Thursday, May 31, 2018

Circa 1898-1903 Japanese Baseball Menko

I've seen this woodblock-printed menko on a few occasions before, but have never been able to pick up a copy.  A few weeks back it came up in a large lot of other menko from this woodblock set (the set contains somewhere around 30-50 menko), luckily with some sumo wrestling menko that I needed from the same set.  I haven't been able to nail down an exact year for the set, but it is somewhere between 1898-1903 according to the sumo wrestlers that are depicted.  All the menko in this set are absolutely gorgeous with crisp, black lines, vivid red and pinks, and gold gilded ink to highlight parts of the menko.  It measures about 1.75" in diameter.  This particular menko shows three kids playing getting ready to pitch, one batting, and one which looks to be a catcher.  The large word in the middle is Marinage, 毬なげ, or playing catch.  I love the gold gilding on the clothes and bat.  According to Baseball Reference, "Horace Wilson introduced baseball to Japan sometime between 1867 and 1873 in the early Meiji Era.  Wilson was a professor at Kaisei Gakko (now Tokyo University).  In 1873 Albert Bates, an American teaching at Kaitaku University organized he first game."  It makes sense that baseball would be depicted on the card as it seemed to be gaining popularity during this time and paper menko were becoming popular as well.  More to follow and I'll post some other menko that I picked up from the set.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Sumo Wrestling's Newest Ozeki - Tochinoshin!

I first want to congratulate Yokozuna Kakuryu for his 5th Yusho (tournament win).  He was dominate over the 15 days and easily handled both Hakuho and Tochinoshin.  Here are Kakuryu's two latest cards in the 2018 BBM Rikishi set.

We also have sumo's newest Ozeki.  Sekiwake Tochinoshin was notified this weekend that he would be listed as an Ozeki on the banzuke.  According to Sumo Reference, Tochinoshin is sumo's 257th Ozeki with 56 of those Ozeki going on to become Yokozuna.  Congrats to Tochinoshin.  Here are two of Tochinoshin's cards from the 2018 BBM Rikishi Set as well.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

60-Year Old Sumo Wrestling Card Goodness - 1960 Marumatsu Kimarite Bromide 6: Type 2

Changing of the guard in sumo wrestling happens when the new, younger generation of wrestlers out performs the older generation and the yokozuna realize it is time to hang up the mawashi.  Sometimes this is noticeable, other times it is so subtle that you don't realize it happened.  The last major changing of the guard occurred in 2002/2003 when Asashoryu stormed onto the scene and pushed the older Musashimaru and Takanohana out.  Before that it was in 1991 when Takanohana upset the dominate Chiyonofuji and he realized it was time to retire.  Taiho, arguable the best Yokozuna in history (we'll see where Hakuho lands though), was an up-and-comer in 1960 and was getting ready to dethrone the great Yokozuna of their time, Wakanohana and Tochinishiki.  His rival, Kashiwado, was right beside him and they went on to dominate sumo throughout the 1960s until they too got dethroned in the 1970s.  Such is the life in a King of the Hill type sport.  Perform or retire.

This scarce 1960 Marumatsu Black and White Bromide (BB-Series) set captures this dynamic time in sumo.  I recently picked up the rarer of the two different versions: Type 2 Blue Backs.  In them you can see an aging Wakanohana and Asashio.  I don't own any of Taiho or Kashiwado in the Blue Backs, but they all exist in this set.....the young getting ready to dethrone the old.

Monday, May 21, 2018

2018 BBM Rikishi Sumo Wrestling Card - Box Break

I have to say this is one of my favorite set designs that BBM has done in a while.  In total there are 81 cards in the set with two different autograph insert sets to chase.  The background design on the front of the 42-card main set (1 card for each of the wrestlers in the top division) is very Japanese and the colors are vibrant with the rikishi in their kesho-mawashi.  The background color on this 42-card are different for the different ranks: Orange for Yokozuna, Purple for Ozeki/Sekiwake/Komosubi, & Green for Maegashira.  The backs have a picture of the rikishi during the shikiri as well as the top-three winning moves the rikishi uses broken down by percentage.  At the very bottom is statistical info and an anecdotal write-up.  In Hakuho's, for example, it talks about his father passing away in Mongolia back in April and who was also a 5-time Olympic medalist.  There are four subsets as well that are pretty interesting with more details below under the photos: Fight (12-cards), Early Days (9 cards), Next Generation (12 cards), & Upset (6 cards).  My biggest complaint is the amount of doubles in the box...especially for a ~$70.00 pricetag.  I can get complete sets for half of that amount at YJA, and for a set collector like me, I am not interesting in chasing the autographs.  I lose the thrill of opening packs, though, so I'll likely continue throwing money at BBM.  BBM, if you are listening, start including gold and silver facsimile auto parallels or some additional insert sets like you do with your baseball and basketball products.  Here is the breakdown from the opening:

Main 42-card Base Set: 36/42
Fight 12-card Subset: 11/12
Early Days 9-card Subset: 7/9
Next Generation 12-card Subset: 11/12
Upset 6-card Subset: 4/6
Autographs: 1

Total: 69/81 - 85%

Here are the cards in the main 42-card set.  Hakuho and Tochinoshin.  One of these gentlemen is going to be the May 2018 tournament winner I believe.

Here is the design of the Fight subset.  Mid-ranked wrestlers with exceptional skill are highlighted in this set.

 The Early Days subset shows photos of the high-ranking wresters back when they first got into sumo.  I am not a fan of the mosaic pattern in the background.

This Next Generation subset shows the up-and-comers that are new to the Juryo division and have potential to go higher.

The final subset is the Upset series depicting some of the famous "upsets" in recent sumo history....or really when a Maegashira wins the tournament like when Tochinoshin won the tournament back in March.  Some of these go back to the 1980s.

There are 2 types of autograph inserts.  This one is the regular auto and then there is an Upset autograph set that features autographs of the rikishi that are on the regular Upset set.  All autos are sticker autographs unfortunately.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

August 1992 Tuff Stuff Magazine - Are You Rich?

Like most people blogging these days, I collected in the era of junk wax & over production, and at the beginning of the rare/limited/special/exclusive era....which ultimately killed my interest in the hobby at the time.  I picked up a cheap August 1992 Tuff Stuff the other day to take a walk down memory lane and opened up to the first page to glance at the kind of things that were selling back in the day.  There were dozens of different shops selling a wide variety of items throughout the magazine, but here is what I found on the very first page from a company called Sports Collectibles, Inc.:

It got me to thinking.....what at these items selling for today??!!!  If I would have bought this stuff back then via mail order, would I have made out selling this stuff on eBay today?  Well, let's find out.  Here is a bulletized list of all the items for sale on this page (generally going from top to bottom, left to right) with the price adjusted for inflation [2018 dollars]:

- 1990 Pro Set Golf Inaugural Set - $3.75 [$6.70 in 2018 dollars]
- 1991 Pro Set Golf 285-card Factory Set - $9.75 [17.43]
- 1990 Pro Set Golf 300-card Set - $27.50 [$49.16]
- Arnold Palmer Pro Set Award Hologram - $135.00 [241.34]
- 1991 Leaf "Studio Preview" - 18-card Set - $64.00 [$114.41]
- 1989 Pro Set Santa Card - $85.00 [$151.95]
- 1990 Pro Set Santa Card - $5.00 [$8.94]
- 1991 Pro Set Santa Card - $5.00 [$8.94]
- 1990 Jeff George/Keith McCants Draft Day Set - $65.00 [$114.41]
- 1989 Pro Set James Lofton #463 - $20.00 [$35.75]
- 1989 Pro Set Blair Bush #455 - $20.00 [$35.75]
- 1989 Pro Set Thomas Sanders #445 - $20.00 [$35.75]
- 1990 Pro Set Cody Risien #75 - $10.00 [$17.88]
- 1990 Pro Set Eric Dickerson #338 - $10.00 [$17.88]
- 1989 Pro Set William Perry #47 - $10.00 [$17.88]

---All of these items add $3.00 shipping and handling [$5.36]

I went with the eBay option here to see what I could come up with.

-1990 Pro Set Golf Inaugural Set: BIN w/shipping $8.00 ($8.00-$6.70-$5.36= -$4.06)
*not a good start for something that is "Limited Printing"*

- 1991 Pro Set Golf 285-card Factory Set - BIN w/shipping $10.05 ($10.05-$17.43-$5.36= -$12.74)
** uh oh **

- 1992 Pro Set Golf 300-card Factory Set - Best Offer w/Shipping ~$21.50 ($21.50-$49.16-$5.36= -$33.02)
*** I went round and round for a few minutes until I realized that the advertisement had a typo.  It should have said 1992 instead of 1990.  Anyway, things getting worse for Pro Set Golf ***

- 1993 Arnold Palmer Pro Set Award Hologram - Best Offer w/Shipping $23.99 ($23.99-$241.34-$5.36= -$222.71)
**** Wah Wah****

- 1991 Leaf "Studio Preview" - 18-card Set (I couldn't find just the preview set, but here is the complete regular set AND Preview Set.  BIN w/shipping $32.24  ($32.24-$114.41-$5.36 = -$87.53)

-1989 Pro Set Santa Card - BIN w/shipping $21.95 ($21.95-$151.95-$5.36 = -$135.36)
***Coal in the Stocking***

-1990 Pro Set Santa Card - BIN w/shipping $2.99 ($2.99-$8.94-$5.36 = -$11.31)

***Coal in the Stocking***

-1991 Pro Set Santa Card - BIN w/shipping $4.09 ($4.09-$8.94-$5.36 = -$10.21)

***Coal in the Stocking***

-1990 Jeff George/Keith McCants Draft Day Set - BIN w/shipping $10.44 ($10.44-$114.41-$5.36 = -$109.33)
*** Draft Day Bust***

- 1989Pro Set James Lofton #463 - BIN w/shipping $19.00 ($19.00-$35.75-$5.63 = -$22.38)
*** Boo ***

- 1989 Pro Set Blair Bush #455 - Successful Bid Price w/shipping $10.49 ($10.49-$35.75-$5.63 = -$30.89)
*** Boo ***

- 1989 Pro Set Thomas Sanders #445 - Successful Bid Price w/shipping $21.50 ($21.50-$35.75-$5.63 = -$19.88)
*** Boo ***

- 1990 Pro Set Cody Risien #75 - Graded Opening Bid w/shipping $18.99 ($18.99-$17.88-$5.63 = -$4.52)
*** Almost, but grading fees bump this lose even higher.***

- 1990 Pro Set Eric Dickerson #75 - [Graded] Bid w/shipping $2.00 ($2.00-$17.88-$5.63 = -$21.51)
*** A big loss and the grading fees bump this lose even higher.***

- 1989 Pro Set William Perry #47 - Bid w/shipping $6.31 ($6.31-$17.88-$5.63 = -$17.20)
***No love for the fridge***

There you have it.  Does anyone own any of these or invest in them back in 1992?

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

RIP Doreen Simmons - A Great Sumo Wrestling Advocate!

Once upon a time, before the internet, English-speaking folks living outside of Japan had to rely on other English-speaking folks living in Japan for updates on sumo.  The most popular medium for their writing was Sumo World magazine that came out ever other month in time for the six main tournaments.  One of the first English-speaking trailblazers was Doreen Simmons.  I have never met Doreen, but I am familiar with her work in Sumo World magazine from the 1980s and 1990s.  She was well respected for her dedication to the sport.  Unfortunately, we lost Doreen last month and with her goes decades of sumo knowledge.  She was a true pioneer.  There will be others after her, but none like her.  RIP.

Here is her New York Times obituary.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Sumo World Magazine - 10 new additions

The past few months have been very productive with additions to my collection of vintage Sumo World magazines.  This round has landed me 10 new issues (1983-2003) with some great articles from years past and puts me at having 128 out of the 162 issues issued through the end of 1999.  Once I get access to my scanner again, I'll get the covers and tables of content uploaded and in my archive list located just to the right of this article along the top of the blog.

Some highlights from the additions:

1983: Konishiki makes Juryo.  This is the same Konishiki that is in the Fast and Furious 3 movie.

1984: Takanosato weds a Japan Airlines stewardess.

1984: Preparations are underway for an overseas trip to Washington DC to see President Reagan, only to be snubbed by the former First Lady, Nancy Reagan, because the sumo wrestlers disgusted her.  I'll have to see if I can dig up that full story.

1986: The Paris basho was a smashing success and 5 wrestlers are accused of smoking marijuana

1989: Akebono is an up and coming star.

1992: Konishiki marries a super model.

For those that don't know, the internet basically killed the magazine off.  Americans living overseas could now get their sumo news near real time and didn't have to wait for the staff of Sumo World to write up the articles, print them, and then mail them out.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

1895-1899 Japanese Murai World Smokers

The 1895-1899 Murai Brothers World Smokers is one set where I have picked up a few cards here and there.  I definitely don't expect to complete it, but it is fun to dabble in these low-grade examples.  Plus the Japanese connection with the Murai Bros brand helps keep my interest even though supply is extremely low.  These 4 cards come courtesy of eBay and put my total cards in this set at 9 total now.  I am not a smoker, but every once in a while I like to have a good cigar.....and when someone is smoking a pipe it always smells so good.  Anyone else collect these or like to have a good cigar now and then?