Some recent announcements of a couple expensive new sets being released this month:
- Epoch issued their first baseball card set about 10 years ago with a box set celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the All Japan Baseball Foundation (which is now called the Japan Baseball Promotion Association) and they issued a couple of sets in 2014 celebrating the organization's 20th Anniversary so it's not much of a surprise that they're putting out a set for the 25th Anniversary this year. The set is called "OB Club 25th Anniversary" and will be released on December 14th. Like all of the recent collaborations between Epoch and the OB Club (as the JBPA is also known as), this is one of Epoch "ultra high end" sets. Each box retails for 16,500 yen (~$151) and contains just six cards, although two of those six are autographed. The base set contains 41 cards and there's three different "holospectra" parallels of each base card - ruby, gold and black (which is 1-of-1). There are eight different varieties of autographed cards - all of which are serially numbered although I don't know what the print run is for most of them - three of them are 1-of-1s. The most interesting ones to me are the "booklet" cards that feature two signatures. I've seen a couple of these on Epoch's Twitter feed and they're pretty cool, especially the one that features both Shigeo Nagashima and Katsuya Nomura. Of course, each these booklets (there are eight in all) are 1-of-1s so unless I decide to skip a mortgage payment I don't think I'll be picking any of them up.
- Epoch is also issuing another of their ultra high end combination active/OB player team sets called "Stars & Legends" - this one is for the Dragons. There's four cards in a box and each box goes for 16,500 yen (although Discount Niki has it for about 10% off). I think that each box contains two autographed cards. The base set has 43 cards - 28 active players (including manager Tsuyoshi Yoda) and 15 OB players. There are two varieties of GEM insert cards (serially numbered of course) and four different flavors of autograph cards (which I think have parallel 1-of-1 versions). The set will be out on December 21st.
- Not to be left out, BBM is issuing their annual ultra high end set - Glory - in late December (Card Fanatic's schedule says December 20th). Each six card box retails for 15,000 yen (~$138) and I believe is guaranteed to have a memorabilia card AND an autographed card in it. The base set is 36 cards - which I assume is split evening among the 12 NPB teams but I don't know for sure (and the base set's not really the point of this set anyway). There's some sort of parallel version or versions available for the base set and two insert sets - "Miyabi" (36 cards) and "Glorious 3-D". There are (obviously) autographed cards available with this product along with a variety of different memorabilia cards. There are apparently 11 different cards featuring player jerseys, including what I think are the first Japanese jersey cards for Carter Stewart of the Hawks (I don't think Stewart has an autographed card). There are 10 different "super patch" cards and one "grip end" card. There are several different combination memorabilia cards - 12 that feature two players, 3 that feature three players and one that features four players (2018 1st round draft picks Akira Neo, Kyota Fujiwara, Kosei Yoshida and Kaito Kozono). I assume all of these cards are serially numbered but I don't know what the print run of any of them are.
- I thought I would mention that Shining Venus, BBM's annual set for female athletes, will be released in late January. The 99 card set includes three cards each for 31 different athletes from a multitude of different fields (there's also six subset cards in the set if you're wondering how the math works out). It looks like there are two baseball players included in the set - Meguna Furuya and Minami (Takatsuka) of Saitama Astraia. This will be Furuya's second appearance in the Shining Venus set (she was in the 2018 set) and Minami's third appearance (she was in the 2019 set as well as the 2015 Real Venus set).
- I also wanted to mention that Calbee snuck something out with their new Samurai Japan set. There apparently is an eight card "limited box set" that I believe is available as a lucky card redemption. The cards highlight actual games that Samurai Japan played in over the past two years, including the Asian Championship in 2017. Calbee added the cards to their on-line checklist of the Samurai Japan set and Jambalaya has all eight cards viewable on their website. As I've mentioned many times, I'm a sucker for National Team sets so I went spelunking through Yahoo! Japan Auctions yesterday looking for a set. I got one, but it wasn't cheap - 4800 yen which with Noppin's proxy fees ended up being about $58. I'm going to view it as an early Christmas present to myself.