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2014 Bowman Sterling Football Preview

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Base

Once again a Hobby Exclusive product, the 2014 Bowman Sterling is slated for an early October release.  Topps has released some  preliminary information on this annual silver-oriented issue. While it’s a bit hard to judge the potential merits without any kind of logos yet attached to the 2014 NFL Draft Class, we do know it will come with 6 packs per box, and every pack of 5 cards promises to deliver the following:

  • 3 Base Cards
  • 1 Autograph Rookie or Veteran Card
  • 1 Jumbo Rookie or Veteran Relic Card

Each box will have:

• 4 Rookie Autographs

• 1 Rookie Autograph Relic

• 1 Rookie Autograph Patch

• 6 Dual Relics OR Dual Patches

• 1 Jumbo Rookie Patch Box Topper OR 1 Autographed

Purple Wave Refractor Box Topper

It will take a dedicated, determined and, perhaps, silver-rich individual to put together the base set from packs of this product. Bowman Sterling advertises that the base set is made up of 100 subjects, and all of them rookies. With the allocation of just 18 base cards per box, it would take 6 boxes of the cards with the absolute minimum of duplication to just build the base set. And such a set builder will have to decide if parallel cards count in the base set as there are four types of base card refractor parallels possible (Gold #’d to 99; Black #’d to 75; Pulsar, #’d to 50; and Blue Wave #’d to 25). Each base card will also have a 1/1 SuperFractor parallel, and Printing Plates #’d 1/1.

But it is generally not the set builders who flock to a product like Bowman Sterling. Rather, this brand has built its following among those who enjoy prospecting on young players and those who enjoy the hits.  And with one autograph and one relic card promised per pack of 2014 Bowman Sterling Football the hits will keep on coming.

Expect box prices for this higher end product to land at around $250 at the retail level.
RC auto
The most common autographed card in the product will be the Rookie Autographs card, which is an autograph parallel of the base card. But, to say that these will be the “most” common does not mean that they will all be commonly found. These rookie autographs will be found in the following parallel formats:

  • Gold Refractor Parallel – #’d
  • Black Refractor Parallel – #’d to 50
  • Pulsar Refractor Parallel – #’d to 25
  • Blue Wave Refractor Parallel – #’d to 15
  • SuperFractor Parallel – #’d 1 of 1
  • Printing Plates – #’d 1 of 1 (4 plates for each player)

However, not all of the promised autographed cards will come from the regular rookie autographs. Bowman Sterling is introducing Rookie Autograph Short Print cards this year, and these short printed cards will contain the autograph and a serial number. These new concept cards for Sterling will also come in a variety of colored parallels:

  • Black Refractor Parallel – #’d to 50
  • Pulsar Refractor Parallel – #’d to 25
  • Blue Wave Refractor Parallel – #’d to 15
  • SuperFractor Parallel – #’d 1 of 1

It is possible that the autograph card promised to be in each pack might not be a rookie player at all, but rather one of the Veteran Autograph Short Prints. Of course, because this is Bowman Sterling and the focus is on rookies and prospects, even these veteran autographs will stay in character. These short-printed cards will featuer an image of the veteran player from their rookie year incorporated into the 2014 Bowman Sterling Football design. These autographed cards will also feature Black, Pulsar, Blue Wave and SuperFractor parallels.
2 auto 2 patch
A few collectors will find that their autographed cards fall into a very select group of specialty pulls. There will be Dual Autographed cards that feature some of the most collectible Rookie/Veteran pairings. These hits will be sequentially numbered to 25, and patch versions of this card will be found #’d to 5. Triple Autographed versions will also exist with the autographed card #’d to 10, and the patch version again showing up #’d to 5. These specialty cards will also be where the “case hit” is found for 2014 Bowman Sterling Football. The company is promising a Pulsar Refractor Dual Autographed Dual Patch, a card which will contain 2 autographs and jersey patches of rookie subjects to fall in at1 per case.

Speaking of cards that are limited to only 5 copies, the 2014 Bowman Sterling Football product will have just that many copies of the “Ultimate Rookie Autograph Card,” which will be a 5-panel, chrome refractor booklet card featuring autographs of all 40 NFLPA Rookie Premiere subjects. The 5 copies of this unique item will be sequentially numbered to 5.

RC patchThe promise of a rookie or veteran relic is also part of the Sterling offer. There are rookie relics, and even rookie dual relic cards, all with the full spectrum of colored, numbered parallels, SuperFractors and printing plates. But, when a full box is purchased and opened the hits round up by one more as each box carries 1 Jumbo Rookie Patch Box Topper OR 1 Autographed Purple Wave Refractor Box Topper. These will also be numbered and offered in a variety of colors.

Breaking it all down into list form, every 6-pack box of 2014 Bowman Sterling is said to deliver:

  • 4 Rookie Autographs
  • 1 Rookie Autograph Relic
  • 1 Rookie Autograph Patch
  • 6 Dual Relics OR Dual Patches
  • 1 Jumbo Rookie Patch Box Topper OR 1 Autographed Purple Wave Refractor Box Topper

Actual sterling silver has been heralded for centuries for its lustrous finish and versatile applications. Although harder than gold, sterling silver is still considered one of the more pliable and supple metals, and this malleability makes silver easy to mold into various forms and shapes.

NFL teams are hoping the coming crop of prospects and rookies can also be molded into winners. Those who buyinto the Bowman Sterling market this October will be hoping the same thing.

RC relicDual auto

About Larry Pauley

Larry Pauley began collecting in the 1960's, opened his first card shop in the KC area during the late 1980's, and today, when not combing flea markets for the next “find,” he runs MLB Memories—a card shop in Nixa, MO, a website at mlbmemories.com, and stores on eBay and Amazon. Track him down @MLBMemories on Twitter or Facebook, or e-mail [email protected].

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