Nearly 20 athletes -- including Hall of Famers such as Hank Aaron, Tom Seaver, Franco Harris, Bill Russell and Tony Esposito -- have been confirmed as autograph guests for the inaugural World of Sports Collectibles Show. The event, scheduled for Jan.9-14 in Orlando, will be held in conjunction with Super Show/20-04, the mega trade event for the sporting goods and apparel industries. Consumers and collectors will be invited to the World of Sports Collectibles Show even though they can't go to the Super Show.
The World of Sports Show by Rich Altman, a longtime dealer based in Hollywood, FL, will encompass 100,000 square ft. of the Orange County Convention Center. It will begin as a three-day consumer show (Jan.9-11), then continue as a two-day event within the trade-only Super Show that typically attracts nearly 100,000.
"I am very excited about the show, our athlete lineup is fantastic and PSA will be on-site for grading and autograph authentication," Altman said. "We are getting a lot of advanced sales for the autograph guests. 2003 World Champion Ivan Rodriguez and 500 Home Run Club member Rafael Palmeiro have been great late additions. This will be the largest sports collectibles show the state of Florida has ever seen."
The consumer portion of the event is obviously designed to attract collectors. But during the two-day portion of the show that is closed to the public, Altman is hoping to introduce the collectibles marketplace to buyers for large sporting goods chains and other companies who are involved with the distribution of sports merchandise in an effort to open new distribution outlets for the hobby.
Steiner Sports is supplying a number of autograph guests, including Aaron, Seaver, Harris, Whitey Ford, Don Larsen, Goose Gossage, Mookie Wilson, Bill Buckner, Graig Nettles and Darryl Strawberry. Altman's Hollywood Collectibles company is providing Russell, fellow Celtics legend Sam Jones, along with Clem Labine and Bob Feller.
Rounding out the lineup thus far is Esposito (courtesy of Frozen Pond), Rafael Palmeiro (ASI) Paul Hornung and Willie Wood (Paul Lester). Altman hopes to have 30-35 signers lined up for the event.
In addition to the autograph list, Altman said the exhibitor list for the event is growing. As of late September, more than 75 companies had signed on as exhibitors. Altman added that corporate interest in the show is also picking up, noting that Donruss Playoff and Mattel have signed on as exhibiting corporate sponsors. "Getting one of the card companies committed is pretty big, but we're working on a lot of different aspects of the show, from planning some of the exhibitor functions to creating a VIP package for attendees," Altman said.
The VIP package, as of press time, already consisted of three Hall of Fame autographs, early admission, giveaways from card companies, 2-for-1 PSA grading, and a chance to win prizes including a 1934 AL All-Star baseball signed by Ruth, Gehrig, Foxx, Gomez and Dickey, with PSA/DNA authentication.
For more information about the event, visit www.worldofsportscollectibles.com, or call (954) 986-0707.