Already one of the games great power hitters, New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is putting together an MVP-caliber season in 2022. The 30-year-old impending free agent is hitting home runs as high as his card prices.
While Judge is making a late-season push to break the American League home run record of 61 set by Roger Maris in 1961, collectors are scooping up his cards and hoping he does just that.
We will be taking a journey through some of his autographs over the years and seeing how his season so far as affected card prices within the last calendar year.
2013 Bowman Chrome Auto (#BCA-AJ)
Though it doesn’t feature the highly coveted 1st Bowman logo, this card is as iconic as it gets for Judge. It’s the first autographed card where Judge is featured in his Yankees uniform, and that is always going to be a grail for collectors.
In September of 2021, a base auto sold for $340. One year and a lot of home runs later, that same card sold for over $1,300. PSA 10 examples are currently bringing $4,000-$5,000.
The parallels, however, are where you start to really get into astronomical prices. Last October, a Black Refractor Auto numbered to 35 and graded a BGS 9.5 sold for just over $2,200. That pales in comparison to one that sold this July for $15,000.
2016 Bowman’s Best Auto (#B16-AJ)
Bowman’s Best is a set that baseball collectors have come to expect every year, and it refractor finish and adventurous card designs help it stand out. Interestingly enough, however, Aaron Judge autos from 2016 Bowman’s Best, his first year being featured in the autograph checklist of the set, have not appreciated nearly as much in the last calendar year.
A base auto graded a BGS 9.5 sold for $190 last October. The latest sale for the same card was $434. It has more than doubled in price, but in comparison to the 2013 Bowman Chrome base auto that nearly quadrupled, it just has not seen the same growth. Between 2014 and 2016, Judge had three seasons worth of cards where he was neither a rookie nor a new prospect, but that all changed in 2017.
2017 Topps Chrome Auto (#RA-AJ)
When this card first came out, Topps caught some flack for the photo on the card, which shows Judge fielding a ball in right field instead of being in the batters box. Regardless of opinions about the photo itself, the 2017 Topps Chrome Auto is a card that collectors know well. It is a flagship chromium rookie auto, after all.
In January of this year, a base version of this card sold for just over $200. Fast forward about nine months, and that same base auto sold for $939. Once again, the lower numbered parallels are really where the numbers escalate. A PSA 9 XFractor auto numbered to 20 sold for $800 last December while the same card in a BGS 9.5 sold for $6,000 in August. Different grading companies, yes, but that’s still a 650 percent increase in an incredibly short amount of time.
2020 Topps Dynasty Auto (#OTD-AJ)
It’s tough to pinpoint a specific veteran year auto for comparison, but Dynasty is about as high end as it gets for Topps baseball, and Judge is no stranger to being featured in the set on a yearly basis. One of these recently sold for $925–more than double the going rate from late last year.
Of course not going to have the appeal of a first year Bowman Chrome auto or a Topps Chrome rookie auto, but it’s pretty clear that any Aaron Judge auto is currently appreciating. If he does indeed bring home the MVP, break Maris’ home run record and finds success in the postseason, there’s no telling how much more his card values can all rise.