ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Enter the show floor at the 36th Annual National Sports Collectors Convention in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Ill., and it won't be hard to spot Panini America's presence off in the distance.
ROSEMONT, Ill. — Enter the show floor at the 36th Annual National Sports Collectors Convention in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Ill., and it won’t be hard to spot Panini America’s presence off in the distance.
Find the four pillars bearing photos featuring the likes of Andrew Luck, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant and you’ll know you’ve arrived at Panini’s playground for the next five days. From the coveted shiny silver redemption packs to the VIP table to a wide range of must-see Panini Authentic memorabilia, it’s no wonder collectors flocked to be part of the fun during Wednesday’s sneak peek night.
Panini America hit the ground running on Wednesday as cases upon cases of wax were ripped by those looking to secure their place in Saturday night’s National VIP event. Box wars and the always-popular redemption packs also kept hands busy and garbage cans full of discarded wrappers and boxes. Still more collectors took advantage of the company’s Live Redemption Trade-Up Program, walking away with replacements cards or sealed boxes for their outstanding redemptions.
Box Wars winners scored a coveted Panini Black Box. One local collector smiled widely when he pulled a crisply signed Johnny Manziel Private Signings autographed patch card limited to just 10 copies. Later in the day, two other collectors — one from St. Louis and another from Springfield, Ohio — each reaped the reward of a box war victory by pulling beautiful Teddy Bridgewater and Zach LaVine Rookie Patch Autographs, respectively.
The wrapper redemption packs also made waves — highlighted by the pulls of a 1-of-1 Brandon Finnegan HyperPlaid jersey button card and a Pittsburgh Steelers Bud Dupree Laundry Tag Rookie Card.
The Panini America faithful also enjoyed its first opportunity to meet, talk shop and pose for pictures with our own Tracy Hackler and Scott Prusha. Of all the happenings at The National, meeting and greeting collectors is a highlight every year.
“These are our people. To hang and interact with the people who support us throughout the year, I really value that,” Hackler said in between hand shakes and laughs with collectors.
All this, and it was only the first night.
Visit the Panini America booth through Sunday to join the fun of box wars, the redemption pack-frenzy and the first-of-its kind trade-up program. Beginning Thursday, check out some of the hobby’s best live case breakers cracking a variety of Panini America product right from our booth daily.
Don’t forget to bring your young collectors over each morning through Saturday to get registered for one of the Free Kids Case Breaks. Sign ups begin at 10:30 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, so get to our booth early to grab a spot.
Keep an eye on The Knight’s Lance throughout The National, and the Panini America Twitter and Instagram feeds for photos, videos and full coverage of everything Panini America at the hobby’s biggest yearly spectacle. For now, check out the following video and gallery recapping all of Wednesday’s highlights.
Here are the images . . .
And here’s the video . . .