A while back, R Laughton of the Japanese Sumo Wrestling Cards and Menko blog reached out to me, saying he had a few things he'd like to send my way. He really did send me a little bit of everything, including the things you might expect to see on a blog about sumo wrestling cards and Menko. I didn't scan it all, but I scanned enough to show the breadth of the things that came out of the stuffed mailer that arrived in my mailbox.
First up was a stack of sumo cards from the 1999 BBM set. I don't know much about sumo, but I did a quick read-up on the sport. Two things that really interested me about sumo were the dedication required to be a professional and the complex ranking system.
He also enclosed a large group of menko cards from the 1950's. Again, I am not an expert in this world, so I can't say much more about them than what he told me. Luckily, his blog is a great resource for someone wanting to learn more about menko. Out of this group, I particularly like the Western-themed cards, as cowboy movies are something I enjoy watching from time to time.
The back of each card features a Rock-Paper-Scissors symbol and a fight number, which are two different ways of playing games with menko. Originally menko were used in a game that Americans of my generation would recognize by the name Pogs, where a card is thrown in an attempt to flip the opponent's card over. Then kids started collecting the menko instead of playing with them, and these alternate game aids were printed on the backs to give them a way to play games without damaging their cards.
Here are a couple more menko, which feature big robots and monsters, but I don't know if they are generic or tied to a specific property.
The backs of the cards suggest that they might belong to different sets, although I can't be certain of that. The one on the left has a very clear line where the bottom layer of cardboard doesn't reach quite as for as the top layer of cardboard. These things are thick.
Moving into things that are more familiar to me, R Laughton included a big stack of cards from BBM's 1995 Pro Wrestling Cards set. A couple of my favorites were these logo cards from AJW and JWP. One of my favorite wrestlers, Command Bolshoi, is the current President of JWP, while AJW folded in 2005.
Here are a few of the wrestler cards included in the stack. Some of these wrestlers are still active now, 21 years after the release of this set.
R Laughton also touched on many of my mini-collections and player collections. There was a wide array of good mustache cards, with Franco, Viola, and Garcia among the standouts. There was some nice cardboard of Jim Abbott, Carlos Correa, Goose Gossage, and some shiny cards featuring Andrew McCutchen.
There was a little bit of football cardboard in the package, as well as a number of neat NASCAR cards. For the NASCAR scans, I mostly chose the craziest of the die-cut cards, as there were many designs I was not familiar with. The other day I took one of those Facebook quizzes that asked if you could name the driver of the pictured car. I did pretty well on the quiz, but whoever made the quiz must not have realized that the driver's names are usually printed above the door and/or on the windshield of the car.
Closing out the cardboard portion of the scans is a six-pack of Nolan Ryan cards. They include a Goose Gossage cameo (or is it a Nolan Ryan cameo?) and a Coca-Cola oddball. You've gotta love those old Astros uniforms. I've wanted to get a Nolan Ryan rainbow jersey for years (probably decades) now, but I've never been able to pull the trigger on it.
Finally, he included an unopened pack of Star Wars: Episode I widevision cards with a price tag from 7-11 in Japan. I am still mad that 7-11 pulled out of Idaho, as I have to travel at least one state away to get a Slurpee. This is a cool collectible, though, and I might just leave it unopened for now.
That is just a sampling of the cool stuff included in this package. I am extremely grateful for all of it, and I am excited to be inducted into the world of menko. Thanks, R Laughton!