1967 Kabaya-Leaf Japanese Baseball Near-Complete Set (97/105): #3 PSA Set Registry (7.36 GPA)!

Sold For: $3,300

Auction Year: 2016 fall

Lot: 1183

Item Year: 1967

Category: Postwar Baseball Cards (1948-present)

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Presented is a tremendous near-complete set of 1967 Kabaya-Leaf Japanese baseball cards consisting of ninety-seven of the 105 cards in a complete set. Missing just eight cards for completion, including the four exceedingly rare short-print Giants cards (#2 Watanabe, 3 Jonouchi, 8 Takahashi, and 17 Yoshida) and #4, 6, 14, and 18. Each card is professionally graded and encapsulated by PSA. The near-complete set ranks third on the PSA Set Registry with an impressive 7.36 GPA. The 1967 Kabaya-Leaf set, which was the only baseball-card set ever produced by the company, is not only the most important Japanese baseball-card set ever issued, but also one of the rarest. To the best of our knowledge, only two complete sets have ever been assembled (one of which was sold by REA in 2010 for $17,625). Research indicates that these cards were imported into the United States and offered to collectors by mail for a number of years after their publication, with the official distribution probably ending sometime in the early 1970s. The publication of the Kabaya-Leaf set was a watershed event in the history of Japanese baseball cards due to the fact that its design was a direct departure from earlier Japanese cards. Borrowing heavily from the formats used by Topps in 1958 and 1959, the set featured two different-style fronts and was the first Japanese baseball issue to feature detailed biographical information and statistics for the respective player on the back of each card. Interestingly, the set only featured players from six of the twelve Major League teams in 1967 (Giants, Dragons, Tigers, Lions, Hawks and Flyers); however, the six teams represented just happened to be the top three teams from each league in 1966. Luckily for collectors, among the players featured in the set are some of the greatest players in Japanese baseball history, many of whom are in the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame. Included here are Sadaharu Oh, the fabled all-time home-run leader; Isao Harimoto, the all-time hit leader; Kazuhiza Inao, one of the league’s greatest pitchers, who won thirty or more games on four separate occasions; and Shigeo Nagashima, a five-time MVP and one of the most popular players in history. PSA Grading Composite: GEM MINT 10 (2 cards): #64 and 66. MINT 9 (16 cards): #53, 70, 104, 105, 306, 308, 311, 315, 317, 359, 361, 366, 367, 403, 406, and 410. NM-MT+ 8.5 (3 cards): #51, 309, and 357. NM-MT 8 (41 cards): #7, 13, 19, 55, 57, 63, 69, 71, 101, 103, 106, 108, 109, 113, 114, 115, 117, 119, 300, 303, 304, 305, 307, 313, 314, 316, 319, 351, 352, 353, 354, 355, 356 Inao, 358, 362, 363, 365, 401, 402, 405, and 408. NM+ 7.5 (1 card): #407. NM 7 (22 cards): #9, 15, 54, 56, 59, 60, 61, 62, 67, 68, 107, 110, 111, 112, 116, 118, 301, 312, 318, 360, 364, and 404. EX-MT 6 (9 cards): #5, 10, 12 Nagashima, 16, 20, 58, 302 Murakami, 310 Nomura, and 409 Harimoto. EX+ 5.5 (1 card): #11 Oh. EX 5 (1 card): #52. VG 3 (1 card): #1 Kawakami. The compilation of this near-complete set is remarkable and it is further distinguished by its superb condition, including thirty-four cards which are the highest-graded examples on record with PSA. An extraordinary opportunity to acquire a near-complete set of this rare Japanese issue worthy of even the most advanced collection! Total: 105 cards. Reserve $2,500. Estimate (open).


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