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    Circa 1950 Japanese Menko Baseball Uncut Sheet. The Menko has been a popular form of play in Japan for more than 250 years. The object of the game is to capture your opponents cards by flipping them over or by knocking them out of a ring; not unlike American kids who commonly flipped and competed for each other's baseball cards in the 1950's. Literally translated "menko" means small object with a face. Through the years, materials used for making menkos have changed; with paper or cardboard becoming the most predominant format. Most of the early paper or cardboard menkos portrayed faces of samurai warriors, politicians or soldiers.

    Baseball players and menkos became a popular combination after three instrumental developments within the country. First, interest in baseball was stirred by a tour of U.S. All-Stars in 1934 which included Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Jimmy Foxx. Second, baseball stars and Sumo wrestlers replaced Japanese soldiers and samurai warriors as cultural subject matter after defeat in World War II and the occupation by General MacArthur prohibited the glorification of traditional Japanese heroes. Finally, the televising of Japanese professional baseball in the late 1950's, especially those featuring the Tokyo Giants and the Hanshin Tigers, helped to further popularize the sport.

    This attractively matted uncut sheet measuring an overall 40" x 30" features a repeating pattern of six larger images featuring players for a total of 24 large menkos, with another 20 smaller menkos included in between. A fascinating early piece of Japanese baseball card history.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2009
    1st-2nd Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 598

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

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