I miss US card shows. Dime and quarter boxes were great places to spend hours, looking for trade bait, type collection and awards cards, and fun stuff just for ... the fun of it. The National is a show I've never attended, though I'd love to someday, but even the local San Francisco mall shows were a high point of my weekends.
The only card show I know of in the Tokyo area, the exciting-sounding "Trading Card Festa!" was held in Hammamatsu-cho, just south of Shiodome and Ginza. The short walk from the station got me to the show just before opening.
Admission was 500 yen (about $5) and there was a small crowd waiting as soon as it opened. As with everything else in Japan, time matters - the small crowd quickly scattered to all the tables and it became difficult to find space to search boxes.
I'll review the actual show at the bottom; first, here are some of the cards I picked up.
First, this promo card for the brand new Rookie of the Year OB set. The set itself was available at the show in boxed form, and the promo card came free with my paid admission. The blue background here is orange on the regular cards.
I found two truly vintage cards for my type collection. The first is this heavily-trimmed Nippon Ham card. Note the grey mark at the bottom right from the menko symbol on intact cards. I paid almost nothing for this card, but due to the missing bottom I hope to replace it soon. I guess whoever cut it (and all its brothers in the box) wanted it to fit in with Calbees of the era.
This card, however, is intact. It's from the Sadaharu Oh 756 home run set. The "book" value in my guide is $100/card, but I got a MUCH better deal. Yes, book value means nothing, especially when it comes to Engel's guide and high-value cards, but it's a reference for budgeting and value tracking.
I was very successful with the type collection in a 100-yen box. This is a gold special card from a box set.
Giants team set insert...
Tigers Anniversary team set insert...
Tigers Stadium Special promo/giveaway.
Here's another special promo card.
And one more - a bookstore special. I don't know how these cards are actually distributed.
This is another insert from a Giants team set.
Note the "Promotion" text at the bottom - this is actually a promo card with information on the back about the set.
Here is another bookstore special which looks like a bat relic. It's dual-fronted.
Another Tigers traded card, claiming a print run of 500 (it's not serial-numbered, though).
Another promo card that looks like a ball relic card. Before I leave Japan, I'd like to pick up a few of the super hits found in BBM releases such as a patch card and a ball card. Actual relics run for $100-300 each!
This is a 2002 insert from the regular BBM issue.
A parallel "kira" card.
Tigers team set insert...
2004 2nd Version set insert...
Fighters team set insert. This has a matte feel and look which is pretty cool!
Rookie Edition throwback rookie insert
Golden Eagles insert
Ah, right. Promo cards from non-baseball issues. The SCM logo at the top indicates this came from SCM Magazine.
There are two types, and I got both of them.
There is another SCM promo card for the Real Venus set, which you wouldn't know without looking at the back.
This card uses foil on foil for an interesting, though not quite effective design.
Another, less interesting foil-on-foil insert.
BBM's inserts frequently have foil backgrounds. I was very happy with some of their throwback ideas last year but I haven't seen anything this year that really deviates from the BBM formula.
Another foil insert.
Finally, as part of the 500 yen admission fee, visitors could watch a discussion with a couple former players - one at 1pm and another at 3pm. As you can see, this is former Lions superstar Hiromichi Ishige talking about his career and whatever else interested the viewers.
So, how was the show? The term "Festa" is a bit of a misnomer. There were 16 total dealers, each with three tables. Seven of those were filled with various Mint card store locations, selling singles and boxes. A few of the other spots were occupied by dealers I wouldn't have much of an interest in - one called "Girls!" for example, which had no actual girls at it. There were a few other card stores (Wrappers from Akihabara was here, Prime Time from Osaka, Coletre from Ikebukuro) but there were no casual dealers.
Most of the cards I bought above were from the Prime Time 100-yen box, as the rest of the dealers didn't have much of a selection of random
cards I'd want to flip through. Box buyers could find slight to great discounts, and those into the latest stuff (including US card products) could pick up boxes here.
For $5, I think the money I saved on my card purchases (versus buying cards at a store) made it worth visiting, but I was hoping for more dealers. It would be great to see non-store collectors and dealers get together for an actual show (with, perhaps, stores from outside the Tokyo area) to bring a wider variety of cards to a show. I think the Osaka show was much better because there was more variety. I found lots of cards from prior years and other sports there, while this show was mostly about new products. And since the shows are dominated by existing stores, the prices weren't as good as are found at US card shows.
There were two other things I came home with, and I'll be showing you those in the upcoming week or so. So until then...