The National to offer enhanced security as recent thefts raise concerns

Convention in Cleveland will have police, undercover detectives roaming floor

Cover Image for The National to offer enhanced security as recent thefts raise concerns
The National is the largest sports collectors convention in the nation. (Credit: NSCC)

The National Sports Collectors Convention will offer enhanced security measures for the July 24-28 event in Cleveland, an NSCC spokesperson told cllct Monday.

The National is installing a camera at the show's entrance to video those entering and leaving the I-X Center, said Ray Schulte of NSCC. Schulte also said the show will have uniform police and undercover detectives roaming the floor for all five days.

Dealers who want extra security can utilize private security guards, but guards who are armed must be pre-approved by the conference organizers.

Security is top of mind after the reported theft of more than $2 million in cards at the Dallas Card Show this weekend, when a person appearing to pose as a worker stacking chairs walked away with case holding 170 cards, including six 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle cards.

The Dallas theft is the second major incident at a card show this year. In May, $2 million in cards sent by auction house Memory Lane to the Best Western Hotel in Strongsville, Ohio, was stolen. Police found 52 of 54 cards at the home of a hotel employee.

The National, which is celebrating its 44th anniversary, is also cracking down on those who get dealers badges. In past years, late Tuesday of convention week provided an ideal opportunity for dealers to be able to walk the show and get a first chance to buy anything before the show's Wednesday opening.

The idea was that, throughout the week, dealers were mostly at their booths and didn't have time to get around and shop for their own collections. That created an issue where non-dealers obtained dealer badges in order to shop early.

The changes come as the JBJ Corporation takes over managing The National from SMI, which stood at the helm for the last 19 years.

"We strongly feel that the show belongs to the dealers, and they should not have to compete with non-dealers on Tuesday out on the show floor," said Joe Drelich of JBJ. "Once a dealer is done with his load in, he or she should have the advantage of 'first to shop the floor,' not the person who was able to secure a badge from someone they know."

Drelich further said having hundreds of unauthorized people wearing dealer badges has slowed down the process of setting up the massive operation and poses a security risk.

The new management team of Drelich, Brian Coppola and Jim Ryan also has decided to enforce a rule that was relaxed over the years: No booths can be split, shared or subleased.

"The reason this policy is now being enforced is so that The National can take back booths that were being sold to non-registered dealers and redistribute them properly to the large number of dealers who have been trying to obtain space for the past several years," Drelich told cllct.

Drelich said he knows some dealers were frustrated with the news, but starting this process now will allow them to get booths under their own names in faster order.


Darren Rovell is the founder of and one of the country's leading reporters on the collectible market. He previously worked for ESPN, CNBC and The Action Network.