Friday, September 8, 2023

Autumn Releases

It's time once again to get caught up on the latest set releases which this time includes not only some NPB sets but an odd Korean set and another probably high end WBC set.

- Epoch is continuing to prove my "Epoch is done with their Premier Edition sets for 2023" proclamation I made back at the end of June was very wrong.  On September 30th they'll be releasing the Eagles Premier Edition team set which will be the tenth such set this year (and third since I said they were done).  The set will have a 34 card base set featuring 31 active Eagles players and three OB players and there's a hologram parallel version available for all 34 cards.  The set has the same bewildering collection of insert cards which I will again copy from previous posts:  "Regular Printed Signature (Silver)" (18 cards), "Regular Printed Signature (Gold)" (18 cards), "Regular Printed Signature (Hologram A: Silver)" (18 cards), "Regular Printed Signature (Hologram A: Gold)" (18 cards), "Regular Printed Signature Variation (Hologram A: Silver)" (9 cards), "Regular Printed Signature Variation (Hologram A: Gold)" (9 cards), "Regular Printed Signature Variation (Hologram B: Silver)" (9 cards), "Regular Printed Signature Variation (Hologram B: Gold)" (9 cards), "Metal Power (Silver)" (18 cards), "Metal Power (Gold)" (18 cards), "Metal Power (Hologram A: Silver)" (18 cards), "Metal Power (Hologram A: Gold)" (18 cards), "Metal Power (Hologram B: Silver)" (18 cards), "Metal Power (Hologram B: Gold)" (18 cards), "Time To Shine (Hologram A)" (6 cards), "Time To Shine (Hologram B)" (6 cards), "Time To Shine (Hologram C)" (6 cards), "Decomori Signature (Gold) (6 cards), "Decomori Signature (Green) (6 cards), "Decomori Signature (Hologram) (6 cards), "Gem" (6 cards) and "Black Gem" (6 cards).  There are six varieties of autographed cards available - "Authentic" (all 34 players), "Rookie" (6 different), "Star" (9 different), "Record Breaker" (10 different), "1 of 1" (all 31 active players) and "Baseball" (6 different).  The only teams Epoch has not done a "Premier Edition" set for this year are the Marines and Giants.

- It's kind of odd Epoch didn't do a "Premier Edition" set for the Marines because they're the next team to get Epoch's ultra high end "Stars & Legends" active/OB team set treatment.  The "Marines Stars & Legends with Memorabilia" set will be out on October 28th.  Boxes containing four cards (two "special insert cards" - i.e autograph and/or memorabilia cards - plus two "regular" cards) will retail for 20,000 yen or right around $135.  The base set will contain 45 cards and there are (mercifully) only five insert sets - "Decomori Signature (Gold) (6 cards), "Decomori Signature (Green) (6 cards), "Decomori Signature (Hologram) (6 cards), "Gem" (6 cards) and "Black Gem" (6 cards) - all of which are serially numbered.  There are five types of autographed cards - "Authentic" (all 45 players), "Rookie" (5 different), "Legendary" (17 different), "1 of 1" (23 different) and "Baseball" (17 different) - and six different varieties of player used bat cards - Core, Grip A, Grip B, Barrel, Knob A, Knob B.  There are four of each bat card available.

- For the second year in a row, Epoch releasing the "NPB Luxury Collection" set, basically an expensive ugly parallel version of a subset of this year's NPB set - think of it as Topps Chrome if Topps only did ugly versions of only part of their flagship set.  I'm not fully sure of the breakdown of the set but it looks like the base set is only 90 cards.  There's something on the web page advertising the set about 70 rookie cards but it's not clear if those are an insert set or if the base set contains 70 rookie cards that all have a bunch of different parallels.  There's a bunch of "Gem" insert cards include - 36 in all I think - along with two different kinds of autograph cards.  One type has 126 subjects which obviously must include 36 players who aren't in the base set - I think they may be OB players.  The other translates as "1-of-1 signature cards" which may actually be facsimile autographs rather than authentic ones.  There are 85 of these available.  The set will be released in mid-October.

- Speaking of Topps Chrome, the Chrome version of Topps' NPB set will be released on November 25th.  Like the original set, it has 216 cards in the base set (18 per team).  There are three 24 card insert sets - "Topps 2001" (Chrome version of the same insert set from the original set), "Volcanic" and "TAITAN".  There will be a metric sh*t ton of parallels but there's no details on the website about them.  There will be autographed cards but oddly enough, none of the players are active NPB players.  They're either retired or playing in MLB.  The list is Shohei Ohtani, Shintaro Fujinami, Masataka Yoshida, Kodai Senga, Ichiro, Hideki Matsui and Masanori Murakami.  I'm assuming that like the first two iterations of the Chrome version of the NPB set that players featured and photos used in this set will be the same as in the original set.  If so, that means almost all the photos in the set will be over a year old by the time the set comes out since most of the photos in the original set were taken last season.

- Topps is also issuing a Bowman NPB set on November 11th.  This set will contain 180 cards - 15 per team ("12 young players + 3 veteran players").  The "young players" will include 2022 draft picks as well as development (ikusei) players.  There will again be a bunch of different parallels including printing press and "1 of 1" cards.  There are three 24 card insert sets - "Bowman1989", "Spotlights" and "Youth Culture" and autographed cards from six of the seven guys I mentioned having autographed cards in the Chrome set - everyone except Hideki Matsui.

- BBM will be releasing the 2023 version of their annual "Rookie Edition Premium" set in late October.  This is a 38 card box set containing the 36 card base set (three 2022 draft picks per team) plus two "premium insert cards" which include three types of autograph cards, memorabilia cards, "super patch" cards and "booklet" cards.  With basically a guarantee of getting autograph cards the set retail for 16,500 yen or about $112.  

- Yesterday Dan Skrezyna of Korean Cardboard tweeted out some information about a new Korean set that's kind of confusing.  The set is from an outfit called Hobby Korea and is called "2023 EPIC Series Baseball Legend Baek In-Cheon" and celebrates Korean baseball legend Baek In-Cheon who played in NPB for 19 years under the name Jinten Haku before joining the KBO in their inaugural season of 1982.  He played three years in Korea and later managed a couple teams.  What's confusing about the set is whether it contains anything other than autographed cards of Baek.  There are five different autographed cards of Baek - two showing him with the Taiheiyo Club Lions and one each showing him with the Toei Flyers, Lotte Orions and MBC Chungryong.  There are 60 numbered parallels for each autograph - one "pinnacle" (numbered 1/60), nine "flame" (numbered 2/60 through 10/60) and fifty "base" (numbered 11/60 to 60/60).  I'm not sure if there are any non-numbered autograph cards or not.  Each box contains one autograph card so if there's no non-numbered autographed cards, there's only 300 boxes available.  Each box retails for 99,000 won or about $75.  I think the set has already been released.  Dan is attempting to learn more about it and will put the information up at the Trading Card Database.  UPDATE - according to this tweet, each box contains five facsimile versions of the autographed cards plus one actually autographed card.  This probably means that the five card non-autographed set can be picked up pretty cheap although there's still possibly only 300 of them.,

- Finally I want to mention that the new Bowman Chrome set being released in the US next week apparently has some sort of WBC insert set.  It's listed here as "WBC Flag Refractor Variations" which to me implies that it's a parallel but there doesn't appear to be any non-refractor cards.  There's 100 cards in all including eleven members of Samurai Japan - Yu Darvish, Shohei Ohtani, Lars Nootbaar, Masataka Yoshida, Shugo Maki, Roki Sasaki, Munetaka Murakami, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Tetsuto Yamada, Kensuke Kondoh and Kazuma Okamoto - and four South Korea players - Park Kun-woo, Lee Jung-hoo, Kim Ha-seong and Tommy Edman.  I think there are players from 17 of the 20 WBC teams represented - everyone except Australia, China and the Czech Republic.  From what I've seen, these cards are being inserted at a rate of 1 in every 34 packs so this will not be cheap (and, like the Topps Finest ones, I will not be collecting them).

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