Thursday, July 24, 2014

1988 IFT Round Menko

I am not generally a fan of round menko and I'm also not generally a fan of cards that show caricatures of players rather than pictures.  So I was kind of surprised at myself that I ended up kind of liking an odd little set from 1988, the IFT Round Menko set catalogued in Engel as JRM 29.

I'd seen these cards being offered on Ebay and I just kind of ignored them.  But I bought some Calbee cards from the same seller and he included a handful of them as a bonus.  I looked them up for the first time then and realized that Engel had given them a scarcity rating of "R5", the most scarce rating he has.  It indicates that only "3 or fewer copies are known of most cards".  I still wasn't sure I was that interested in them but when the seller put the complete 30 card set up for sale at $30 (with free shipping from Japan), I was intrigued.  When he put them on sale for $27, I decided to go for it.

And I'm actually glad I did.  I get a kick out of the cartoon drawings of the players.  The cards are small, less than an inch and a half in diameter.  The drawings of the players do not include the team logos.  Of the 30 players in the set, there's only one gaijin player (Carlos Ponce).  With the exception of a handful of players from the Seibu Lions (Koji Akiyama, Kazuhiro Kiyohara, Hiromichi Ishige, Taigen Kaku), all of the players in the set are from the Central League.  Most of the big names from the time are in the set - Hiromitsu Ochiai, Kazuyoshi Tatsunami, Tatsunori Hara, Norihiro Komada, Masumi Kuwata, Takehiro Ikeyama among others.

Engel mentions that there's a metallic parallel issue for the set.  Most of the cards I got in the complete set are actually the parallel issues.  Some of them have gold foil on them and some have silver - I don't know if there are two different parallels or just the one.

Here's some examples:

Regular and Silver Parallels of Meishi Ro of the Giants

Koji Akiyama

Katsumi Hirosawa

Masumi Kuwata

Hiromitsu Ochiai
I think it's kind of funny that the caricature of Ochiai looks more like he does now than how he looked in 1988.


Ryan G said...

These look very similar to the small round menko cards I found in Ueno a few months ago that featured team logos/mascots, in addition to other non-baseball characters. I wonder if those were also issued by IFT.

I don't mind round menko and I love caricatures so this is a pretty cool set, though I'd prefer the larger IFT sets listed in Engel's guide. I haven't seen any around here though I haven't been looking for vintage lately. That's a good deal anyway!

Did you check silver vs. gold for different teams or leagues?

Anonymous said...

Those are very "cool" cards. Nice pickup.


NPB Card Guy said...

@Ryan - I didn't think to check the silver/gold parallels against teams or leagues. There's no correlation that I can see, either by team, league or position.

There are 10 Giants players (a third of the set), 6 Dragons, 4 Lions, 4 Swallows and 2 each of the Carp, Tigers and Whales.

I've got a silver parallel and a regular card to send you for your type collection.

Ryan G said...

Thanks for putting those aside for me!

I'm assuming you had no parallels where there are both gold and silver versions. Maybe it was stylistic, or there could be different parallels of course.