I almost never show the cards I receive to people around me. What's the point? They don't care and they have no appreciation. Why waste everyone's time?
But every once in awhile there is a card that makes me forget myself and I show it to real live human beings. The idea behind the card is just too cool, and I think even a noncollector would understand.
One of those kinds of cards are the Bowman Asia black refractors.
The cards by themselves wouldn't interest someone who thinks collecting cards is silly. They're shiny with a black border and that's nothing particularly interesting to a commoner. But the idea behind the Bowman Asia cards just might bridge the gap if only for a minute.
We tend to take for granted how small our collector world is. We can obtain cards from anywhere thanks to the internet and our collecting network. Bowman Asia cards are created in the U.S., but then shipped to Asia and opened only in Asia. Group breakers actually travel to Asia to obtain the cards and open them and sell them.
So these cards are more available to us than if Bowman was issuing cards in Asia in, say, 1986. To own cards that were only available in Japan back then would be mind-blowing. Hell, to own cards only sold in Canada was crazy talk at the time.
Today, I rely on world travelers like Zippy Zappy from Torren' Up Cards for my exotic cards. He's always sending me strange cardboard from far off lands.
For example, he sent a couple of Bowman Asia black refractors of Julio Urias and Andrew Sopko that came straight from Japan. Normally I keep my mouth shut in polite company about cards, but stuff like this makes me blurt out, "LOOK! You can only get these cards in Japan!"
I've got to say it. You think cards like this are going to sit in a binder for my knowledge only? No, dammit, if this card is from Japan, people -- noncollectors -- are going to know it's from Japan (actually it's a card made in the U.S. shipped to Japan, but why spoil the mood?).
Besides, it keeps me from getting jaded about cards like this. I think some collectors have forgotten how amazing it is that our collections are so stunning because of the ease with which we can obtain cards now. People joke about cards being numbered to 10,000 in the 1990s like they were exclusive, but at the time they were exclusive because it's not like you could find 3,000 of those cards with the click of a button in 1997.
My knowledge of cards from Japan and players from Japan is not great. But thanks to both cards and bloggers like Zippy Zappy, I know a lot more than I did 10 years ago.
And this BBM card of former Yakult Swallows player Akihiko Oya is outstanding. It's a night card and it specifically mentions 1975 (the year the greatest card set ever was issued).
In 1975, I knew about exactly one card set and one card company (Topps). The world has gotten much smaller since then. And I've received cards from all kinds of different companies from Japan, England, Australia, France and the Netherlands.
That is information that people need to know. Whether they collect cards or not.