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2011 Toronto Fall Sports Card and Memorabilia Expo Review

November 16, 2011

When it comes to my hobby there are two days each year that I have circled from the moment I know about them.  Those days are my trips down to the Sports Card and Memorabilia Expo held each spring and fall at the International Centre in Toronto.

Many of my favourite memories about being involved in this hobby tie to these shows, which are a must-attend event on my collecting calendar.

The fall 2011 edition of the show took place this past weekend and once again it did not disappoint.

Unlike the spring show when I was forced to fly solo on the Sunday, this fall it was back to my usual Friday trip to the show with my dad.  While attending on the Sunday in the spring was far from a letdown, I definitely enjoy taking a team approach to searching through the countless piles of cards and other memorabilia available at the show.

So without further delay, here’s a few of the major highlights of the show for me, along with some observations related to all of the goings-on that were taking place.


When it comes to making additions to my collection, the show was a tremendous success.  The player-specific collecting projects grew by a total of 66 cards, with 19 Lemieux, 5 Roenick, 1 Samsonov, 34 Thornton, and 7 Yzerman cards being removed from the want list.

Add in 12 cards finds to add to my 2008-09 Upper Deck Masterpieces Master Set project, along with nearly 10 single cards and one factory set from a handful of other minor projects we’re working on and it was a very successful show.

I’m going to save showing off the haul until my regular Project Progress Report article that I’ll be posting on Wednesday, November 30th.  As a bit of a preview though, here’s one of my favourite additions from the bunch:


I also had a decent amount of success in finding bargains on cards I believe I can flip on eBay for a profit, funds that in turn will be put towards more items still on the want list.  I am truly amazed at what can be found buried in some of the many bargain bins that dealers offer up at the show.  The downfall of searching through the piles is that a lot of time can be wasted while finding next to nothing, but every now and then you come across a hidden gem that can make it pretty worthwhile.

Look for some of the cards that I came across on the auction block in the coming weeks.


Finding little that excited me or made me feel like I could recoup my money from a wax perspective, I went back to my 2008-09 Black Diamond Blister Pack Box purchase of about 6 months ago; an incredible bargain in my books as I got to rip open 108 packs of a pretty decent product for barely more than $1/pack.

Unfortunately I came up short on the Stamkos Quad Diamond Rookie Card once again, but on the whole I am pretty pleased with what I pulled: 25 Double Diamond SPs; 15 Triple Diamond SPs and 13 Triple Diamond Rookie Gems; a total of 12 Quad Diamond cards with 7 rookies included; 3 jerseys (Arnott, Latendresse, and Lundqvist); 1 Gemography autograph (Cogliano); and 10 Premier Cuts inserts (4 Single Diamonds and 6 Double Diamonds).

As with the eBay-flippers I picked up, look for some of these to be up for auction over the next little while.


On the topic of wax, Upper Deck certainly seemed to have caused a bit of a stir with their requirements of dealers who wanted to sell boxes of its 2011-12 Series 1 product.  One dealer explained to my dad and I that a representative from the company had made the rounds in the building and told dealers that if they had obtained their stock of the product from a place not approved by UD and/or sold the product below a certain price point then they would not be provided with the coupons necessary for customers to participate in UD’s redemption program at the show.

This basically caused every single box of the product I came across being sold at the exact same price by every dealer who had it available, which was a weird thing to see.

I know that Upper Deck recently introduced a new distribution policy, but I don’t know enough about it to have an opinion one way or the other.  Hopefully what the dealer told my dad and I is an oversimplification of what was really going on, but if it’s even remotely accurate then that seems like a pretty big problem to me since it artificially maintains a price for the product instead of letting the market decide.


One question that always seems to pop to mind when I attend this show is “how in the world do some of the guys who set up here make any money?”  I’m not talking about breaking even, I’m talking about making a sale at all.  From what I know, setting up at this show is not cheap.  I can’t imagine how tables covered in nothing but boxes of early 90’s Bowman and O-Pee-Chee or a few stacks of $1 cards that 99% of collectors wouldn’t pay 1-cent for are a viable business situation.


Finally, it seemed as though the crowd at the show was larger than it had been at some of its other recent incarnations.  When there’s a number of other collectors trying to get at the same booth or box of cards you’re also trying to have a look at it can make things a challenge, but that’s a small price to pay to see the hobby you love being enjoyed by so many other people.


So there it is, yet another Expo come and gone.  As always, there’s never enough time to get through everything properly, there’s never enough money to buy everything you want…but there’s always another show just six months away!

If you were at the Expo and want to share your experience then feel free to leave a comment, send me an email at, or connect on Facebook and/or Twitter.

Until Sunday, all the best in your collecting pursuits!



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