The Beckett Blog


Interview with Non Sport Update’s Roxanne Toser by Andy Broome

Next weekend (May 1-2) is the 52nd Philly Non-Sport Show in Allentown, Pa.  Beckett Grading Services will be at the show accepting submissions and answering your questions on both days of the show.

BGS has two exclusive graded promo cards created for the show that we will be giving away today in the “Free Stuff Friday” giveaway. Thanks to Breygent and Rittenhouse for allowing us to give away these cool cards before anyone else!

Beckett Grading’s Andy Broome got a chance to chat with Roxanne Toser, publisher of Non-Sport Update, about the upcoming show.

Beckett Grading: How long have you been involved with trading cards and are you a collector yourself?

Roxanne Toser: I have been involved with trading cards since the mid 1970s, and we have both a sport and non-sport collection.

BG: When did Non-Sport Update debut?

RT: The first issue of Non-Sport Update was October of 1990. For several years after that, we issued four times a year but then we became bi-monthly.

BG: Products such as Topps Allen & Ginter have redefined the trading card hobby with the inclusion of cards featuring a wide variety of subjects, not just sports. With the blurring of the line between what have been traditionally called sports cards and non-sports cards, what do you see the trading card hobby going in the future?

RT: Trading cards have been around since the late 1800s. There have been ups and downs. It’s hard for me to speak about the sports segment of the hobby, but I think non-sports will continue to flourish. There may never be another time like the early 1990s when there were tons of manufacturers with tons of different issues but there is enough of a variety in non-sport cards to keep the hobby going.

BG: You are involved with the Philly Non-Sport card show. Tell me about your involvement with the show and just what the Philly Non-Sport show is?

RT: Frank and Phyllis Reighter began the Philly Show in 1984. We were mail-order dealers at the time and Frank called us first to see what we thought of starting a non-sport show. We said we would do the show but we thought he might be nuts. Anyway because we were first, he gave us table Nos. 1, 2 and 3 and we are the only people who have done all 51 shows. When the show was in trouble, Frank asked if we could help get it back on its feet and so we now co-promote the show. You will find mostly non-sport cards and there will be cards from the late 1800s till what was printed yesterday. There is a very relaxed atmosphere and everyone has fun. The show is held at the Merchants Square Mall, 1901 S. 12th Street, Allentown, PA 18103. The next show is May 1 and 2. There is a Star Wars theme, with Star Wars’ sketch artists, promos and prizes.

Ed note: The show’s webpage is: http://www.nonsportupdate.com/philly_show_information.htm

BG: Collectors familiar with card shows know most show promoters try to have at least a few autograph signers at each show. For a non-sports card show, the focus is more on having sketch card artists as guests. What is the appeal of having sketch card artists as show guests?

RT: The hottest insert item in non-sport cards is sketch cards so having the sketch card artist at the show gives collectors a chance to meet them and purchase inexpensive sketches from them. Most of the autographers of non-sport cards are too far away and too expensive to bring to non-sport shows and collectors are just as happy to have the sketch card artists.

BG: As the hobby continues to grow, so too does the opportunity to make money. Some unscrupulous individuals are out for a quick buck and turn to fraud to make it.

To the casual collector, the thought of altered and fake cards out on the market is scary.

On our side of the fence, we get to see the ugly up close. Some of the card “doctors” are very good at what they do. Collectors think its just about fake cards but it is much more than that.

Nothing is worse then buying a certified autograph card only to find out the autograph has been enhanced or even removed and re-signed to improve the quality.

Auto cards are a very popular segment of the non-sport card hobby. Do you think counterfeit and altered cards and autographs are a problem that is growing in non-sports cards?

RT: Unfortunately, this problem has been invading the non-sport card hobby. So far, it hasn’t been as prevalent as in the sports card hobby but collectors still have to be aware.

BG: What do you think is the most popular to collect in non-sports right now? Sketch cards, autos, promos or singles?

RT: I would have to say sketch cards.

BG: What trading card set would you like to see produced?

RT: Avatar and guess what? Topps is planning on producing an Avatar set.

BG: Is card collecting popular in other countries beside here in North America?

RT: Yes, it certainly is. We have subscribers to Non-Sport Update from all over the world.

BG: What advice would you give a new collector trying to make sense of this wild world we call a hobby?

RT: Don’t try to collect everything. Focus on a particular area like movies, TV, science fiction, horror, art, etc. Try to be an educated collector. In this way, you will not overpay for items and you will know exactly what is available in your field of interest.

BG: Is there anything else you would like to share?

RT: Everyone should have a hobby. This enables you to forget about the trials and tribulations of everyday life. The non-sport hobby offers so much variety—there’s something for everyone.

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NSU – Top class publication & Web-site

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