When the Marlins decided to sign their best player to a 13-year, $325 million contract, they locked up someone who could prove to be one of baseball’s all-time great power hitters. There are quite a few Giancarlo Stanton rookie cards to choose from, but like Stanton himself, many of them no longer come cheap. Still, it might not be too late to jump on the early issues of a player who could be on his way to a Hall of Fame career.
Stanton was struck in the face by a pitch that ended his 2014 season but up until that horrific moment, he was having an MVP-type year.
While there are some that question the wisdom of the contract, there are none that question Stanton’s ability or his potential ceiling. The 6-foot-6 right fielder has produced at every level since he broke into pro ball as a 17-year-old in 2007. A Major Leaguer since 2010, Stanton has already accumulated 154 homers, 399 RBI and batted .271. In five MLB seasons, he’s been an All-Star twice and finished second in NL MVP voting in 2014.
Mike Trout and Bryce Harper are the young stars collectors are most excited about and buying the most, but it would be a mistake not to treat the 25-year old Stanton in the same regard.
That said, collectors are well aware of and paying big bucks for Stanton’s first cards as a professional. Stanton tore up the South Atlantic League during his first full season of pro ball in 2008. In just 125 games for Single A Greensboro, the 18-year old smacked 39 homers and drove in 97 runs while batting .293. His first appearance on a Topps-licensed product was 2008 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects when he was still known as ‘Mike’. The autographed Stanton cards from that debut are not ‘official’ rookie cards but you wouldn’t know it from selling prices.
Depending on which version you go after, you’ll most likely pay at least $200-$300 for ungraded examples of the signed regular 2008 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects Refractor which is limited to 500 copies. Scarcer parallels of the card such as the Xfractor (#’d/225), Blue Refractor (#’d/150), Gold Refractor (#’d/50) and Orange Refractor (# to 25) can sell for considerably more. An ungraded Gold Refractor sold for $1,200 on September 11 and you can own a Gold Refractor for $2,000, but other examples like this one recently sold for $1,200. By comparison, ungraded Blue Refractors have been selling in the $450-500 range and Xfractors for $300-350.
Stanton’s early cards are quickly becoming a significant investment for collectors without deep pockets, but are still much more affordable than first year cards of Trout and Harper.
Other than his early autographed issues, however, many Stanton cards remain within easy reach. Issues from Donruss, Razor and obscure minor league cards are out there and are very affordable.
Stanton shot through the Marlins’ farm system in just two and a half years making his MLB debut in 2010 after hitting 21 homers in 53 games at Triple A Jacksonville. There are several Stanton cards from his first year in the Majors, both high-end short prints and affordable base cards.
It’s the low serial-numbered autographed Bowman Chrome parallels here, too, that drive interest. Blue, Gold, Orange and Red Refractors along with the 1/1 Printing Plates that drive investor dollars.
One of the best values going right now might just be Stanton’s signed 2010 Topps Chrome. There’re pricey parallels of this card, but his signed Chrome Refractor numbered to 499 can be found for right around $100. His non-serial numbered base Chrome autographs sometimes sells for as little as $35-$50. This one sold for just a little over $35. Similar autograph cards from Harper or Trout will easily sell for at least four or five times that amount if not more.
Signature-free cards from his official 2010 rookie year are very affordable. Ungraded cards sell for just a few bucks, while even high-end graded cards like this PSA 10 2010 Topps Chrome Refractor sold for less than a lot of full hobby boxes.
If you’re simply after certified autographs or game used cards from any year, there’s no shortage of those at prices every collector can afford. Like most unnumbered, run-of-the-mill relic cards, pieces of Stanton’s bat or jersey can be found for just a few bucks. Even certified autograph issues are easy to locate for right around $20 with a little patience. This 2011 Topps Lineage sold for just $17.
He is one of baseball’s best players, but at least so far, Giancarlo Stanton rookie cards aren’t commanding prices that coincide with his elite status. The Marlins locked up Stanton for many years, collectors would be wise to start locking up Stanton cards right now. Below is a list of the ‘most watched’ Stanton cards on eBay.