It’s a perfect storm for manufacturers and dealers. A mid-season product once carrying question marks becomes scorching hot thanks to a scorching hot rookie. Meet 2013 Bowman Inception and 2013 Topps Pro Debut Baseball. After a 451-foot homer, his eighth in less than a month, Puig’s batting average climbed to .443 and the first Yasiel Puig baseball cards from Topps have been climbing almost by the hour.
Announced over the winter, Inception flew under the radar until the realization that it would mark the arrival of Puig certified autographed cards. The ‘release date’ may be listed as July 3, but anyone with a computer and a modem can see that dealers and collectors have been opening the product since late last week. The fact that Puig, the Cuban rookie, has been nothing less than spectacular during his first few weeks in the big leagues, has collectors clamoring for this semi-high end product.
Eight box cases pushed over $1,000 on eBay Tuesday, with each guaranteeing a total of 40 autographs. Individual boxes with five signed cards are bringing around $125 but that price may not hold for long. Of course, it’s possible you won’t get one Puig in your box or case, but there are other rookies worth owning here.
There are five different subsets carrying Puig autographs in Inception: Prospect, Silver Signings, Bowman Black, Bowman Victory and Dual Rise; all numbered to different quantities. There are also multi-signed cards featuring the potential star in the making.
Here’s the rub, though. You won’t see Puig’s signature even if you see his name on a card in your pack. Inception is rife with redemption cards (expiration date: 6/30/16) and Puig is one of them. Yes, you’ll wait for Yusiel and cross your fingers that the autographed card does make its way to you eventually.
A Silver Slugger autograph redemption was offered this week at $1,499 and sold for an undisclosed best offer price that probably wasn’t too far off that figure. A Blue Parallel autograph, numbered to 75 sold for $850.
Also fairly fresh to the market has been 2013 Topps Pro Debut, which pictures Puig as a Dodger farmhand. Budget-minded collectors and show dealers have been buying Puig base cards from the set for $15-20 over the last 24 hours. A hat logo patch card sold for $82.
The only company with actual Puig signatures on actual cards is Leaf. The Texas upstart pushed Puig out earlier this year in its Leaf Valiant and Metal Draft products. Signed cards, of which there are a few different variations, were going for around $200 on eBay Monday–significantly more for cards with low print runs. Those prices, too, will likely rise as collectors refuse to wait on Topps to deliver. A 1/1 Leaf Memories Puig Printing Plate (say that fast three times) pushed toward $600 late Tuesday night.
By the end of the year, we’ll be up to our ears in Yasiel Puig baseball cards but at least for now, it’s an entertaining game of chase as collectors and dealers go in search of the hottest product on the market.