Tuesday, May 28, 2019

SoCal here we come!

Sumo card fans...unfortunately I have to take a ~1 month posting pause as all our household goods get moved from Germany to Southern California.  Once we get settled in the July timeframe, I'll start posting again.  Until then, enjoy the beginning part of your summer and I'll still be lurking on everyone's blogs!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

2019 BBM Sumo Wrestling "Kaze" Set

BBM's second sumo wrestling set of 2019 hit the streets last week to somewhat of a luke-warm reception...at least outside of Japan.  There is something about this set that screams "BBM isn't trying hard enough."  Apart from the majority of lackluster poses, there hasn't been any real changes to these sets over the past decade.  BBM keeps using the same formula and doesn't even guarantee an auto per box.  In fact, BBM's YouTube channel had a box opening to promote the set and the host failed to secure an auto which is quite unusual.  It's hard to get excited paying close to $80-$90 to come away with only a partial base set and no extra shiny stuff or autos.  But alas, there are some decent things about the set.  The Popular Rikishi subsets do have some interesting shots and I like the red box art.  Let's dive into some of the actual card scans that I pulled from BBM's website.

Problem 1.  The background is too busy..  They should lose the white characters and just go with the artwork.

Problem 2: Look at how busy this is too...and they had to blur out the lady's face in the background.  Ugh.

Positive and negative.  Maegashira Enho is super popular.  Weighing in at 218 pounds and around 5'9"  This guy has shot right up the ranks in a little over 2 years.  Here is his second year card. If they would have gotten rid of the vertical stripes on the card, this would be a decent shot.

Positive...some nice shots of Mitakeumi and Endo.  No complaints on these two cards.

Negative....c'mon BBM.  Stop using sticker autos.  They have on-card autos of popular wrestlers that they use for special event promotions, but they continue to go with these stickers.  Booo.

Okay, as much as I complain, it is because I care.  There is a large sumo wrestling card collecting following out there that deserves a little more attention from BBM.  And sumo is as popular now as it has been in the past 2-3 decades!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Mystery Deepens - Merging 2 1950s Sumo Wreslting Menko Sets

My quest to catalogue every sumo menko and card produced and publish my findings has been driving me over the past ~20 years.  These days discovering news sets is few and far between, but this past month I was able to solve a part of a "mystery" that has been bugging me for a while.  The BC598: 1959 Trophy 6 set always stood out as a loner.  These five trophy BC-series menko cards seemed out of place because they only depicted the trophy hardware, never wrestlers.  But I could never pinpoint where they belonged so I gave them their own catalogue number and set name until I could find out.  However, I recently discovered an uncut pair of BC5710: 1957 Yamakatsu Gyoji 5 menko that had both a BC598 and BC5710 on it.  Mystery solved or so it seems.  For some reason I never caught on that on the back of the trophy cards, they had the years associated with the last 8 winners of the trophy that was depicted on the front.  When do the years end?  In the middle of 1958.  So I had the wrong year on both of these sets.  So now I will merge both of these sets and recatalogue them being from 1958, but the question remains, why did Yamakatsu issue these difficult-to-find trophy cards as well as give them a 6-digit Fighting number instead of 5 digits like the rest of their set counterparts?  Were they used for some other prize?  The mystery deepens....

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Mitsubishi Ki-1 Bomber & 1937 Sumo Wrestling Cards

The Japanese were in a full-out war with China in 1937 and the nationalistic pride of waging the war spilled over into the national sport of Japan, sumo wrestling.  During this time, there was evidence of the war everywhere.  Images of military vehicles, weapons, and personnel adorned the ceremonial "kesho-mawashi" aprons of sumo wrestlers and one such image was placed on Maegashira Komanosato's R375: 1937 Dai Rikishi Thin 5 menko card.  After a little research I determined the aircraft was the Mitsubishi Ki-1 Heavy Bomber that saw action in Manchukuo and Northern China during the mid to late 1930s.  Whether or not these images were actual on the wrestler's aprons or just on the cards remains to be seen, but a pretty cool merging of history and card collecting.


Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Gold & White Sumo Wrestling Cards - 1959 Comic 9-10-11 Menko Set

Collecting Japanese menko cards in the late 1950s has a similar aspect shared with the current United States sports card industry...they both were/are a form of gambling.  In the 1950s, Japanese manufacturers would randomly insert winner menko cards in M-series boxes.  These winner menko were the regular white-bordered menko, but had a small stamp on the back indicating the level of prize you won.  If you happened to pull a winner menko from the box you could redeem it for an uncut sheet of gold-bordered prize menko.  The large, uncut sheets (4-8 uncut menko) were reserved for the top prizes and the smaller sheets (1-4 uncut menko) were reserved for the lower prizes.  These gold-bordered prize menko were included with the box when the shop owner purchased it from a wholesaler, but they were removed and displayed to entice kids.  As I can only imagine the amount of yen Japanese kids would plop down to try and "win" one of the gold-bordered cards.  Sound eerily familiar?  As you can imagine, these gold-bordered menko are extremely hard to find and quite valued among sumo card collectors.  Here are two gold-bordered menko from the M591: 1959 Comic 9-10-11 set, a non-winner regular white-bordered menko, and some examples of other gold-bordered menko with their original boxes.

Example of the prize gold-bordered menko.  These happen to be cut.

Example of the regular white-bordered menko.  This is a non-winner since it doesn't have a stamp on the back.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Undiscovered 1974 Michael Jackson/Jackson 5 Rookie Card

A few months ago I happed to be in a French antique market and ran across these TinTin comic books from the 1970s.  What intrigued me the most, besides being in French, is the trading/collecting cards that were printed on the back cover.  Every magazine had four 4 1/8" x 5 5/8" cards printed on the back cover meant to be cut out.  There is a variety of subjects from tv and movies stars, singers, sports cars, and motorcycles.  The one that stuck out the most is the 1974 Musicard of the Jackson 5 along with young Michael at the age of 16 years old.  My scour of the webiverse couldn't uncover anything earlier than this and there is another rookie card of Michael from 1974 made by George Bassett and Company out of England from a series called "Pop Stars".  However, there have been 34 of those cards graded and there probably are only a handful of these in existence...one of which is shown here.  So it looks like we have a new Michael Jackson Rookie Card!

There were some other cool ones of Roger Moore and Bruce Lee.  I see some obscure autocards that probably have some rookie cards of Peugeots and Renaults.  Here are all the ones I was able to find and catalogue.

1974 - Raquel Welch
1974 - Marcello Mastroianni
1974 - Jacqueline Bisset
1974 - Roger Moore
1974 - Romy Schneider
1974 - Robert Dhery
1974 - Pierre Mondy
1975 - Karen Black
1975 - Isabelle Adjani
1975 - Bruce Lee
1975 - Jean Rochefort

1973 - Citroen GS Birotor
1974 - Lancia Beta 1800
1974 - Renault Rodeo
1974 - Minissima
1974 - Jaguar XJ 12
1974 - DAF 44
1974 - Lancia Fulvia Coupe 3
1974 - Ford Taunus 1600 GT
1975 - Ford Escort
1975 - Peugot 304S
1975 - Citroen CX 2200
1975 - BMW 528
1975 - Audi 100 GL
1975 - Ferrari Dino 308 GT 4

1974 - Kawasaki 500 H 1
1974 - Moto Morini 3 1/2
1974 - Ossa 250 E 73
1974 - Ossa 250 AS
1975 - MZ TS 125
1975 - Fantic Motor 125 Chopper
1975 - Malanca E 2 C
1975 - Hercules K 125 T
1975 - Moto Guzzi 850V California

1973 - Robert Charlebois
1974 - Nicole Rieu
1975 - Il Etait Une Fois
1975 - Salvatore Adamo
1975 - Nicole Rieu
1975 - Paul Slade
1975 - Laurent Rossi

1974 - Gary Glitter
1974 - Gilbert O'Sullivan
1974 - Cat Stevens
1974 - Jackson 5
1974 - Mike Oldfield
1975 - Alan Stivell

1974 - Jean-Pierre Jarier

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Mystery Solved - Spanish Flea Market and Portuguese Calendar Cards

I've had these six 1986 sumo wrestling cards for a while and was never able to really place them except they appeared to be from Lisbon, Portugal and measure 2 3/4" x 3 3/8".  All backs are identical on the sumo set.  Last weekend, however, I was exploring Madrid's famous Rastro Flea Market and came across a booth that was selling hundreds of different calendar card sets including the exact same sumo set I had in my collection.  After browsing all the sets, it appears that from the mid 1980s to early 1990s, these calendar cards were the hot thing to collect in Spain and Portugal.  There was everything from celebrities, to art, to animals, to sports....you name it, there was a set for it.  I was able to purchase these 3 sets for 10 Euro (~$12): the 6-card 1986 Sumo Wrestling set, the 12-card 1986 Mr. Olympia Bodybuilding Set, and the 12-card 1990 Space Exploration set.  Then when I got back home I went to eBay and bam.....I typed in "Portuguese Calendar Cards" and this whole new world opened up for me.  See for yourself.  I can't imagine any of them are licensed, but what do you guys think?  Cool or not cool?