ROSEMONT, Ill. -- There might not be anyone working harder at the 2015 National Sports Collectors Convention than Panini America Customer Service Manager David Sharp. Once again this year, Panini America and Sharp rolled out the popular -- and unmatched in the industry -- Live Redemption Trade-Up Program to help collectors find satisfaction from the oft-frustrating way of hobby life known as redemptions.
ROSEMONT, Ill. — There might not be anyone working harder at the 2015 National Sports Collectors Convention than Panini America Customer Service Manager David Sharp. Once again this year, Panini America and Sharp rolled out the popular — and unmatched in the industry — Live Redemption Trade-Up Program to help collectors find satisfaction from the oft-frustrating way of hobby life known as redemptions.
“We hate redemptions as much as anyone,” Panini America Hobby Marketing Manager Tracy Hackler said. “And that’s one of the reasons we’re so excited about the future of the Panini Rewards program — and about the success of the Live Redemption Trade-Up Program.”
The Trade-Up program has become a staple since it was introduced at the National three years ago in Baltimore. It gives collectors with unfulfilled redemptions that have been outstanding for more than four months a chance to step right up to Sharp’s customer-service station at the Panini America booth and walk away with cards or boxes of a comparable value.
“It has 100-percent doubled each year,” Sharp said about the growing participation in the program.
The once-a-year opportunity has been well received during previous years and equally sought out so far in Chicago during the 36th annual National. Collectors lined up early Thursday morning to make their swaps, and the number of people waiting to trade up kept Sharp on the move for three solid hours before he took a much-deserved break. An hour later, he jumped back into the mix to help Panini America fans achieve “instant satisfaction” with new finds that ranged from boxes of 2012-13 Select Basketball to autographs of top young stars such as Chicago’s own Kris Bryant.
“Patience pays off,” Ed Martens, of St. Paul, Minn., said after trading in a total of 18 redemptions for autographs of Bryant, Rusney Castillo and Jose Fernandez. “[The program] is by far and away the best. David’s a super nice guy.”
Rob Gilbert, visiting the National with family from Brooklyn, Mich., has hit the trade-up each year because it’s better than the alternative.
“I had a few I was waiting on,” he said. “[The program] is good.”
As of Thursday night, many participants would agree that the trade-up program is a good one. Sharp said at least 600 cards were exchanged for unfulfilled redemptions through the first two days of the show. And that impressive number could pale in comparison to what Friday, Saturday and Sunday — traditionally the three biggest days of the National — have in store.
To participate in the program while it’s in Chicago, stop by the Panini America booth Friday (from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 3-5 p.m.), Saturday (from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.) or Sunday (from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 3 to 4:30 p.m.) to take part in the trade-up program.