Did you hear about the record-breaking attendance at the 2023 National Sports Collectors Convention (NSCC)? I’m sure the hobby positivity crowd told you. Seemed like every influencer was there with a camera. But hang on, folks. This paradise for sports enthusiasts isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
Flashback to 2007, a year when the NSCC had a reality check that probably impacts the way it does business today. Shortly after the ’07 Cleveland gig, the NSCC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Say what? Yeah, you heard it right—bankruptcy, baby!
So, who’s the villain in this sports saga? Enter Bob Byer, the former show manager, who left the NSCC holding the financial bag in a judgment that spiraled down to them. It all started with the Athlete Business Network (ABN), the guys behind the athlete autograph pavilion at the 2005 Chicago show. They claimed the NSCC owed them a cool $569,579! Yikes!
Wondering why the NSCC seems stuck in a time warp, without much change over the years? Could be because the current management is still spooked about the bankruptcy from 2007. They’ve been tiptoeing on eggshells ever since, folks!
There was plenty of controversy at the 2007 show in Cleveland besides the pending bankruptcy. A letter backed by over 100 dealers, protested the placement of a Heritage Auction “appraisal” booth outside the main entrance of the show. The crusaders labeled the booth placement as unfair and urged the NSCC to scrap any plans for similar VIP treatment in future shows.
Another funny footnote to the 2007 show, Bill Mastro, the CEO of Mastro Auctions, was crowned a Hall-of-Famer by the NSCC. Fast forward to 2015, and our Hall-of-Fame hero was serving a 20-month sentence in the slammer for a shill-bidding scam. Talk about a fall from grace!
Also way back in 2007, its crazy how Steve Grad, best known for appearing on the History Channel series Pawn Stars, and autograph authenticator for PSA and BGS also worked at Mastro Auctions. Here’s Grad’s bio from the long gone MastroNet website.
As we bask in the glory of NSCC’s 2023 hit parade and record attendance, let’s not lose sight of its ties to those infamous good ol’ boys. If you’re sensing the show’s got its wheels stuck in the mud, it’s likely ’cause the new management took the wheel post-bankruptcy.
The 2024 NSCC will return to Cleveland July 24-28, 2024.