Monday, August 20, 2018

1956 Sumo Wrestling Karuta Beauty - Like 1953 Topps!

It is not everyday that I get excited about new sumo wrestling sets.  For sure I see my fair share of new stuff and love to catalog it all, but rarely does a set stand out as something unique and outright beautiful.  The majority of the sumo menko and card sets use stock images to create the cards, while others use decent drawings to create the cards.  Not this set, these are some high quality, hand-drawn pictures of the actual wresters that they eventually printed on the cards.  What am I talking about?  The K562 1962 Sports Karuta set in fact.  Here are some images to prove that I am not lying.

This is actually a karuta set, although it doesn't have your typical hiragana/katakana letter on the front.  There are corresponding reader cards, but not in the auction I picked up.  This set likely came in a magazine from 1956 as there are perforations and cut lines on the cards indicating the intent for a kid to cut them out of the magazine.  There are 29 cards in the set including these 6 sumo wrestlers, 14 baseball players, 4 pro wrestlers, 2 boxers, 1 swimmer, 1 marathon runner, and 1 judo fighter.  All of them are equally amazing in terms of image quality.  They measure approximately 2.0" x 2.5", but I am not sure of the real intended dimensions as the set I picked up is somewhat hacked....but I love it since it shows that some kid back in the day actually held these and cherished them as well.

Kind of reminds you of the 1953 Topps Baseball set, right?

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

2017 Japanese BBM Special Event Signed Sumo Wrestling Card - Tochinoshin

It's nice to be back on the grid again with internet.  It took the better part of three weeks to arrange for the repair guy to get out here and exchange our modem with a functioning one, but here we are.  Trying to post anything on my iPhone is frustrating so I held out until I could get back in front of a computer and scanner.  I'm not sure I was too missed, but I sure missed posting.

This summer has been busy with sumo card pickups with a variety of unique and fun items I am hoping to share at some point.  One interesting discovery has been these gold-signed BBM Event Cards.  BBM has promotions around the country (Japan) for its new releases and some of the prizes for the sumo events are these gold-signed cards.  All of them are signed with a gold Sharpie and then embossed with an authentic BBM raised seal.  The scan below doesn't pick up the seal well, but what is really interesting is these are on-card autographs, while the regular signed cards in BBM boxes are sticker autographs.  These are much cooler and unique in my mind than the regular issues.  Here is then-Maegashira Tochinoshin's 2017 Regular Issue card with his auto across the front.

According to BBM's Event Website, if you spent 500 yen at a participating store event, you would be eligible for a kuji drawing, or lottery drawing.  Basically an instant win chance.  If you happened to pull the #1 prize, normally you'd get a box of cards.  A 2nd place prize are these signed cards and a 3rd place pull garnered you 10 free packs of cards.

They do these events for all the BBM releases and so you'll see baseball, soccer, boxing, etc...  I can't image there are more than a handful of cards for each wrestler making these a fun collectible to chase.  Look for the gold ink and raised seal to know they are authentic.

Cheers and have a great week!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

1933 Rikishi 4-5 Set: R331 Sumo Wrestling Menko

1932 and 1933 were very strange years in Japanese sumo.  The Shunjuen Incident had just occurred where 32 rikishi gathered at the Shunjuen Chinese restaurant in Tokyo demanding reforms from the Nihon Sumo Kyokai ultimately resulting in the postponement of the January 1932 tournament and the rikishi leaving the NSK.  The rikishi formed several new sumo groups in called the Great Japan Emerging Rikishi Group and the Progressive Rikishi Group.  (source: Sumo Fan Magazine).  Over the next 4 years these groups struggled and the last of the "rogue" wrestlers disbanded in 1937.  In 1933, during the height of this turmoil, the R331: 1933 Rikishi 4-5 menko set was produced.  A lot of reorganization was happening during 1933 with the rikishi that were left and so this set has a variety of rank mismatches which indicated it was produced over the course of many months.  Surprisingly, this set is one of the easier 1930s R-series sets to come across which might indicate sumo was entering a popular period.