ATLANTIC CITY – Susan Lulgjuraj has always collected sports cards.
Ever since she was young, she had been fascinated by this hobby as it brought her closer and connected her to her favorite players and teams, such as the New York Yankees and Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter.
“It’s something I really appreciate,” said the 42-year-old. “It’s my whole life.”
Lulgjuraj turned that passion into a career.
The Yonkers, New York native has been in the sports card industry for 10 years, most recently with CSG Sports, which is one of several vendors at the 42nd National Sports Collectors Convention this week at the Atlantic City Convention. Center.
The event, which includes more than 650 booths from top exhibitors from across the country, began Wednesday and ends Sunday. A 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card expected to sell for $10 million is one of many high-profile items from the convention, known as the National.
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“It’s a very big part of my life,” said Lulgjuraj, who was a sports reporter at The Press from 2004 to 2012 before joining Beckett Media, which grades and certifies cards, as national football editor. , hockey and basketball for his magazine. from 2012-14.
“I’m not here for the value,” added Lulgjuraj, who fell in love with Jeter after the Yankees won the World Series in 1996 and began reclaiming his card, along with other members of that team. “Yes, cards are worth money, but for me it was never about value. It’s something I enjoy.”
Lulgjuraj then worked as a marketing communications manager for Topps for five years. She then worked at Goldin Auctions before joining CSG as marketing manager last month.
CSG, which certifies and grades sports cards, comics, coins, stamps, non-sports collectible card games and more, presents a special exhibition of Michael Jordan titled “The Dynasty Collection” this week. . The display features a shoe worn by the game from each of the six Hall of Fame Championship games. Some were burned.
CSG also had some rare Pokémon cards.
“I love it.” Lulgjuraj spoke about his new position. “Everyone here is amazing. Everyone is so super nice. They are knowledgeable and passionate about this industry. It was exactly what I was looking for.
But collecting isn’t the only reason she enjoys this hobby.
In 2006, she started a blog with her friend, Marie Pecora, called “The Cardboard Problems”. This started Lulgjuraj’s journey and also helped her make connections and further advance in the industry. Pecora also works in the card industry and still collects.
Lulgjuraj met her husband because they shared an interest in card collecting. Her husband Dan Good, who also worked at The Press with Lulgjuraj, first approached her to discuss a box of cards.
Lulgjuraj and Good, who recently wrote a book called “Playing Through the Pain: Ken Caminiti and the Steroids Confession That Changed Baseball,” have a 6-year-old son, Dean Good.
Lulgjuraj has held a weekly Twitter segment, “card Chat” every Wednesday for 10 years. She has a different topic every week and gets great feedback while others are engaged and having fun. His Twitter handle is @YanxChick.
“While cards are fun, I love cards and collecting and buying cards, the best part about it is actually the connections and the people you meet,” Lulgjuraj said.
Along with her best friend and husband, she met many other people in the industry, including CSG Vice President Andy Broome. Lulgjuraj and Broome worked together at Beckett, have known each other for 10 years and stayed in touch.
Broome just likes being able to sit with her and talk about cards.
“I always hoped to work with Susan again,” Broome said. “She is a very important part of this industry. She knows a lot of people and she knows how it works. The great thing about Susan is that she has a passion and a love for this industry. … It would be hard to find anyone more passionate about the industry than Susan. You can see the passion in his work.
“And she cares about the industry,” added Broome, who called Lulgjuraj “an approachable person. You won’t find a more genuine person in the industry.
Lulgjuraj has attended 10 National Sports Collector Conventions, except 2016, the last time the event was held in Atlantic City. Her son was born around this time, so she was unable to attend.
Booths from all over the country filled 400,000 square feet of the Atlantic City Convention Center, so it’s a good thing the event lasts five days. There is enough time to check everything, Lulgjuraj said.
Some other items included game-worn jerseys and autographed merchandise.
“You’re probably still missing something, but it’s still great. I was so excited to come back here. I love this region. I love everything about Atlantic City,” said Lulgjuraj, who added that the event is so important because it features all the top stands from across the country in the same venue, which doesn’t always happen.
The event continues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
“I love it,” Lulgjuraj said of his career. “I couldn’t be happier.”
Contact Patrick Mulranen: 609-272-7217