by Rich Klein
Both the terms Bowman and Chrome have been, and are still important to the Topps brand. Ever since the company resurrected the Bowman name in 1989, itss been the entry point for young players to make their debut on a Topps produced card. After a few years of tinkering, Topps gained huge hobby acceptance in 1992 with Bowman and has ridden that wave for nearly two decades. Meanwhile the chrome technology and the Chrome name has been part of Topps for a decade and a half. The Bowman Chrome line was almost an instant marriage of the two concepts and the brand name has become one of the most sought-after products Topps produces each year.
The product has continued to evolve and currently the boxes feature one autograph per box. The autograph is a Bowman Chrome prospect and since hope springs eternal, collectors and prospectors are always looking for the "next big thing" to come out of these boxes. The most important Bowman Chrome autograph of all time is the 2001 Albert Pujols autograph card. which has a print run of 500 signed cards and the current book value is several thousand dollars. That is not a bad profit if you had purchased a 2001 Bowman Chrome box upon release in 2001.
There are other high dollar cards that have come out of these boxes. and since some include cards numbered as low as a print run of one, there is always the hope that another Pujols-like explosion in prices or value comes out of a box. This year, the player du jour is, of course, Bryce Harper. In 2010, the player was Stephen Strasburg. Both players' autographed cards make the lucky prospectors immediate profit.
With the Bryce Harper hype, the prices for 2011 Bowman Chrome do remain strong. This year the boxes contain 18 packs per box and four cards per pack. And for about 99 percent of all prospectors, the box price comes down to is the "autograph" hit worth anywhere near whet you paid for the box.
The current prices for these boxes from on-line retailers are between $55-65 per box while my local card store (Triple Cards in Plano, TX) has blown through 13 cases at prices between $70-75 per box. With that much product out of the local store, there have been several good pulls by collectors. There were two Harper blue refractors as well as a gold autograph refractor (#d out of 50 received). The store owner reported that the Gold Refractor was sold for $1500 privately and the payment has already been received.
In addition, three superfractors have also come out of his boxes. Those big hits do not count all the other "hits" received by collectors he does not know about.
With that knowledge, it was time to rip into our box. Here’s what came out:
Base Cards: 28 out of 220
Prospects: 34 out of 110
Futures: Manny Machado, Jesus Montero, Miguel Sano, Arodys Vizciano
Prospects: Aaron Hicks, Martin Perez
Gold Refractor: (#d to 50) Stephen Drew
Autograph Refractor: (#d to 500): Matt Moore
Not a bad autograph to snare. We can only hope that Moore builds on his great playoff performance this year and keeps that momentum into the 2012 season. On Tuesday, he was named the Topps Minor League Player of the Year. If Moore pitches well in 2012, then our one in 72 "hit" will turn out to be a gem instead of a bad outing. The best aspect about Bowman Chrome is what is delivered to collectors and like a metronome, Bowman Chrome continues to give collectors hope for the present and the future.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]