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Saturday, February 11, 2017

New Release: 2017 Produce Sports Graphic Number Hiroki Kuroda

This is the dead card season in Japan. After Christmas, very few baseball card sets come out. The first series of flagship BBM doesn't hit shelves until April, and only BBM Rookie Edition comes out in February. Sports Graphic Number (issued by Produce, a company that also makes lots of non-sport idol card sets) released a second Hiroki Kuroda set this year, after making a smaller set last year.
 The regular set has 72 cards, and there are two basic card types. Card #1 above shows the basic design, with two different photos on front and back. Some cards have puzzles on one side, but text is very limited.
 Irregularly for an SGN baseball card set, a subset near the end of the set is titled "History" and highlights various points in Kuroda's career. The backs, again, have single photos.

While there are two basic types of cards, there are eight subsets throughout the set, of nine cards each. These focus on topics like the Japan Series, Kuroda's 200 wins, and retirement.

There are always a bunch of inserts included in this pack-based release.
 The first type of SP card has a white background with a cropped photo. The back has the same photo with the original background. There are 18 SP cards in total, with the first nine having this design. All of the text and those random splotches around the border are actually gold foil. My scanner doesn't show that very well.

Enjoy the "Engrish" on the front: "Japanese plum trees bloom most beautifully as they stand and overcome the cold severe winter." I'm not sure what that has to do with Kuroda.
 My scanner doesn't like the dark bottoms of the second type of SP card. These use silver foil. Below what you can see in the image above is Kuroda's name and a game date. This one states:
Hiroshima Toyo Carp VS Hokkaido Nippon-ham Fighters
I'm guessing that is a photo date, and if so, that's pretty cool. But then I think they should do that on every card.
 A common inclusion on non-BBM boxes are "Box Privilege" cards. These are usually given to people when they buy a box as kind of a bonus. I'm not sure why they don't package them inside as box loaders instead.
 It's funny that the company misspelled its own magazine. I'll give you a minute. You find it yet? Ashlete. Yup. This is an Ashlete card. Anyway, this Reservation Privilege card was originally meant to be given to people for pre-ordering a box.
 I've never seen these before, so I grabbed one of each type. First, this is a prize card of some kind for a poster. I'm not sure if I'll redeem it; I'll have to make the decision soon.
Additionally, this is most likely an offer card; I haven't read the back yet to figure out the details. At first glance it looks like you need three of these tickets to get one binder, and there are three binder styles.
I almost never get the rare cards when they're first released (and usually not at all for the autographs and patch cards). They are as follows:

  • photo cards
  • printed signature cards (9 types)
  • mini paper cards (card sized signature boards)
    • printed signature version
    • autographed "home" version
    • autographed "visitor" version
  • autographed relic cards
  • autographed ball cards
  • uniform relic cards
  • uniform patch cards
Packs of 6 cards retail for 500 yen each, while a box of 12 packs is 6000 yen. That means you won't finish a base set from a box, let alone having a shot at the insert set. I don't know what print runs or odds are for this set.

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