To prepare for the National, Altan Insights’ sat down with some of the top names in the space to discuss the event, their opinion on the overall card market, and more! We continue our conversation with sports card extraordinaires by talking shop with Leighton Sheldon, the CEO and President of Vintage Breaks.
Vintage Breaks is a leader and innovator in the sports card breaking industry. Sheldon holds the same title at Just Collect, one of the country’s top purchasers and brokers of elite vintage sports and non-sport cards with over $50 million in sales.
Leighton brings a plethora of experience and knowledge to the National and has been working in the trading card market for more than two decades. Before founding Vintage Breaks and Just Collect, he was the Director of Acquisitions at Lelands Auction House. Leighton is one of the foremost experts in vintage cards and unopened packs/boxes. His expertise in vintage has led to appearances on American Pickers and Bloomberg TV. He has also been featured by ESPN, Forbes, the Washington Post, and now, Altan Insights.
At Vintage Breaks, Leighton has had the opportunity to interview and open packs with Emmit Smith, Dominique Wilkins, Wade Boggs, Gary Vaynerchuk, Pete Rose, Rick Barry, Tony Dorsett, Dale Murphy, and other legends.
One of Leighton’s greatest pleasures is discovering original collections and sharing the unique stories of collectors. For example, he found and acquired the “Fairy Godmother Collection,” featuring dozens of T206 Hall of Famers, including the rare Eddie Plank card, which was an unexpected inheritance from a godmother who collected the cards during her youth. He additionally brought to market the “Hole in the Wall Collection,” featuring hundreds of Strip Cards from the 1920’s, including several Babe Ruth cards, that were found, literally, in a hole in the wall of a New Jersey home undergoing renovations.
Leighton currently resides in New Jersey with his wife, Julie, and their six-year-old son, Crosby. He is active in the charity Congenital Hyperinsulinism International, and serves as the auctioneer at its annual gala.
Leighton is no stranger to The National and was at the forefront of one of the most iconic moments from the annual show. In 2018, Leighton brought down the National Sports Collectors Convention and garnered national media attention when he pulled a 1955 Bowman Mickey Mantle from a sealed pack live on the center stage before thousands of spectators. His exuberant cry reverberated throughout the convention hall. Leighton and the team at Vintage Breaks will be back at the National this year with loads of wax to break and plenty of opportunities for a repeat run at 2018 glory.
We spoke with Leighton on his plan for their years’ event and what trends the Vintage Breaks team is seeing in the sports card space.
Will you be at The National this year and how many events have you attended?
Yes! I've attended every one since the last time it was in Atlanta, GA in 1999!
Do you have a booth or anything you'd like to plug regarding the national? (giveaways, etc.)
We are giving over $25,000 of vintage cards, break credit, and boxes on August 1st live from the National! You can get into many breaks and bonuses for as little as $3 (shipping included!) Prizes from the VIP bonus events include a 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan Rookie Card or a 1954 Red Hearts Baseball Complete Set that features a graded Mickey Mantle! All the details and specifics can be found at http://event.vintagebreaks.com.
What are trends you’re seeing in the space and are there any particular sports or eras that seem hotter than others right now?
Yes, vintage is as strong and steady as ever. The modern market is interesting- Basketball was super hot in 2019 and in parts of 2020. Now 2020-2021 football and soccer are hottest for us!
Any players or sports you feel are underrated and overrated today?
Be careful with 2020-21 basketball product. Love the soccer vibe I'm seeing though and Vintage/Modern Hockey has also been selling well for us.
I know you’ll be busy with your event but what will you be targeting at The National?
I collect old photos and of course buying vintage cards and wax.
What advice do you have for a first-time attendee?
Bring comfortable shoes, healthy snacks, cell phone charger for the show, and cards to use for trade bait!