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Monday, December 18, 2017

2017 Epoch Premium Sets: It's Been a Busy Year

Normally, Japanese baseball card collectors can count on Epoch to toss out a few high-end sets each year, and they've done pack based sets here and there as well. But this year, Epoch went kind of nuts with their releases.

During the season, they issued several lower-priced sets, most of which I've already written about on the blog (Giants post is coming soon). But over the year, they've also tossed out several premium sets which I haven't even touched on yet. Honestly, those high-priced cards are tough to find outside of auction sites, and I've been pretty bad at keeping up with them overall as a result.

So, here's a nice long post to sum all of it up. All fourteen premium sets since the start of the season.

Opening Day Starting Lineups
Released on March 25th, each 15,000 yen (about $150) box contained three base cards, one Holospectra insert card, and two autographs. The set breaks down as follows:

  • 40 base cards
  • 40 Holospectra insert cards
  • 40 Autograph (type A) cards, with a red parallel version
  • 40 Autograph (type B) cards, with a red parallel version
  • 8 Ball Autograph cards
  • 3 Booklet cards
  • 1 bat card of Koji Yamamoto
Note that print runs on autographs vary based on subjects, with the parallels having a lower print run.

Uniform Number Evolution
Epoch's next premium set hit shelves on July 15th. The format is the same as Opening Day Starting Lineups, with three regular cards, one Holospectra, and two autographs per 15,000-yen box. Print runs on the regular autograph cards vary by player and parallel. It breaks down as follows:
  • 40 regular cards
  • 40 Holospectra insert cards
  • 40 Autograph (type A) cards, with gold ink parallel
  • 40 Autograph (type B) cards, with gold ink parallel
  • 40 Autograph (type C) cards
  • 40 Holospectra Autograph cards (1/1 print run)

Seibu Lions First V 35th Anniversary
This premium set was released on August 26th, and has a stronger theme, since it focuses on one particular team from one particular time. SRP was 13,000 yen for this set, with 3 regular cards, one parallel card, and two autographs per box. Again, print runs on the hits vary by player.
  • 45 regular cards, plus a parallel version
  • 44 Autograph (type A) cards, plus a parallel version
  • 44 Autograph (type B) cards, plus a parallel version
  • 10 Autographed Ball cards
  • 3 Autographed Booklet cards
Hankyu Braves Greats
This team-based set was released on September 16th. One box (13,000 yen) comes with three regular cards, one parallel or insert card, and two autographs. Based on the numbers, I'm guessing that only about 1000 boxes were produced.
  • 30 regular cards; 14 have parallels #/65
  • 4 Holospectra Red inserts #/20
  • 4 Holospectra Blue inserts #/20
  • 30 Greats Signatures cards in silver and gold versions, with 8 parallels in silver and gold versions
  • 16 Greatest Player Signatures in silver and gold versions
  • 9 Signature Baseball cards
  • 3 Authentic Signature booklet cards
Chunichi Dragons Stars and Legends

This Dragons team issue hit shelves on September 30th. The formula is the same: three regular cards, one parallel, and two autographs per box. About 1000 boxes were produced, with an SRP of 12,000 yen.

  • 48 regular cards, with blue parallels #/22
  • 36 Autographs (type A), with a parallel - contains current and retired players
  • 18 Autographs (type B), with a parallel - only retired players
Tokyo Yakult Swallows Premier Edition
Also released on September 30th, the Swallows box set has 3 regular cards, 1 parallel, and 2 autographs for 12,000 yen.
  • 33 regular cards with a parallel version
  • 33 Autograph (type A) cards
  • 33 Autograph (type B) cards, each with a 1/1 parallel
  • 3 Memorabilia cards of Tetsuto Yamada, totaling 100 copies between the three tiers.
Buffaloes Holospectra
The Holospectra set contains three inner boxes in each outer box; each inner box has two cards, one of which being an autograph. A total of 720 boxes were produced, and each carton of 12 boxes guarantees a 1/1 hit. The price remains 12,000 yen per box despite the added autograph.
  • 25 regular cards with Holospectra parallels: Ruby #/20, Gold #10/, and Black 1/1
  • 25 Authentic Signatures, each with a 1/1 parallel
  • 16 Star Signatures, each with a 1/1 parallel
  • 6 Record Breakers Autographs
  • 9 Rookie Signatures, each with a 1/1 parallel
  • 6 First Timer Signatures, each with a 1/1 parallel
Pacific League Premier Edition
Each 15,000-yen box of this product comes with four regular cards, two insert cards, and two hits. The set came out October 21st.
  • 54 regular cards (9 per team)
  • 24 Holospectra cards #/90
  • 36 Silk Emboss cards #/50, with a Hologram parallel #/10
  • 36 Autograph cards (varied numbering), with a Gold parallel #/3
  • 15 Jersey cards #/98, with a Silver parallel #/45
  • 15 Shadowbox Jersey cards #/25
  • 15 Letter Patch Jersey cards (varied numbering)
Softbank Hawks Stars and Legends
The Hawks Stars and Legends set follows the same formula of six cards for 12,000 yen. While Epoch didn't post details on box breakdowns, it's safe to assume three base cards, one parallel, and two hits can be found in each box. Given the number of relic cards, it's possible that three hits can be found in each box. 
  • 24 regular cards, #1-12 are paralleled #/80
  • 17 Signatures
  • 15 Authentic Signatures (one card has a variation version)
  • 9 Star Signatures (four cards have variations)
  • 4 Rookie Signatures
  • 1 Baseball Signatures #/10
  • 10 Authentic Uniform cards. Every card has 6 parallels.
  • 5 Authentic Uniform Letters cards, in 2 or 3 versions.
Saitama Seibu Lions Season Achievements
The Lions set has the familiar 12,000-yen, 6 card format, with two hits per box.
  • 18 regular cards, with parallels #/83
  • 26 Signatures
  • 7 Star Signatures
  • 2 Young Star Signatures #/8
  • 4 Lumber Cut Signatures #/12
  • 7 Baseball Signatures #/2
  • 3 Combo Signatures Booklets
  • 6 Rookie Signatures #/50
Hiroshima Toyo Carp Stars and Legends
The Carp Stars & Legends set mixes things up a little. Each box comes with 8 cards - 5 regular, 1 parallel, and 2 hits. The 12,000-yen boxes hit shelves November 18th.
  • 55 regular cards with gold parallel
  • 50 Autograph Type A with gold, red, and hologram parallels
  • 22 Autograph Type B with gold, red, and hologram parallels
  • 4 jersey cards, with monochrome, patch, and letter patch parallels
Yokohama DeNA BayStars Season Achievements
1200 boxes of the BayStars Season Achievements set were produced. Epoch has random hot boxes with three hits per box. However, regular boxes should have two hits each: most likely one autograph and one relic.
  • 15 Regular cards with parallels #/85
  • 3 SP promo cards with parallels
  • 20 Signatures cards (3 variations)
  • 10 Rookie Signatures
  • 7 Star Signatures (3 variations)
  • 7 Authentic Uniforms with parallels
  • 6 Authentic Uniform Big Swatch cards - Ramirez has a variation, and all cards have parallels.
  • 1 Authentic Uniform Big Swatch SP card (parallel version only)
  • 7 Authentic Uniform Triple Swatches 1/1 (single players)
Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters Season Achievements
The price can be found here - 12,000 yen for 10 cards in a box this time: 6 regular cards, 2 inserts, and two hits. The set was released on November 30th.
  • 36 Regular cards with parallels #/40
  • 24 Holospectra insert cards #/50
  • 24 Holospectra Collage insert cards #/10
  • 18 Silk Embossed insert cards #/65 with parallels #/15
  • 36 Autograph Type A (horizontal) cards #/23 or less
  • 36 Autograph Type B (vertical) cards #/3
  • 6 Jersey Type A (horizontal) cards #/150
  • 6 Jersey Type B (vertical) cards #/60 with parallels #/30
  • 6 Memorial Jersey cards #/85 with parallels #/30
  • 6 Memorial Jersey Letter Patch cards (varied numbering)
Title Holders
Released about a week ago, Title Holders is another theme-based set with a very loose theme. Each 15,000-yen box contains six cards: 3 base cards, 1 Holospectra card, and 2 autographed cards.
  • 40 Regular cards
  • 40 Holospectra cards
  • 39 Autograph Type A cards plus 1 Foil Signature card
  • 40 Autograph Type B cards
  • 7 Signature Baseballs cards
  • 1 Booklet Autograph Jersey card
  • 1 Patch card
That's it. Finally. I have only picked up a card or two here and there for some of these sets, so I don't have much of an opinion. But Epoch's been pretty unimaginative when it comes to its releases this year, going more for quantity. I miss those full box sets they used to do, but I guess retailers were complaining about all the extra base cards they had lying around from case busters.


  1. I knew there'd been a bunch of the ridiculously high priced boxes but I hadn't realized that they'd done 14! And actually they have a 15th coming out next week - "Hanshin Tigers Season Achievements" or something like that (and it is listed as 2017 set).

    Checking my list I see that Epoch released (or will release) 24 sets in all this year, so only nine of them were affordable.

    1. I didn't realize it was so many until I made this list, and it kept going, and going, and going... Most of them have been released in the past couple of months. It looks like the Tigers set might not be released until February?

    2. Yeah, I just saw that they've apparently moved the Season Achievement set back until the end of January. They have an OB Tigers set coming out in February.

  2. Great post! Very informative. Epoch should reach out to you and send samples to review. I never would have heard of this product without this post.

    P.S. I have the box you sent sitting in my office. I'm looking forward to Christmas break and for things to settle down a bit... then I'm gonna tear into it. Happy holidays buddy!

    1. It would be great to get my hands on some sample cards for review purposes. Everything has to go by their website and what - if any - singles I can get my hands on. That isn't easy.

      I forgot I sent you cards and I don't remember what's in there. I hope you enjoy the box! (Are you sure it's mine? I have more cards here waiting for you still from quite a while ago...)

    2. Sorry... false alarm. I figured out the issue. It's from the other Ryan who collects Japanese cards (SumoMenkoMan).

    3. There are too many Ryans in Japan...