Buzz Collector Profile: Tony Yi — an Ichiro Suzuki fan aka The Ichiro Vault

Tony Yi

Also known as: @theichirovault and iamtony33 on Blowout Forum
Location: Washington
Work away from cards: Corporate management
Collecting since: 2011

Main focuses: Ichiro Suzuki, Robinson Cano and 1/1 cards — he owns 335 1/1s and 42 of those are Superfractors.

Favorite teams: Seattle Mariners, Washington Huskies football

Current collecting projects: I used to work on rainbow projects often, and I have completed 14 of them. They have become too time-consuming so I now mainly concentrate on obtaining Ichiro, Cano and certain 1/1 cards. There is one Ichiro rainbow I will never stop trying for though and it’s from my favorite set, 2012 Topps Chrome. All I am missing is the Superfractor that sold years ago and I assume its in a PC collection forever. But if anyone knows who has it, please let me know.

One cool card I own: I very rarely trade, but a Blowout member had a unique Topps Ichiro Patch 1/1 that I traded a Mike Trout framed auto for couple years back. It was autographed after the fact by Ichiro, the member has close connections with Ichiro’s longtime initial agent Tony Attanasio when he was with the Mariners and Yankees and had it signed through him. I study his autos more than a person should, and I knew it was legit. I still like to have all my autos authenticated, though, so it is the only card in my collection I personally sent out to get slabbed.

One cool stat: One — number of personalized Ichiro autos I own. Ichiro very rarely does private signings, the first I ever heard of in his 15 years in MLB was a year back. He allowed personalized autos and I jumped at this possible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He is an extremely private person, so this is probably as close as I’ll get to formally meeting him.

Best pull: 2012 Topps Matt Holliday Redemption. It was when I started collecting casually. My wife bought the $5 rack pack at Target as she knew I was starting to collect. I pulled the redemption card and honestly didn’t understand what they were until I checked eBay and realized this was a pretty cool card. It was the best card in my collection at the time and will always be part of my collection as it holds a lot of sentimental value.

In his words: It’s purely a hobby for me as I don’t sell any of my cards. Collecting has been the best escape from a stressful career and all the chaos of everyday life. This hobby’s foundation is built on a collectors love of sports and having a community to share each respective collection with. Collectors come in all shapes and sizes. We all have different backgrounds, financial or personal situations and live all across the country. But we can all relate to the same excitement of a newly released product and simple joys of pulling your favorite card in a pack. It’s what makes this hobby so fun. Though I enjoy collecting high-end cards it definitely doesn’t translate to having or believing I have a better collection then anybody else. The second you believe that, I would think it would stop being fun. The collectors I have become friends with and communicate with in the community all have this state of mind. Some have collections that completely blow mine out of the water but that’s not what defines them nor should it. It’s not a competition but about enjoying and appreciating the cards that make us happy. Having the pleasure of seeing and talking about other people’s collections and maildays is my favorite part of the hobby.

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One thought on “Buzz Collector Profile: Tony Yi — an Ichiro Suzuki fan aka The Ichiro Vault

  1. Michael E April 20, 2017 / 1:43 pm

    Great collection Tony and really enjoyed your responses! One day I hope to add an Ichiro Dynasty card to my collection in his Yankee uniform so it fits my PC of course! 😉


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