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National Sports Collectors Convention Returns to Chicago July 27-31

26th Annual Gathering Features Collectibles, Celebrities, Celebration at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont

40th Anniversary Green Bay Packers Reunion at the Convention

Americans love to collect, and nothing is more collected than sports memorabilia, particularly over the quarter-century that The National Sports Collectors Convention has become an annual event on the nation’s "collectible calendar."

The best known, and the granddaddy of all "super card shows" returns to Chicago for the sixth time this July 27-31, when more than 700 dealer booths, scores of sports celebrities, and a dazzling array of special activities welcome collectors for what remains, in its 26th year, a time to celebrate what has simply become known as, "The Hobby."

The 26th National Sports Collectors Convention will take place at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL. The event is housed in over 400,000 square feet. The National will open to the general public from Wednesday, July 27 through Sunday, July 31st. This includes a special "Sneak Preview," Wednesday, July 27th, that will include free autographs and promo cards as well as first crack at seeing the event. VIP Club holders may attend any or all days free of charge; general admission is $15 per day.

"As a family activity, this is something to circle on calendars," said Bob Byer, Convention Director. "The array of things to see, to purchase, and to reminisce over remains a lure for all our visitors, and the Chicago area has always been one of the strongest venues in the nation for this convention."

Mike Berkus, a co-manager of the Convention, added: "I was part of the team that founded the first National. The National Convention has always been well attended, with a great array of dealers. It’s the one hobby marketplace where collectors love to go, because Americans continue to love this hobby."

The National includes a spectacular offering of cards, yearbooks, sports equipment, toys, photographs, autographs, figurines, vintage advertising, books or magazines, in short – a celebration of America’s biggest hobby – sports memorabilia, spread over hundreds of booths.

This year’s event will include a 40th anniversary salute to the great 1965 Green Bay Packers, and among those present to meet fans and sign autographs will be Paul Hornung, Bob Long, Bob Skoronski, Boyd Dowler, Fuzzy Thurston, Jerry Kramer, Zeke Bratkowski, Bob Jeter, Don Chandler, Doug Hart, Herb Adderley, Max Magee, Ken Bowman, Tom Brown, Marv Fleming, Dave Robinson, Willie Davis and Willie Wood. A "Super Ticket" will be available for fans to purchase autographs of each of the NFL champion Packers in attendance.

While the full guest list is still in development, among those already booked are:

Baseball: Glendon Rusch, Don Kessinger, Glenn Beckert, Dick Allen, Juan Marichal, Tommy John, Bill (Spaceman) Lee, Jim Bibby, Jim Coates, Johnny Blanchard, J.R. Richard, and Negro League great Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe, who turns 103 on July 7.

Basketball: Oscar Robertson, Dolph Schayes, and Phil Chenier.

Football: In addition to the Packers, Rashaan Salaam, Christian Okoye, Lou Creekmur, Dennis McKinnon, Otis Wilson, and Tony Dorsett.

Entertainment: Laugh In’s Ruth Buzzi, Larry Thomas (The Soup Nazi from Seinfeld) and Lassie’s Jon Provost.

Many more names will be announced in coming weeks.

The National will begin with an invitation-only press reception on Wednesday, July 27 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. That evening, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., there will be a "Sneak Peak" for a special $15 admission, or for VIP Premier Club members who purchase weeklong, $99 VIP tickets, ($89 if purchased in advance). Those ticket holders receive valuable gift packages and a special VIP Free Autograph package. The Sneak Peak will include free autographs (to be announced soon) on a first come, first served basis. The Sneak Peak will be a tribute to Chicago area athletes, with several local favorites on hand for free autographs.

Tickets for the 26th National Sports Collectors Convention, as well as autograph tickets, can now be purchased through the National Web Site, www.natlconv.com. Single Day General Admission tickets are priced at $12 each, while the popular VIP Admission Package is $89.00. Tickets purchased on site at the Convention Center will be priced at $15 for Single Day and $99 for the VIP package.

Show hours will be Wednesday’s "Sneak Peak" from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, July 28 and 30, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, July 31, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday will be "Nintendo Kids Free Day," with all kids 15 and under admitted free to the Convention Center.

Information about the convention is available by calling toll-free 1-877-562-8466 or 1-877-5-NATIONAL. The sponsorship number is 425-775-8025.

The National Sports Collectors Convention was in Cleveland last summer and has rotated annually around the country since its debut. It will be held in Anaheim in 2006.

Mike Berkus, John Broggi and Bob Wilke are the convention’s managers. Autograph guests are contracted through ABN Sports. The 26th National Sports Collectors Convention is produced by Solcrest, Inc. Las Vegas. Nevada. Bob Byer is the Convention Director.

Source: The National
Date: May 17, 2005

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