If you are a collector who thrives on building sets, especially base sets of cards, the 2014 Bowman Sterling is not for you.
Of course, if you are familiar with Bowman Sterling you already know that it has not been about building sets. Rather, this annual installment from Bowman features prospect and rookie ink…and a good flow of it, too. That is what you get when the product comes with four cards per pack and those are divided between three Autographs and one Rookie or Prospect base card. In a six pack box that is 18 autographs and six base cards (unless one of those is an insert, such as the 1989 Bowman is Back Silver Diamond Refactor planned for each box).
New this year are Purple Wave Refractor cards that will come as box-topper in one box for each case. These are planned to be serial-numbered, and though the total number was not announced they will have Black, Blue (#’d/5) and 1/1 Red parallels. Thus, there will be the possibility of seven non-autographed cards in a box, but only five or six base cards.
The truth be told, however, for most buyers of Bowman Sterling this is NOT a problem.
Set builders may not be too interested in Bowman Sterling, but the autograph seekers have come to love this product. And there are a good number of “prospectors” who look forward to it as well. In an attempt to keep the appeal strong, the 2014 Bowman Sterling release is offering not one, but two case hits in every eight box case. In addition to the over-sized Purple Wave Refractor mentioned earlier, every case will also boast a Sterling Die-Cut Autograph. These autographed cards will be found with Blue Refractor, Red Refractor (#/5) and SuperFractor (1/1) parallels.
Slated for a mid-December release, Bowman Sterling should be able to take care and fill the product with a well-rounded mix of worthy rookies and prospects for the standard autographed cards. The plans are for each of these standard autographs to have 10 parallels plus the printing plates for each card. Parallels for the Prospect and Rookie Autographs will include:
- Refractor Parallel – sequentially #’d.
- Green Refractor Parallel – sequentially #’d.
- Magenta Refractor Parallel – sequentially #’d.
- Orange Refractor Parallel – sequentially #’d.
- Purple Refractor Parallel – sequentially #’d.
- Blue Refractor Parallel – sequentially #’d to 25.
- Black Atomic Refractor Parallel – sequentially #’d to 10.
- Canary Diamond Refractor Parallel – sequentially #’d to 3.
- Red Refractor Parallel – #’d 1/1.
- SuperFractor Parallel – #’d 1/1.
- Printing Plates – #’d 1/1.
But the river of ink that flows through Sterling is not limited to the standard autographed cards alone. Bowman Black Autographs (#’d/25) continue from other Bowman brands as this year’s continuity insert to celebrate Bowman’s 25th anniversary. Each card is done with a distinct design that has a black background, signed in silver ink and sequentially numbered. Other autographs include Sterling Showcase (framed cards limited to 25 copies); Sterling Silver Autographs will feature the top 10 prospect performers printed on Sterling Silver, autographed and numbered 1/1; and, Dual Refractor Autographs will thematically pair rookies, prospects and 2014 MLB Draft Picks. These will also be sequentially numbered but the size of the edition was not announced.
Topps says that the 2014 Bowman Sterling Baseball product while contain more insert and autographed content than ever before. It certainly appears that they will keep their word from the information they have released. And while a set may not be easy to build from the high-end product, it seems plain that the season’s rookie and prospect classes will use a lot of ink to help the set keep its promise.
See Bowman Sterling listings from all years on eBay here.