sports collectibles store becomes a part of Houston memorabilia

Dluhy, laughing, informed the man that he was, in fact, still alive and kicking.

His store, however, is going away.

This week, Dluhy will close the final outpost of Sports Collectibles of Houston, which at one point included five stores in Houston, Austin and San Antonio. Dluhy's business mirrors the ups and downs of the baseball card industry. He was among the first of a handful of entrepreneurs who set up shops in the late 1970s and early 1980s as the hobby grew from a rite of passage for kids into a billion-dollar industry.

By the early 1990s, according to some industry estimates, Houston had between 75 and 100 full-time trading card dealers. Now, there are no more than one or two in the Houston metropolitan area.

"The shops are disappearing," said Dave Jamieson, author of the book "Mint Condition: How Baseball Cards Became an American Obsession." "When I was growing up, every little town had its own card shop, and some had more. Now, you're lucky to find one in a county. The industry has contracted, and the card shops have contracted, too."

Business 'a killer'

As with other aspects of retail, eBay and other online retailers now command many of the customers who used to walk into stores like Sports Collectibles of Houston and other retail outlets.

"I'll miss the one-on-one contact with people. That will be the hardest thing," said Dluhy, 67, who will retain his personal collection of cards and memorabilia and continue his eBay outpost. "But this business is a killer if you depend on business that walks through the door."

For years, though, Dluhy and his counterparts made a good living on cardboard. Dluhy grew up in Rosenberg as a collector and kept his cards, as did other Houston collectors who bought and sold cards in the 1970s at John's Treasure Chest, a coin store in the Meyerland area, and at shows sponsored by collectors Tom Kennedy, a longtime reporter with the Houston Post, and Tom Koppa.

Dluhy, who worked from 1972 until 1987 as an advertising salesman for the Post, opened his first Sports Collectibles store in November 1979.

"I had met (Oilers quarterback) Dan Pastorini and (Astros pitcher) Joe Niekro and started doing auctions and things," he said. "People were opening stores around the country, and I told my wife, Betsy, that cards may end up like hula hoops, but wouldn't it be fun to have the first trading cards store in Houston."

He began sponsoring shows in the 1980s, based on relationships with Pastorini, Niekro, Nolan Ryan and others, and expanded from weekends only to full-time business at a time when the once-staid card industry began to pick up steam with the expansion of major league licenses from Topps, the longtime industry standard, to Fleer, Donruss and others.

"It became a bonanza," he said. "I was making money and having a good time. We opened two more stores in Houston and stores in Alief and Clear Lake. 1989, when Upper Deck came on board, was the all-time high, and then it started to level out."

The 1989 launch of Upper Deck, coupled with the mergers-and-acquisitions mania of the 1990s, may have helped spell the doom of the 1980s boom.

Investors began to speculate in large blocks of individual cards of star players like Cardinals infielder Vince Coleman who turned out not to be stars in the long run. Increased prices and the promise of quick profits prompted oversupply, with large print runs by companies like Dallas-based Pro Set and others, which eventually diluted values.

"People couldn't get their hands on Upper Deck fast enough, and Topps and the other companies came out with new products to keep up," Dluhy said. "They kept trying to outdo each other and come up with more ways to sell things."

'A rat in the woodpile'

At the height of the rookie card craze in the early 1990s, Dluhy said he received a call from a distributor offering him a group of Jeff Bagwell rookie cards from Upper Deck.

"He told me that I had to buy them all, and when I asked how many there were, he told me he had 10,000 of them," Dluhy said. "That's when I told my wife, 'There's a rat in the woodpile here.' "

At the height of the gold rush, in 1992, the investor Ron Perelman paid $82.5 million to buy Marvel Entertainment, the parent company of the comic books chain. He subsequently spent $265 million to purchase Fleer, a longtime card manufacturer, and $150 million on SkyBox, which focused on NBA cards.

Marvel, of course, continues today as one of the prime movers of the entertainment industry. But Fleer and SkyBox are no more, as are the long-ago pipe dreams of quick money through cardboard.

"A lot of people got burned when they bought a 1989 Score factory set and then a few years later found it listed as being worth $12," Dluhy said. "The companies made you buy huge allotments each year, and we figured we could put it all in the warehouse and in 10 years it would be worth more."

By 2000, only a dozen card shops remained in Houston, and many collectors began a greater emphasis on pre-1980 cards and on autographs and other memorabilia. Among the primary movers in the latter category is Houston-based Tri-Star, headed by Jeff Rosenberg, who was one of Dluhy's most loyal customers in the 1980s, and Bobby Mintz.

"Larry and the other stores were so important to us. It was what we did on the weekends," Rosenberg said. "They helped establish card collecting that was something that was more than just a hobby - something that can be a mainstream business."

Online expansion

Dluhy said he expanded his brick-and-mortar operation to eBay, and online sales eventually accounted for about half of his business.

Pete Williams, whose book "Card Sharks" tracked the Upper Deck-fueled boom years, said a lot of hobby shops have turned to gaming products such as "Magic: The Gathering," "Pokemon" and other products. Other promoters have moved into the comic books industry and the Comic-Con craze.

There are a few holdouts such as Howard Lau, whose Houston Sports Connection store in west Houston has been in business for 27 years and may be the last full-line sports card store in Houston.

"I still come to work like a kid in a candy store," Lau said. "I wish there were more stores. It would be better for the hobby. But the Internet is tough to beat. You have to adapt, change your business and give your customers what they want."

Dluhy said his store remained profitable, but his wife's death five years ago and other aspects convinced him that it's time to get out of the retail business.

"One of the guys I had helping me is ready to go on cruises and enjoy his grandkids, and I'm ready to do the same," Dluhy said. "I may still get a boothat some of the shows so I can talk and visit with people.

"I think the industry, with all its ups and downs, will continue. It always has."

Источник: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/article/A-sports-collectibles-store-becomes-a-part-of-6103944.php
Getty Images

Top Shot sales are just the start. Coming off his seventh Super Bowl victory, Brady announced this week the launch of his own NFT company called Autograph. Mavericks billionaire owner Mark Cuban started an NFT art gallery, and athletes including Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and PGA Tour golfer Bryson DeChambeau have created and sold NFTs.

'More time on their hand'

For card dealers like Ron Gustafson, owner of MVP Sports Cards & Collectibles in Sebastian, Florida, the timing of Topps' plan to hit the public market is fascinating. From his 1,000-square-foot shop in a strip mall near the coast, Gustafson has witnessed firsthand the remarkable rebound of a business that in recent decades has trended more in the direction of traditional retail.

Gustafson, who has three daughters, opened his store in 2017 as a passion project and side gig to the tax business he's owned since 2008. He said that when the pandemic hit, things were very slow at first because of the shutdowns and concerns about the economy. The resurgence began around the time the NBA restarted its season in the Orlando bubble in July, he said.

"That really helped as far as getting sports fans back," Gustafson said. "The card market just completely skyrocketed. Maybe folks were home and more people had more time on their hand."

Even with store occupancy limits and appointment viewing, Gustafson said he recently recouped his initial $250,000 he put into the business and is now seeing gains. While Topps controls most of the baseball card market, the more popular products right now are football cards and the most expensive are basketball, he said. Panini America owns the licenses for those leagues.

A surprise customer

Gustafson said his most interesting appointment of the year came one Saturday in March, after he got a call from someone asking if his store had any boxes of Panini's Prizm football cards, which he sells for $1,500. Gustafson said he did, and the man told him he'd be there in a half hour.

When he arrived, the man asked Gustafson if he happened to have any rookie cards for Alex Bregman, an infielder for the Houston Astros. Gustafson said he didn't and asked why he was looking.

"He said, 'Because I'm Alex Bregman,'" Gustafson said. "Sure enough, he grabbed the last three Prizm boxes off the shelf and let us take a picture."

Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros at MVP Sports Cards & Collectibles in Sebastian, Florida.

Bregman was in Florida for Spring Training. The Astros play about 90 miles south of Sebastian, in West Palm Beach but had a game that day against the New York Mets in the nearby town of Port St. Lucie. Gustafson said he originally planned to attend the game that day and was going to let his store manager run the shop.

"Had I gone to the game I would have missed Alex Bregman," Gustafson said. Instead, he met Bregman and made a $4,500 sale.

Gustafson said he's still unsure about where the digital market is headed. Panini has a blockchain product with online card auctions, though it has very "niche popularity," he said. The physical card with a handwritten autograph is still what excites collectors, he said, and so does buying and owning boxes of packs that go up in value as rookies from that year turn into stars.

Still, there are plenty of ways that blockchain could make even the traditional card market more efficient and trustworthy, Gustafson said. For example, there's no good way to price old and rare cards. Sellers still tend to look on eBay to see the last transaction price. Others send cards off by mail and pay to have them graded by specialty authenticators. Those processes are tedious and imperfect.

"Folks are warming up to the digital side of things because of what digital currency is doing from an investment standpoint," said Gustafson, adding that he's invested a bit in cryptocurrencies bitcoin and ethereum. "Collectors still want something physical in return."

WATCH:The rise of NFTs and why people are collecting moments and assets differently

Источник: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/11/baseball-cards-collides-with-nfts-and-spacs.html
  • Headline Sports
    1213 Boyles Street
    Houston TX 77020

  • Heroes Collectibles
    1570 S. Dairy Ashford Suite. 109
    Houston TX 77077

  • Houston Sports Connection
    12230 Westheimer Road
    Houston TX 77077

  • Sports Collectibles of Houston
    5637 Beechnut St
    Houston TX 77096

  • Sportscard Shack
    13018 Woodforest Blvd # M
    Houston TX 77015

  • Strike Zone
    10904 Scarsdale Blvd # 245
    Houston TX 77089

  • Headline Sports Authentic Autographs & More
    Houston,
    Houston, TX 77020

  • Adventure Chips and Collectibles
    Houston,
    Houston, TX 77459

  • Bedrock City Comic Company
    6516 Westheimer Rd
    Houston, TX 77057

  • LR Antiques Refinishing & Restoration
    3580 Lang Rd
    Houston, TX 77092

  • Hockeycardsonline.Com
    6600 Hillcroft St
    Houston, TX 77081

  • Art & Frame Connection
    706 Memorial City Way
    Houston, TX 77024

  • Tri Star Productions
    4025 Willowbend Blvd Ste 312
    Houston, TX 77025

  • Patch Collection
    10998 S Wilcrest Dr
    Houston, TX 77099

  • History of The Game
    1213 Boyles St
    Houston, TX 77020

  • Image restoration by Beetho
    15630 Haleys Landing Ln
    Houston, TX 77095

  • MAI Memorial Antiques & Interiors
    7026 Old Katy Rd
    Houston, TX 77024

  • Hlt & T Sports
    9718a Hillcroft St
    Houston, TX 77096

It has never been easier for sports memorabilia collectors in Houston, Texas to find amazing collectibles. Our staff has listed the most popular sports memorabilia retail shops in Houston. Headlining the stores is Headline Sports Authentic Autographs & More among many other great stores in town. If you are in the market for Houston Rockets, Houston Texans, Texas Longhorns autographed collectibles, these shops will have you covered. Finding the perfect item or rare collectible can be difficult. No need to search all over Texas for memorabilia, shop at your local Houston retail store. If some reason these local shops do not have the product you are looking for, visit SportsCollectibles.com and browse our many signed items from the region's most popular teams: Houston Rockets, Houston Texans, and Texas Longhorns. The memorabilia hobby has never been stronger. Support your local Houston area by purchasing authentic collectibles from a certified brick and mortar shop. For more information, contact our sports memorabilia experts 24-7 on SportsCollectibles.com or by phone 800-793-9793.

Sports memorabilia stores in Houston, Texas carry the best sports collectibles, memorabilia, licensed sports products, display cases, and all your sports collectibles. Call us at (800) 793-9793 so that we may answer any of your memorabilia questions.

Источник: https://www.sportscollectibles.com/sports-memorabilia-collectibles-stores/texas/houston.html
baseball card stores in houston

Why Did Someone Pay $5 Million for a Baseball Card in 2021?

Rob Gough, with the 1952 Mickey Mantle card he paid a record-setting $5.2 million for last month. Photo: Berk Communications

This time last year, the only sports cards Rob Gough owned were the ones he’d collected as a kid. Somewhere in his possession are plastic sheets filled with Michael Jordans, Shaquille O’Neals, and assorted members of the 1990s Cincinnati Reds, all baseball card stores in houston and worth roughly the cardboard they were printed on. These days, Gough’s collection looks a bit different. The entrepreneur says that by mid-January of this year, he had spent $10 million on various trading cards, a spree that culminated with his biggest purchase yet: $5.2 million for a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle in nearly perfect condition. With that, he shattered the record for the price of a single card.

It was a jaw-dropping purchase but hardly an isolated event in a suddenly torrid sports-card market. The previous record for the priciest sale ever had been set just months before, in August 2020, when a one-of-a-kind 2009 Mike Trout baseball card sold for baseball card stores in houston million — a massive jump from the $400,000 it went for in 2018. In September, a Giannis Antetokounmpo card sold nearest td bank branch to my location $1.812 million (a record for a basketball card), and earlier this year, one of Patrick Mahomes sold for $861,000 (setting a record for football). On eBay, overall domestic sales for trading cards were up 142 percent in 2020.

“I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything like this in my career,” says Jeff Rosenberg, the president and CEO of Tristar Productions, a Houston-based memorabilia company that promotes collectible shows.

Some of the increased interest in trading cards can be attributed to onetime collectors rediscovering their childhood hobby during the pandemic, as people stuck at home direct their disposable income to a sentimental pastime. But another trend, which had already begun before last March, has helped drive the headline-grabbing, six- and seven-figure purchases.

Historically, the collectors who buy up rare baseball cards have been driven by emotion; the cards’ investment potential was secondary to what Rosenberg calls the “visceral experience” of owning them. Now, he says, that calculus is starting to flip, and cards are increasingly being seen as investments first. “Over the last several years,” Rosenberg says, “I’ve seen a bunch of younger folks come in. And some of them like the cards. [To] others, it’s really a strategic asset. These cards to them are no different than a stock portfolio.”

Indeed, Gough says his purchase of the Mantle card had more to do with profit-making than it did fandom.

“I would say 70 percent investment, 30 percent from an emotional standpoint,” he says. “I think this card is going to continuously beat the S&P 500. So what am I gonna do? Take the $5.2 million and put it in the market? Put it in a house, where you’re going to get 3 to 8 percent a year? Or put it in Mickey Mantle?”

Ken Goldin, the founder and executive chairman of Goldin Auctions, which has handled the sale of many high-end cards, says he’s also seen a rise in younger buyers over the past several years. His explanation: Millennials and Gen-Zers who come into money “may not want to purchase stocks and may not want to purchase art, and they’re looking for a nontraditional asset that they enjoy.”

But according to Goldin, it’s not just individual buyers swiping up the top cards. He says sports collectible funds have formed with the sole purpose of buying and sitting on valuable trading cards, while some existing alternative investment funds now allocate a portion of their portfolios to trading cards.

Cards of Lou Gehrig ($801,960), Stephen Curry ($984,000), Patrick Mahomes ($861,000), and Michael Jordan ($738,000) were among those sold earlier this year through Goldin Auctions. Photo: Goldin Auctions

This isn’t the first boom for the higher end of the industry. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, sale prices for rarities like the Honus Wagner T206 — long considered the holy grail of baseball cards — alerted the general public that the cards they collected and quite possibly threw away as kids could have real value. Card companies responded to the increased interest by overproducing their sets, rendering most of their output from the era more or less worthless. Ken Griffey Jr.’s 1989 Upper Deck rookie card, once the hottest card in the hobby, famously turned out to not be very rare at all: The company is estimated to have produced more than 2 million of them. (One Kansas man owns hundreds.)

Card-makers eventually started to build artificial scarcity into their products: Some are produced in extremely small quantities; in some cases, just one of a card may be made. Now the most sought after of these cards — in the right condition, as determined by an independent evaluator — are suddenly selling for as much as the most iconic ones of yesteryear.

All of this lends itself especially well to the investor mind-set. Mickey Mantle’s place in history is well established, but a younger player like Antetokounmpo could still see his stock rise down the road. Buying his card now is a bet that he’ll remain a star for many years, that his cards will remain sought after, and that they’ll wells fargo closest bank for a higher price later. That these modern cards can be even scarcer than the vintage ones — there’s only one of the record-setting Antetokounmpo, for instance, compared to nine 1952 Topps Mantles graded at least as high as Gough’s by the authenticator PSA — only adds to the appeal as a rare asset.

“For the first time, perhaps in history, sports collectibles are sort of a cool thing to do,” says Ezra Levine, the CEO of Collectable, a fractional ownership platform that lets users buy and sell shares in valuable cards. “You have athletes and influencers and celebrities who are into the hobby. You have mainstream media outlets getting into it.”

Just last week, Goldin Auctions announced it had raised $40 million in funding from the Chernin Group, in a funding round that included notables like Mark Cuban, Kevin Durant, Logan Paul, Mark Wahlberg, and Deshaun Watson.

Even those rooting for prices to continue rising indefinitely concede that certain aspects of the hobby are bound to cool off: the demand for less-scarce modern basketball cards, for instance, or the hype around athletes who play above their usual level for a couple of weeks and see their card values spike. But they say they’re confident the “Willy Wonka golden ticket cards,” as Goldin calls them, will continue to increase in value over time.

“It depends what your time horizon is,” says Rosenberg. “Will prices ebb and flow? Yes. At some point, the pressure will change. But what do I see in the near term? There’s still more people who are finding out about this and buying.”

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Why Did Someone Pay $5 Million for a Baseball Card in 2021?Источник: https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/02/why-are-sports-cards-so-hot-right-now.html

Bay area sports card shows 2021

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Источник: http://svijet-ezoterije.com/ptscpvac/bay-area-sports-card-shows-2021.html

Attack of the Baseball Cards: A small New Jersey card shop with a big-time heart

UNION, N.J. — Steve Mandy waltzes up and down behind the counter in his store, equal parts game show host, auctioneer and cool uncle.

His single stud earring and graying hair illustrate the latter of those qualities. He has an interesting demeanor; he's got some Arthur Fonzarelli-like coolness to him, but with none of the bravado, and exudes a genuine warmth as the day's activities begin.

It's Super Bowl Sunday, but inside Attack of the Baseball Cards, you might not know it. Crowding the small store are about 25 customers lined up to take part in this year's Super Bowl Sunday "Pack Wars" event. Most people know one another on a first-name basis, and it seems like there's a single link. 

MORE: Watch 'ChangeUp,' a new MLB live whiparound show on DAZN

Unprovoked, several customers walk over to me with glowing reviews of the store and its owner. They tell me how great Mandy is, with no fluff or filler. They're not blowing smoke, either. There's authenticity to it here, with Frank, a regular customer, putting a bow on all the reviews.

"Steve's the best," he says with genuine enthusiasm.

Mandy is the host baseball card stores in houston biggest annual "Pack Wars" event; round-by-round, Mandy sells off packs of cards to each customer at a discounted price. The customers rip the packs open, and baseball card stores in houston pulls the card that wins the corresponding question — biggest player, closest hometowns and so forth — wins the round, and a prize.

It’s a fun tradition, and everyone leaves the store happy, with brand-new cards of all types — including tobacco cards, more than $800 worth of product — and sports memorabilia as a "thank you for playing."

After the dust settles and the customers leave, you get to take in some of the history of the store. Autographed memorabilia, rare cards and more — the stuff you'd typically see in a card shop — adorn the cases and walls. But there are more novel rarities; a few Reggie Bars in a glass case, a signed Ernie Banks bat and a baseball statistics book that features the signatures of many Hall of Fame players. That's not for sale, however.

Of course, the question must be asked: What's the most valuable thing in the store?

Mandy shows me around, glass cases and walls decked out in memories that jump off the items.

Mandy sets his eyes on a photo next to the glass case next to his front door. His voice gets low as he looks at the photo. His eyes light up with pride more than excitement. He wrestles with just a bit of emotion before getting his words out.

“This is the most valuable thing I have.”

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Mandy’s odyssey led him to a somewhat hidden warehouse park in Union, nestled among delivery trucks, potholed blacktop and faded parking lines.

If you drive by the building, you'd miss it — which someone did twice when trying to find the store. The old building, which also houses batting cages, comes alive once the doors open — the sounds of aluminum bats meeting training balls provide a fitting, poetic soundtrack to the shop, which sits alongside the cages.

The space is cramped but makes use of every inch: There's memorabilia in every nook and cranny, with boxes and packs of cards intertwining with other collectibles and keepsakes. It's been a long time since Mandy has been in this spot, almost 11 years, having moved here after his last location raised rent by 30 percent. It's been an odyssey for Mandy, but he seems settled in his current location.

Union isn't far from Mandy's hometown of Hillside, N.J., where he grew up a collector of baseball cards. The first cards he collected were 1960 Topps cards, gripped by the alternating colored lettering on the front. 

But long before Mandy wound up off the busy highway of Route 22 and had the idea of starting a business of his own, he forged a friendship with a Yankees stalwart with whom he shared the same hometown.

"My dad took me and my brother over to Phil Rizzuto's house," Mandy baseball card stores in houston, overcome with nostalgia. "He just rang the doorbell and wanted us to meet Phil Rizzuto. Rizzuto brought us into his den, showed us all his trophies, sat us down, talked to us, signed some autographs for us. From then on I became totally in love with Phil Rizzuto."

Mandy, roughly 7 years old at the time, got Rizzuto's autograph, one of the first of his extensive collection he keeps to this day. The friendship with Rizzuto grew to the point that he would visit four or five times a year, along with his brother Jack, and Joe, one of his best childhood friends, who died in 2018.

"We'd hang out, watch TV and talk to him. He just got used to us coming over all the time," Mandy says. "He always let us in, he was always awesome."

One early Saturday morning, Mandy and his brother visited Rizzuto's house, the morning after a Yankees night game Rizzuto called as a broadcaster. Cora, Rizzuto's wife, brought both Mandy and his brother inside, fed them breakfast and had them watch cartoons until Rizzuto sauntered down the stairs in his pajamas and his robe.

"That was the relationship," Mandy says. "There were times where I would go over and Mickey Mantle would be there. I went over one time and Joe DiMaggio was there. Yogi Berra was there."

MORE: An inside look at the Topps creative process

As Mandy and Co. grew older, he started taking the bus from Hillside to New York to see the Yankees play. He and friends would bring items to get signed before and after games, his collecting and autograph habit in full fervor.

Mandy recounts the time when he and some friends who frequented the Rizzuto household went to a Yankee game and shouted for Rizzuto to give them a ride home from the ballpark.

"He would say, 'Yeah, just make sure you're back here in the eighth inning so you're here for the end of the game!'"

Rizzuto would drive each of the friends home individually — given the lateness of the hour — dropping them off directly at their front doors.

Holy cow.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Because of his enamorment with Rizzuto, Mandy started collecting cards and autographs more. But as with some collectors, as he entered his teenage years, he fell out of love with card collecting. Mandy eventually found himself in a career in advertising, working as an art director for several prominent publications, including The Record, Cosmopolitan and Popular Photography.

Eventually, a co-worker at one of Mandy's ad jobs wondered whether Mandy would accompany her to see and get autographs from Ted Williams, who was signing at a New Jersey hotel. It was the first card show Mandy had been to. Mandy got Williams' autograph, but the experience changed him.

"I went into the card show and I walked around and I was blown away," Mandy said. "I want to do this. . I want to do this."

A few months after that January show, Mandy dug up cards from his youth and set up a table at another show. After that March 1982 day, Mandy never stopped. There was just one thing missing: He needed a name.

"On a Friday night, back in 1982, we had company over one night, and I said to everybody, 'Look, I have to come up with a trade name.' I wanted something with an 'A,' because I wanted to be listed first in the phone book.

"We sat around for over a half an hour, with everybody throwing out names, and they were all terrible, there was nothing that was good," Mandy says. "Finally, one of the guys says, 'This is ridiculous. Turn on the damn TV.' The movie 'Attack of the Killer Tomatoes' was on. He said, 'Hey, look at this! 'Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.' Why don't you make it 'Attack of the Baseball Cards,' and you can have giant baseball cards chasing you around.'"

Mandy, instantly loving the idea, headed up to his bedroom, grabbed a couple of 5,000-card boxes, lay on the floor, and his friends covered with him baseball cards and took a photograph. Since then, Mandy has used the image of him being "attacked" by baseball cards on flyers he sends out to customers. The rest, as they say, is history.

The original Attack of the Baseball Cards image at the top of an event flyer.

Originally, Mandy started doing solely baseball card shows on weekends, and eventually at night. The birth of his daughter in 1981 meant that going into the card business made for a few extra bucks in his pocket. With momentum came opportunity, and Mandy made enough money to go into business with a partner, having a store in Woodbridge, N.J. Along with his partner, Mandy promoted baseball cards shows and signings, moving several times — and going solo — before ending up in Union.

Mandy retired as an artist in 1994 and has been in the card game full time since then. 

"It's been a love affair with this," he says. "Things were progressing too computerized. The art field was getting to a point where I wasn't sure how much I wanted to do the computerized stuff."

Eventually, Mandy asked for his release from his ad job, finding that his heart wasn't in it. His boss at the time, with whom he shared what he describes as a "father-son relationship," offered a bit of odd encouragement on the way out the door.

"I remember my boss saying to me, 'You're throwing your career away for nickel and dime baseball cards.'"

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

There's more to Attack of the Baseball Cards than might appear from a first impression.

On the outside, the store doesn't seem to be anything special. It's what's on the inside that counts.

During that Super Bowl Sunday "Pack Wars" event, Mandy makes a point to remind customers of success stories that frequented his store. He mentions he was inspired by his former boss at his last art job — the one who claimed he was throwing his career away — to integrate more humanitarian causes and a sense of community into his store.

"I started doing a lot of things for the community, and a lot of things for kids through the store," Mandy says. "I wanted to make it more than a regular store."

Among the efforts to get the community more involved: a now-defunct essay contest that Mandy used to schedule during the summer. The idea came from a friend of Mandy's who owned a card shop in Florida — the same friend who gave him inspiration for his "Pack Wars" contests — who also did essay contests.

Couple that with Mandy's desire to be more for the community than just a card store, and it yielded some excellent results.

Each summer, Mandy would give students a player to research — usually with some kind of human-interest angle — with the winner being selected by different judges, including sports media stalwart Bill Daughtry (an Attack of the Baseball Cards customer) and Michael Jordan's brother, Larry.

Judges would read the essays and select a winner, who would win cards and other goodies at a September "Pack Wars" event. One winner, Bill Murphy, would go on to become a pitching coordinator with the Houston Astros.

All throughout that Sunday during "Pack Wars" event in early February, Mandy makes the point to remind everyone that the customers are more than that — they are family, and that's what matters most. He keeps tabs on his customers, making sure all is well, demonstrating a genuine sincerity.

Steve Mandy, far right, with the late Gary Carter in 2002. Also pictured, Bill Murphy (white shirt) with his mother.

"I want people to look back and smile and say, 'Yeah, I love that place,'" Mandy says. "That's the key. I want people to remember this place, that they had fun here. I don't want it to be a monetary thing."

Customers feel Mandy's effect.

"He's reassuring because someone like him still exists," says Jason Zimmerman, a regular customer. "He's a really nice person. He moves with the times. He's involved, he's involved with people's lives. … You go to other card stores in New Jersey, and it's just some a—hole sitting behind a counter, not doing anything. When you get (to Attack of the Baseball Cards), you're like, 'I'm glad I made the trip.'"

"He's inspired me," Zimmerman added. "My goal now is to open a store, because a store like Steve's isn't a dime a dozen anymore."

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

It's a quiet Wednesday afternoon in February, and Mandy shows me around his store a bit more. Asim, a regular customer strolls in, pleased to speak with Mandy. He had been frequenting Mandy’s shop baseball card stores in houston almost 20 years, long before Mandy's retreat into the warehouse park. Asim was even named one of Upper Deck's top 100 collectors in the country in 2018.

He's just one of the many die-hard collectors known to swing by the store — including some with famous names. Bill Daughtry, Al Leiter, Don Mattingly, Rex Ryan and Prince Amukamara are some of the famous sports figures to come by Mandy's store. One day, TV director Michael Smith — whose credits include "Suits," "Law & Order: SVU" and "Manifest" — was lounging in the store, cataloging and searching for values for his cards.

Mandy and Asim speak like old friends more than a store owner and a client, talking about the latest products and cards, and catching up with each other, before trying to put an exact timeline on how long Asim's been stopping by.

All throughout the interview, Mandy’s words are writhe with nostalgia, a genuine boyish elation, more than pride, appreciative of the history and memories each item in his store has.

MORE: Ranking the top baseball card sets of the '80s and '90s

Mandy is willing and thrilled to share his story, but never once does he make himself the star, pointing out family, friends and inspirations for his success along the way. While Attack of the Baseball Cards is in business to make a dollar — as most businesses are — Mandy seems more resigned to the role of friendly neighborhood card-seller.

He shows me the labor of his some of his work: a baseball stats book that has the signatures of many players, signed across their stat lines in the book. There are hundreds of autographs therein, and he tells me stories of meeting baseball greats through the years, valuing some baseball friendships and people he's met along the way.

Mandy shows me around — selfishly, I'm looking for any and all New York Jets cards — pointing out the valuable tobacco cards and other products in the store. A victim of a burglary once in the past, Mandy doesn't seem to let it bother him. His idea of value is different from a thief's.

Which brings us back to the photo on the wall.

Encased in a plastic holder, it's an aged drawing of the old Attack of the Baseball Cards storefront, drawn in crayon, youthful innocence and exaggeration. Underneath, there's a chicken-scratch blurb written in uneven pencil. It was illustrated by a 7-year-old nearly two decades ago.

Mandy looks at the picture with pride.

"In school, they asked what their favorite place was, and they had to draw a picture of it and write a story about it. He handed that in in school, and his mother gave it to me. He picked Attack of the Baseball Cards as his favorite place to go to.

"That's the most valuable thing I have in here."

Источник: https://www.sportingnews.com/us/mlb/news/wipdnp-attack-of-the-baseball-cards-a-small-card-shop-with-big-time-heart/1esg5e3pdbrln168tvoe0y4jpk

A sports collectibles store becomes a part of Houston memorabilia

Dluhy, laughing, informed the man that he was, in fact, still alive and kicking.

His store, however, is going away.

This week, Dluhy will close the final outpost of Sports Collectibles of Houston, which at one point included five stores in Houston, Austin and San Antonio. Dluhy's business mirrors the ups and downs of the baseball card industry. He was among the first of a handful of entrepreneurs who set up shops in the late 1970s and early 1980s as the hobby grew from a rite of passage for kids into a billion-dollar industry.

By the early 1990s, according to some industry estimates, Houston had between 75 and 100 full-time trading card dealers. Now, there are no more than one or two in the Houston metropolitan area.

"The shops are disappearing," said Dave Jamieson, author of the book "Mint Condition: How Baseball Cards Became an American Obsession." "When I was growing up, every little town had its own card shop, and some had more. Now, you're lucky to find one in a county. The industry has contracted, and the card shops have contracted, too."

Business 'a killer'

As with other aspects of retail, eBay and other online retailers now command many of the customers who used to walk into stores like Sports Collectibles of Houston and other retail outlets.

"I'll miss the one-on-one contact with baseball card stores in houston. That will be the hardest thing," said Dluhy, 67, who will retain his personal collection of cards and memorabilia and continue his eBay outpost. "But this business is a killer if you depend on business that walks through the door."

For years, though, Dluhy and his counterparts made a good living on cardboard. Dluhy grew up in Rosenberg as a collector and kept his cards, as did other Houston collectors who bought and sold cards in the 1970s at John's Treasure Chest, a coin store in the Meyerland area, and at shows sponsored by collectors Tom Kennedy, a longtime reporter with the Houston Post, and Tom Koppa.

Dluhy, who worked from 1972 until 1987 as an advertising salesman for the Post, opened his first Sports Collectibles store in November 1979.

"I had met (Oilers quarterback) Dan Pastorini and (Astros pitcher) Joe Niekro and started doing auctions and things," he said. "People were opening stores around the country, and I told my wife, Betsy, that cards may end up like hula hoops, but wouldn't it be fun to have the first trading cards store in Houston."

He began sponsoring shows in the 1980s, based on relationships with Pastorini, Niekro, Nolan Ryan and others, and expanded from weekends only to full-time business at a time when the once-staid card industry began to pick up steam with the expansion of major league licenses from Topps, the longtime industry standard, to Fleer, Donruss and others.

"It became a bonanza," he said. "I was making money and having a good time. We opened two more stores in Houston and stores in Alief and Clear Lake. 1989, when Upper Deck came on board, was the all-time high, and then it started to level out."

The 1989 launch of Upper Deck, coupled with the mergers-and-acquisitions mania of the 1990s, may have helped spell the doom of the 1980s boom.

Investors began to speculate in large blocks of individual cards of star players like Cardinals infielder Vince Coleman who turned out not to be stars in the long run. Increased prices and the promise of quick profits prompted oversupply, with large print runs by companies like Dallas-based Pro Set and others, which eventually diluted values.

"People couldn't get their hands on Upper Deck fast enough, and Topps and the other companies came out with new products to keep up," Dluhy said. "They kept trying to outdo each other and come up with more ways to sell things."

'A rat in the woodpile'

At the height of the rookie card craze in the early 1990s, Dluhy said he received a call from a distributor offering him a group of Jeff Bagwell rookie cards from Upper Deck.

"He told me that I had to buy them all, and when I asked how many there were, he told me he had 10,000 of them," Dluhy said. "That's when I told my wife, 'There's a rat in the woodpile here.' "

At the height of the gold rush, in 1992, the investor Ron Perelman paid $82.5 million to buy Marvel Entertainment, the parent company of the comic books chain. He subsequently spent $265 million to purchase Fleer, a longtime card manufacturer, and $150 million on SkyBox, which focused on NBA cards.

Marvel, of course, continues today as one of the prime movers of the entertainment industry. But Fleer and SkyBox are no more, as are the long-ago pipe dreams of quick money through cardboard.

"A lot of people got burned when they bought a 1989 Score factory set and then a few years later found it listed as being worth $12," Dluhy said. "The companies made you buy huge allotments each year, and we figured we could put it all in the warehouse and in 10 years it would be worth more."

By 2000, only a dozen card shops remained in Houston, and many collectors began a greater emphasis on pre-1980 cards and on autographs and other memorabilia. Among the primary movers in the latter category is Houston-based Tri-Star, headed by Jeff Rosenberg, who was one of Dluhy's most loyal customers in the 1980s, and Bobby Mintz.

"Larry and the other stores were so important to us. It was what we did on the weekends," Rosenberg said. "They helped establish card collecting that was something that was more than just a hobby - something that can be a mainstream business."

Online expansion

Dluhy said he expanded his brick-and-mortar operation to eBay, and online sales eventually accounted for about half of his business.

Pete Williams, whose book "Card Sharks" tracked the Upper Deck-fueled boom years, said a lot of hobby shops have turned to gaming products such as "Magic: The Gathering," "Pokemon" and other products. Other promoters have moved into the comic books industry and the Comic-Con craze.

There are a few holdouts such as Howard Lau, whose Houston Sports Connection store in west Houston has been in business for 27 years and may be the last full-line sports card store in Houston.

"I still come to work like a kid in a candy store," Lau said. "I wish there were more stores. It would be better for the hobby. But the Internet is tough to beat. You have to adapt, change your business and give your customers what they want."

Dluhy said his store remained profitable, but his wife's death five years ago and other aspects convinced him that it's time to get out of the retail business.

"One of the guys I had helping me is ready to go on cruises and enjoy his grandkids, and I'm ready to do the same," Dluhy said. "I may still get a boothat some of the shows so I can talk and visit with people.

"I think the industry, with all its ups and downs, will continue. It always has."

Источник: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/article/A-sports-collectibles-store-becomes-a-part-of-6103944.php

How baseball card mania is colliding with NFT boom to revive Topps and change the game for dealers

On a recent family ski trip in California, my kids and I popped into an old baseball card shop in the city of Sonora, a former gold mining town in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

As a former rabid card collector, I lit up when I saw the sign for BJ's Cards and Collectibles on the town's main drag. With baseball season about to begin, I bought each of my sons, ages 5 and 8, a pack of 2021 Topps cards.

Before ringing me up, the owner, Bill Wiley, was apologetic in informing me that each pack was $5.50. That's more than a 100% markup from pre-pandemic levels. During the lockdowns, he said, the popularity of sports cards had soared and small dealers like BJ's were having to pay top dollar to distributors to get inventory. It didn't matter whether you were talking about single packs or the rarest of collectibles.

"This is the busiest since I can remember," Wiley, who opened the store with his son in 1992, said in a phone interview this week. "I closed down for nine weeks and when I reopened, there was incredible demand for sports cards."

Those $5.50 packs I bought my kids in February would now cost $7, according to Wiley, who said he's paying $148 for baseball card stores in houston box of 24 packs to make $20 in profit. At the other end of the market, a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle rookie card sold for a record $5.2 million in January. A month later came the most expensive basketball card transaction in history — a rookie trading card of Dallas Mavericks star guard Luka Doncic was purchased for $4.6 million. And in April, a rookie Tom Brady card was bought at an auction for $2.25 million, a record for football.

Wiley, 68, said buyers today are much different than they were during the heyday of the industry in the 1990s, when collectors would come in and spend hours looking through boxes of random cards.

"A lot of these people are new to the hobby and looking at it as a form of maybe a little bit of gambling," he said.

The unforeseen revival of the sports card industry that sellers like Wiley are experiencing is colliding headfirst with two other booming trends that have captured the attention of investors: non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs).

On Tuesday, Topps said it's going public through a SPAC, meaning that it's being acquired by a publicly-traded blank check company. In the announcement, the 83-year-old sports card and chewing gum company touted both the popularity of physical collectibles and its expansion into NFTs, or digital items that live on blockchain technology.

Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, who bought Topps 14 years ago, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" that the digital business, primarily apps, is growing rapidly and that blockchain will be a big part of the future. However, he said physical cards are still driving much of the current business.

"The cardboard cards are still extremely popular — we appeal to kids," Eisner said. "The digital cards are very popular — we appeal to teenagers and young adults. And with blockchain, we think we'll appeal to everybody."

Topps' revenue in 2020 climbed 23% to $567 million, and the company is projecting sales growth of 22% this year followed by 12% expansion in 2022. Through next year, physical goods and confections (Bazooka Gum and Ring Pops) will still make up close to 90% of revenue. In addition to its flagship baseball cards, the company sells cards for Europe's UEFA Champions League, the National Hockey League, World Wrestling Entertainment and Star Wars.

Eisner said the company had settled on the SPAC transaction based on the trajectory of the existing business, and that the blockchain "explosion came after we made baseball card stores in houston decision."

By explosion, he's referring to products like NBA Top Shot, made by league partner Dapper Labs. Consumers are paying up to hundreds of thousands of dollars for a video highlight of a LeBron James dunk or a Zion Williamson blocked shot. The clips are purchased as NFTs, which have unique codes on blockchain that certify their authenticity.

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers at a game against the LA Clippers at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on July 30, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Mike Ehrmann

TRISTAR Houston Show draws record crowd with big names, hungry collectors

The milestone 35th annual TRISTAR Collectors Show in Houston, held June 4-6 at NRG Arena, was record-breaking, riding a perfect storm of a red-hot collectibles industry hungry for the first major, multi-guest show in about 15 months.

In fact, Friday June 4 was the biggest Friday at a TRISTAR show in company history, with more than five times the normal attendance for the promotion, which has been holding three-day shows in Houston since 1991.

“This was the biggest Friday night, by far,” said TRISTAR vice-president Bobby Mintz. “There is a lot of excitement in our industry right now for multiple reasons. Everything in the hobby is hot right now, especially cards … most collectors have not been to a major show since February 2020 … there have been no in-person autographs at a show with 25 to 30 guests since early-2020 … and there were some big-name signers, such as Jalen Hurts, Ted Simmons and Larry Walker, among others.”

Photo Gallery: Behind the scenes at TRISTAR Houston show 

The three-day show also featured appearances by Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Willie Roaf, Johnny Manziel, Bob Lilly, Will Clark and others. The top autograph signers were Bagwell and Biggio, who had not made a signing appearance together in Houston in three years. Other top signers were Hurts, Manziel, Drew Pearson and Ja’Marr Chase. Another strong signer was new Hall of Famer Larry Walker in his first public signing in 20-plus years.

“It was an absolutely fantastic show, a great crowd with people spending money,” said longtime dealer Mike Stoner. “Houston always is a good show market, and this show was as good or better [than past area shows].”

“I was cautiously optimistic, though personally very nervous,” Mintz said. “But everything went smooth; it couldn’t have gone any better.

“I think this show really bodes well for the summer, particularly, the National Sports Collectors Convention.”

Mintz predicted the 2021 National will be the biggest since the 1991 National in Anaheim, Calif.

“We had the most new customers at a show in a long, long time,” he said. “How do I know that? Based on the questions that the customers were asking in the autograph pavilion, such as, ‘Do you have pens we can use? Will someone tell the player where to sign the item? Etc.

“It’s very exciting that there is a new generation of people, future collectors.”

More: New company making LeBron 'most collectible name in basketball'

TRISTAR delivered a socially-distanced show, with larger aisles between dealer tables, six feet between signers and fans, multiple sanitation stations around the venue, and more. Keep Everyone Safe was the show mantra for TRISTAR — and they delivered.

“People were definitely very focused, excited for the show,” said longtime dealer Roger Neufeldt. “There were more people looking at vintage cards [than past shows], particularly older football cards and sets.”

Neufeldt sold a 1948 and 1949 Leaf football set hours after the show opened on Friday. He said the hot vintage baseball cards included the usual suspects: Mickey Mantle, Roberto Clemente, Stan Musial and Duke Snider. Ozzie Smith rookie cards (1979 Topps) were also strong sellers.

Neufeldt also spotted many vintage collectors under the age of 21, which brought a smile to his face. And there were more set-builders at the Houston show than at any show over the past few years, he said.

Dealer Randy Cook said the Houston show attracted some young collectors, including a 7-year-old boy who repeatedly visited Cook’s dealer table. Cook also noted many show attendees had not been to a show in 20 or 30 years.

Florida-based dealer Art Smith said it was a “fantastic” show, which truly shows the strength of the hobby. He noted demand for cards of Nolan Ryan, Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Hank Aaron and others.

“This show did better than I expected [and] shows there was pent-up demand for a major regional card show.”

Artist Isaac “Ike” Rodriguez was at the Houston show painting and promoting his brilliant pieces. He left with a smile on his face.

“It was a solid show,” Rodriguez said. “There were top-notch dealers and a good crowd … a really big crowd. The show was better than I expected.”

Rodriguez reported his prints sold well and he also sold four full-size original pieces. Plus, he acquired several commission jobs from customers.

Rodriguez was recently named the official artist for the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, replacing the late Robert Hurst. He was painting former Baylor basketball star Sophia Young at the TRISTAR show. An All-American in college, Young went on to a nine-year career for the San Antonio Silver Stars in the WNBA.

“It’s very bittersweet,” Rodriguez said. “I want to do a great job with the art for the Texas Sports Hall of Fame — not only for myself, but also for Robert, to keep his legacy alive.”

Show Calendar: State-by-state listing of card shows across the country 

Stoner said his sales at the TRISTAR show included 15 to 20 single-signed baseballs. He also was selling candy bars, with proceeds being donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, a charity and veterans service organization that offers a variety of programs, services and events for wounded veterans.

“I think everyone had a good time at the show,” Mintz said.

That includes the autograph-signers.

Former Yankee pitcher Ron Guidry, for instance, asked for the photo of teammate Chris Chambliss hitting the walk-off home run from the 1976 ALCS.

“He was so nervous to go up to Chris to ask him to sign the photo, even though they’ve been friends for 45 years and still speak weekly. He had never asked him for anything,” Mintz said.

Guidry plans to hang the photo in his office.

T.J. Ford made his first show appearance, while Hurts was “caring, professional and very specific to sign an item where the customer wanted it signed,” Mintz said. Same for Chase.

The all-around nicest guest for the whole weekend, Mintz said, was former Texas A&M star and Heisman Trophy winner Manziel. “He was just super nice to the people, offering tips on which pens to use, location to get an item signed, and more.”

Pearson, the former Dallas Cowboys great, was making his first public autograph appearance since he was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The next TRISTAR Show in Houston is Feb. 4-6, 2022.

AROUND THE SHOW

With pen and paper in hand, not a wad of cash, I looked at the offerings at the show. Oh, for an endless supply of cash.

Here’s a look at some of the souvenirs seen at the Houston show:

• Jose Altuve autographed, framed jersey, with two photos: $500.

• A game-used base from the April 3, 2018 game with Baltimore at Houston: $250.

• Houston Astros’ World Series-winning celebration 16x20 photo, framed, with 20 autographs: $2,000.

• George Springer game-used equipment: cleats ($450), bats ($450), batting gloves ($300).

• Pina Power player bobber of Yuli Gurriel, signed: $300.

• Houston Aeros magazine: $20.

• Brad Ausmus on a surfboard bobblehead: $20.

• Milo Hamilton bobblehead: $30.

• Bill Belichick signed 8x10 photo

• Bart Starr signed 8x10 photo, with inscription and JSA COA: $450.

• Carl Hubbell & Lefty Gomez dual-8x10 photo, with PSA: $125.

• The 1961 full issue of Who’s Who in Baseball: $35.

• Box of 2020 WWE Topps Finest cards: $150.

• 2021 UFC Panini Prizm box: $80.

• How ‘bout some 11x14 photos: Bob Lilly and Mel Renfro, dual-signed ($40); Evan Gattis ($50).

• Blow-out Specials: Signed, framed 8x10 photo of Donovan McNabb, in his Syracuse uniform ($60); Andre Ware in Detroit uniform ($60); Mark McGwire ($200); Tim Hardaway ($80) and Mel Ott, not signed ($40).

• Ohio State helmet signed by Archie Griffin: $350.

• Houston Texans helmet signed by Andre Johnson: $600.

• MLB cubed baseball: $25.

• Earl Campbell autographed football, in case: $200.

• Bum Phillips signed white panel football: $200.

• 2020-21 Panini NBA Hoops complete set with rookies: $80

• 1989 Upper Deck baseball, low-number series packs: $15.

• Full-color sublimation basketball hoops, with one player featured, such as, LeBron James: $30, or 2-for-$50.

• 1989 Donruss baseball box: $30.

• 1992 Topps Traded Baseball set: $15.

• Tom Brady signed, framed 18x24 poster: $2,000.

• Luka Doncic signed 16x20 photo: $600.

• Mike Trout signed 16x20 photo: $500.

• Ted Williams signed 16x10 photo: $350.

• Jim Brown on his first Sports Illustrated cover (Sept. 26, 1960): $30.

• Joe Namath on his first Sports Illustrated cover (Jan. 20, 1969): $200.

• Undertaker casket & figure set, signed: $200.

• Dak Prescott signed Dallas Cowboys helmet: $399.

• Mickey Mantle or Joe DiMaggio signed 11x14 photo: $350.

• Billy Cannon signed 11x14 photo: $30.

• Autographed baseballs: Joe Torre ($95), Early Wynn ($100), Bill Mazeroski ($75), Wade Boggs ($100), Preacher Roe ($75), Billy Herman ($100).

Источник: https://sportscollectorsdigest.com
  • Headline Sports
    1213 Boyles Street
    Houston TX 77020

  • Heroes Collectibles
    1570 S. Dairy Ashford Suite. 109
    Houston TX 77077

  • Houston Sports Connection
    12230 Westheimer Road
    Houston TX 77077

  • Sports Collectibles of Houston
    5637 Beechnut St
    Houston TX 77096

  • Sportscard Shack
    13018 Woodforest Blvd # M
    Houston TX 77015

  • Strike Zone
    10904 Scarsdale Blvd # 245
    Houston TX 77089

  • Headline Sports Authentic Autographs & More
    Houston,
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  • Adventure Chips and Collectibles
    Houston,
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  • Bedrock City Comic Company
    6516 Westheimer Rd
    Houston, TX 77057

  • LR Antiques Refinishing & Restoration
    3580 Lang Rd
    Houston, TX 77092

  • Hockeycardsonline.Com
    6600 Hillcroft St
    Houston, TX 77081

  • Art & Frame Connection
    706 Memorial City Way
    Houston, TX 77024

  • Tri Star Productions
    4025 Willowbend Blvd Ste 312
    Houston, TX 77025

  • Patch Collection
    10998 S Wilcrest Dr
    Houston, TX 77099

  • History of The Game
    1213 Boyles St
    Houston, TX 77020

  • Image restoration by Beetho
    15630 Haleys Landing Ln
    Houston, TX 77095

  • MAI Memorial Antiques & Interiors
    7026 Old Katy Rd
    Houston, TX 77024

  • Hlt & T Sports
    9718a Hillcroft St
    Houston, TX 77096

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Источник: https://www.sportscollectibles.com/sports-memorabilia-collectibles-stores/texas/houston.html

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