Thursday, April 29, 2021

Meet the collectors | Fabrice Heilig update part 2

In part 1 of this special Meet the Collectors update, we introduced you to Fabrice's wonderfully executed dream idea: building a dedicated place for his Nintendo cards collection in his back garden, modelled after Nintendo's birth home in Kyoto Japan.

Now it's time to take a look inside!

Fabrice: "As you can see, my card collection has really grown since the previous Meet the Collectors post back in 2012. I still find items, but less often than before. I have also become a bit more selective, although I still buy on impulse every now and then"

"Nowadays the prices of some items are increasing a lot, and I'm glad that I could start this collection a long time ago."

"As some of my favourite items, I still love the two Nintendo sample book [shown in the image below], but also my two 24K gold Nintendo cards. I really like these."

Fabrice has placed display cases around all four sides, and organised these by card style and genre, starting here with the Iroha Karuta (いろは かるた) and Hyukunin Isshu (百人一首). For more info on these types of cards, see this previous post

Above this first showcase, Fabrice has framed a collage he made of reproductions of Nintendo advertisements.

Most of these advertisements appeared in magazines in the early 1960s, when Western style paying cards (called trump or トランプ) were booming in Japan.

This showcase includes one of the older Nintendo cards sets with licensed Disney figures.

The other cards are versions of Hyukunin Isshu.

This is one of the two cards in Fabrice's collection that are made from 24K gold.

Over the years, Nintendo has produced many different Hyukunin Isshu sets, ranging from basic to very luxurious.

The ones shown here are some of the nicest examples, with high quality decorated boxes, and gold and silver coloured cards.

On the other end of the spectrum are these colourful sets aimed at children.

The remainder of the display on the left-side is occupied fully with version of Hyukunin Isshu sets. Some of these date back to early Showa era, others are more recent. Nintendo still produces and sells these today.

We now turn our attention to the main wall of the exhibition, facing the entry.

This side mostly covers the Western style trump playing cards.

But first, you may have noticed the two signs in the middle of the display.

These are almost perfect replicas of the original Nintendo company signs, which Fabrice had 3D scanned and then milled in aluminium. [We could, maybe should, dedicate a whole separate post to that project.]

Many hundreds of different trump card designs have been released by Nintendo, from the 1950s to the current time. Farice has ammassed a very wide and interesting selection of this big output.

Disney was one of Nintendo's well selling series in the 1950s and 1960s, so it is no surprise that these are well covered here as well.

Of course, when Nintendo branched out into video games, playing cards with their new heroes appeared, like these king size Mario cards.

And many Pocket Monster cards sets followed.

The right side of the room is dedicated to Hanafuda and related cards.

This is the card type that was the starting point for Nintendo in 1889.

Fabrice has nice examples of some of the oldest Nintendo Hanafuda cards, as well as more modern versions featuring Snoopy, Mario and Kirby.

The glass case on this site of the room holds some of the more special, rare items. 

This includes another 24K gold card, with the famous Nintendo ace of spade.

Seeing this extensive collection, we are wondering if there is still anything more on his wish list?

Fabrice: "I would love to find the gold and silver hanafuda game from 2014, with the wooden box with Mario engraved on it. This game was only given to the best Nintendo partners."

"I also like the old hanafuda games, but it's getting harder and harder to find them."

"Another big dream was to visit the interior of the old Nintendo headquarters in Kyoto. Now that it will be turned into a hotel it might be the only opportunity, but it may not maintain the same flavour, I don't know."

This ends our tour of this great Nintendo cards collection, housed in one of the most special and well suited locations.

We wish Fabrice many more happy collector moments extending his collection, and - most of all - enjoying it, while sitting on one of these zabuton cushions.


Part 1 of this story, that shows the creation of this building, is available here. Other collector stories can be found here.

And last, but certainly not least, a full exclusive video tour of Fabrice's Nintendo cabin, made by Florent Gorges, can be found on his youtube channel.

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