As Bill Simmons, Darren Rovell, and others have documented on social media, the annual National Sports Collectors Convention is being held outside of Chicago right now. Whether or not you have any aspirations to own memorabilia, it’s really cool to walk around all the booths to see all the autographs, cards, artwork, apparel, and generally wacky nostalgic souvenirs all over the place.
Beyond that, it’s one of those environments where everybody is just happy to be there. Who doesn’t like being reminded of sporting events from their childhood at every turn?
It can feel intimidating to enter the realm where certain items will invariably run hundreds or thousands of dollars — or even more — but as I found yesterday as a first time visitor to the convention there are good finds to be had on a budget.
I came away with three autographed 16 x 20 photos, signed by Ric Flair, Johnny Manziel, and Rollie Fingers for a combined $140:
These will, one day soon I hope, adorn the walls of my lovely blogging office. (Right now, said office consists of zero of my memorabilia yet hung up, a chair and a desk that need to be assembled, two televisions that are leaning on nightstands on the floor, an awesome recliner with lumbar support, and clothing and loose change strewn all over the room.)
Things I saw that I wanted to buy but didn’t quite feel comfortable pulling the trigger on included a signed photo of Daryl Strawberry, Doc Gooden, and Mike Tyson together in Mets gear (which was $110), and this $385 Milwaukee Braves throw blanket that was pretty damn cool: