This year’s National Sports Collectors Convention is a couple of months away and thanks to its non-traditional location — Atlantic City, N.J. — there are perhaps a few more guests on tap that we’ve not expected to see at the annual show.
It’s been a long time since the show was last in New Jersey — it’s largely been located in the Midwest for most of the last decade — so regional autograph guests such as Hideki Matsui and countless others who wore pinstripes and starred for other teams in that area make sense. They’ll also help draw in locals who might not normally hit the show … just to get that ink.
Autograph ticket pricing for the show will come soon, but Buzz has picked seven top names that may not break the bank — one per sport — at the show.
Anderson Silva — former UFC Middleweight Champion
“The Spider” has an autograph that can look better than his stickered version seen here, but he makes this list as the lone MMA fighter so far. This year’s lineup seems like it has a few more signers than usual beyond the traditional sports, so that’s a plus for collectors who like to dabble in a little bit of everything.
Frank Robinson — Baseball Hall of Famer
The MLB lineup of signers is a deep one, but picking this legend simply comes via the fact of cost vs. quality. He won’t be super-cheap, but he’s got the credentials both on the field and beyond. He should cost a lot less than many signers who did far less on the field.
Joe Namath — Football Hall of Famer
“Broadway Joe” has signed a lot through the years so you can probably hunt and find a certified autograph for less than his signing fee, but in terms of iconic football players from the past he’s among an elite group. To many, he’s the Mickey Mantle of football — and meeting him to get the autograph should be seen as a plus. There will be pricier signers among the football players at the show, but Namath is still the one that Buzz would get first.
Julius Erving — Basketball Hall of Famer
“Dr. J.” is easily among the greatest players of his era and still among the more-iconic players in the history of the NBA. He’s been signing more for card companies in recent years so the value may not be as high as it had been, but there’s no doubting the credentials. (Find a classic dunk shot like this to get signed and you’ll have a sweet item.)
Martin Brodeur — Future Hockey Hall of Famer
He’s a modern-day great and easily in the discussion any time the greatest goalie of all time discussion comes up. (His stats say he’s the greatest if you ask Buzz.) How much his ink will cost isn’t known yet, but he’s easily the one to chase out of the hockey lineup so far.
Ric Flair — WWE Hall of Famer
“The Nature Boy” has a career that really can’t be topped on the wrestling landscape beyond the WWE, though he’s pretty much worked for every major company in the game through the years and competed around the world. Others on the wrestling lineup this year include Hulk Hogan and “The Mouth of The South” Jimmy Hart but Flair gets Buzz’s pick … just barely.
Sugar Ray Leonard — Boxing Hall of Famer
There are only two options this year for boxing fans — Leonard and Mike Tyson, who’s no slouch when it comes to autographs. Leonard’s autograph might be a tad rarer than Tyson’s these days, but either one is a win. Leonard gets the edge here because he’ll likely be a tad cheaper.
Follow Buzz on Twitter @BlowoutBuzz or send email to BlowoutBuzz@blowoutcards.com.