Category Archives: Blog

Think you can grade sports cards?

BGS is on the lookout for industry’s best grader at 2015 Summit

Think you have an exceptional eye for sharp corners, perfect centering and unblemished sports card surfaces? You’ll have the chance to prove it at this year’s Industry Summit.

Beckett Grading Services has agreed to sponsor the BGS World Championship of Grading: Professional Division at the 2015 Industry Summit trade conference, held March 15-18 at Tuscany Suites in Las Vegas.

Summit registrants from every class of trade – including retailers, distributors, licensors, manufacturers and service providers – will have the opportunity to grade a small sampling of sports cards during Welcome Ceremonies on Sunday, March 15. Industry professionals with the highest success rate in the preliminary round will then compete for the title of BGS World Champion of Grading during the Tuesday, March 15, business session.

“I am really excited about the World Championship of Grading event. There are a lot of quality hobby experts at the Summit so I am interested in seeing how good they are grading cards,’’ said Jeromy Murray, BGS Director. “This is also a great test run for what we have planned for collectors at The National Convention this year! Who knows, maybe we can find the next BGS Grader in Vegas.”

The completion is open to all Summit attendees, other than anyone employed by a grading service or any Beckett Media employee.

‘State of Sports Collectibles’ panel set

Summit’s opening discussion to feature Shaffer, Kaplan, Exarhakos, Martin, Rosenberg, Larry

The current state and short-term future of the sports collectible industry will be assessed during the 2015 Industry Summit’s opening panel discussion.

Organizers have assembled five compelling presenters from each of the Summit’s first five years to provide candid, unvarnished analysis of the primary marketplace for sports cards, autographs and memorabilia. The featured panel is scheduled Monday morning, March 16. Panelists include:

  • Victor Shaffer, executive VP at Fanatics Authentic

  • Angelo Exarhakos, president of Universal Distribution

  • Adam Martin, CEO of

  • Jeff Rosenberg, CEO of TRISTAR Productions

  • Evan Kaplan, Director, licensing and business development, MLBPA.

The session will be moderated by Adam Larry, the NHLPA’s Director/Licensing and Associate Counsel, and Kevin Isaacson, host of the Industry Summit.

“Our panelists have been heavily invested in the industry for more than 15 years,” Isaacson said. “Their combined expertise runs the gamut – online, shows, brick-and-mortar stores, group and individual licensing, distribution and manufacturing. We look forward to a very revealing discussion.”

Among the potential topics up for debate: The positive and/or negative impact of exclusive licensing agreements; the long-term viability of brick-and-mortar hobby stores in an increasingly online market; the prospect for revamped distribution models, including the direct-to-consumer channel; and a forward-looking snapshot at group breaks, through the prism of two decades of hobby experience.

Panelists will also have the opportunity ask questions of one another, adding a unique twist to the discussion. Summit attendees may also suggest questions/topics by contacting the co-moderators.

Layton, Calvanico, Richardson selected as co-moderators for key Wednesday Q&A panel

A successful trio of industry retailers have agreed to serve as moderators for the traditional Wednesday “no holds barred” Q&A with manufacturing executives at the 2015 Industry Summit.

The Wednesday Q&A session is a prime opportunity for retailer attendees to gain insight into manufacturer strategies and to target opportunities for industry improvement. Ken Richardson of Pastime Sports & Games, Mike Calvanico from East Coast Connection and Rich Layton of Layton Sports Cards have been selected as co-moderators for the 2015 Summit’s final panel discussion.

“These are challenging times for our industry, and it’s important to have a forum like this at the Summit to have tough questions asked and answered,” Layton said.

Per tradition, Panini America, Topps and Upper Deck will appoint executives from their Sales and Product/Marketing departments to participate in the panel. This year’s participants are DJ Kazmierczak and Jim Stefano from Panini; Clay Luraschi and Kevin O’Neil from Topps; and Grant Sandground and Mike Phillips from Upper Deck.

Summit attendees are encouraged to submit proposed questions to Calvanico, Layton and Richardson at any time during the conference, though the ultimate agenda will be set by co-moderators.

Join us March 15-18 in Las Vegas

The official trade conference for sports card & collectible professionals

Social media expert to debut new seminar at 2015 Industry Summit

Forbes has called Ron Cates a “digital marketing icon.” Other media outlets have called him a “social media pioneer” and the “Grandfather of email marketing.”

The award-winning business leader, who has dedicated his career to helping small business owners strengthen their relationships with customers, has agreed to make a return appearance at the 2015 Industry Summit on Sunday, March 15 – this time, debuting a brand-new social media seminar.

“I have always been grateful The Industry Summit brought me in to present a few years ago, before anyone knew who I was,” Cates said. “I am thrilled to return to Las Vegas and premiere my newest social media marketing seminar to the Summit’s retail and distribution clients.”

Cates, who serves as Constant Contact’s email and social media marketing expert, has educated more than 100,000 small businesses and has presented at hundreds of high-profile conferences and events all over the world.

Cates’ presentation will kick off the Summit’s Sunday business program, providing a valuable start to the annual gathering of more than 500 industry retailers, distributors, licensors, manufacturers and service providers.

New location: Tuscany Suites hosts ’15 Summit!

Tuscany Suites, a newer all-suites property, is the new Las Vegas home of The Industry Summit. It features large 650 sq. ft. suites in a resort setting – and best of all, the conference center provides FREE wireless internet for all Summit attendees! Tuscany’s curved pathways wind through 27 acres of lush landscape, pools, and fountains – reminiscent of the former Honolulu home of our legacy industry trade conference. Room rates start at $55 – book before Feb 14 to get our special Summit room rates. Call 1-877-TUSCAN1 and use our special discount code 13 L5 LJ!

For more information on Tuscany Suites, visit or

Who’s attending?

Recent registrants for the 2015 Summit include: Jay Dudley and Jonny Cannon from Cardiacs; Joe Davis from GotBaseballCards; Will Hannah, All Things Collectible; Dennis Worden, Triple Play Cards; Jerry and Ramona Stites, J&R’s Sports Cards; Michael and Melissa Hodges, STL Sports Cards; Rick Hubata, Dugout Zone; Robert Carson and Marc Vanderhaeghen from Trophy Box Cards; and Levi Nelson from Card Sharks Breaks.

Don’t miss out on our EARLYBIRD discount — register here today

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Key dates & times

Sunday, March 15: 10:30 AM to 5:30 PM
Monday, March 16: 8 to 5 PM
Tuesday, March 17: 8 to 5 PM (plus, an evening bowling party for participating retailers!)
Wednesday, March 18: 8:30 to 11:30 AM

Want $500 cash? Great Memory Lane consignment offer!

Memory Lane – the prominent sports auction house and new Industry Summit corporate partner — is offering up to $500 in on-the-spot cash to Summit attendees who consign items to its Spring Auction.


The offer is exclusive to registered Summit attendees; Memory Lane will accept card and autograph consignments from the sports, non-sports, Americana, historical and Hollywood categories.

“Everybody likes some extra walking-around money during their stay in Las Vegas,” said JP Cohen, Memory Lane owner. “If Summit attendees are willing to bring some cool items to Vegas, we thought it would be fun to reward them with up to $500 in cold, hard cash – on the spot at our corporate booth.”
To qualify for the $500 award, consignments must have a value of $5000 or more. If the qualifying item value is less than $5000, Memory Lane will offer a 10% cash payment to the consigner.

For more information on the special Summit offer or Memory Lane’s plans for the 2014 Industry Summit, contact the company via or via phone at 714-730-0600.


Amazon announces plans for 2014 Summit

Amazon announces plans for 2014 Summit_3

Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, will be presenting at the 2014 Industry Summit, the annual trade conference for sports and entertainment collectible professionals.
During the Tuesday (March 18th) morning address, Amazon representatives will update attendees on their sports collectible marketplace, offer compelling opportunities for current and prospective sellers and discuss exciting upcoming innovations to help increase seller success. In addition, the representatives will conduct individual meetings onsite with sports collectible retailers, designed to provide best practices for selling on Amazon as well as to garner feedback from existing sellers, on Monday March 17th.

All those interested in attending the presentation, please RSVP as soon as possible to All attendees will have an opportunity to enter a raffle to win a brand new KINDLE FIRE HD!
Summit attendees hoping to schedule an individual meeting with Amazon representatives should email at their earliest convenience.

LCS, Group Breaker annual meetings to kick off Summit

LAS VEGAS – More than 250 local card store owners from across the US and Canada will convene Sunday, March 16, for the LCS annual meeting – a critical agenda-setting event for the 2014 Industry Summit.

During the 2-hour LCS-exclusive meeting, retailers will discuss and prioritize issues and opportunities across the hobby marketplace. In addition, attendees will develop the questions that will be posed during manufacturer panel discussions and Q&A sessions throughout the Summit.

“This meeting is our opportunity to speak with one voice to the manufacturers, licensors, distributors and service providers,’’ said Wayne Wagner, an Edmonton-based retailer who will serve as a co-chair of the LCS meeting. “The annual meeting is the one time, each year, that we can come together and really target ideas that will improve the market – for hobby retailers, and ultimately, the collectors that we all serve.’’

Joining Wagner as co-chairs for the LCS annual meeting are Charlie DiPietro (Sports Cards Plus, TX), Lisa Stellato (Never Enough Cards, NY), Mike Fruitman (Stadium Sports, CO), Gary Mills (West Allis Sports Cards, WI) and Jim Bernardini (Lefty’s, CA). In addition to facilitating discussion during the annual meeting, the co-chairs will be tasked with posing questions prioritized during the LCS meeting to executives from Topps, Panini America and Upper Deck during Tuesday’s manufacturer panel discussion.

“We definitely have a lot to discuss,’’ Mills said. “I look forward to working with the entire group to bring forward the best topics and ideas at this year’s Summit.”;

GROUP BREAK ANNUAL MEETING: Concurrent with the LCS annual meeting, the industry’s group breakers will gather to discuss strategies for moving their segment of the market forward. The Group Breaker annual meeting will take place at 12:30 PM on Sunday, March 16.

Co-chairs for the annual meeting will be Doug Caskey of and Michael Hodges of STL Sports Cards. In addition to product and marketing initiatives, the group will discuss industry research opportunities with the team at Mosaiq Market Intelligence Group.

Access to the group breaker meeting is limited to authorized group breakers. In addition to chairing the meeting, Hodges and Caskey will be tasked with posing questions prioritized during the Group Breaker meeting to executives from Topps, Panini America and Upper Deck during the manufacturer panel discussion and subsequent Q&A session. host Kevin Isaacson at

Best hobby-store promotion? Topps asks Summit retailers to weigh in

LAS VEGAS –The Topps Company has added a new, hobby shop-exclusive session to its 2014 Industry Summit presence, organizers announced today.

In addition to a Monday prime-time corporate address, Topps has scheduled an extended brainstorming session with brick-and-mortar store owners to discuss and prioritize upcoming hobby store promotions.

“The Summit provides a great opportunity to sit down with store owners and get their candid input,’’ said David Reel, Topps Vice President of Sales. “We want to hear what we’ve done well, what could be improved and where we should invest our promotional resources during the rest of 2014 and beyond.’’

The new engagement session is scheduled Wednesday morning, March 19th. Alan Narz will facilitate the discussion along with several Topps executives. Sponsors $3,000 Rookie Card & Vintage PSA Superstar GIVEAWAY! has prepared prizes worth over $3,000 to introduce Industry Summit attendees to its online platform for buying and selling vintage and modern sports cards. Prizes for ThePit Summit Giveaway will be awarded based on random drawings as described below, and the prizes will be deposited into the winners’ Pit accounts on Wednesday, March 19th. EVERY ENTRANT WILL RECEIVE A PRIZE WORTH AT LEAST $15! Entering the giveaway is easy: just stop by thePit’s booth at the Summit, register (if you’re not already a Pit member), and drop a card with your email address into the contest bowl. ** SPECIAL OFFER: TRIPLE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING BY SPENDING $40 OR MORE ON ThePIT BETWEEN NOW AND THE SUMMIT! **


Kevin Durant 2007 Topps Chrome Refractor BGS 9.5 (PitBid $265, PitAsk $344)
Will be awarded to entry randomly selected from first 40 entrants.
Bryce Harper 2011 Bowman Prospects Auto PSA 10 (PitBid $200, PitAsk $269)
Will be awarded to entry randomly selected from second 40 entrants.
Mickey Mantle 1967 Topps #150 PSA 7 (PitBid $225, PitAsk $255)
Will be awarded to entry randomly selected from third 40 entrants.


Sandy Koufax 1959 Topps #163 PSA 6 (PitBid $66, PitAsk $85)
Willie Mays 1960 Topps #200 PSA 6 (PitBid $70, PitAsk $80)
Hank Aaron 1970 Topps #500 PSA 7 (PitBid $41, PitAsk $44)
Roberto Clemente 1970 Topps #350 PSA 7 (PitBid $50, PitAsk $53)


(3) Andrew Luck 2011 Sports Illustrated PSA 10 (PitBid $66, PitAsk $75)
(5) Bryce Harper 2011 Bowman Chrome BGS 9.5 (PitBid $16, PitAsk $20)
(5) Mike Trout 2010 Bowman Platinum (PitBid $8, PitAsk $11) + $10 PitCash
(5) Russell Wilson 2012 Topps Chrome (PitBid $6, PitAsk $7) + $10 PitCash
(5) Tiger Woods 2001 UD Defining Moments BGS 10 (PitBid $14, PitAsk $18)
(90) Gift Certificates each worth $15 in PitCash on!

Contest Details: Prices above represent the current Pit Bid and Ask prices as of February 20th. Pit prices are subject to change based on market conditions. Up to three Grand Prizes will be awarded, based on the number of entrants as shown above. Total Value of prizes is based on current PitAsk prices and on assumption of 120 entrants. Winners will be notified by email by March 21st. PitCash awarded in ThePit Summit Giveaway must be spent on thePit by April 30th, 2014. Winners who request card delivery are responsible for standard Pit shipping fees. Mention your $40+ Pit purchase(s) between Feb. 20th and March 18th and get three Giveaway entries rather than one!

About is the only sportscard trading website that operates like a stock exchange. ThePit always maintains Bid and Ask prices on all its listed cards, and customers can buy & sell without taking possession if they choose. Requests for card delivery are normally shipped within 24 hours of receipt. ThePit has been in continuous operation since 2000, and has executed over $42 million worth of trading card transactions. ThePit is led by Mark Humphries (General Manager) and Frank Lewandowski (Operations Manager) and is located in Oxnard, CA.