Four Page Written Account of 

The 27th Annual 2006 

National Sports Collectors Convention


Carlton Hendricks





The 27th annual 2006 National Sports Collectors Convention took place August 27-31 in Anaheim California at the Anaheim Convention Center. The weather was unusually warm the first part of the week, with highs over 100, as there was a heat wave throughout most of California. When you’re a serious collector though, at one of the most target rich shows in the world, you don’t pay it a lot of attention. 

Anaheim is a very good place to hold the National, especially if you’ve not been there before. The Disney complex is there just around the corner from the convention center. Plus there is a host of fun interesting places to see within the Anaheim/Los Angeles area. 

The subject of where the National is held is an interesting one. When I go to the National…and I’m just your average bear, it’s my big vacation of the year, and I want to see more than just the National while I’m there. It’s very expensive to travel a long way to attend one. Therefore I try to make the most of the trip, and see the surrounding area. I see it as a great opportunity to explore America. It’s a win-win situation. I have a fantastic time at the National, plus I get to see places and things I’ve never seen before….in theory!

The problem is they keep having it in the same cities they’ve already held it in. So far I’ve been to the National in Chicago twice, St. Louis once, Cleveland twice, Atlantic City once, Anaheim three times. Then it will be back in Cleveland for 2007, so that will be my third one there! Then in 2008 it’ll be back in Chicago again for my third one there too. Darn. 

I’ve always wanted the National to be in Boston and Philadelphia but it never has been. It would be nice if the National were held somewhere it has not been previously for ten years. That of course would give us at least ten cities to see. Some good possibilities would be Boston, Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Miami, Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, Dallas, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. The big apple New York City of course would really be great, but from what I understand, it’s considered too expensive for everyone; dealers, promoters, and attendees. 

Anyway, back to reality and this convention. So how was it you ask? I would say it was within the realm of a successful show for both buyers and sellers. But at the same time, I’d have to say it was the weakest National I’ve attended. There just wasn’t as much antique stuff as previous Nationals. 

Enough chit chat, let’s get rock’n with what I saw. As always, please know the dealers mentioned had much more than I documented, I’m just showing you the best of what was there. 

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Pat Armstrong of Hawkeye Baseball Cards
We begin with the booth of National regular Pat Armstrong of Hawkeye Baseball Cards from Burlington Indiana. First up was a St. Louis Cardinals plaster cast ashtray with a figure of a cardinal, 8” tall, $285.00. Next up Pat had another similar looking piece; a St. Louis Cardinal cast metal paperweight again with a figure of a cardinal, 7 ¼” tall, $1,295.00. Pat’s had a large photo of a plaster bust of Babe Ruth done by E. Bruce Douglas, and dated 1935. He was asking 

Timothy Robbins of Championship Rings/Paul Chavez of Authentic Sports
Next up I came across a very striking trophy called the Jim Thorpe Award. It had a 17 5/8” tall cast bronze statue of Jim Thorpe on top. It was offered by Timothy Robbins of Championship Rings of Trabuco Canyon California, and Paul Chavez of Authentic Sports also from Trabuco Canyon California. The trophy was awarded to Rickey Dixon of the University of Oklahoma in 1987. The plaque on the front said: “Presented to the best defensive back in American college football by the Jim Thorpe Athletic Club”. For a modern posthumous work, the modeling of Thorpe was pretty good. It would have to be one of the nicest contemporary trophies I ever expect to see. Price, $7,995.00. 

Jason Nogee
Next up, Jason Nogee of Oakland California had an interesting c1915 leather football helmet for $649.00. It was sort of a rain cap type, and the padding was in very nice condition. The helmet itself was a little squished looking, but not too bad. If the memory could be worked out of the leather, someone would have had a very nice helmet for a bargain. Jason also had a cool c1930’s generic football pin back in real nice condition for $50.00, which I bought. I think I got it for $40.00.
Steve Verkman of Clean Sweep Auctions
Steve Verkman of Clean Sweep Auctions had a very nice 1923 Cleveland Baseball Club panoramic team photo, 31” by 8 ¾”, $2,000.00

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Bryan Dec
The prolific Bryan Dec of Michigan came with his usual wide assortment of quality material. Bryan was sharing a booth with Kirk Kovacs, of Kovacs Vintage Baseball, from Curtice Ohio. Both had very good stuff, which made for an exceptional booth. First up in Bryan’s arsenal was a Tony Boehme’s cigar box with terrific 1880’s baseball scene on the inside of the lid. The graphics were extra nice, showing a game in progress with seven players visible and a batter at the plate. The scene abounded with uncommon detail. Players wore quilted pants, the batter had a civil war style cap, the bats were clearly the ring type, and you could see the catchers mask detail down to the straps. There was even an American flag in the distance. 8 5/8” wide, $900.00. 


Items offered by Brian Dec

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c1860's Home Run Quick Step Sheet Music, $3,900.00

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c1880's Boehme’s cigar box, $900.00

Next Brian had a c1880 “The Professional Game of Baseball”, by Parker Brothers. It was one of the small square format ones and appeared to have the original game pieces. The edges were worn but not too bad and the aprons seemed well intact. The catcher was wearing a catcher’s mask with a Thayer type protruded shape. 8 ½” by 8 ½”, $950.00

Next Bryan had a very nice piece of sheet music titled “Home Run Quick Step”. I’d say this was one of the top pieces of the show. From the archaic uniforms, it appeared to be from the late 1860’s early 70’s. Under the title were crossed bats, and a baseball game in progress, flanked by two players; all great chromolithographed art work. However, what was really exceptional was the text underneath “Respectfully dedicated to the members of the Mercantile Base Ball Club of Philad” The earliest baseball teams were social type clubs in the big cities. Typically you’ll read that these teams were made up of middle class bankers, merchants, and such white collar workers. Here was tangible evidence that brought that perception to life. Thus, I’d put Bryan’s “Home Run Quick Step” among the top of its genera of exotic baseball sheet music. 12 ¾” x 9 ¾”, $3,900.00

Next up Bryan had a great Detroit Tigers wooden serving tray picturing a tiger protruding from a large baseball with the date 1934, really nice condition, 14 ½” x 7 ½” , $795.00. Next Bryan had a nice Red Grange doll, 17 ½” tall, $1,650.00. Speaking of exotic, next Bryan had an exceptional c1887 pennant that had belonged to Charles Baldwin of the Detroit Wolverines, and came with a tin type of him; amazing to get them together. 3” x 1 ¾” $40,000.00. Next, Bryan had c1889 Detroit Base Ball Association ticket holder. It was signed by team President M.B. Mills, and team secretary R.H. Leadley, 4 3/8” wide x 2 3/8” tall, $1,200.00. Next up, a very nice copper trophy cup made by Reed and Barton, with an engraving of a baseball player, 5 ¼” tall, $550.00

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Kirk Kovacs, Kovacs Vintage Baseball
Next up, sharing the booth with Bryan Dec, are the items of Kirk Kovacs, of Kovacs Vintage Baseball, from Curtice Ohio. Kirk specializes in baseball only, and had some excellent antique things. First up in Kirk’s arsenal was an outstanding c1889-90 A.G. Spalding & Brothers multi-sport sporting goods catalog. The front and back covers were spectacular, and the pages were full of great illustrations. It was probably about as classic and nice as they come, and they don’t come along very often, 11 ¼” wide x 8” tall, $1,500.00.


Next in Kirk’s booth was a circa 1867 piece of sheet music titled Home Run Polka, lithographed by L.N. Rosenthal, 13 5/8” x 10 3/8”, $1,600.00. Next was a c1919 “Battern” Babe sheet music, with a very young looking Ruth finishing a swing on the cover, $575.00. The hook on that piece was that Ruth was with Boston in 1919. Next was a 1944 booklet titled Science of Batting by Ty Cobb, Prominently signed by Cobb on the front. Interesting signature Cobb had, unique style “T” in Tye, actually in the word “to” as well, 7” x 4”, $2,250.00. Next up, a very nice “Lucky Curve” lunch box style tobacco tin, great color and graphics, 7” wide x 4 ½” deep x 4 ½” tall, $600.00. Next up was a c1909 porcelain creamer with transfer graphics of Forbes Field, and designated to the “Champion Pirates Baseball”, 4 1/8” tall, $700.00. Next was a circa 1880 Big Run Cigar box. its label featured multiple sports with vignettes of various athletes, a train, ship, and Willaim F. Cody, 7 5/8” wide x 4 ½” deep x 1 5/16 “ tall, $1,000.00. Kirk told me it was the first such small version he had seen, and that the larger version is more common. Next, Kirk had a 1948 St. Louis All Star pin, he said was very tough, 1 ¼” tall, $1,100.00. Last, in the same photo as the All Star pin, a 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates National League Champs pin, made by Whitehead and Hoag, 1 ¼” round, $600.00. 

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Tony Bussineau
Next was the booth of hobby veteran and National fixture, Tony Bussineau of Traverse City Michigan. First up was a Coca Cola sign with Red Grange running in full regalia, 13” x 15”, $400.00. Next was a large paper banner type sign for P.F. Flyer basketball shoes featuring Boston Celtic’s legend Bob Cousy, 34 ¾” x 9 ½”, $500.00, lotta’bang for the buck and a great find for the serious basketball collector. Next Tony had a nice 1912 Spalding baseball bat advertising sign featuring six farm boy type lads playing that game we used to play as kids where we topped the bat to see who’s team is up, 30 ½” x 32”, $3,500.00. Anyone that can name that game gets a Lamborghini…well a photo of one. Next up was a board game titled World Series Ball Game, which I don’t recall seeing before. It had nice border graphics of baseball equipment. Tony pointed out it referenced the Federal league, and wasn’t in Mark Cooper’s baseball game book, so must be rare, 8 ¼” x 13 ¾”, $1,000.00. Next was a circa 1930’s cast metal figural clock of Joe Louis, 12 ¼” tall, $400.00. You see these clocks around the hobby now and then, this was a pretty nice one, and $400.00 was a pretty good price. I probably should have gotten it. 


Offered by Tony Bussineau

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c1900 Spalding Bats 

Advertising Sign, $3,500.00


Next was a child’s Dizzy Dean uniform in the original box, which included the cap, belt, pants and jersey, $1,800.00. Next was a composite photo of the 1926 Notre Dame football team featuring Knute Rockne 1888-1931. They were superimposed against a building, 13 ¾” x 9 ¾”, $500.00. Last mention in Tony’s arsenal was a circa 1914 Chifeds pennant featuring Joe Tinker. The Chifeds were part of the short lived Federal League which lasted only two years 1914-1915. The team took on the name the Whalers during the 1915 season, so Tony’s pennant had to be from 1914. It was probably the rarest pennant at the show. It was big too, 3 ft wide x 14” tall, $6,500.00


As I was at Tony’s booth taking photos I noticed he would ask everyone that came to his booth if they had anything for sale. It’s called shaking bushes, and it’s a good way to find stuff. You don’t know what someone might have till you ask. 


Offered by Tony Bussineau

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c1930 Bradley All American Sweaters Advertising Display


Tony said it was one of the best shows he’d ever had for buying, but selling was just O.K. Before the show opened, my friend John Buonaguidi sold Tony an incredible tri-fold style advertising display for Bradley All American Football Sweaters that featured eleven All American College football players, including Benny Friedman. The funny thing is, it was the second time John had sold him the same sign; ironically the last time being right there in the same building at the 2000 Anaheim National. 

Steve Taft Enterprises
I was walking by one particular booth where I spotted a big wide panoramic photo of the 1924-25 basketball team from Anthony Wayne Institute in Fort Wayne Indiana, 41" x 9". The Institute closed in 1933 due to the depression. Essentially it was a generic photo, but classic, and I ended up buying it. The dealer’s name was Steve Taft of Steve Taft Enterprises from Agoura Hills. Interestingly, it turned out Steve is an advanced basketball collector.


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