NSCC co-founder & executive director Mike Berkus passes away

BerkusMike Berkus, the executive director and a founder of the National Sports Collectors Convention, lost a battle with cancer on Friday night. He was 69.

A University of Minnesota alum and native of St. Paul, Minn., who lived in Villa Park, Calif., Berkus was among a group who decided back in 1979 that there needed to be an annual convention for sports collectors. It all started with the idea of getting back to something simple — an idea that it’s still about to this day.

“This is time travel, this is where you go back to a happy time in your life,” he said in an interview with CSN Chicago, “to a time where your whole world was peeling the wax apart, putting the gum in your mouth and seeing you who got.”

The first NSCC was in 1980. That first event was held at a Marriott in Los Angeles with tables costing $50 for the five-day show and admission was $1 a day. The NSCC grew over the years to include several days of big-name autograph guests and all of the major trading card manufacturers under one roof.  The 37h NSCC is set for Aug. 3-7 at the Atlantic City Convention Center.

Ray Shulte worked with Berkus handling media relations for the NSCC.

“I know many, many people will miss Mike Berkus,” Shulte said via Facebook. “When Mike and John Broggi asked me to start working with them years ago I was extremely honored and accepted on the spot. I always looked forward to that phone call or meeting with Mike. He was a visionary and really cared about his staff, corporate partners, exhibitors and everyone whoever attended a National Sports Collectors Convention. A class act, a good friend and a great family man. Condolences to Sher and the Berkus family.”

Another who offered his memories was Ken Goldin of Goldin Auctions, who did so on Net54.

“I had the pleasure of having Mike work for me as my executive Vice President for two years in the mid 1990s and learned a lot from him,” Goldin said. “Atlantic City will be an empty place without him this National. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. The hobby lost a true legend.”

Another commenter on Net54 was Leon Luckey, the owner of the forum.

“My heart just dropped to my stomach. Very, very sad to hear this. Mike was a huge supporter of the hobby and of Net54baseball,” Luckey said. “I will miss him and his speeches at our dinners. Thanks for everything Mike. Rest in Peace my friend.”

Former In The Game owner Brian Price offered his thoughts via Facebook.

“My heartfelt condolences to the entire Berkus family at the sudden passing of your patriarch, Mike. I truly enjoyed our long, long talks about the hobby at all levels and our equally as long, discussions about family, children and grandchildren. Mike told me how much he was enjoying this part of his life and now that enjoyment has been taken from him. He will live on in the hearts of his children and grandchildren and will be remembered for his lasting contribution to our hobby and industry. Mike was a pioneer, an innovator and most of all, a true gentleman. He will be missed.”

“Our hobby lost a great one. A pioneer and a good friend. RIP Mike Berkus,” said Blowout Cards owner Thomas Fish.

Baseball Card Exchange offered its memories of Berkus on Facebook as well.

“The staff of BBCE is saddened at the unexpected passing of Mike Berkus, the co-founder and executive director of the National Convention. The hobby has lost one the greatest voices in our industry. A few years ago, Mike took a chance on BBCE and invited us to set up in the corporate area, and it’s safe to say our company took a huge step forward from the higher visibility we gained. We would not be the company we are today without his support and guidance.”

More memories and messages from industry members on Twitter are below.



2 thoughts on “NSCC co-founder & executive director Mike Berkus passes away

  1. Charles Williams December 25, 2015 / 9:33 pm

    R.I.P Mr. Berkus.I sit here crying with a heavy heart as someone who always treated me with respect and kindness has passed on. Mike Berkus will always be (Uncle Mike) He is the Founding Father of The National Baseball Card Convention and was The Owner of Dancing Waters at D Land Hotel I have known him since I was 8 years old when he drove up with his Big Caddy to a small monthly show in Anaheim and the trunk filled with baseball cards from the 1950,s and 60,s.This was around 1973 and I have never forgotten that or all the times at the Baseball Card Shows when other kids were to goofy at times for him and the group to be around. I however was always welcomed and trusted with things to do including being the Night Time Security in the Big Show Rooms.Please (keep in mind) Nothing was ever missing when I was the room security at night. For those of you who are avid TV watchers his son is (Nate Berkus) and he had his own television show for a while thanks to Oprah along with a line of house goods which is still out there in stores today….Completely Shattered as I was not able to say goodbye


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