Friday, April 17, 2015

Fun Stuff: A big pile of 1985 Calbees

Among my favorite recent purchases has been a stack of 52 cards from the 1985 Calbee set.  This is one set I only had a handful of cards for so I figured this would be a good way to get a start on building the whole thing.

The lot had some beauties in it, like this card with an excellent in action photo of the Iron Man Sachio Kinugasa:

Or Randy Bass in those awesome 80s Tigers uniforms with the white helmets:

What surprised me most on receiving these cards (they were a Yahoo Auction purchase) was the condition.  Every one of them looked brand new like they had just come from the bag.  This almost never happens with Calbee cards from before the mid-1990s, especially not in big lots.  I had bought them assuming they were the typical somewhat beat up lot that usually appears (the photos were a bit out of focus and the seller, who doesn't specialize in cards, didn't mention the condition int he description).

This is what the stack (left) looks like in comparison to a typical stack of 80s Calbee cards in my collection (right):

One thing I really like about the 1985 set which sets it apart from others is that a lot of the cards have hand drawn artwork of the players that was sent in by kids on  them.  These were winners of a contest to draw the best picture of each player and I think it is absolutely fantastic that Calbee did that.  Not only are the color drawings a big improvement on the normally bland card backs of their typical 1980s sets, it is also quite endearing that they would do that.  Its something it would be hard to imagine a card company doing today.


  1. Did you get card 262 of Warren Cromartie? That has the most insane art on the back. I don't even want to describe it, you just have to see it for yourself. It an image that will make you laugh out loud, and then quickly question yourself for possibly being a racist in the same breath.

    1. Here's a link to the front of the card. Take a breath, then click to the next image.

    2. Oh wow! That is.....crazy. Of all the drawings they must have received of Cromartie THAT was the one they chose to put on the card? Um, interesting choice, Calbee, interesting choice.

      Of course this means I now have to track down a copy of that for my collection, just to have it.