This Japanese parallel of the 2002 Topps set has always intrigued me since I read about it. But these cards are hard to find. They were issued in 2003 based on the copyright, and that’s how Beckett lists them. But they’re parallels to the 2002 Topps set, so I consider this issue to be 2002 cards. Topps issued the cards in Japan in conjunction with Kanebo, a Japanese company that I believe is a gum manufacturer there. Kanebo also makes cards on their own of players from the Nippon Japanese league. In this set, there are 55 cards, most of them done in the same design and photo as 2002 Topps. The backs are completely in Japanese.
There is also a parallel to the 2003 set that Beckett lists as series 2. I’d just consider that 2003 Kanebo, though they seem to be quite a bit harder to find. There are 110 of the 2003 cards.
You will see a few singles of these cards on eBay or COMC every now and then, and I’ve picked up a few here and there to see what they look like. But in February, I found some packs of the 2002 version on eBay and pulled the trigger. They were 11 bucks each, so not cheap considering you only get 3 cards per pack.
The silver cards have odds I got one silver card – Vladimir Guerrero in one of my favorite photos from the 2002 Topps set. I’ve read that these come 1 every 10 packs, so a pretty good pull if that’s the case. There are also black parallels that I’ve almost never seen, they must be even tougher.
For each year in my Lifetime Topps project, I try to put together as many parallels of one card as possible. I’ll be going for Vlad for 2002. I do really like the photo here, so it’s a good one to go for.
Here are the 9 cards I got in the packs.