Tuesday, June 30, 2020

2020 Mid-Year Report Card

Well, with the year half over I thought I would do a quick review of where I stand on my 2020 Collecting Goals.  Not going to lie, this has been a tough year with work and COVID-19.  Oddly, my time to even blog has been drastically reduced due to inefficiencies of teleworking and having to spend more time "at work" to make up for the time lost trying to coordinate everything virtually.

I know there are a fair amount of collectors that don't like to do collecting goals...However, I'm one that likes to lay out the year to help me focus and to generally guide my collecting habits.  I seldom vary from my larger collection so I don't have a ton or random collections that are half-started...just expanding my normal collections and then maybe tackle one or two more.  Anyway, looks see how I am doing.

Goal #1: Blog at least once a week - 52 posts this year!  Current Grade - "F"

Oh boy, this has been the toughest to do and I am likely not going to get to the magical 52 posts.  Right now I stand at 23 posts and feel like I am on the struggle bus to even hit 40 let alone post more times than I did in 2016!  I'll keep working at it and hopefully I can find a little bit more time this fall.

Goal #2: Publish the 5th Edition of the Sumo Menko and Card Checklist - Current Grade - "F"

Yikes, I doubt this is going to happen this year.  I have a ton of newly-discovered sets that still need checklisted and entered into my book.  I need about 40 hours between now and the end of the year to somehow squeeze in to get the sets tidied up, entered, published, and the .pdf sent off to the printer.  I can't see this happening this year unfortunately, but I will still whittle away at updating the draft as often as I can.

Goal #3: Add 5 more Sumo World magazines from 1973-1999 to my collection - Current Grade - "F"
I definitely have not nailed this one either and still need only 28 more to complete the entire run from March 1973 - November 1999.  New auctions for these things have dried up and they are harder and harder to find.  Ugh....so far I am batting .000.

Goal #4: Attend three card shows this year - Current Grade - "F"
Son of a.....well COVID-19 did happen so it is not my fault, right?!  I really was hoping to hook up with Fuji for some Del Taco and cards.  Crap...here we go...0 for 4 at the plate....still at .000 batting average.

Goal #5: Add three more 1973 Calbee cards to my set - Current Grade - "A"
Finally, I am on base.  Not doing bad here...I think I added 3 already and I am easily going to get another 3 or more this year.  Have some orders lined up too that should make this a homer.  Plus to earn me some extra credit, I did discover that this 36-card set was broken up into two series. (Series 1: Cards #1-18 and Series 2: Cards #19-36)  For some reason, Series 2 are much harder to find which makes that much more expensive too!  I did pick up the really hard-to-find binder as well so doing well with Goal #5.  Now batting .200!

Goal #6: Keep rounding out my Japanese yukata fabric bolt & card collection - Current Grade - "A+"

If you would have asked me 6 months ago if this would have been the one goal that I would be overachieving in, I would have laughed at you....but here we are 6 months later and my yukata bolt/card collection is on fire.  I cannot believe all the product that is out there and no one is collecting this stuff.  Unknown sumo wrestling cards, Unknown Japanese baseball cards, Unknown famous singers and actor cards.  And to boot, the material and patterns are so fascinating.  Anyway, this goal has been a grand slam and I can't wait to keep sharing all the bolts that I pick up.  I would love to write a book on these someday!  Now batting .333!

Goal #7: Publish at least 6 BBM Card Set reviews - Current Grade "F"
Well.....this one hasn't had any progress and I am likely not going to have any time this year to do this one.  Plus COVID-19 has reduced the number of sets a bit, so....sorry Goal #7.... dropped to .286.

Goal #8: Add 20 more cards to my Non-Sport Collection - Current Grade "A"
This is another goal that has been on fire!  I have been faithfully working on my Bruce Lee Yamakatsu sets, Myojo Noodle carfds, Zip Zaps, and Airport Trading Cards.  All it all I am well at 20 if not a bit higher.  I am hoping to show case some of my gatherings once I can get some of my international packages from Japan shipped.  Back up to .375

Goal #9: Send out 10 care packages - Current Grade - "C"
I have gotten 2 or 3 of these out this year...not bad, but I need to step it up and somehow stock up my reserves to shoot some more of these out.  I'll call this one a bunt....to bring my average up to .389.

Goal #10: Maintain/Improve Google/Yahoo/Bing Search Engine results for Sumo Card(s) & Menko - Current Grade - "B"
See the source imageSee the source image
Still #1 on Yahoo!
Dropping on Google....uh oh!
Now #1 on Bing!

Final Batting Average = .425

Thanks for letting me walk through my current progress.  I definitely have a little bit of work to do and if I can get my average over .500, I would call that a success.

How is everyone else doing on their 2020 goals?

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Fuji's Mountain of Goodies

Fuji is one of the most generous guys in the sports-card blogiverse.  Recently he sent out a bunch of PWEs to fellow collectors and I was the lucky recipient of one that was filled with Nolan Ryan cards.  As a kid, I grew up revering Nolan and had a decent sized collection of his (pre-internet days) and still do.....I continue to dabble in his cards and try to pick up the modern inserts for cheap when I run across them.  Fuji didn't disappoint and hooked me up with some awesome modern cards (including a Saturn V card....legit!) as well as early 1990s Upper Deck that I never turn down.  Nolan was a beast on the mound....here are some excerpts that pulled from the back of these cards:
He is the oldest pitcher to throw a no hitter:  43 in 1990 for his 6th and 44 in 1991 for his 7th!
He started pitching in the Majors before Man landed on the moon.
He struck out 19 batters in a 7-inning high school game.
He struck out 272 batters in his first minor-league season with the Mets in 1966.
He won 43 games combined in 1973 and 1974!
He struck out 383 batters in 1973!
He got his 300th win on 31 June 1990....almost 30 years ago to the day!
His 5714 strikeouts has doubled all but nine other pitcher's strikeout totals!!!!
Fuji, thanks for the package and expanding my Nolan collection!

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em - Japanese 1956 Mitsuwa Sumo Wrestling - Yokozuna Tochinishiki

I don't promote smoking and occasionally like a good cigar, but the 1950s were a flamboyant era when smoking was all the rage and fashion.  Did you know that in the 1950s almost half of the Japanese population smoked or consumed tobacco?  In fact, in 1956 the per-capita consumption was over 1400 cigarettes!  That equates to every Japanese man, woman, and child each smoking over 1400 cigarettes in 1956 alone.  Crazy....but I digress.  Sumo wrestlers were not immune to the influence of smoking as captured on one of the only known sumo cards that shows a wrestler smoking.  Here is Yokozuna Tochinishiki having a nice drag in his yukata...given that his chomage is done up, this picture was taken right before or after a match or before a special event. What are your thoughts with tobacco products being "consumed" on trading cards?

Saturday, June 13, 2020

These are a few of my dangerous things....Japanese Toxic Creatures

The late 1970s and early 1980s in Japan were the wild west of trading cards much like the early 1990s was in the United States.  They made trading cards (called mini cards) of a wide variety of subjects and some real head scratchers for sure.  One of these sets by Amada was called "Toxic/Poisonous Creatures".  Once I discovered this set out there, I knew I had to have it.  Comprised of 40 cards as well as winner cards to claim a whole box of additional bonus cards (see picture below), this set captures the creatures from around the world that could more or less kill you.  What kid would not want a set consisting of poisonous sea creatures, snakes, spiders, scorpions, and killer insects?  It reminds me a lot of the educational cards that National Geographic would release to shape influential young minds.  What are your thoughts on collecting these type of odd-ball sets?

Monday, June 1, 2020

1971 Japanese Sumo Wrestling 3D Lenticular Cards - Move over Kellogg's!

This auction had me super excited as I counted down the days until it ended and I wasn't about ready to let these slip through my fingers.  For the vintage sumo menko and card collectors, this is the toughest set to find in the post-menko era (after 1964).  Some of the very first lenticular/3D cards in both the Japanese baseball and sumo world, this 15-20 card set features baseball players, boxers, and sumo wrestlers.  These black-backed wonders capture the very first card of Takamiyama, the first foreigner to win a sumo tournament, as well as Tamanoumi who was destined for greatness only to pass away shortly after this card was produced from appendicitis.  I have seen only one other of these (another Takamiyama) and these will likely only pop up once every 5-10 years at the rate I am seeing them.  Distribution of these is unknown, but could have very well been issued with candy or gum.  Have a great week and stay safe out there.  Sayonara!