Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The Rarest Sadaharu Oh Cards


Going through my Engel guide I can only find four cards of Sadaharu Oh that are ranked as "R5" on the rarity scale, meaning less than 5 copies of each are known to exist.

One is his card in the 1959 Maruten Black and white Menko set JCM 135, which is a very hard one to find.  The other is a variation of his 1959 Yamakatsu card (JRM 33e) which they say has darker color than his regular 1959 Yamakatsu card, which is less scarce.

The other two are from the 1965 Giants Furikake Menko sets (JRM 39a and 39b), which are basically identical except one is slightly larger than the other.

I now have both of those 1965 Giants Furikake cards, pictured above!

These were part of a 6 card lot featuring three cards from each set

As you can see I also scored Shigeo Nagashima, two cards of Kunio Jonouchi and Akira Takahashi.

Both the "big" and "small" ones are on the small size, about the size of a quarter for the small ones and a bit bigger for the larger ones.  The  backs of the cards are baseballs with the players number in the middle, name underneath and "Giants Furikake" written across the top.

Furikake is a kind of seasoning that you sprinkle on rice to give it some flavor.  I have some in my house, my kids both demand it whenever they eat rice. It seems this was some sort of promotional giveaway with furikake back in the 1960s.  I did a Google search and discovered that there is today a product called "Giants Furikake" which you can buy on Amazon:
I'm not sure if this is the descendant of the original Giants Furikake from the 60s that these menko came with, though it certainly seems to be a possibility!  The cards are about the right size and shape to have fit into the bottle cap, so I wonder if that might be how they were originally distributed (possibly one set in smaller bottles, the other in bigger ones?)

Anyway, I'm really psyched that I can now say that my collection has not one but two of the rarest vintage Sadaharu Oh cards ever made in it.  Also I'm glad that Japanese collectors don't seem to value this sort of thing at all since I paid almost nothing for them (well, relative to what they are anyway, they cost about what a PSA 10 1976 Topps common or something like that would cost in the US, which also puts the insanity of the US card market into focus).

10 comments:

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    1. He would have to write pretty tiny, these are small menko!

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  2. Those are tiny and can’t imagine many of them survived. Evidently less than 5. Crazy.

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    1. Yup, they are more coin sized. Very crazy!

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  3. Love me some furikake sprinkled on my rice!

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  4. Great research and even greater additions to your collection! What kind of flavor does Furikake have?

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    1. Thanks!

      They have quite a few different flavors but I actually don't know what they are called (mostly based on food types which only seem to exist in Japan). My kids like one that is purple so we just call it purple furikake since the real name is way too hard to read!

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  5. They are lovely cards... That said more and more are coming out on Yahoo auction....I would guess they are around R3 now... 10-99 of each.. But they are so cool!

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    1. I've noticed that too, it seems one seller (Kotenya1960) must have uncovered a stash of them since he put up a few lots of them over the past couple months (though he seems to have run out, haven't seen any new ones in the past couple of weeks or so).

      I think you are right about R3 being a more accurate designation now.

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