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Diamond Comics' Steve Geppi Arranges to Purchase Controlling Interest in Memorabilia Road Show Auction Company

Steve Geppi, a part-owner of the Baltimore Orioles and a prominent name in comic book distribution and collecting, has arranged to purchase a controlling interest in The Memorabilia Road Show, the sports auction house which leaped into prominence last year with its business plan of accepting consignments directly from athletes.

The company will be known as Geppi's Memorabilia Road Show and will be headquartered at Geppi's Timonium, Maryland headquarters of Diamond Comic Distributors.

With the purchase, Geppi (pronounced JEP-ee) will enter the sports auction category, bringing with him a lifelong love of sports and involvement with both the Orioles and the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum. Geppi's Diamond International Galleries division already owns Hake's Americana and Collectibles, the nation's premier pop culture auction house. With Memorabilia Road Show, he is acquiring one of the success stories of 2004, a company whose concept of "direct-from-athletes" (or their families, estates, or sports insiders) will continue to be its hallmark.

"Memorabilia Road Show burst on the scene and got everyone's attention last year," said Geppi. "It certainly got mine. After the enormous success of its first auction, including the unique contributions from the families of Thurman Munson and Roger Maris, I was sold. I called the people at MRS, and a series of meetings and phone calls put all the pieces in place. We're very excited to take this on."

Geppi's Memorabilia Road Show will maintain the company's existing infrastructure and will continue to include former Yankee star Bobby Murcer among its key consulting executives, along with premier collector Barry Halper, the company's senior acquisitions consultant. Diana Munson and Randy Maris continue their affiliation. Marty Appel will continue to serve as the company's public relations officer. Russell Friedman will manage the transition of the company's headquarters from Long Island, New York to Timonium, a Baltimore suburb.

"Steve brings great energy to this and will be a major figure now in the sports collectibles world," said Halper. "To people in the comic character related, book, toy, original art and collectible world, he's the industry's leading figure. Now he will have an opportunity to bring his unique talents into the sports world."

From his days as a youngster listening to the Orioles on the radio at his home in the Little Italy section of Baltimore to today where he maintains a nearly perfect home attendance record from his seat behind the Orioles dugout at Camden Yards, Mr. Geppi is a consummate fan of America's national pastime. He has devoted countless hours in an ongoing effort to bring the game closer to the fans in his role as a director of the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum.

"This is a great development for Memorabilia Road Show," said Murcer. "Steve is a perfect guy to step forward at this time and will be an important figure in the sports collectibles field going forward."

"Memorabilia Road Show did a wonderful job with the auction of Thurman's items," said Thurman Munson's widow, Diana. "I think this move will solidify a growing company and assure its long-term success."

"Steve Geppi is a sportsman, a man who cares about athletes and cares about business integrity," added Roberto Clemente, Jr. "Linking his name with Memorabilia Road Show is a great move for the company."

"We were there at the start of this business and have observed its rapid growth," said Gil Hodges, Jr. "This is a great step towards the continuation of that growth."

Orioles Hall of Fame great Brooks Robinson, who participated in the inaugural Memorabilia Road Show auction, noted that Mr. Geppi is "a great friend and as good a student of the game as you will find. With his honesty and business integrity, he will be a welcome addition to the sports auction marketplace. I am thrilled to be part of his team."

The company will bring forth a major auction later this year featuring the remarkable boxing collection of Toby Weston Cone, which includes a letter from the legendary Jack Johnson about fixing his fight against Jess Willard as well as hundreds of other lots from what was her father, Stanley Weston's, collection. Weston was a legendary name in boxing publishing.

Mr. Geppi is the owner of Diamond Comic Distributors, the world's largest distributor of English language comic books, toy collectibles, and related merchandise. In addition to being the exclusive distributor of all the major comic book publishers including Dark Horse, DC, Image and Marvel Comics, the company also distributes Diamond Select Toys and DC Direct through its monthly publication, Previews.

Also under the Geppi umbrella is Diamond International Galleries, a unique facility in Timonium, Maryland that displays some of the finest examples of comic books, toys, original comic art and memorabilia, presented in a museum quality setting, and Gemstone Publishing Company, which is licensed to publish Disney's standard character comic books.

Gemstone also publishes what is considered the "bible" for pricing rare and collectible comic books, the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. His online newsletter, http://scoop.diamondgalleries.com, is an important industry leader for the collectibles and comic worlds and a major player in advancing the greater good of the collectibles and auction industries.

A lifelong resident of Baltimore, Mr. Geppi is the proud owner and publisher of Baltimore Magazine, the nation's oldest city magazine, established in 1907.

The company's new headquarters is 1966 Greenspring Drive, Timonium, Maryland 21093. The telephone number is 800-452-6642, and the fax number is 800-329-2878. Geppi's Memorabilia Road Show will maintain a satellite office at 3000 Marcus Avenue, Lake Success, NY 11042, telephone 516 918-3200.

www.geppismemorabiliaroadshow.com

For more information regarding Hake's Americana & Collectibles, visit www.hakes.com.
For more information on Diamond Comic Distributors, visit www.diamondcomics.com.
For more information on Diamond International Galleries, visit www.diamondgalleries.com.
For more information on Gemstone Publishing, visit www.gemstonepub.com.

Source: The Memorabilia Road Show
Date: March 11, 2005

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