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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Nakano Broadway: Vintage NPB Baseball Pickups (Help me!)

I wasn't sure if I would have luck picking up vintage baseball cards at Nakano Broadway. I hadn't seen anything promising the first time I visited, but since many of the shops were closed I kept my hopes up. And I was successful this time around. There were two locations that had vintage cards. One was one of the Animate! stores carrying a selection of Calbees.
 Is this a Calbee card? The text at the bottom of the card isn't centered like other vintage Calbee issues.
Nope. It's a rival's issue! I believe this 1989 Lotte card came from the Animate! location. It's very Calbee-like.
 This card is from 1980 Calbee. Unfortunately, the really dark background cut off part of the scan. I assure you it isn't miscut. This card is pretty small, as Calbee reduced its card size this year.
 Here's a card from the really complicated 1979 Calbee release. About a dozen series were issued that year, each one individually numbered. And I'm having a tough time finding and identifying them. (This is from the April-June Central League Stars series.)
 Another 1980 Calbee card - this time the large format card. Only the first series was issued in the large format, and it is considered the rarest Calbee issue.
 The rest of my cards came from another store, and they are really oddballish. I don't know where this card comes from. It appears to be a menko but I can't match it up to any of the cards in my edition of Engel's book. It might be a part of one of the Elementary School magazine releases.
 The back is a plain playing card type.
 Several menko sets were issued by Marusan in the late 1950s and early '60s, and can be quite difficult to identify. With a little bit of research I believe this to be from the 1957-58 JCM43a, Simple Back, Borderless, Color Front set.
 The backs are quite simple.
 Next, this colorized card from the 1975 1972 Menko set. Pictured is Koichi Tabuchi of the Tigers.
 The backs are green with several games going on.
 Hiromu Matsuoka is pictured on this 1976 Viking menko set. The cards are so-named due to the backs:
 There's a viking on my baseball card! Pretty cool.
 Now, a trio of unknowns. Given their front design, I believe these are part of the c. 1975 Menko set seen above. The backs don't match, but my guide notes that other back designs are found on thick menkos - and these are very thick. But given the copyright information at the bottom (which I can't read) and the lack of copyright information on the third card, I'm really unsure. (Update: the two on the left are probably part of the 1973 Menko set which was split from the 1975 set. The card on the right is still unidentified.)
 Here are the backs in the same order as the fronts.
 I'm not sure what this card is either. It's printed on very thin paper and is miscut - it might have been hand cut. The fronts contain no text. This is a 1975 NST/Mr. Baseball card (stamp) designed to be put in an album. They're very thin and the text on the back of each card is the same:
 Next, some unknown menkos.
 A round menko that depicts the Giants logo. It's blank-backed and I am guessing it is a tie-in with an anime. It's quite large - almost four inches in diameter. If I'm wrong, please let me know!
 Here's another menko I don't know anything about. There are a few sets that this could belong to, but my research ruled them all out. The back is blank and there is no text anywhere on the card. I am thinking it belongs to JRM 3 (1949 Fan) but the images I've seen of those include text on the card. Likewise for JRM 19 and JRM 20.
 This card is also an oddball to me, though it is Noboru Aota. Any details are appreciated.
 My coolest pickup was this diecut menko card. Again I'm clueless as to its origin. It doesn't match up with any of the menkos I know. The front looks similar to a couple of the other diecut menko, but the back is unique.
Have I picked up cartoon cards? Do I have otherwise-uncatalogued cards? Are all of these "unknown" cards found in the latest edition of Engel's checklist book? Clue me in, please!

(Thanks to NPB Card Guy and Jason for help in identifying some of the cards above.)


  1. That card #152 on the thin paper is probably one of the NST issues from the late 1970s. I'd guess the 1975 set since that looks like Shigeo Nagashima.

  2. The card after the large 1980 Calbee card is of Shigeru Kobayashi. It looks very similar to some sets listed in Engel's Vintage Guide that were issued with a magazine called "Elementary School" in the late 70's. Kobayashi was with the Giants from 1973-78.

    Jason is right about card #152 being from the 1975 NST set. It's actually a stamp that was meant to be pasted into an album. The text is the same on the back of every card - I suspect it's some sort of instructions for pasting the card but I have no idea.

    No idea on the old menko. I agree with you that the first one is probably a tie-in with either anime or manga. I can't even figure out what team the player on the second one is from. The third one is Noboru Aota when he was with the Giants which dates the card (probably) to between 1948 and 1952. The die-cut one is not in Engel's latest book either.

  3. Engel's latest guide moved the "1975 menko set" (JCM 15) that the Tabuchi card is from back a few years and he split it into two sets - one likely from 1972 (JCM15a) and the other likely from 1973 (JCM15b). The Tabuchi card is associated with JCM15a now. Of that row of the other three - the two on the left (#22 of the Tigers and #21 of the Dragons) look like they could be from JCM15b (which has backs that look like the backs from JCM58 from 1975-76) but neither card appears in the listing (#22 is Tabuchi again - the guy wearing #12 in the background of the first card isn't him). Nothing listed for the other card but I think it's Oh.

    This has been way more fun than getting my Christmas cards done but I think I better get back to it. Thanks for posting these.

  4. If you post a picture of the back of the 1979 Calbee card of Masayuki Kakefu we might be able to figure out which of the series it's from. Engel's latest guide shows sample backs from all the different series that year (12!).

  5. Thanks guys. I didn't have a chance to reply after Jason posted, but I confirmed the NST set from his info.

    I'll tag the two grey-back menkos as JCM15, and I'll be adding the rest to my collection as uncatalogued issues. If I have time tomorrow I might ask around for translation help where it could be of benefit.

    The Calbee is from JC8c (1979 Calbee April-June Central League Stars). Finding all those series from the 1977 and 1979 issues is proving to be quite difficult!