Saturday, May 14, 2022

Shohei Ohtani - Japanese BBM 2013 1st Version "Wing" Rookie Cards

Shohei Ohtani is having another great year and I thought it might be a good idea to dust this post off and update it slightly for accuracy. Ohtani's Japanese rookie cards often get overlooked or ignored by many collectors because of the difficulty in understanding the Japanese baseball card market.  BBM, much like Topps, is the dominate company distributing baseball cards in Japan and has been producing baseball cards since 1991.  There are numerous other collectors out there that are much more knowledgeable than me on Japanese baseball cards, but I wanted to highlight Ohtani's first true rookie cards from the 2013 Japanese BBM 1st Version Set.  This is the first regular BBM set that features Ohtani (not counting the Rookie Edition set) and features 11 different cards based on the iconic #183 pitching image!  BBM calls their releases 1st Version and 2nd Version which is comparable to Topps Series 1 and Series 2.  Check out my YouTube video at the very end!

2013 BBM 1st Version Box

This is the box that could land you the following cards:

* Red Wing #183 - Base

* Red Wing #183 - Silver Foil Signature

* Red Wing #183 - Gold Foil Signature #ed to 100

* Red Wing #183 - Holo Foil Signature #ed to 50

* Red Wing #183 - Red Foil Signature #ed to 25

* Red Wing #183 - Blue Foil Signature #ed to 1

* Green Wing  #183 - Rookie Foil #ed to 100


2013 BBM 1st Version Red Wing #183 - Base

Ohtani's most popular and iconic rookie card.


2013 BBM 1st Version Red Wing #183 - Silver Foil Signature

Affordable silver facsimile signature parallel that is unnumbered. (Photo courtesy of YJA)


2013 BBM 1st Version Red Wing #183 - Gold Foil Signature #ed/100

Spendy gold facsimile signature parallel numbered to 100.  Difficult to find. (Photo courtesy of YJA)


2013 BBM 1st Version Red Wing #183 - Holo Foil Signature #ed/50

Very difficult to find & expensive hologram foil parallel numbered to only 50.  (Photo courtesy of YJA)


2013 BBM 1st Version Red Wing #183 - Red Foil Signature #ed/25


2013 BBM 1st Version Red Wing #183 - Blue Foil Signature #ed/1

No image available.


2013 BBM 1st Version Green Wing #183 - Rookie Foil #ed/100

A few of these show up for auction on occasion.  Very expensive and numbered to 100.  (Photo courtesy of YJA)


2013 BBM 1st Version Green Wing #KP2

Handed out during a family event at Kamagaya Stadium (Photo courtesy of Ameba)


2013 BBM 1st Version Pink Wing #SL07

Handed out at another stadium event (Photo courtesy of YJA)


2013 BBM 1st Version Purple Wing #183 - Sports Card Magazine (SCM) Base

Issue #98 of Sports Card Magazine had 5 original promotional cards including this one of Ohtani.


2013 BBM 1st Version Purple Wing #183 - Sports Card Magazine (SCM) Silver Foil

Randomly inserted in SCM #98 were silver facsimile signature parallels.  (Photo courtesy of YJA)

Check out my YouTube Video!

Thursday, May 12, 2022

H553: 1955 Ranga 9 Sumo Wrestling Brick/Slammer Set!

Many years ago I discovered this 1955 Renga 9 set...probably at least 10-12 years ago at this point...and they are so rare that I never knew there was an actual variation with this set.  The backs come in two different ink colors: brown and blue.  Finding any menko from this set is tough, now there are variations I'll have to chase.  Aside from the back variations, this specific H553 set is gorgeous on the ink makes the images pop off the cardboard and adds to their quality and rarity.  Featuring almost all the top-ranked wrestlers from 1955, it has and early card of Wakanohana who was extremely popular and ultimate taking sumo to new popularity heights before handing the reigns over to one of the greatest Yokozuna of all time, Taiho, in the early 1960s.  Not to mention he was the uncle of Hanada boys who took sumo to all-time record heights in the early 1990s as Yokozuna Wakanohana and Takanohana!

H-Series menko are thick menko that were used as slammers used in the game.  Much like their modern-day POG counterparts, this heavy slammer was used to flip over the game menko and these heavy menko were often cherished by children.  It can be hit or miss on the quality of these menko...some like the H553 are still in great condition.  Others, however, are often beat up as you would expect.  These H-Series menko didn't just feature sumo wrestlers, but there are many famous movie and screen stars on several other sets. 

I recently did a YouTube video on finding two additional menko from this set...Yokozuna Chiyonoyama and Yokozuna Tochinishiki.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 25, 2022

1983-1 Japanese Sumo Wrestling Playing Card Set

I just did a video of this 1981-3 Japanese Sumo Wrestling Playing Trump Card Set over on my YouTube channel, but wanted to highlight a few more details here.  The Japanese word for playing cards is Trump or トランプ.  I'm sure there is a background on why it is called "trump"...probably was borrowed from another language.

I really like these trump sets as they feature a lot of wrestlers that really only ever got cards in these sets.  A brief history...these continued to be printed today, but started in 1973.  They usually came out one set per year (except in 2012 when the big match-fixing scandal hit sumo and in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic), but at the height of sumo's popularity in the early 1990s they were cranking out 3 sets per year.  These sets were only available at the kokugikan and souvenir shops.

This particular 1983-1 set was printed in March 1983 and has some notable rikishi in the set: the dai-yokozuna Chiyonofuji as the King Diamonds, the great Yokozuna Kitanoumi as the King of Hearts, Yokozuna Takanosato ranked as an Ozeki as Queen of Spades, the young Asashifuji ranked as a Maegashira before he became Yokozuna later on in the 1980s. and of course Takamiyama who seemed like would keep competing forever.  There was a 1983-2 set made in September of that year that included an extra Queen of Clubs that showed Takanosato as a recently promoted Yokozuna...this was done to hold people over until the following year when a whole new set could be printed.

I haven't been able to research much about who manufactured these sets, but the case does say "Alaska Playing Card Company"...not sure if they made just the plastic storage cases or the whole sets.  A brief search on Google doesn't yield anything.  

Thanks for tuning in and certainly appreciate all the support over the years!