Fuji must have designed his current contest with me in mind. I bet he was thinking, "Hey. Ryan needs some incentive to write posts again. He only posts once a month these days. I know! This year's mega-contest will have a blog bat-around component! That'll work!"
Damn. He knows me better than I know myself.
Anyway, his current question:
What's a cheap (under $5), cool card you feel every collector should add to their collection?
My answer, in 1000+1 words:
Seriously, the first time I saw a baseball menko card I fell in love. There are round menko like the one above (which, by the way, comes in nearly half a dozen different sizes).
If you want, you can get them in subjects other than baseball:
Yes, even trains. I have a couple of those.
What will a menko cost you? In America, it could be kind of expensive. But the giant round baseball menko at the top ran me 200 yen (about $2.50), and the non-sport menko (in non-mint condition, as to be expected) ran me less than 40 yen (about 50 cents) each.
Menkos are a unique, fun way of collecting cards, and old ones are fairly rare. But they're still pretty inexpensive. And while most of them feature players you've never heard of, they make for a great conversation piece! The cartoon ones make for nice wall art, too. (Hmm. There's a thought! Scan and blow up the image for a menko, and frame the enlarged image. I might just do that...)
By the way, I have some extra menkos sitting around, and after I take care of the (at least) seven people I promised Japanese cards to, I'll probably post some as trade bait!
(By the way, Fuji, a package was just sent your direction. Let me know when you get it!)