Chaos and Kanji is the blog where I write about my adventures through Japan!

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Living in a Parallel Universe

If you think Topps is bad about issuing lots of parallels, you should take a look at the secret world of BBM issues. Most BBM pack-based sets have at least two tiers of insert sets. Team sets have foilboard and holofoilboard (my new word!) versions, with the latter being serial-numbered. Topical sets (such as the Historic Collection series) and the flagship series releases seem to usually have a couple of foil signature colors - 2013 BBM 2nd Version has at least silver, gold, holographic, and red. Information about the existence of these parallels is rarely made by BBM itself.

The real trick, though, is the multitude of promos and limited editions they issue to stores, events, and stadiums.
 Something that took a surprisingly long time to realize is the proliferation of Card Shop Limited Edition series. These are usually a different color from the regular base cards, and contain a special designation on the front.
 The backs are also identifiable by the different numbering system (PR3 here).
 Here's a special parallel produced for a card show last September. It has a lattice-patterned holofoil style coating (visible in the scan below) and unique coloring.
 And it's double-fronted. There is no card number, though I suppose it's the only card issued in the "set".
 Genesis's Card Shop Special Card set uses a slightly different color/foil scheme and notation on the front. And there are multiple cards in this issue.
 The backs here use CSxx numbering.
 Here's a regular parallel from Genesis. This is the green parallel.
 BBM doesn't usually issue parallels for every card in the set. Instead, they tend to pick a handful of cards. The green parallels are serial numbered to 150.
 Touch the Game was the predecessor to Genesis, and this is a red parallel from the last issue of Touch the Game.
 The backs show that this parallel is serial-numbered to 75.
 I mentioned that topical sets receive signature parallels. This is a parallel from a Lions anniversary set titled Lions Classic, containing a gold foil signature.
 The back shows that gold foil signatures are numbered to 60.
 The Lions Classic set had an insert set with the same name. I don't know if this is a parallel or not!
The back is serial-numbered to 100. This brings me to another type of parallel BBM uses - stealth parallels. I've found a foil parallel for a team set - exactly identical to the other foil parallels - with a serial number out of 100. I have to wonder if this is another example of that. Plus, if this is a parallel, it's another example of BBM's insert parallels. Many of BBM's inserts have one or two parallel versions with foilboard, holofoil coating, or foil signatures.

I picked these all up as I was getting my 2nd Version singles. Finding parallels and promo-issue parallels is both good and bad at the same time - I'm glad I've discovered cards that aren't really cataloged and I can show them to you, but at the same time it adds to my overall "burden" and cost of assembling my type collection.
Yep. Life is tough.


  1. It's a shame that there isn't an online checklist for all of the BBM sets. Maybe one of these days Beckett will start cataloging all of them ;-)

  2. The Sports Card Forum website has a fairly complete inventory of BBM releases, and the old version of Gary Engel's Japanese card guide is fairly complete through 2008, though it doesn't include promo and frequently doesn't mention rarer parallels. One of my hopes, over time, is to at least create a detailed list of all the issues made. I'm not putting together checklists right now since they're at SCF. (I have to say thanks to Jason for doing most of the work on putting the data into the inventory.) I would love to be able to maintain a database website of Japanese (and other foreign) issues, but I don't have the time or skills. (I could learn, but then, time is again an issue.)

    Beckett's too busy setting prices to bother maintaining comprehensive lists for minor issues.

  3. Good post. This is one of the main reasons I mainly just collect Calbee cards - the sheer frustration of trying to keep track of all the BBM releases is just too much for me. Of course BBM does have the advantage of not requiring the collector to eat a lot of chips but I like the fact that Calbee (mostly) keeps their sets simple.

  4. The first "Card Shop Special Card" promos that I ever saw were for the 2011 "Hometown Heroes" Historic Collection set. I don't know if BBM was doing that sort of thing before. I have seen promo cards for earlier BBM sets, just not labeled "Card Shop Special Card".

    They might not count as parallels, but BBM included two other promos for last year's Genesis set in Sports Card Magazine #95. Usually the promos in the magazine seem to be mostly identical to the regular BBM cards but these two had different pictures than the regular cards.

  5. Sean - I'm sure you've seen the Calbee parallels, though they seem to be limited to just one of the insert sets each year, and it seems that there is only one parallel for that set too. But yes, Calbee is my favorite NPB release each year. I would love to have the time and resources to try to assemble a set run of these but it just won't happen with my budget.

    NPB Card Guy - I don't recall seeing Card Shop Special Cards before 2011 either though I too have seen plenty of other random promos. For my tracking purposes I consider all the SCM cards to be a single issue spread over the course of a year. Otherwise I'd need pretty much every card. Do you know anything about Weekly Baseball? I found a bunch of promo/parallel cards that seem to be issued with that magazine when I was last in Nagoya. Were the promos originally issued in Weekly Baseball and then moved to SCM?

  6. I did a little research into your question and I'm surprised to discover that SCM has included promo cards in EVERY issue since they started (not quite sure when that was). In every issue that I have (#'s 46, 49, 50, 95-97 and 99) the last set listed in their checklist (in the "Other Sports" section) is the SCM promo cards. (I didn't realize this until just now.) They start with issue #1. There's some text at the beginning of the list that has "95" and "10" in it which might mean the magazine started in October of 1995 (or it may not).

    Anyway, to answer your question - no, it doesn't look like the promos moved from Weekly Baseball to SCM.

  7. I checked my copy of SCM and that is a date, and as you guessed it stands for October 1995. If that's a complete list it would probably be possible to collect a full set of cards from the issue. It's more of an investment than I'd like to commit to.

    With SCM providing its own list, I guess a full English checklist could be put together at some point. For those who are interested, the guide prices its own cards at 100-500 yen each with the past couple of years' issues being 200-500. There is one card at 800 yen.

  8. They don't list them in the checklist but there are parallel versions of the SCM cards as well. I've gotten two recently - the Shohei Otani card for this year's Rookie Edition set and the Rie Tanaka card that I gave you.

  9. I checked my SCM issue 100 and there's a multiplier at the end of the list. I'm not sure if it appears in the other issues. The silver parallels are 2x regular price and gold are 5-8x regular price. It doesn't say what cards have parallels. Many of the cards are listed as "original" though.