TriStar Houston Collectors Show Review
Over the weekend I took a trip to Houston, Texas to attend the TriStar Houston Collectors Show at the Reliant Center. TriStar puts on large-scale sports collectibles events throughout the year that draw lots of collectors to one place to diligently dig through thousands of cards, balls, photos, jerseys, and anything else that could catch a buyer's eye. TriStar brings collectibles, authenticators and professional athletes together in one place for collectors. Athletes that signed over the weekend included Evan Longoria and Adrian Peterson.
Whether you were hunting for a Mikie Maktook relic card or a Babe Ruth autographed baseball that makes a working man consider taking out a second mortgage, you could likely find that specific piece that your collection begs for. As for my approach, I wanted to find a good deal on a hobby box, add to my prospect collection, and continue my quest of having every Bob Gibson card from his playing years. Here's how I made out.
Cheap Hobby Box: Not many vendors were pushing hobby boxes, but those that did had great selections. I went with a 2007 Upper Deck Masterpieces box for $48. This is a great looking set where even the base cards look like hits. The cheapest price I had found online was in the $55 dollar range, not including shipping. On top of that, there weren't any eBay listings for hobby boxes of this product. I ended up paying the full asking price after losing a feeble attempt to haggle because I knew the price was fair. My favorite pulls of the box were a Tim Lincecum rookie card, Troy Tulowitzki rookie card, Curt Schilling Captured on Canvas relic, Rickie Weeks Captured on Canvas relic, Brooks Robinson Green Border, and lots of Hall of Fame base cards.
Prospects: I debated purchasing a hobby box of 2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition but decided against it with asking prices in the $75-$85 range. Instead, I ended up buying a variety of four prospect packs: 2011 Topps Pro Debut, 2008 Donruss Elite Extra Edition, 2009 Donruss Elite Extra Edition, and 2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition. I pulled a 2008 Donruss Elite Allan Dykstra autograph numbered to 1069 and a 2010 Donruss Elite Franchise Futures Bobby Doran autograph numbered to 644.
I was also able to get a great deal on some prospect relic cards. I picked up a 2010 Bowman Sterling single relic of Ricardo Jacquez, a 2010 Bowman Sterling dual relic Refractor of Blake Swihart numbered to 199, a 2010 Topps USA Mikie Maktook triple relic, and a 2010 Topps USA triple relic of Francisco Lindor. The best part is, I was able to get all four of these in screw top cases for $10.
Bob Gibson: I was a little disappointed in the lack of vintage Bob Gibson cards available. However, I was still able to find a missing piece. I purchased a 1968 Topps #100 Bob Gibson in great condition for $20.
Top Purchase of the Weekend: Not five minutes had passed when I came to a small booth that specialized in autographed memorabilia. In the corner, leaned up against the wall, sat a LIFE magazine from August 2, 1963 with the face of Sandy Koufax boldly displayed. In the bottom left hand corner is a beautiful blue inked autograph from Sandy himself with a JSA letter of authenticity.
Top Vendor: The History of the Game Vintage Sports Memorabilia and Fine Sports Collectibles gets my nod for the top vendor of the weekend. This vendor had the largest collection of autographed baseballs in the Reliant Center. Not only did they have an extensive inventory, they had great prices for authenticated autographed balls from Tony Gwynn to Willie Mays.
The 2011 TriStar 32nd Annual National Collectors Show takes place in Chicago August 3-7. Top athletes signing that weekend include Roger Staubach, Cal Ripken Jr., Starlin Castro, Johnny Bench, and Mike Tyson. For more information on the National Collectors Show visit www.tristarproductions.com.