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Sunday, January 3, 2016

Breaking Boxes Badly: Upper Deck 2000 Japan Sydney Olympic Team (Box 1)

The award for longest post title of the year will probably go to this pair of posts. Issued with a 1999 copyright, this set was probably actually issued in 2000.
 The boxes are pretty standard for Japanese card products. While BBM uses the American-style flat boxes that take up a lot of shelf space, most card packs come in a small standing box with about 10-15 packs each. You can see the front and back of the box here; note the 1999 copyright on the Olympic logo.
 The two sides of the box show all the sport logos for events held in the 2000 games. If you can't count, there are 29 sports represented in these packs.
 Speaking of packs, there are 15 packs in one box, and each pack has 10 cards. The full checklist has 264 regular cards (259 athlete cards and five checklists), plus 29 "Sport Category" (misspelled on the box and packs) cards which are numbered separately from the base set. The Sport Category cards come one per pack, which makes them just about as rare as the regular cards. The packs also mention redemption cards. Each pack has one information card, which I'm guessing would be replaced by a special redemption card in very rare cases.

One box has 150 cards, which means it takes at least two boxes (with perfect collation) to build a set. At the original price of 300 yen per pack, you'll need to drop at least $100 to finish a base set. (In Japan, discounts on full-box prices are slim-to-none.)

You'll notice that the packs are prepared for hanging, as many stores used to - and still do - hang products on wire grids instead of using shelving. That "pack ripping" triangle is worthless, by the way. I've never found one to work properly and more likely you'll damage some corners than get the pack opened properly. Thank you, scissors!

I seem to recall seeing this set listed in Engel's 7th Edition guide, but I could be wrong. I can't find it now. I was hoping to find a bit more information about the set. I don't see it in any of my issues of SCM, either, though the set could be listed in one that I don't have. My biggest interest is the redemption card/set. (More on this tomorrow.)

Anyway, on to the packs. I just shot pictures of the cards as I opened the packs. The Sport Category cards were inserted somewhere toward the back, usually the 7th or 8th card, while the information card came at the very end.
 There really isn't much to say about the card subjects, since the athletes are pretty much all retired. This is 15-year-old product, you know.
 The cards carry Upper Deck logos on the packaging and such, but MRM is the company that actually did the licensing. The design replicates the 1999 Victory baseball set.
 If you enlarge the picture, you'll see that the sport category card has a grey, low-contrast image of the sport itself. I like the design of those cards. The sport name has gold foil.
 As for the individual sports, athletics gets the most cards - the first 40 cards in the set. Baseball (19) and soccer (18) seem to be next.
Some sports have only one athlete represented (diving and tennis), and several sports have only two cards.
For some reason, the horizontal cards look better than the vertical ones. That might just be luck.
 I believe this pack holds my first of the 19 baseball cards. There will be more.
 There are lots of rhythmic gymnastics cards in these packs. There are only 6 in the set, and I had them all before opening these boxes, which makes them all duplicates.
 Here's another baseball player! And a checklist.
 A horizontal abseball player, and a couple swimmers.
 Have a look at this pack, and compare the cards to the first pack. I see at least three duplicates without really searching. Collation wasn't exactly great.
 Lots of softball cards in the packs means several duplicates there, too.
 If you're interested in details about the baseball players in this set, have a look at NPB Card Guy's post on the set.
 And here you can see a duplicate for the Sports Category card set back-to-back.
And that completes box one. I sorted both boxes together, so you'll have to wait until tomorrow to see how I did in the end. I'm going to go ahead and say now that the obvious collation issues are a definite downer.


  1. I'm pretty sure that it's not in Engel. I didn't know about the set until you posted a card from it a couple years back.

  2. Oh man... this box break must have been a blast. Very cool product.

  3. Very cool, did you pick these up recently. I am watching the Hakone Ekiden right now and some of these cards in this set remind me of that. Do you know if BBM releases any running sets or University sports sets?

  4. NPB Card Guy: I must have seen it somewhere, though looking at my database entry I didn't attach one of Engel's numbers to the set so I guess it can't be in there. Maybe I saw it listed on someone else's website, but I reviewed yours and the links that Jason provided in the comments.

    Fuji: It was pretty fun. I really hope they do something for the 2016 or at least the 2020 Olympics since those will be held in Tokyo.

    R Laughton: I've known about the set for a few years and got a big lot of them from NPB Card Guy a couple years ago. I bought these two boxes last month. I'm not aware of any running sets at all. BBM issued some college baseball sets up until a few years ago. Since 2009, they have issued a "women in sports" set called Real Venus which features some university athletes. But it's more about pretty girls who play sports than the sports themselves.

    1. Just checked - it's listed in SCM in the issue with the Sumo and other sports checklists. The latest issue with these checklists should be out at the end of this month. Last year's issue (#109) listed the set's value as 12000 yen. The set listing says "MRM" not Upper Deck so it's easy to miss. And the set listings are in some random order - it's listed between a 2010 set and a 2009 set (in that order).

    2. I don't have that issue, or any other issue with the sumo checklists! I guess I'm getting the next issue. I need the next BBM issue too so I can verify my lists.

  5. I have the issue from 2 years ago with the sumo checklist in it. Want to get this years with the updates.