Monday, February 22, 2021

c1937 Sumo Wrestling Menko - R3712 Rikishi Double Arch 4

There are still dozens of uncatalogued 1930s R-Series sumo wrestling menko sets waiting to be discovered.  During the 1930s and early 1940s, the paper sumo (kami zumo) boom was in full force in Japan and these R-series menko were extremely popular.  In the latter half of the 1930s Japan was at war with China and many sumo wrestlers had their ceremonial aprons adorned with war-themed images: planes, tanks, ships, and artillery.  This R3712: 1937 Rikishi Double Arch 4 set that I recently stumbled across exemplifies this turbulent time in world history.  Previously uncatalogued, the checklist now stands at 3 with #7207 - Maegashira Katsuragawa, #6713 - Maegashira Tsurugamine, & #5431 - Maegashira Dewanohana.  These might be some of the only ones of this set in existence.


I hope everyone has a great week and stays safe out there.  Sayonara!

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Thanks Matt @ Run-Fore!-Kellogg's 1977 Sumo Sportscasters

A huge thanks to Matt over at the Run-Fore!-Kellogg's Baseball Cards and Run-Fore!-Sportscaster Cards.  He sent me out of the blue two extremely rare and hard-to-find 1977 Sumo Sportscaster Cards: the German-language and Italian-language cards.  These are so cool and I never thought I would own one of them given how hard these "obscure" language ones are to find.  I am amazed at the language variety of these cards and how far reaching these were collected around the world. The sumo cards checklist is now at 9 (see below) with the ones in bold the ones I have in my collection.

Thanks again Matt and much appreciated!

03-08 Printed in Italy - Blank Series (English Language)
03-08 Printed in Italy - A Series (English Language)
03-08 Printed in Italy - B Series (English Language)
03-08 Printed in Italy (German Language)
03-08 Printed in Japan (English Language)
03-56 Printed in Belgium (Dutch Language)
03-56 Printed in Italy (French Language)
03-56 Printed in Finland (Finnish Language)
833-12 Printed in Italy (Italian Language)

Monday, February 8, 2021

Living Blog Bat-Around - Merlin Olsen/Jack Youngblood - HOF Sumo Wrestlers

I'm kicking off a "Living" Blog Bat-Around featuring Merlin Olsen and Jack Youngblood; two Hall of Fame defensive players from the "1st" Los Angeles Rams team.  Why Merlin and Jack?  I'll describe in a second, but there is no cost to participate except for a PWE and some of your time to write a post.  After each post, sign the Card Savers, and then throw the cards and remaining stamps (I'm including their 1975 Topps cards and all the stamps) in a PWE to send to the next person.  After you get the cards, the idea is to write a post that relates to the cards.  Maybe about 1970s collecting, 1970s football, the Los Angeles Rams, or you might even have a cool story to tell about Merlin or Jack.  At the end I'm hoping someone can send the cards back to me. I'll summarize what everyone wrote and try to do something fun with the cards like auctioning them off for charity or see if Jack will sign his card and then auction.  Ideas always welcome.  Okay, here goes my post....

Regional tours (jungyo) are an important part of sumo culture.  In between the main May/July/September summer tournaments that are held in Tokyo and Nagoya, sumo wrestlers travel into the countryside to bring the sport to rural fans that aren't able to experience a main tournament.  On occasion, these tours take them overseas as was the case June 1976 when the wrestlers traveled to Los Angeles to highlight the sport.  Given that the only comparably-sized athlete in the U.S. were football players, Jack Youngblood (6' 4" - 248 pounds) and Merlin Olsen (6' 5" - 270 pounds) from the local L.A Rams were asked to compete against each other in the ring to win the honor of then wrestling against an actual sumo wrestler in an exhibition match in front of 4000 spectators.  Jack beat Merlin and then subsequently lost against then-Makushita wrestler Taiko (5' 10" - 255 pounds).  It was all in good fun and these two future HOFs were able to add sumo wrestling to their repertoire.  Merlin went on to a successful broadcasting and acting career after playing football and passed away in 2010 at the age of 69.  He was elected to the HOF in 1982.  Jack stayed active in a variety of businesses and ventures before being elected to the HOF in 2001.

(Photos from July 1976 Sumo World Magazine)

Okay, anyone up for receiving the cards for the next Living Blog Bat-Around?

Monday, February 1, 2021

2016 Japanese BBM Masterpiece "Stay Gold" Card - Yokozuna Hokutoumi

In the not-so-distant past, BBM was doing some interesting things with their multi-sport sets.  BBM, in a break from their normal conservatism, issued "Super Metallic Cards" [スーパーメタリックカード] of a handful of athletes as part of the Stay Gold subset to the 2016 BBM Masterpiece set.  2016 BBM Masterpiece has a slew of other cool subsets as well: the lenticular "Glorious 3D" subset, the holographic "Superstar" subset, the "Sparkling Hero" subset, and combo, vertical, horizontal autograph subsets.  One of the athletes they captured within the Stay Gold set is Yokozuna Hokutoumi who had risen through the ranks during the same time as the legendary Yokozuna Chiyonofuji.  Hokutoumi was strong, but his true potential was tapped down by Chiyonofuji's sheer dominance.  He ended his career in 1992 with 8 respectable championships.

These Stay Gold cards are heavy....almost 1 oz!  Since inserting these in card packs would have certainly been detected due to their weight, BBM issued redemption cards that a lucky winner would send off in return for one of these.  I have seen Stay Gold cards pop up from time to time, but I have never seen the corresponding return letter than BBM also included with the card....until recently.  I was able to pick up both the card and the letter from eBay recently.  It also reveals that even though BBM issued these as part of their Stay Gold subset, they refer to them as Super Metallic Cards!  Maybe insignificant to most, but part of the entire story that inspires me as a collector.

These don't scan well, but here are a few photos I was able to snap along with BBM's correspondence.

Have a great week and stay safe!