New Conference & Exhibition Takes Business of Collecting to the Next Level

Introducing the Premier Collectible Conference & Exhibition – an elite event for serious participants in the evolving collectibles industry.

Collectibles isn’t a mom and pop industry anymore. The truth is it hasn’t been for quite awhile. In fact, collecting has become a billion dollar market. In 2001, Doug Allen, President and COO of Mastro Auctions, a leading Sports and Americana auction house and Ryan Friedman, owner of Auction Report, began exploring resources, information and issues that the rapidly evolving collecting industry would require as a result of its transformation from a primarily home-based, small time hobby to its current big business status. The result is the Premier Collectible Conference & Exhibition (PCCE), which will be held April 17-20, 2008 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL.

The PCCE is a unique event unlike anything that currently exists in the collectible industry. The goal of the PCCE is to bring serious collectors and the industry’s most respected sources together in a professional environment that reflects the current state of the collectible industry. Created to address topics, challenges, provide education and discuss trends in the collectible arena, the PCCE will be mutually beneficial to all participants. While initially the brainchild of Allen and Friedman, the PCCE concept has quickly gained strong support from the industry’s top tier of collectible-associated businesses and forward thinking collectors.

“While most individuals still collect because it’s in their blood, the business end of the industry, especially when it comes to the high end, can no longer be ignored,” said Joe Orlando, President of Professional Sports Authenticators, a premier sports authentication firm. “With prices escalating and authenticity becoming an increasing concern, collectors spending big money want to know more about the sources they are dealing with and rightfully so. The PCCE will provide the ideal forum for this to occur.”

Marshall Fogel, a well-known sports collector agrees. “The PCCE is an important addition to the existing collecting shows, especially for the advanced collector,” said Fogel. While Fogel admits that the existing shows do provide resources for all collectors and are extremely valuable, the PCCE will bring aspects that are equally as necessary, especially in today’s collecting environment. “When it comes down to doing serious collecting business on an investment level, it would be advantageous to have the best of the best in one place. That’s what the PCCE will offer.”

In addition to facilitating intimate interaction between collector and collectible source, the PCCE will bring collectible leaders together to enhance the perception of the industry. Most experts agree that the collectibles industry, like most industries, has some negative aspects and a few less than reputable players. But because of the industry’s explosive growth, the indiscretions of the few have had a tendency to overshadow the many positive developments overall. The PCCE will function as a quasi think tank hosted by an elite group of collectible leaders on the forefront of the industry’s evolution who are actively committed to promoting its new professionalism, integrity and business acumen.

“For collectors and the masses, the PCCE will take much of the guess work out of who is and isn’t a respected source in the collectible industry,” said Brian Drent of Mile High Card Company. “While many of us may be competitors at the conference we understand that by working with our esteemed peers at events such as these, we all benefit. By promoting what is positive about the collectible industry and tacking difficult issues head on we will ensure the professional path we pave today will serve us all well in the future.”

The four-day PCCE event will be limited to less than 100 exhibitors, which makes up the nation’s top auction houses, dealers and authentication companies, to ensure a quality event and environment. The event will feature ample time and space to meet, buy, sell, consign and become better acquainted with the top industry sources. Major grading and authentication companies have agreed to provide onsite services for attendees. There will also be special exhibits of high-end items. Round table discussions for the public will be conducted on topics such as graded cards, authentication, game used memorabilia and autographs, insurance of collectibles, and collecting tips. Several question and answer sessions with the industry’s top experts will also be held. Exhibitors will participate in special roundtable discussions geared specifically to their needs. Topics during these sessions will include advertising and overall marketing, technology, insurance, image improvement, and the state of the industry.

Allen observes that while the PCCE has been created to assist the collectible industry adjust to its new big business role today and in the future, it is interesting to note that its basic concept behind it remains rooted in the past.

“During the collectible industry’s infancy, especially with sports items, it was individuals who really understood and respected the material that would get together and work toward furthering their common passion,” said Allen. “When you think about it, that’s what the PCCE really is with an added emphasis on the business component. It’s often a nod and respect for the past that positions you well for success in the future.”

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