by Rich Klein
Way way back in the day when I working on Beckett Football Card Monthly, there was actually a very long dead period in between the Super Bowl and the opening of training camp. During those several months there might be a product or two released but for the most part the football off-season also applied to the card market. Today, just as with football itself, the process of football cards is year-long with barely an off-season.
Scarcely one month after the draft concluded, Topps released their first hobby product and all the major rookies are included in 2012 Bowman Signatures football. That means there are very early cards of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, which has provided a sales boost for companies anxious to satisfy the demand from collectors. There's been some online debate about the look of these cards. Some of the artwork is excellent, but the rookie cards are very generic.
We opened up a Bowman Signatures Master Box, which contains five mini-boxes containing one autographed card and four others. Each master box contains two Chrome autographs or as noted in Beckett: "Rookie Team Helmet Autographs". In pre-sale information, Topps touted the fact that the rookie autos would be on card.
The base cards have a drawing of the player on the front with his name, team and position on the bottom. The backs included biographical information, an informational blurb and 2011 and career stats. The rookie cards have a blue background with the drawing showcased. In addition, the team name is in large capital letters near the bottom and the player's name and position are at the bottom. Backs of the rookie cards have biographical information as well as the info tidbit and where applicable, 2011 and career college stats.
Normally at this point I would discuss my very local store and compare his prices to leading on-line retailers. However, the owner/operator of my local store did not order any of this product so I can only talk about the current leading on-line retailers with prices ranging from $145-160 per Master Box.
Here's what we pulled:
Base cards: 9 with no duplicates
Base Rookie Cards: 5 (or one per pack)
Combine Competition: Andrew Luck/Robert Griffin III
Printing Plate: Matt Kalil (Magenta). For those who may not remember or have never heard all the printing plates are 1 of 1's
Rookie Autographs: David DeCastro, Ronnie Hillman, Janoris Jenkins
And that is a wrap for the first Topps 2012 football product. The printing plate was a nice surprise and although a well-known rookie would have been nice at this point, there is always the chance that one or more "surprise" rookies come out of the pack to become stars. Anything with Luck/Griffin on it is a nice pull. Whether you like this product or not, 2012 Bowman Signatures at least gives football fans something to gnaw on before training camps open. Click here to check current listings on eBay.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]