One of the nation’s biggest sports memorabilia shows is again headed to Atlantic City.
The National Sports Collectors Convention will be held in Atlantic City from July 29 to Aug. 2, 2020, according to the convention’s official Twitter account. Atlantic City and convention officials said a formal announcement is expected Wednesday morning.
This year’s convention was held this past weekend in Chicago. Former baseball star Alex Rodriguez signed autographs while his girlfriend, entertainer Jennifer Lopez, looked on.
“It’s the biggest sports card memorabilia show in the world,” said Susan Lulgjuraj, marketing communication manager for Topps Co., which is renowned for its baseball cards. “Everyone wants to know where it’s going to be next. Everybody starts making plans to be there.”
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The convention was held at the Atlantic City Convention Center Aug. 3-7, 2016. It attracted nationwide attention and featured 850 collectors showcasing baseball cards and other memorabilia.
Among the items auctioned off in Atlantic City was the first truck of Millville resident and baseball star Mike Trout. A Wayne Gretzky rookie trading card sold for $465,000.
Mike Tyson, Hulk Hogan and plenty of sports hall of famers appeared at the convention to sign autographs. There was a reunion of the 1986 New York Giants team that won the Super Bowl.
The NSCC didn’t give an attendance figure for the 2016 convention, but it has been estimated it drew 30,000 visitors to Atlantic City.
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The event’s 2016 success stood in contrast to what happened when the convention was first held in Atlantic City in 2003. Attendance was flat that year. Casinos were booming back then, and the resort town didn’t need conventions to draw visitors.
But having this event in 2020 should be a boost to Atlantic City. The convention also serves as a reunion for memorabilia dealers.
“It’s not just about seeing cool cards,” Lulgjuraj said. “You get to see people you only see once a year. It’s a time to meet up with friends and people that share the same interest.”
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Rich Layton founded his first card shop in the North Cape May section of Lower Township. He was born and raised in Cape May County but now has a shop in Altamonte Springs, Florida, and is one of the nation’s largest card and memorabilia dealers at laytonsportscards.com.
He just attended the Chicago convention with six of his employees. He also had a display at the 2016 Atlantic City event.
“It was a big success for us,” he said. “We had so many people that we know. We had crowds around our booth the entire time. It was chaotic in a good way. It was a huge, huge, home-field advantage for us.”
The convention is the biggest thing in town when it comes to Atlantic City. In larger cities, such as Chicago, it has to compete with numerous other events.
“A lot of people get a taste of the Jersey Shore,” Layton said.