Monday, August 30, 2021

Telephone Time - Sumo Wrestling - 1995 Kyushu Supporters Association Set

Supporters Groups have a long and important history in sumo wrestling.  They often supply sumo wrestlers and stables a valuable and needed flow of money to cover costs associated with the sport.  Costs for travel, uniforms, food, and supplies quickly add up and are difficult to cover by the stable master or wrestlers alone.  These Supporter Groups help keep sumo wrestling running smoothly in exchange for the wrestlers time at various functions, parties and events.  This Kyushu Supporters Association set was made in the 1995/1996 timeframe and either sold to members or given away as a commemorative release for contributions or membership.  It features the extremely popular brothers Takanohana and Wakanohana who likely received contributions from the Kyushu Supporters Association.  Kyushu is the is the third largest island of Japan and home to Fukuoka tournament and this group has it's presence across the island in support of the sport.  I have catalogued it as the CT951: 1995 Kyushu Supporters Association set.

I am a sucker for holographic telephone cards from Japan and this set is no exception.  Several holographic cards along with an additional action and posed shot are fitted nicely into this green holder and tucked away in a nice soft tan envelope.

I hope everyone has a great week and is ready for the upcoming tournament!

Monday, August 23, 2021

Telephone Time - 1999 Osaka Tournament Souvenir Telephone Cards

When I moved to Japan in 1999 telephone cards were still used and I used to to carry numerous ones around with me in case I needed to make calls while I was out and about.  By the time I left in 2001 cell phones had hit the scene and were all the rage pretty much phasing out phone booths and pay phones.  But in 1999, people were still collecting phone cards like this sumo set I came across recently.  It's an interesting set with some heavy hitters (pun intended).  Yokozuna Wakanohana (the other half of the famous Hanada Brothers), Ozeki Chiyotaikai, and Maegashira Terao are the ones I have come across so far.  Interestingly, these came in the little paper/plastic purple holders to protect your "investment" which the owner did until I rescued them and catalogued them here and in my book.  I love telephone cards and I'll certainly pick any up I can for the right price.  Imagine a world without cell phones like we lived in 20 years ago...

Have a great week!

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

My 2021 National Recap

What a weekend spent in Chicago at The 2021 National.  One of my bucket list items for quite a while...I was actually on my way to The National 10 years ago when a family emergency forced me to turn around and miss the event.  Didn't miss it this time and had a great and amazing experience.  There are dozens and dozens of other collector reports of The National and I thought I'd also post my thoughts here of my Saturday and Sunday experience.

1. The Donald E. Stephens Convention Center is huge.  It took my brother and I 12 hours to walk and look at every single booth while stopping at about 10-20% of them to look through boxes.  If I was to do it again 3 days would have been perfect.  We walked 9 miles around the convention floor weaving in and out.

2.  The modern-card hobby is in a boom right now for sure as there were a ton of people.  I can't help think the modern cards market is going to collapse in on itself soon with the prices being thrown around.

3.  There is plenty of vintage at The National...don't let the modern-card YouTubers lead you to believe otherwise.

4.  1986-1987 Fleer Jordan rookie cards are not rare, however, they are rare in the PSA 9 and PSA 10.  I could have walked away with 2-3 dozen graded examples PSA8 and below.

5.  Likewise, 1951 Bowman Mantle and Mays rookie cards are not rare either.  Surprising how many The National brings out of the woodworks.

6.  After plenty of research, we ate a big breakfast and brought sandwiches and power bars for lunch and snacks so we didn't have to wait in line and pay the crazy vendor prices.  People always seem to be complaining, but with a little preparation we were just fine and saved all that time.  They did need more tables and chairs around the perimeters though.

7.  I have a good sense of smell and I didn't smell nasty BO until the last day with one of the venders.  Thanks to all the collectors out there for showering.

8.  Absolutely bring good shoes.  My hip flexors were really sore after two days of shuffling on the concrete floor and bending over looking at cases.

9.  The aisleways did get crowded and I did run in a fellow sumo card collector so I was probably guilty of clogging the aisles.  The convention center needs about 15% more space to spread out and give people a bit more room to maneuver in the aisles.

10.  People were really polite as well as the dealers.  I didn't have one negative interaction!

11.  I asked about 6 dealers and they all said they had an amazing show as far as sales.  Money was flying around no doubt.

12. The modern-card YouTubers were out and about, but I very rarely saw them...I only saw their videos afterwards.

13.  People say there were a bunch of kids there and they definitely were, but this hobby and industry really isn't for them anymore.

14.  People carrying lock boxes around with tens of thousands of dollars in slabbed cards is a site to behold.  When it is a 10-year old kid it makes me sad though.

15.  There is plenty of stuff to do: autographs, memorabilia, box breaking, card shopping, dime boxes, dollar boxes, corporate booth festivities.  There is not a shortage of fun.

16.  There were good deals abound, but you had to search.  I was surprised how much inventory was still sitting around at the end of the show leading me to believe the prices were a bit high for most buyers.

17.  Beer at The National.  A brilliant idea designed to pry more dollars out of people's hands.

18.  NASCAR card collecting is dead at the moment.  I saw maybe one or two booths with unopened, but no one was selling any singles.  Soccer, Wrestling, MMA, and F1 have all overtaken NASCAR at this point.  Again it's pretty sad to see how far NASCAR has fallen.

19.  I'm not sure we'd do the VIP Passes again.  Unless you are going to be there all 5 days, it really wasn't worth the price for what we did.

20.  I bought 5 items there...yes only 5 items:

    a)  An unopened taba pack of late 1950 sumo bromide cards!

    b) A box of 1987 Donruss to rip back at the hotel and relive my youth!

    c) A 1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan Learning Series Card

    d) A SGC 7.5 2018 Topps Chrome Ohtani - I wanted to own an SGC slab to have in my collection, but didn't want to spend a ton of money so I rescued this one.

    e) A full set of 1991 Kicks American Taekwondo Association Cards 

Well, there you have it.  Would I go to The 2022 National in Atlantic City?  You bet!