According to this website, advent calendars have been around since the 19th century. I'm pretty sure the first advent calendar I ever received was filled with chocolate back in the 80's. These days you can find a variety of advent calendars ranging from beer to Legos to science experiments. And for the past four years... Death Stare Cards has even created his very own advent calendar to show off some cool cards in his collection. Then last year... my buddy Ryan over at Japanese Sumo Wrestling Cards and Menko gifted me my very own collectible advent calendar which he custom built and personalized. It was honestly one of the coolest and most unique gifts I have ever received.
Over the course of this year, he dropped a few hints that he was putting together another one... and at the end of November a huge box arrived at my mailbox. Inside were a bunch of PWE's and packages... each individually marked with a day and phrase hinting at what was lurking inside.
I've summarized all twenty-five gifts into one post for all of you to see. So grab a cup of eggnog, sit back, scroll, and enjoy...
Day #1: 1898 Pocket Calendar
At 124 years old, I'm pretty sure this is the oldest Christmas collectible sitting in the collection.
I tried to research The Cook's Talisman, but didn't find anything of use. On the other hand, Wikipedia has a page for Liebig's Extract of Meat Company if you're interested.
Personally, I was more interested in the fact that the 1898 and 2022 calendars are the perfect match.
Day #2: Mark McGwire Pin
1990 MVP Pins #NNO
I'm in the process of cleaning my office and one of the things I need to do is dust my team shelves. The goal is to clear some space on the A's shelf and put this up there.
Day #3: Soccer Packs
2021 Panini Adrenalyn XL Kickoff
2021 Panini Adrenalyn XL Update
When I saw these two packs, I made a deal with myself. If Japan beat Croatia (on December 5th), I'd open up these packs in search for some Samurai Blue. But if they lost, I'd add them to my unopened pack collection.
Day #4: Ultra Pro Penny Sleeves
Collectors can always use extra protection.
Day #5: My New Ride
2021 Tomy #87 GR Supra Fuji Speedway Safety Car
Back in February, I bought my dream car. Since then, I've been building a collection of Toyota Supra MK5 collectibles.
This Tomy diecast is a nice addition to the collection:
Day #6: Another Car
Convenience Store Promotion Pack
According to Ryan, this pack was a promotional item handed out a convenience store in Japan. As much as I love collecting unopened packs, I had to see what was lurking in this one...
The car I pulled was the Datsun (Nissan) Sunny (B10), which was produced from 1966 to 1969. I've always been a Honda and Toyota guy, but I can appreciate a classic like this pull.
Day #7: Menko Discs
Ryan said some of these could be woodblock printed... and possibly from the early 1900's. This one isn't a woodblock print, but I sure love the bright colors:
Day #8: Art Appreciation Cards
Ed-U-Cards Series #9
Couldn't find any information on these cards, but they look like something from the 60's or 70's. There were sixteen cards featuring paintings housed in this envelope with a window on the front.
As much as I appreciate art, I didn't recognize any of these paintings:
However... I am a collector of anything trading card related.
Day #9: More Vintage Art
Ed-U-Cards Series #24
Another pack of trading cards featuring paintings.
While the first pack focused on "people", this pack was more about "setting". Anyone know if these are based on famous paintings?
Day #10: Frame Worthy Art
At first glance, it's just a bunch of Japanese writing... which I personally find beautiful. However, I was thinking it might be sumo related, so I texted Ryan for confirmation.
I was correct. It's an official ranking sheet from 1985 and the great Yokozuna Chiyonofuji is listed on it. This should be framed and hung up in my office, but lack of space currently prevents that. Maybe one day when I own my dream house with that huge man cave.
Day #11: Japanese Highway Cards
These "highway cards" are approximately the same shape and size of the phone cards many of us are familiar with from the 90's.
They seem to be some form of debit card used to pay highway tolls. Maybe Sean or Kenny can clear up the details. Regardless... they're unique and I was excited to add them to my Japanese Non-Sports PC.
Day #12: 2021 Allen & Ginter Chrome Pack
Who doesn't enjoy opening up a pack of baseball cards? Here's what I pulled...
I'm pretty sure the Naylor mini is a refractor. I remember seeing him in a Padres uniform a few years ago before being traded to Cleveland as part of the Mike Clevinger deal.
Day #13: National Hockey Card Day Packs
I originally thought this pair of National Hockey Card Day packs were from the same year. The plan was to open one and keep the other one sealed for my unopened pack collection.
But while writing this post, I noticed one was from 2020 and the other is from this year. As of right now, I haven't opened the 2020 pack.
Day #14: One-Touch Magnetic Holder
My Tashi rookie card was looking for a new home and this one-touch magnetic was the perfect choice.
Day #15: Vintage Sumo Wrestling Cards
When it comes to vintage sumo trading cards, I'm guessing there aren't a lot of people out there who can match wits with Ryan. He's written several versions of his checklist book, which includes high quality images and detailed descriptions of hundreds of sumo wrestling sets.
That's why I'm always honored when I receive vintage sumo cards from him.
1955 Kagome Rikishi 10 Ozeki Mitsuneyama
My favorite card is this 1955 Kagome Rikishi card with the Mount Fuji cameo. By the way... I ended up using his book to help identify this card.
Day #16: Nanoblock #NBH 014 Space Center
If you've followed my blog long enough, you know my other passion is playing around with building blocks. I'm looking forward to building this set either today or tomorrow.
Day #17: Vintage Baseball
One of my favorite things about vintage Japanese baseball cards are the use of those bright colors. Unfortunately... I don't recognize any of these guys. If you do, feel free to leave their names in the comment section down below.
Day #18: Early 90's Tuff Stuff Magazines w/Cards
I love, love, love Tuff Stuff Magazine issues from the 90's... especially when they contain trading cards. The sheet included in the David Justice issue actually completes my Stadium set, which I hope to write about in a future post.
Day #19: Cat in a Kimono Deck of Cards
Who doesn't appreciate cards featuring cats dressed up as humans? I'm guessing the person whose photography was used for the 1983 Topps Perlorian Cats set also captured this photo of a cat wearing a kimono with money tucked behind the obi.
This is actually a deck of playing cards. Here's a closer look:
Day #20: 2020 Topps 206 Singles
Over the summer, Ryan flew up to San Jose for the day and we hit up a card show and a few card shops. At one of the shops, he bought some packs... which we cracked open outside of the restaurant we had dinner at. Pretty sure these were the cards from his pack. I pretty sure that's the same Wade Boggs I traded him for his Tony Gwynn.
Boggs has officially returned to San Jose and will now be added to my HOF binder of inserts, parallels, and oddballs.
Day #21: Kaiju Playing Cards
Here's another deck of playing cards. Only this time it was full of kaiju, instead of a dressed up kitty. These are awesome!
Day #22: Japanese Novelty Bag
Is there an item in your collection that you have no idea what it is... but you know that it's really, really cool? Well that's exactly what this thing is. Actually... it's multiple items.
It starts with an envelope (possibly from the 60's or 70's) that features two of the greatest Japanese baseball players: Sadaharu Oh and Shigeo Nagashima.
The back of the envelope features some kind of table... possibly a board game:
Inside there is a two sided poster that looks like they could also be used as game boards:
Both of these posters would make great wall decorations... just like that sumo ranking poster from Day 10.
The final thing in the envelope are these cutouts printed on heavy cardstock:
Not exactly sure what these were intended to be used for (maybe game pieces), but I'm keeping them intact and housed in the envelope.
Day #23: Demon Slayer Sticker Packs
Any Demon Slayer fans? I've never watched the show or read the books, but I'm very familiar with the title. One of the most popular things among my middle school students is watching anime and reading Manga. I found Demon Slayer on Hulu and added it to my watch list, so it's only a matter of time.
This appears to be a display box filled with packs of Demon Slayer stickers. I'm torn on whether to open these or not.
Day #24: Celebrity Post Cards
As we quickly approach Christmas Day, Ryan saved some of the coolest items for last. Check out the young Jackie Chan and Farrah Fawcett.
If you're wondering what the heck these are, they're postcards (possibly from a magazine).
As much as I love and appreciate all of these 70's stars, Bruce Lee is my favorite postcard:
Be water, my friend.
Day #25: 2015 BBM P League Very Merry Xmas Set
And rounding out Ryan's 2022 advent calendar is this fantastic Christmas themed set of 46 trading cards featuring twenty-three female bowlers:
I'm not going to make any promises, but there's a chance you'll see some of these singles featured in future holiday posts.
In the meantime, I only scanned one individual card:
The final card in the set was this autographed card of Miki Nishimura. Even if you don't collect cards of cute bowlers, you might be able appreciate the detailed signature of Ms. Nishimura.
Thank you Ryan for taking the time and effort to build another fantastic advent calendar for me. I appreciate it as much as I appreciate our friendship. Looking forward to meeting up again in 2023 and enjoying more cards, shops, and good eats.
To the rest of you...
Were there any specific things from this advent calendar that caught your eye?
Happy holidays and sayonara!