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Go Back   Net54baseball.com Forums > Net54baseball Postwar Sportscard Forums > Modern Baseball Cards Forum (1980-Present)

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  #1  
Old 08-04-2023, 03:48 AM
bk400 bk400 is offline
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Default Ichiro's Japan rookie cards -- Hilo Stars?

I've been looking at Ichiro's 1993 rookie cards from his time in Japan. Came across the "legend" of his Hilo Star cards and the potential controversy around them. See the below chat from last year.

https://www.blowoutforums.com/showthread.php?t=1479326

Fascinating stuff, all very weird. To summarize, Ichiro played for the Hilo Stars in the Hawaii Winter League in 1993, and there were apparently a very small run of cards printed for distribution at the stadiums. There weren't very many printed to begin with and then there was a theft and subsequent fire that destroyed much of those that remained. The guys in the chat linked above debated whether the whole print run was a giant scam.

Interestingly, there are PSA graded cards that have changed hands at reasonably high prices over the years. In fact, in 2001, PSA published an article about the Ichiro Japan rookies that specifically highlights the Hilo Star cards.

Any thoughts?
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Old 08-04-2023, 07:45 AM
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We've talked about it before. The cards aren't real. I'll summarize:

There are only 3 known players in this set: Ichiro, Jason Giambi, and Benny Agbayani.

Of these three players, two were completely anonymous in 1993. That would be Ichiro and Agbayani. Giambi had already appeared in two Topps sets before 1993, was a 2nd Round draft pick and had played on the Olympics team.

If there really was a 1993 Hawaiian League set and that set really did feature Jason Giambi, then Jason Giambi would have been the big chase and there would be way more of his cards than anyone else in the set.

But there aren't, because it wasn't released in 1993. It wasn't released at all. These cards were produced in 2001 or later and aren't a real set.

How I do I know that?

Because all three of the subjects didn't become hot collectibles until 2001. Giambi won the MVP in 2000, Ichiro came over in 2001, and Benny Agbayani just happened to play in the Hawaiian League at the same time and appeared in the 2000 Subway Series.
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Old 08-04-2023, 08:02 AM
bk400 bk400 is offline
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Thanks, packs. This is helpful. I'm surprised then that PSA not only graded the cards, but seems to endorse them with pop reports and all that stuff. I am quickly learning that the hobby is very much still -- and maybe even more -- of a Wild West market.
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Old 08-04-2023, 04:05 PM
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Stick with the BBM, or the Tomy. It's worse on the nonsports side, but PSA has made numerous dating mistakes that have resulted in a misinformed hobby. And worse, they won't correct them.
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Old 08-05-2023, 06:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bk400 View Post
Thanks, packs. This is helpful. I'm surprised then that PSA not only graded the cards, but seems to endorse them with pop reports and all that stuff. I am quickly learning that the hobby is very much still -- and maybe even more -- of a Wild West market.
PSA's "expertise" is in grading, not identification. There is no telling how many counterfeit 1985 Chong Modesto Mark McGwire cards they have graded. Certainly more than were ever printed in the original run.

Last edited by DaClyde; 08-05-2023 at 06:28 AM.
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  #6  
Old 08-05-2023, 07:11 AM
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Those Hilo Stars ones are not legit.

PSA has a mixed track record. They slabbed a bunch of forged 1994 Calbee Ichiros (not his rookie, but way rarer and probably his most sought after Japanese cards).

They’ve gotten better at this and no longer grade the fakes, but most of the ones out there graded by them are probably fake.
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Old 08-05-2023, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seanofjapan View Post
Those Hilo Stars ones are not legit.

PSA has a mixed track record. They slabbed a bunch of forged 1994 Calbee Ichiros (not his rookie, but way rarer and probably his most sought after Japanese cards).

They’ve gotten better at this and no longer grade the fakes, but most of the ones out there graded by them are probably fake.
Thanks for the insights. Just did a bit of research on the 1994 Calbees. The difference between the real ones and the fake ones are quite subtle unless you have them side by side (as one of the auction houses that was selling a real one actually did).
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Old 09-09-2023, 05:52 AM
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Nearly purchased a 1994 Calbee Ichiro #39. I actually made an offer, but raised the issue of fakes to the seller. To his credit, the seller did some research and came back with the verdict that his card was probably fake, and he took it off the market.

I found a 1995 Calbee #154. Hope this one isn't fake. My understanding is that these are reasonably hard to find as well.
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  #9  
Old 09-09-2023, 06:05 AM
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Yeah, I don’t think there are any fakes of that 95 Tokyo Snack card out there.

That is one of the cards from the high # series in that set, which is pretty scarce. There are 4 Ichiro cards in the set, two low number (not too scarce) and two high number (very scarce, though not as much as the 94 ones).

Very nice card!
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