Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Mandarake Mail Day

I recently placed another vintage baseball card order with Mandarake, the Japanese chain of antique toy stores that will ship to the US.  I got the cards today so I thought I'd do a quick post on them.

I didn't have many Calbee cards from the 1977 and 1978 sets - about 8 from each - so I thought I'd take the opportunity to see what I could find from those years.  I ended up picking up five cards, three from 1977 and two from 1978.

The first 1977 card is of Koji Yamamoto.  It's from the "Path To Stardom" subset - the black and white photo is probably from Yamamoto's rookie year of 1969 (he wore #27 in 1969 and 1970).  I have a bunch of similar cards from the monster 1975/76 Calbee set but I didn't even know Calbee had done them in the 1977 set as well until Sean posted about them earlier this year.  This card was 300 yen.

1977 Calbee "Grey Back" #90
This card of Yasunori Oshima was just 200 yen.  They describe it as being in "good condition" - I think it's in great shape considering how old it is.  Really the only issue I see is a bit of a crease in the card on the lower right edge (which isn't visible in the scan).

1977 Calbee "Grey Back" #170
I really like this card of Masayuki Kakefu, especially with the car in the background.  It was a steal at only 100 yen(!).  Mandarake described its condition as "below average" but I don't think it's that bad.  It's a bit dinged up (especially compared to the Oshima card) but I've paid more for 70's Calbee cards that didn't look as good as this one.

1977 Calbee "Grey Back" 185
This 1978 card of Yasushi Tao shows him making a play in the outfield against the Hanshin Tigers on April 16th, 1978.  This card is in outstanding condition (Mandarake called it "above average") and at 600 yen cost just a little more than the previous cards.

1978 Calbee Yasushi Tao
The 1978 Calbee set is split up into 10 different series, none of which have card numbers.  Most of the cards I have (including the above Tao card) are from the "Regular Type I" series.  One of the other series is called "Swallows V1" and commemorates the Swallows winning either their first ever Central League pennant or their first ever Nippon Series championship.  I picked up this card of Charlie Manuel from that Series.  It was a bit more pricey than the other cards - 1500 yen - but I think that the Series is kind of rare.

1978 Calbee "VI Swallows" Charlie Manuel
In addition to those five cards I also picked up this card of Taira Fujita from the 1975/76 Calbee set.  It shows Fujita being greeted after scoring (not sure if he homered) by Koich Tabuchi (#22) and Hal Breeden (#44).  Mandarake didn't list a condition for the card although it looks great.  I'm not really looking for any more cards from that set but at 200 yen I couldn't resist this.

1975/76 Calbee #593
The last card I got isn't from Calbee.  Nippon-Ham issued two sets of cards in the 1970's - one in 1975 and 1976 and the other in 1977 through 1979.  I don't see these cards very often and the ones I have aren't in great shape (there's magic marker writing on the back of a bunch of them) so I had been happy that Mandarake had a bunch of them.  They were pricier than the Calbee cards and it took me a little bit of time to narrow it down to a card of a player I liked that had an interesting photo and wasn't expensive.  I finally settled on this 1975/76 card of Tsutomu Wakamatsu for 1000 yen.  Mandarake called its condition "average" but I think it's in great shape.  And there's no magic marker on the back!

1975/76 Nippon-Ham Tsutomu Wakamatsu
My total cost for all the cards was 3900 yen, although 2500 of that was the Manuel and Wakamatsu cards.  Shipping via SAL was 690 yen so my total was 4590 yen or about $44.  I placed the order on November 20th and got the cards today, December 10th (although the post office attempted to deliver them yesterday) so it took just under three weeks to get the cards.  I'm sure I'll be doing this again sometime.


Sean said...

Fantastic pick ups, makes me think I should hit up our local Mandarake here to see if they have anything new in, I haven't been in over a year.

I also have only a smattering of 77 and 78 Calbees. With the latter in particular I think the confusing way they issued and numbered each series has kind of turned me off trying to collect them (at least trying to complete the sets), even though they have some amazing photos. I particularly like the Kakefu and Tao cards.

NPB Card Guy said...

77, 78 and 79 Calbee are a pain - so many separate series/sets - 10 for 1977 & 78, 12 for 1979. All of the 1978 sets are unnumbered except for uniform numbers. I've been amused for years that SCM just skipped all three of those years when they had their Calbee listings - they didn't want to deal with them either!

Sean said...

Yeah, with the 1977s at least they had a couple of sets numbered to like 250 or so which I think are respectable "set collecting" goals in their own right. But from late 1977 to 1979 its just a nightmare with all those un-numbered ones issued in series of 30 or 40 each.

Life is too short to learn German or to collect late 70s Calbee sets, to paraphrase an old saying.