The Pittsburgh Spectacular Shows promoted by Sean Bennett are rapidly developing into “spectaculars.”
Bennett’s most recent show was headlined by former Pittsburgh Steelers Levon Kirkland, Greg Lloyd, Kevin Greene, Jason Gildon, Dermonti Dawson and Rocky Bleier. Greene and Dawson are among the possible names to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the coming weeks.
“We had a nice mix of dealers, with an increase in those who specialize in vintage material,” said Bennett of the show held at the Monroeville Expo Mart. “We are trying to make this a complete show that appeals to collectors of all ages and interests.”
The autograph pavilion was operated by B&G Memorabilia, which is owned by Pete and Theresa Ausiello. This was B&G’s first effort at teaming up with Bennett. Both entities will be working together at Bennett’s spring show, which is scheduled for April 27-29.
“As this show has evolved, it just made sense to have Pete handle the
autograph guests,” Bennett remarked. “A complaint in the past had been about the autograph prices, but Pete brought in some high-quality guests at what I think are very reasonable prices. Judging by the turnout, the collectors agree with me.”
One of the new faces at this show was dealer Mick Jockel from Pittsburgh.
Jockel’s tables were filled with older material. Coupled with his upbeat
personality, his tables soon became jammed as collectors surged forward to look over his wares, especially old programs and media guides.
“I don’t run a store,” said Jockel. “These are just some things that I have accumulated. I am a long-time collector. If a customer feels that one of my items is too pricey, I will ask them what they think it’s worth. To be honest, the customer actually sets the price. If they don’t buy it, then you have to lower the price. It doesn’t hurt to compromise, especially with oddball items as it’s hard to find a book price.”
At the opposite end of the dealer spectrum from Jockel was Paul Szczesek, who owns Bases Loaded in Buffalo. Szczesek is known for the eye-catching display of autograph memorabilia that he brings to shows. Szczesek reported that sales were steady for him throughout the weekend.
“Autographed baseballs signed by Hall of Famers went well this weekend,” said Szczesek. “We sold a whole bunch of boxing. We generally do very well with cards down here. There are a lot of set-builders out there looking for cards from the 50s, 60s and 70s.”
Howie Walther from Munhall, Pa. noted that, “Bobbleheads are dead. There have been so many of them produced the past few years that they are hard to move. There is still a market for the older bobbleheads, but not much of one for the newer issues.”
Dale Theiss made the drive in from Columbus, Oh., to set up at the show. Theiss was upbeat about the show, saying, “This show is more consumer and fan-friendly than it has been previously. The attendance is off a little bit. Sean does a good job of getting the word about the show. Plus, the autographs are much more reasonable this time around. I really think this show is going to become a staple on the Pittsburgh scene.”
When asked about what he sold at the show, Theiss responded, “Steelers memorabilia continues to move. Autographed photos and signed minis did well.”
As a dealer, who sets up at a number of shows around the country, Theiss had this to say about the hobby’s future.
“Collectibles, cards and autographs are coming back. For a while there was such a pollution, or over-production of product that the collector got turned off. As long as we can keep fake, or bogus, autographs out of the hobby, the collector will have confidence in that what they are buying is truly real.”
– By Chuck Greenwood