Sunday, December 21, 2014
2002 Calbee: Tough Set, Nearing Completeion
This one actually did pay off. There was a pretty wide selection of cards, including about a dozen from the 1975-76 Calbee set which were alone probably worth almost as much as I paid for the whole lot. The thing that got me most excited though was that about 100 of them were 2002 Calbees.
I think the 2002 Calbee set is probably the most difficult to find out of the post-1998 Calbee sets. Word on the street has it that the reason for this is Japan`s co-hosting of the World Cup that year with Korea, which diverted everyone`s attention away from baseball. This resulted in Calbee printing way fewer baseball cards (and presumably way more soccer cards) that year, making the 2002 Calbees harder to find than most.
This story generally squares with my own experience in buying these lots, which almost never include any 2002 Calbee cards (the 1999 and 2000 sets on the other hand are usually over-represented, making me think they were printed in greater quantities. Those were Ichiro`s last 2 years in Japan, which makes me wonder if his popularity transferred into greater baseball chip sales in those years, followed by a steep decline after his departure in 2001).
As somebody actively trying to complete most Calbee sets, my 2002 set up until now had been way less developed than any other set of the past 16 years, with only a few dozen cards mostly from the regular set. With the additions from this big lot, I now suddenly find myself about 75% of the way to a complete regular set and well on my way with most of the subsets too.
The design of these cards is slightly different from most Calbee sets in that it has a 30th anniversary logo on the front, but otherwise they are about the same. I think this must have been Hideki Matsui`s last Calbee baseball card before singing with the Yankees.