Updated: Jun 25
The National Sports Collectors Convention “NSCC” is held each year in the summer and collectors come from all over the world to experience the largest sports card/collectibles in the world. Collectors are often told “If you can’t find it here, it probably doesn't exist.”
At these shows, there is an autograph pavilion in which NSCC partners with Tristar (One of the biggest and most respected autograph companies) to give fans an opportunity to meet athletes and actors, and obtain an autograph or picture. NSCC just announced their lineup for guests attending the show this summer and on there you can find “Dr. J” Julius Erving, “The Answer” Allen Iverson, Barry Sanders, and so many others. Do you know what you can’t find at the show that claims, “If you can't find it here, it probably doesn't exist?” A female athlete.
The current lineup of guests features 80+ athletes and not one female athlete is a part of that list. This year collectors have voiced their opinion on the issue, but this isn’t the first year this has happened. Last year, the NSCC had no female athlete as a signer, and the only female representative was an actress who played “Annie”.
Why This Matters
This presents an image of the sports collectibles community as exclusive. As a female growing up in this hobby, I’ve tried to show there is a part in this hobby for everyone. My dad used to take me to sports card shows when I was younger and even attended my first NSCC with me. Imagining a scenario where a young female collector attends her first NSCC and doesn’t see herself represented, is terrifying to me. After female sports have been making strides on the field with “equal pay” and the Women’s college basketball National Championship on prime time TV for the first time ever, it’s discouraging to see the hobby I love, be behind the eight ball.
Offering A Solution
There have been some collectors voice that “Tristar didn’t include any female athletes as part of logistics”, “They (Tristar) know they wouldn’t make money”, or “What female athlete would anyone want to pay $60-95 to get their autograph?”
To me, these questions and statements seem uneducated and excuse the lack of female signers. There are plenty of female athletes, past and present, that would make for a great lineup. So here are a few
The “99ers” - The US Women’s National soccer team that won the world cup in 1999. This would be great as this summer is the 2023 women’s world cup. This could feature Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain, Kristine Lilly, Julie Foudy, Michelle Akers, etc.
Mallory Pugh/Swanson - A rising star for the US Women’s National team is a Chicago Red Star, lives in Chicago, and is currently on the sidelines injured.
WNBA Legends - Lisa Leslie, Sue Bird, Sheryl Swoopes, etc. Iconic players that anyone will recognize and won’t interfere with any current WNBA players in season
NIL Athletes - Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese, Flau'jae Johnson, Paige Buekers, etc. All currently the faces of college women’s basketball with Reese and Johnson coming off a national championship with LSU
Olympians - Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, all a part of the “Final Five” that won the gold medal in 2016. Katie Ledecky, the face of women’s swimming, and has won 7 gold medals. Chloe Kim and Eileen Gu, both winter Olympians winning gold in their respective sports of snowboarding and freestyle skiing. Although Gu represents China, she lives in the United States and attends Stanford.
Faces of Sports - Jennie Finch, easily the most recognizable and one of the most accomplished softball players ever. Charlotte North, the rising face of women’s lacrosse after winning a national championship for Boston College.
To any parent, guardian, or friend of a young female collector, don’t let this be her only representation of the hobby or discourage her from collecting. There are people who appreciate these female athletes, collect their cards, and have them for sale. There is a place in this hobby for everyone. If she feels overwhelmed by this situation, I encourage you to stop by the “Women in the Hobby” booth at NSCC. There will be plenty of other female collectors that would love to hear collecting stories, talk about your favorite athletes, and will appreciate the value you bring to the hobby.