Bowman Chrome has always been about rookies and prospects, and Topps has reconfigured its next offering into two distinct products for collectors and has added some more. So when 2016 Bowman Chrome Baseball is released September 7, there will be a new choice. Say goodbye to jumbo and hello to vending boxes.
A hobby box will now include two mini boxes this year, with six packs to a mini and five cards per pack (60 total cards compared to 72 last year).
The breakdown per pack will be three base and two Chrome prospect cards. But in addition to a hobby box, Topps also will be selling an 80-card “vending box” that will have its own exclusive features, including three hard-signed autograph cards. It’s a version that appears to have been tailor-made for case and box breakers who won’t have to fool with wrappers and such.
2016 Bowman Chrome Basics
Starting with the traditional hobby box — which isn’t so traditional this year — online box prices are generally between $65 and $75. The hobby box will include two autograph cards (one per mini-box). Bowman Chrome also will feature Arizona Fall League memorabilia cards.
Base chrome cards will be a mixture of current major-league veterans and 2016 rookies. Base refractors will be plentiful, along with purple, blue, green and gold ones. Orange refractors will be numbered to 25, red refractors will be numbered to 5, and SuperFractor and printing plates will be 1/1 cards.
Chrome Prospect cards will have several parallels, including a hobby-exclusive orange refractor numbered to 25. Other shiny parallels will feature the unnumbered refractor; blue, green and gold; red refractors numbered to 5; and 1/1 SuperFractors and printing plates. Chrome Prospect autographs have the same breakdown, except there won’t be any gold refractor parallels. The orange refractor parallel is also a hobby-exclusive item.
Chrome Rookie autographs are similar to prospects, with orange numbered to 25 and again a hobby-exclusive product. Other parallel refractors will be available in base, blue, green and gold; red refractors are numbered to 5, and 1/1 SuperFractor and printing plate cards a possible pull, too.
2016 Bowman Chrome Autographs
This year’s Chrome has two more autograph sets: Prime Position, which showcases top young players at various positions; and All-America Game autos, which feature signatures of the game’s top prospects, signed when they were still in high school. Prime Position parallels come in green and gold, with an orange hobby exclusive numbered to 25 and a 1/1 SuperFractor.
Arizona Fall League Inserts
The Arizona Fall League has produced its share of good players in the past, like Kris Bryant, Nolan Arenado, Sam Fuld, Dustin Ackley and Tommy Hanson. One of the hobby-exclusive inserts this year is called AFL Fall Stars Game, which will pay tribute to the game’s top performers.
There is a relics version, too, with jumbo pieces of memorabilia from the AFL Fall Stars Game, held last season at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, Arizona. Some of the relics will be pieces of game-used hats, bats and bases. Orange refractors will be numbered to 25 and there will be 1/1 SuperFractors.
Refractors That Never Were
Another nice twist will be low-numbered Refractors That Never Were. These will be reprinted Bowman cards of retired greats who never had a (Bowman) refractor. The examples Topps showed were of Jackie Robinson and an autographed version of Mike Piazza.
2016 Bowman Chrome Vending Boxes
Vending boxes are for collectors who like opening a brick of cards, so to speak–but these will be easier on the breakers. They will likely cost in the vicinity of $75 to $85, depending on the retailer. Vending boxes will contain 33 Bowman Chrome base cards and 33 prospect cards. Topps is promising three autograph cards per vending box, along with five vending-exclusive Bowman Chrome Prospects black and gold refractors. The box also will feature six Bowman Scouts Updates inserts.
Chrome Prospect refractors will have parallels in blue, gold, red (numbered to 5) and 1/1 printing plates and SuperFractors. Chrome Prospect autographs will be hard-signed with exclusive gold refractor versions. Regular, blue and green refractors also can be found, along with red refractors numbered to 5 and 1/1 SuperFractors and printing plates. As in hobby boxes, collectors also may find Chrome Rookie autos and Prime Position autographs.
The cost per autograph will be about the same for a vending box as last season’s jumbo boxes.
Another vending box exclusive is a hot pack that will feature a Prospect Orange Shimmer refractor.
You can see 2016 Bowman Chrome baseball boxes (hobby and vending) on eBay by clicking here.