The 1967 Kabaya-Leaf Set is legendary among collectors both in Japan and the United States. This was the first Japanese attempt at American style baseball cards, and has remained one of the most popular Japanese series ever. Nearly 20,000 cards from this 105 card set were imported from Japan at the time by American soldier Mel Bailey, and these are still the vast majority of all Kabaya-Leaf cards known in the U.S. and Japan today. After collating the cards into near sets, Mr. Bailey sold over 100 of these near sets by mail order until the supply ran out in the early 1970s. Unfortunately, despite having so many cards, he was unable to put together more than a handful of complete sets from the packs he originally purchased in Japan. Ten cards were scarcer than the others, including cards of four members of the Yomiuri Giants which were practically non-existent. That's why today, when a Kabaya-Leaf set is offered to the public, it will generally consist of either 95, 96, or 101 cards. Even many of the most advanced Japanese card collectors have never seen any of the four rare cards in person.
This is your chance to own one of the Kabaya-Leaf rarities. The card #8, featured here, was recently discovered in Japan. It enters the card collecting hobby for the first time in this auction. Kazumi Takahashi was a star pitcher with the Yomiuri Giants and Nippon Ham Fighters. He pitched for 19 seasons in Japan Pro Baseball, winning 166 games. He won 20 games in a season twice. 1967 was his third season in Japan Pro Baseball. However, due to the paucity of issues from 1965 and 1966, the 1967 Kabaya-Leaf #8 is generally considered to be his rookie card.
Only six of these Takahashi cards have been authenticated and graded by PSA to date, attesting to their scarcity. Only three of them have achieved the grade of PSA 5, with none grading higher. The card offered here is one of those three examples.
Size: 2 3/8" x 3 3/8"
Condition: PSA 5 (Ex)