Sunday, September 10, 2017

New Sumo Wrestling Menko Card Set / 1938 Rikishi 7 (R388)

Tomorrow is the 16th Anniversary of the terror attacks on 11 September, 2001.  It is difficult to fathom how quickly the time seemed to go, but it is one of those world-changing events that we'll all be telling our kids and grandkids about for the rest of our lives.  I hope everyone is able to take a moment of remembrance.

In a similar vain, the U.S. would official be thrust into World War II with the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.  Up until then, Japan was engaged in a brutal and horrific war all throughout the Pacific.  The war had permeated all throughout Japanese society and it is hard to imagine anyone in Japan not affected by it in some way or another.  I recently picked up this 1938 set and the war's stark reminder was boldly embellished on the kesho-mawashi of the wrestlers: a rising sun flag, bombers, fighters, cannons, and gas masks.  These are just a few of the reminders the wrestlers and Japanese society were faced with.  I am hoping to pick up more menko from this set.

As always, I find it amazing that these survived the war, the paper drives, and the post-war years fairly unscathed.  I was lucky enough to get them inserted into the 4th Edition of the Sumo Menko and Card Checklist right before printing and now the set is permanently documented for future generations.

Friday, September 1, 2017

First Good Year Blimp Trading Card - 1932 German Garbaty "Die Eroberung Der Lift" Set

The German card market has a wealth of cards that seem fairly undiscovered on the other side of the Atlantic.  This set is one of them in the fact that it contains the earliest known Good Year Blimp Card...the "Pilgrim."  While the Pilgrim wasn't the first blimp built by Good Year, it was the first to have the words Good Year printed on the side.  This 1932 German "Die Eroberung Der Lift" (The Conquest of the Air) set was the first to capture the iconic Good Year Blimp image on a card.  In fact, the only other cards I can find of the early Good Year blimps are postcards.  This set was made to collect and paste into an album which was typical of the German tobacco sets of this era.  Surprisingly, this small lot of cards I won at auction survived this pasting fate.  Köberich catalogues this set as the 20703-5 and it chronicles the history of human flight over 234 cards from mechanical wings on humans to passenger aircraft and blimps.  Each card measures approximately 2 7/17" x 1 9/16".

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Yuta Tabuse Collection Update #2

Before Japan's Basketball B League was formed last year through the merger of the NBL and bj leagues, Yuta Tabuse was a star for the NBL's Tochigi Brex.  Surprisingly, BBM did not jump on board with getting the NBL license to print cards so NBL had their own cards printed.  Here is a somewhat difficult 2015-2016 card to find of Yuta Tabuse in his NBL uniform.

Here is also some numbered goodness from 2004, an Upper Deck Rookie Sweet Shot Rookie card numbered 707/1250.

Preseason B League actions starts up here in another week with the Early Cup tournaments taking place.  The defending champions Tochigi Brex are playing in the Kanto tournament with five other 1st Division rivals, while the other twelve 1st Division teams are playing against each other and some of the 2nd Division Teams in 3 other tournaments around the country.  A pretty interesting is the schedule.

That is it for this evening.  Check out my 1997 Japanese Bandai K-1 MMA pack opening over at A Pack to Be Named Later.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Astronaut Neil Armstrong's "Rookie Card" - 1967 Heinerle Card

During a trip to a local vintage toy and model train store here in Germany, I picked up this partial set of 1967 German Kampf Um Den Weltraum (The Struggle for the Universe).  This set was made by Heinerle out of Bamberg, Germany.  The set walks the collector through the development of rockets and the NASA space program up through 1967.  Pictures are mostly of rockets, engineers, and cool space related images (I'm a space geek and I picked up some other German space sets as well that I'll highlight here in the near future.)

Koberich lists the catalog number of this set as the 30825-25 made in 1967 with a total of 190 cards in the set.  This set also as an English-language parallel set that is identical on the front except that the writing on the back is in English....and you can definitely tell it was not translated by an American.  Koberich doesn't mention this fact of an English language version so I am going to get a hold of him and ask if he knows anything more about it.

What is really unique about this set, though, is that it contains a trading card of Neil Armstrong....card #185.  It shows him with David Scott in their Gemini 8 spacesuits together in front of a satellite dish.  Interesting fact is the image is reversed on the card front so this is also an uncorrected error...maybe they corrected it later, which would make it that much cooler.  I did an internet search and could only find his 1969 Topps Man on the Moon card as being the earliest trading card known up to this point.  Anyone know of an earlier card of Armstrong?

There are some other great cards of other astronauts including Alan Sheppard, Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee...not to mention the famous Werhner Von Braun on Card #35.  I only picked up a partial set so the full set likely has other cards of other famous astronauts.

Cards measure approximately 2 3/4" x 3 3/4"

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

1912 Daikokuya Postcards

I don't often collect sumo wrestling post cards since they typically are so expensive, but I pick some up every now and then.  This is a recent eBay pickup and I knew I had to get them as I have not seen this style before.  They are prints from hand-drawn originals and the quality is superb.  They are printed with vivid colored ink and have gold-gilt for some of the accents.  I am assuming the original artist's name is on the bottom right corner, but I can't decipher what it is.  The back is pretty typical for postcards of this era....The company name is Daikokuya which was in Tokyo's Ryogoku district.  I really hope I can end up finding more of these, but seeing as this is the first time I have seen this style in several decades it might be a while before I pick any others up.  The two are Ozeki Nishinoumi who went on to become the 25th Yokozuna....the right card is Kunimiyama who retired as an Ozeki after being plagued with a bunch of injuries.

Does anyone else out there like to collect postcards as part of their card collection?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Sometimes things are Black and White - BB-Series Sumo Wrestling Menko

One of the most neglected parts of my sumo menko and card collection is the BB-Series, or Black and White Bromides.  The 1940s BB-series bromides are a "nightmare" to try and catalog due to the sheer number of different sets produced.  A lot of detective work has to go into binning them to the correct sets....and I don't always get it correct so every edition of my book I have to fix numerous sets and checklists as I get smarter on them.  I'm not complaining, but with limited time these BB-series badboys get relegated to the bottom of my priority list.  In fact, when I first started collecting sumo cards, I wouldn't even keep most of my BB-series bromides...that was a big regret.  I've reached the point in my collecting where I can now focus on these black and white beasts.  Now that we are settled in Germany, I've been experimenting with shipping from eBay purchases as well as shipping from Japan.  My first pickup was this nice 1950s lot from Ebay.  Believe it or not, a few cards from this lot are actually quite rare.....I was even able to catalog a new type of set which happens very rarely these days.  The BB572 Marusho set now has been confirmed to have a Type 3: Brown Back.  Pretty cool. These cards are well loved which makes me cherish them more.  I love the candid shot of Yokozuna Wakanohana taking on three young boys which is quite common in the sumo world.  Kids would test their strength against a sumo wrestler, usually during special events like retirement or promotion ceremonies.

I haven't checked to see which ones of these are doubles yet....hopefully not many.  I did notice as I am writing this, there are two winner menko....marked with a purple "1" on the #81004 BB572 and a purple "3" on the 524300 BB601 menko.  Plus a kid named Norio lovingly marked the back of one menko with his name.  Fuji, do you recognize any from your book?

Thanks for reading and hopefully I'll have some more posts for you soon as the goods start flowing into Germany.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

My first sumo wrestling CDV...circa 1900

Sumo wrestling collecting material has all but dried up for the 1950s and 1960s, so I have turned my purchasing focus to the older stuff as well as the modern BBM cards.  There are still great sets to be had from the 1930s and postcards are always popping from the 1920s, but you very rarely see these 1800 CDVs (carte de vista) cards come up for auction.  This CDV is from the late 1800s and has a photograph of Ozeki Hoo (pronounced Hoe Oh).  Although no photographer is associated with this particular CDV (It looks like it says Fine Photographic 7), it could have been one of the more established companies in Tokyo as these likely would have been very expensive to manufacture.  I am hoping to gather more of these up in the future to hopefully be able to catalog them.

Friday, July 28, 2017

German Cards and Pack Cards (Tutenbilder) - Pasler's Catalogs

I've continued my acquisition of German card collecting books and picked up the foremost authority on the post-war sets.  These are Gerd Pasler's Deutsche Cards und Tutenbilder (German Cards and Pack Cards).  These hardback monsters are definitely a work of art and really fun to thumb through.  The English-language part of the introduction section states that these books "have been put together with a great deal of enthusiasm and passion."  It contains "scans and photographs of practically ever known album covers" along with hundreds of scans of wrappers, boxes, and cards.

These books focus on sets from 1950-2013.  This is its really only lacks focus as it contains, sports stars, cartoons, Panini stickers, UD German cards and a variety of different sets.  It would be nice for individual volumes to contain all these different subjects separately.  But this is really only a mild detraction as the quality and time put in these books is outstanding.

The first book is the entire catalog of individual cards are listed, only the sets and pertinent information on sets (# of cards, price, year released).  The second book is thinner and takes specific sets from the first book and actually checklists those sets in their entirety.  If it was up to me, I would have made 4-5 different books and checklisted the sets in each of those books with each book focusing on a different topic....sports, movies/tv, stickers, etc....

Hitting up the flea markets tomorrow...wish me luck!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

German Flea Market Finds #2: Some Non-Sport Goodness

It has taken a little while to adjust German life, but it has been the most difficult having my new sumo card supply dwindle while we make the transition.  I have been filling some of my time, though, browsing German Flea Markets.  I hit up another one this morning and came away with a nice haul of some non-sport cards. The language barrier doesn't seem to be a problem as long as you bring money.  That is almost the universal language, but I am sure I could have snagged these for a few less Euro than what I paid.  All in all, I walked away with these 24 cards for about $11 or 10E.

Some German Beauties!
-Koberich 21146-16, Frauen-Schonheit und Anmut (Set of 20)
-Koberich 21146-17, Frauen-Schonheit und Anmut (Set of 20)
*Size :6.5" x 8.5"

--Schonheit in Film (Gruppe/Group 1, Bild/Card 13) - Carola Hohn
--Schonheit in Film (Gruppe/Group 1, Bild/Card 16) - Hansi Knoteck
--Anmut im Tanz (Gruppe/Group 2, Bild/Card 12) - Ursula Deinert
--Anmut im Tanz (Gruppe/Group 2, Bild/Card 13) - Friedl Romanowsky
--Anmut im Tanz (Gruppe/Group 2, Bild/Card 17) -Annemarie Herrmann

A walk back in time with the Egyptians (Aus der Pharaonenzeit)

*Set: Uncatalogued Aecht Franck Coffee (Set of 6?)
*Size: 2.75" x 4.25"

--1. Am Hofe eines altagyptischen Herrschers
--2. Jagd auf Wasservogel am Ufer des Nils
--3. Aegypterinnen beim Ballspiel auf einem Dachgarten im alten Theben
--4. Vornehmer Aegypter beim Sklavenhandler
--5. Pharao verfolg den Bau einer Pyramide
--6. Transport des Materials zum Pyramidenbau durch die Wuste

Famous armies of the world set (Beruhente Regimenter)

*Set: Uncatalogued (Set of 6?)
*Size: 4.5" x 2.75"

--1. Preussen (Prussia)
--2. Frankreich (France)
--3. Osterreich (Austria)
--4. England
--5. Russland (Russia)
--6. Ilalien

Some Pearls of the German Landscape (Perlen deutscher Landschaft)
*Set: Uncatalogued Aecht Franck Coffee (Set of 6?)
*Size: 4.25" x 2.75"

--Bild 7. Auf Rugen
--Bild 8. Die Sachsische Schweiz

I love me some lithographic moth cards!

*Set: Uncatalogued Kornfranck Moth (Set of 8?)
*Size: 4.0" x 2 5/8"

--Bild 2. Die Ronne
--Bild 3. Schwammfpinner
--Bild 5. Ringelfpinner

*Set: Uncatalogued Stollwerck Chocolade (Set of hundreds)
*Size: 3 5/8" x 1 7/8"

--Gruppe 270, Bild V - Der Igel (Hedgehog)
--Gruppe 276, Bild IV - Das Opossum

Saturday, July 15, 2017

German Advertising and Collectible Cards - Koberich's Catalogs

Since moving to Germany, I've had a lull in importing Japanese sumo cards so I have been keeping myself occupied with German cards.  Hopefully, everyone will find some interest in these as they are quite a fascinating piece of collecting.  Doing research, I quickly found that Angelika Koberich is the king cataloging German cards.  He also runs an antique book shop up in Rabenau Germany and has an online presence here.  I reached out to Mr. Koberich directly about ordering two of his books and he responded very quickly.  He even sent them to me with a bill enclosed so wasn't expecting payment up front.  I think that is common here in German and a nice bit of customer service.  The two books I ordered were his German Advertising and Collectable Cards from 1872-1945 (Volume 1) and 1946-2001 (Volume 2).  Having just published my Sumo Menko and Card Checklist, I am always fond of other card catalogers.  These books are simply amazing.  Each is hardcover and about 275 pages each.  Even with extremely basic German-language skills I was able to decipher on how to use them.  Although there are no pictures of cards in the sets, the catalog in both books is presented nicely (see picture) to find what set the cards belong to.  Each set has 1) Year produced, 2) Catalog Number and Sequence Number, 3) Title, 4) Number of Cards in Set, and 5) Price. There is a nice index in the back that you can find your set and then go search it in the actual catalog to find all the details.

My real interest in these is that they catalog the German tobacco cards quite nicely.  These cards were originally issued with packs of cigarettes.  Eventually, coupons were added to the packs instead of the actual cards and they the buyer could then redeem so many coupons for packets of cards (issued in groups called Gruppe to stick in albums.  It seems about 5-10 packets of cards would complete 200-300 card sets so each Gruppe packet held about 20-30 cards.  It is more common than not to find albums with all the cards glued into the albums.  Here is an example I pulled from the internet:

This particular set is the Deutsche Volkstrachten which appears to be cards of people from all over Germany.  According to Koberich, this set was made in 1933 by Eckstein, a cigarette manufacturer out of Dresden.  The catalog number is #20502-12...this was the 12th set they produced and it has 198 cards.  Pretty cool.

Once I hit up some more flea markets, I'll post my finds.  Cheers and I hope everyone enjoys there weekend!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Former Maegashira Yamamotoyama makes a slight a music video.

About 8 years ago there was a young Japanese sumo wrestling sensation named Yamamotoyama (YMY for short).  YMY was the heaviest Japanese-born wrestler in sumo history so he caused somewhat of a stir during his quick rise to the top division.  His 215 kilogram/475 pound pimply-chested frame was something to behold, but it was evident that he was likely too heavy to achieve any long-term success. Fate/karma intervened and in 2011 he was kicked out of sumo for accusations of bout fixing.  He and a handful of other wrestlers were suspected to arranging the outcomes of matches which is something the Sumo Association has been actively fighting in the recent past.  After YMY was kicked out, he bounced around various odd jobs, but a few days ago I saw him pop up in an Ed Sheeran music video.  Being in Germany, our English-language TV channel selection is limited so I tend to hover over the music video channels (music traverses many cultures for sure) and Ed's video popped up with YMY debuting at the end.  With over a billion is the video:

Yamamotoyama has two BBM sumo cards (#48 in 2009 BBM, and #40 in 2010 BBM) that capture his brief tenure in the Sumo Association.  I don't have my cards with me yet, so here is a screen capture of his 2010 BBM card from Jambalaya.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

German Flea Market Find #1: Olympic Cards

Welcome from of lots of beer, nice cars, and a great culture!  I managed to make it out and about this past weekend to one of the local German flea markets and found these German Olympic cards....I have no idea what sets they are from, but thought they were cool for 2€.  I imagine I overpaid a bit, but since they were my first cards, I was pretty excited to get them.  The color ones appear to be all German athletes, while the black and white set has a mix of different countries and sports.  They are standard trading card size and all show a decent amount of wear.  Hopefully I will find more of them and can update everyone on what they actually are.  More to follow....

Friday, June 23, 2017

Stuttgart Germany, here we the grid for a few weeks.

I'll be taking a break from blogging for a few weeks as we pack up the house and head over to Stuttgart, Germany.  Once we get settled, I'll hopefully have some cool new German cards to share along with some new sumo cards on their way over from Japan.  Cheers everyone and I'll catch you on the other side of the Atlantic!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Japanese BBM Baseball/Sumo Wrestling Crossover Cards

In Japan, sumo wrestling and baseball have been interlocked in a decades-long battle for popularity supremacy.  In the 1930s, sumo reigned king...after World War 2 it was baseball that carried the torch.  In the mid 1950s, sumo took hold until the 1960s where Oh and Nagashima took baseball to new heights.  In the 1970s, strong wresters like Kitanoumi, Takanohana, and Takamiyama popularized the sport overseas.  In the 1980s, Chiyonofuji was the man in sumo and seemed almost well as sumo ratings.  In the 1990s, Nomo-fever brought about Japanese baseball to new fans overseas and was carried by Ichiro and Matsui.  BBM started making baseball sets first in the early 1990s followed 5 years later with sumo and is indicative of baseball's popularity strength.  The early 2000s were kind to sumo, but it's popularity died off until just a few years ago.  This battle will surely be an interesting one going forward.  Occasionally, there are cards that depict these two sports intertwined as is with the 2006 and 2008 Japanese BBM Baseball Ceremonial First Pitch Cards.  These four card feature sumo wrestlers throwing out the first pitch in April games during those season and thus were included in the 2nd series of the sets.  In 2006, Hakuho and Kyokushuzan had the 2008, Kotomitsuki graced card # 768 and newly minted Yokozuna Hakuho had a second go at this honor.  These are the only 4 cards I know that BBM has crossed over between these two sports.  I am hoping there will be more in the future.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

2017 Japanese BBM B.League Basketball High Five Set

A few weeks ago, BBM released a boxed set of B.League basketball cards that included players from both the B1 and B2 levels of the league...the set is called High Five.  Because of the inclusion of the B2 teams we now get cards from teams such as the Fukushima Firebirds, Iwate Big Bulls, Cyberdyne Ibaraki Robots, and Earth Friends Tokyo Z.  There are 54 cards in the base set and 2 signature cards included in each boxed set.  The big chase is the autograph cards, though.  I was pretty impressed opening up the box and seeing the cards for the first time.  They are really cool with the silver foil highlights. 

All 56 cards come in a cardboard box as seen above and wrapped in a sturdy cellophane band.  Somehow, though, my set moved around and card number #1 got dinged on the left corners.  The backs feature some basic facts and a full-body posed picture.  I really like the looks of these cards.  I got autos of Narito Namizato from the Shiga Lakestars and Shingo Utsumi from the Kyoto Hannaryz.....both numbered to /105  Some scans of the cards are below...but the silver foil does not show up in the scans unfortunately.  I bought a few sets and will keep them sealed except for this one.  The sets can still be purchased online so they must have made plenty of them to meet the expected demand.

They are a little spendy and Niki at Rakuten still has them for sale at around US$41 without shipping.  I don't chase autographs so am happy with this base set...I am really hoping we see more B.League sets at the beginning of next season toward the end of this year.