Ichiro may be one of the most worldwide marketable players in Major League Baseball. Because of his nationality, combined with his huge numbers and the team he plays for, there are a lot of collectors that have made him a part of their PC. A few years ago, Leaf made an investment to have Ichiro sign for their products, something that had not been done in years. So far, their cards produced under that deal have been nothing short of impressive, despite not having a league license to produce cards with logos on them. Last week, they released their first Ichiro themed product, and it looks to be just as cool as some of the other cards already in production.
Here are some of the cards, which I would seriously take a look at:
I think there are a lot of things that Leaf does VERY well, and these types of sets tend to fall within that limit. The cards look high end, and are done with care in having on card autographs and large swatches. There is also a chase element that works to their advantage, as overseas collectors have a knack for spending a ton of money on higher end releases.
Although Ichiro has slowed down due to age, his career numbers will make him a first ballot hall of famer. What makes that feat even more interesting is that he has sustained more production in the big leagues than any other Japanese import ever has, and that goes a long way in building huge value. Brian Gray made the right call in recognizing the market for Ichiro cards, as even lesser Japanese born players still sell for huge money. Topps has recently started to release Asia only products to capitalize on this market, and I don’t think that will stop any time soon. Baseball is becoming a huge collectable market world wide.
No doubt about it, this product will set you back some cash. However, with the content that is possible, and the amount of Ichiro cards out there, this might be one of the only chances to get new cards for the foreseeable future. Ichiro cards and autographs will all have value regardless of his future performance. With the potential to eventually reach 3000 MLB hits, it may have some extra legs. He is quite old at 41, but he is still playing at a high enough level to be on a major league roster. That is quite the interesting situation when considering whether or not to buy a box or some singles. I have wanted an Ichiro auto for my collection, and this might be the best opportunity to make that happen.