Leaside Gardens hosts hockey players — on cards

Sports card enthusiasts from across Toronto came in droves to see sports memorabilia showcased at Leaside Gardens.

On Sunday, sports fans flocked to view hockey, football and basketball cards as well as toys and assorted sports merchandise at the Toronto Card Show. With over 20 vendors at the monthly event, organizer Frank Williamson said the show aims to provide a venue for sports fans to collect cards of some of their favourite players.

“It’s a well organized show that has something for everyone regardless of their budget, age, or favourite sport,” Williamson said. “Also Leaside Gardens is a part of the community and it benefits everyone in the area to support any event that is held here, not just our own show.”

The hobby of sports card collecting can be relatively inexpensive. Beginners can start a collection with a few dollars, but more prized collections can cost thousands. It all depends on the value of the player. Williamson said Sidney Crosby’s card is one of the most expensive cards at the show.

“A Sidney Crosby rookie card from the cup has a print run of only 99, has a piece of patch from his game-used jersey, and is autographed by Crosby. It’s valued at $8,000 to $12,000,” he said.

Most card vendors at the show agreed that rookie cards are the most desired by collectors. They are often the most valuable cards of any given athlete because they were the first to be printed.

Spectator Pam London came to the show to check out the selection of cards with her son Cole Stevens, 14. He’s an avid card collector who makes sure his mom stays up to date on the latest card trends.

“I’ve started to learn about it. There’s books that give you the names and types of cards,” London said. “There’s so many cards.”

Stevens hopes to expand his collection someday.

“I would like to keep collecting and eventually make a profit off some of my cards,” he said.

For sports fans like Stevens, collecting cards allows them to celebrate the achievements of their favourite players, while the show gives collectors an opportunity to trade and purchase cards, and observe rare ones that are part of sports history.