Sunday, February 16, 2020

Saburo Miyatake Find

This is a really neat card.

It features Hall of Famer Saburo Miyatake, one of Japan's biggest stars of the 1930s.  He was a kind of early Shohei Ohtani, both a star on the mound and at the plate.  His most famous exploits came prior to the formation of the NPB so he is better known from his days at Keio University (who he is portrayed with here, hence the "K") than his pro career.

This card is one of the oldest and rarest Japanese baseball cards of an identified player ever made.  Engel catalogs the set as JRM 42 and dates it to either 1929 or 1930, its the first set listed in the catalog's round menko section.

What is really neat though is that until I found this card there were only three known copies of it out there.  Now there are four, and of those four there are three variations.

In 2016 a copy of the card was sold on Prestige Auctions.  According to the description there were only two known copies of the card at the time.  Note though that the version of the card in that auction had him wearing a red uniform rather than the yellow uniform he wears on my copy:

Then in 2018 another copy of it was auctioned off at Prestige. But this one featured him in a green uniform:

The description of that lot notes the earlier red uniform one and describes this as a variation.  Now I've found there is another, yellow uniform variation of the same card!

This is not super surprising, a lot of early menkos used different colors for the same card.  But it is kind of odd to have so many variations in a card with a population of four (the red uniform version is the only one with more than a single copy out there).

Anyway, I'm pretty psyched to add this to my collection.

10 comments:

  1. Wow, now THAT's a menko card! I don't know how you're going to get your collection down to 10,000 cards, but I do know that one spot is now taken. I'm seriously impressed with that card, good work Sean.

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    1. Thanks, this is going near the top of the 10,000 list and is very unlikely to be bumped off it anytime.

      This card came in a lot of 4 and the other 3 are pretty impressive too, I'll be doing some posts about them too!

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  2. Very cool and excellent find. Lots of variety indeed!

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  3. Just curious. Have you seen any Japanese Baseball cards with a player blowing a bubble? thebestbubble6884

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    1. Oooh, good question. And the answer is YES! There is a 1987 Calbee card of Warren Cromartie blowing a bubble which I have somewhere, I'll have to dig it out and do a post about it.

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  4. That's a really nice card. It must be cool to have such a rare card.

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    1. It is kind of a cool thing. Actually cooler than having a card this rare is being able to buy a card this rare without paying anywhere near what a similarly rare card in the US would go for.

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  5. Very cool. Gives new meaning to building a unique rainbow of a specific card.

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