Jon Teitel attended the 2012 National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore in August. This is the first installment in his photo essay about the dealers he interviewed and the stories of the college-basketball memorabilia that they were offering for sale/auction. We will be offering this in installments over the next several weeks.
Sports card and memorabilia collecting has evolved. From buying cards for the bubble gum or to put in your bicycle spokes, it has evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry.
I had the opportunity to catch up with Kevin Thomas, a Baptist minister who lives 10 minutes from the University of Kentucky campus in Lexington. When he saw the 3/19/12 Sports Illustrated March Madness preview issue featuring national player of the year Anthony Davis on the cover, he knew that he had a chance to get a special item. He immediately purchased 3 reprints of the cover, brought them to the campus, and hung out near the basketball complex during the week between the Elite 8 and the Final 4.
When he was finally able to track down Davis he asked him to sign 2 of the 3 covers and offered the 3rd to Davis to keep as a token of his appreciation. Davis declined the offer but did agree to sign the covers, 1 of which was available for $80 at the show. (Had Davis accepted it, as small as the infraction seems, it may have been an NCAA violation, as laughable as that is.)
Kevin was also able to attend a private autograph session featuring former Wildcat and first overall draft pick John Wall. The session was organized by “The Cat’s Pause”, a monthly magazine for Ketucky basketball fans. This autographed photo of Wall was available for $50.