ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Shiny silver packs and big hits at the Panini America booth marked an exciting beginning to the 34th National Sports Collectors Convention on Wednesday in Chicago.
ROSEMONT, Ill. — Shiny silver packs and big hits at the Panini America booth marked an exciting beginning to the 34th National Sports Collectors Convention on Wednesday in Chicago.
The NSCC’s sneak preview night gave collectors a glimpse of Panini America’s spot in the middle of the massive convention floor. The Panini America set-up this year features video screens flashing Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant. The larger-than-life images of Los Angeles rookie phenom Yasiel Puig and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, as well as Chicago Blackhawks superstar Patrick Kane, certainly make it hard to miss Panini America’s prime location.
A continually growing line of collectors waiting for the company’s coveted wrapper redemption packs was another good indicator you’d found Panini America at the National. A few folks were lucky enough to score a piece of pizza while waiting to bust open boxes of Brilliance Basketball, Elite Football or Rookie Anthology Hockey. Also garnering a lot of attention was the Redemption Trade-Up counter, which we’ll detail in depth in the next few days right here on The Knight’s Lance.
“If this is any indication, they’re gonna see craziness the next four or five days,” Panini America Marketing Manager Scott Prusha.
What you can always expect with Panini and the National are big hits, none larger than the parade of pulls from 2012-13 National Treasures Basketball that included rookie patch autographs from Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis. Ten-year-old Kyler Fox shouted “Kyrie” and smiled big when the Irving showed up as part of a case he opened with his dad, Kirk.
Among the early visitors to the Panini America booth was Bob Jackson from Wisconsin, who opened Elite Football to earn his silver packs. Among his pulls was an Isaiah Pead sketch card.
“I’ve been doing Panini for years,” Jackson said. “Great cards, it’s a great set. Really good value for the money.”
Things kick into high gear on Thursday when Box Wars and live case breaks debut at the Panini America booth. Stay tuned to The Knight’s Lance all week for full coverage of Panini America at the 2013 National. You can follow along with all the action on Twitter using the hash tag #PaniniNSCC.
For now, enjoy the following gallery of images — and a short video diary — detailing a smashing opening day.
Dan Campana is a Chicago-based freelance writer and communications consultant. Follow him on Twitter at @dscampana.
First the pics:
Then the video: