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Go Back Forums > Net54baseball Main Forum - WWII & Older Baseball Cards > Net54baseball Vintage (WWII & Older) Baseball Cards & New Member Introductions

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Old 04-27-2016, 09:29 PM
trdcrdkid's Avatar
trdcrdkid trdcrdkid is offline
David Kathman
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 1,564
Default The first-ever sports collectors' convention -- August 23, 1969

The first successful convention of sports collectors was the West Coast Sports Collectors' Convention, held in Brea, California at the home of collector Jim Nowell on August 23, 1969. I wrote about the background and aftermath of that first show back in early March in a post called "1969: The dawn of card conventions" (here:, which included a press release in the July 1969 Sports Collectors News that optimistically dubbed it the "first annual" West Coast convention. That optimism was justified, of course, as such conventions exploded in popularity over the next few years. Last night I posted Lionel Carter's detailed description of the 1970 second annual West Coast convention in the Sports Advertiser's Journal (here:, and earlier I posted Nowell's description of the 1971 third annual convention in The Ballcard Collector (here:

Following that first convention in 1969, Nowell wrote up a very detailed account of it for the November 1969 Ballcard Collector, including a description of the planning process and lots about the convention itself, including an auction that netted $111.35. There were 13 collectors there plus "four beautiful gals (non collectors)", as Nowell put it. From what Nowell wrote, it sounds like he actually remodeled his home in anticipation of this get-together, and that he and Ed Broder selected the date because that's when Dennis Graye was going to be visiting California from Detroit. Graye was so enthusiastic about his experience at Nowell and Broder's convention that when he got back to Detroit, a similar get-together was organized in October at Lloyd Toerpe's house, and Toerpe, Graye, and several others began planning a more ambitious convention for 1970, one that would be open to the public, and which would grow into the annual Detroit show.

Anyway, here is Nowell's description of the very first sports collectors' convention on August 23, 1969. Since the pages of The Ballcard Collector from that time are legal size (8.5" x 14"), too big for my scanner, I've divided each page into two scans and put them together. Enjoy!

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Old 04-28-2016, 12:17 AM
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familytoad familytoad is offline
Br1@n L1ndh0lm3
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Ridgefield, WA
Posts: 1,904
Default Old show

Thanks for posting!

The young collector mentioned here at age 14 would now be approx. 61.
I wonder if he still collects and what he has amassed since then !

A lot of us have been collecting for a long long time. I count 45 years for me since I found my original 1970 Topps I had as a kid but it was only a few. I have anointed 1971 Topps as my inaugural set.

Those years were not organized like these gentlemen of was shoeboxes, paper bags and bike spokes.
My first card show or card store was in like 1988 or 89.

We really owe a lot to the Hobby Pioneers. It's un fathomable anymore to think of penny priced T206's but the general passion for the hobby was rooted in these guys. Thanks fellas!

Brian L
Ridgefield, WA

Hall of Fame collector.
Prewar Set collector.
Topps Era collector.
1971 Topps Football collector.
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Old 04-28-2016, 05:19 AM
dabigyankeeman dabigyankeeman is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: florida, used to be New York
Posts: 566

Wow thats great, thanks for posting. I went to the 1986 and 1990 National Conventions, boy, it would have been something to go to this one!!!!
Its so great to love all the New York teams in all sports, particularly the YANKEES.
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Old 07-13-2016, 09:07 PM
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David Kathman
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 1,564

As a followup to the above account of the very first sports collectors' convention from the November 1969 Ballcard Collector, written by one of the hosts, Jim Nowell, here is another detailed account of that convention from the October 1969 The Trader Speaks. It's written by Dennis Graye, who arrived on the Wednesday before the Saturday convention and stayed with Nowell. As you would expect, the two accounts are very similar but not identical, as they emphasize different things, and Graye's article has pictures! It's nice to get two different perspectives on that momentous event.

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Old 07-14-2016, 08:50 PM
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Andrew Aronstein
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Peekskill, NY
Posts: 1,026

I love this stuff, keep it coming .
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Old 07-15-2016, 07:32 AM
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Leon Leon is online now
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: near Dallas
Posts: 34,584

The convention was expecting 20 collectors but only drew 13. It was sort of a lean (hobbyist) membership getting started but those guys sure had a ton of fun.
Leon Luckey
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