Aaron Judge‘s arrival in New York City and New York Yankees pinstripes have already been headline-worthy with a 457-foot home tun in his first at-bat and another in his second game on Sunday.
The hours are ticking down on his first baseball card as a big-leaguer — his first Topps Now card is above, reflecting his first at-bat — but it’s far from the only cardboard for this can’t-miss prospect (he’s 6-foot-7) who’s taken a bit more time than some might expected to arrive.
His cardboard debut? Well, it came some time ago.
Judge debuted on baseball cards in 2013 with cards in Bowman Draft, Bowman Sterling, Elite Extra Edition and Panini Prizm Perennial Draft Picks as well as in Leaf products.
He arrives as a big-leaguer with more than 600 different cards since that 2013 debut — and more than 300 of those are certified autograph cards. Nearly all of them — 84 percent — are serial-numbered, meaning (tongue-in-cheek) that the true rarities might be standard, un-numbered cards and maybe some of his 100 or so memorabilia cards.
It’s a good problem to have, but it’s also one that might mean some softer prices now with a hot arrival. Had he had a handful of certified autos, there’s no doubt which ones might be hottest, though we do all know that Chrome is often king and those earliest autos are key.
Asking prices for rare copies of his 2013 Bowman Chrome auto are strong — five-figures for the rarest high-graded copies — but nearly 30 more with prices of four figures. Actual sales are a different story with just three copies of his cards topping the $1,000 mark in recent months with this high mark paid yesterday.
The dollars are there for those key cards — and the volume of cards sold is sure to be impressive with such a strong start, but are scenarios like this where cards like Topps Now — note that it’s not a Rookie Card logo card as those will come in 2017 products — gain ground? Topps confirmed today he’ll be a Rookie Card in 2017 Topps Series 1 … so there’s that, too.
In three seasons down on the farm, Judge hit .279 with 62 homers and 232 RBI in 374 games. He had 19 homers this season in 352 triple-A at-bats and 20 last season. Two in New York City might trump them all — at least for this week.
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