Black & white tobacco style menko are generally scarcer than their color counterparts, as children tended to prefer the color issues. This uncut pair was hand cut by the manufacturer from a sheet. We feel that the pair was most likely then offered to the public in a hanging bundle consisting of uncut pairs, since there is no trace of glue, extra paper, or missing paper as a result of having been originally offered on a prize sheet.
Yoshio Kitagawa (left hand card) and Masaichi Kaneda (right) were the anchors of the Kokutetsu Swallows pitching staff in 1959. Kitagawa, while only a rookie, pitched a robust 322 2/3 innings that season while going 18-20 with and ERA of 2.51. While 1959 wasn't one of Kaneda's best seasons, he did strike out a league leading 313 batters in 304 1/3 innings, while going 21-19 with a 2.54 ERA. The Swallows finished in 4th place in the six team Central League that year.
The Kitagawa card is listed in the Japanese Baseball Card Checklist & Price Guide, Vintage Edition 2.1 as "close-up sitting". The Kaneda card is listed as "full body--end delivery".
Size: Each card is 1 13/16" x 3". The uncut pair is 3 5/8" x 3".
Condition: The uncut pair would grade Nm/Mt, hand cut, except that the Kaneda card surface has a small chip at bottom near the right edge. Both cards have wide borders.