Sports Trading Card Price Tracker We talk a lot about price movement of single cards and sports trading card boxes on The Sports Card Show Podcast. Each month we'll pick some hot items in the sports card world and monitor the price action over the month. Sometimes we make prediction on if the price is going to go up or down.
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Bryce Harper has been on most collectors radar for a while now. He's was the centerpiece of every 2011 Bowman Baseball product, and now is being featured in 2012 products with that RC Card Logo no one really ever understood.

Even though Bryce Harper had many cards released before his 2011 Bowman Autograph #BP1 - I kind of look at this as his first official autograph card (not that the Upper Deck USA or AFLAC ones aren't nice). So I wanted to see what prices it has sold for over the course of the cards' life. 2011 Bowman Baseball was released in early May 2011, unfortunately I couldn't get data for the first few weeks of release, however I have good data from June 1st 2011 to the present.

 

One thing this graph shows is what happens when more & more releases come out with Bryce Harper Autographs.

2011 Bowman Platinum - July 27, 2011

2011 Topps Heritage Minor Leagues - September 21, 2011

2011 Bowman Chrome Baseball - October 19, 2011

2011 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects - November 23, 2011

2011 Bowman Sterling Baseball - December 21, 2011

2011 Bowman Bryce Harper Autograph #BP1

2011 Bowman Bryce Harper Autograph #BP1 Price History Graph

It appears that as more 2011 releases came out, the less collectors were willing to pay for the 2011 Bowman BP1. The trend starts to reverse towards the end of the product cycle when 2011 Bowman Sterling comes out in December. I think if I was a buyer of baseball prospects, I would want to keep this in mind as the cards come out during the course of a guys career. I would expect that Bryce Harper will make appearances in 2012 Topps Chrome, 2012 Topps Finest and some other sets for the 1st time in 2012 ... that might dilute his values despite playing well on the field.

There is no doubt that this young player has all the talent to be one of the better players in the game. Collectors have been paying big money for his cards for a while, but you certainly could have bought this particular card at better times than others. This just goes to show you that even with all the hype in the world, and in some cases living up to it ... you still have supply vrs. demand forces that make cards go up/down. My guess is that we are only just beginning to see how popular this 19 year old kid can get, if he can somehow be apart of the 2012 MLB All-Star Game, that would boost his popularity among more casual fans. If this card ever gets down to $150 again, I might be a buyer.

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I was listening to one of the biggest AM Sports Talk Radio Stations in California, KNBR 680, the other day and I heard someone say Mike Trout was the best player on the Angels and by seasons end - he might be the best player in the American League.

I thought, wow ... wish I had one of his rookie cards.

Then I kind of wanted to know how much has his main RC card gone up since being called up to the MLB? Most fans already knew about Trout, as he played 40 games in 2011 while batting .220 with 5 home runs. He was also one of the top rated prospects in all of baseball for most of his minor league career.

I wasn't surprised to see he had a 'baked in price' of around $80 - $85 in January, which is essentially the slowest time of the year for baseball. Not much happened for Trout until he got called up to the majors on 4/28. After a slow start, he has really picked up his play and has gotten the attention of the national media for his play. While he's not your classic power hitting prospect, not too many of those guys exist these days, so I expect his prices could stay at the current levels without big home run production.

The data from below is from a sampling of year to date raw (non-graded) Mike Trout autographs cards from 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Baseball. Only auctions (not buy-it-now) listings were used.

2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks & Prospects #BDPP89 Autograph Card on eBay

2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks & Prospects #BDPP89 Autograph Card
2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Mike Trout Price Graph

Price Tracker Blog Sports Card Price Tracker Blog

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This is a snapshot of today's (April - May 2012) prices. While the price of boxes may have been higher/lower during the course of the NFL season - the profit/loss displayed below gives you an idea on what collectors are willing to pay after all the hype of the season has wore off. It also shows that without good solid sales and inventory management - you might be left with inventory you have to sell at a loss.
The sets are sorted below loosely by release date.
Prices Are Based On Recent Auction Sales (Shipping Charges NOT Included)
Keep In Mind With eBay, PayPal and/or other fees - your income is lower than the sales price.
I couldn't find wholesale prices for: Adrenalyn, Score and Topps Rising Rookies.
Panini Topps

2011 Prestige
No Cam Newton Autograph Cards

Original Release Date: May 25, 2011

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2011 Panini Prestige Football A.J. Green SP Rookie Card

2011 Topps
Not As Profitable As The Baseball Version

Original Release Date: July 27, 2011

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2011 Topps Mikel LeShoure Autograph Rookie Card
Current Box Price On eBay $55 - $65 Current Box Price On eBay $40 - $50
Original Wholesale Cost $69.00 Original Wholesale Cost $43.50

2011 Donruss Elite
Features 200 Different RC Autographs

Original Release Date: June 22, 2011

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2011 Donruss Elite Tom Brady Base Card

2011 Inception
Some Of The 1st On Card RC Autos

Original Release Date: August 10, 2011

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2011 Topps Inception A.J. Green Autograph RC Card
Current Box Price On eBay $65 - $75 Current Box Price On eBay $85 - $100
Original Wholesale Cost $86.00 Original Wholesale Cost $72.25

2011 Rookies & Stars
Features RC Signatures On Fabric Patch

Original Release Date: July 27, 2011

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2011 Panini Rookies & Stars Stevan Ridley Autograph RC Card

2011 Finest
Several 'RC' Card Versions In This Set

Original Release Date: August 31, 2011

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2011 Topps Finest Drew Brees Autograph Jumbo Jersey Card
Current Box Price On eBay $60 - $70 Current Box Price On eBay $120 - $135
Original Wholesale Cost $69.00 Original Wholesale Cost $79.50

2011 Threads
Features RC Signatures On Letterman Patch

Original Release Date: August 24, 2011

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2011 Panini Threads Christian Ponder Autograph RC Card

2011 Platinum
The Bowman Brand Lives In Football

Original Release Date: Sept. 9, 2011

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2011 Topps Platinum Maurice Jones-Drew Autograph Jersey Card
Current Box Price On eBay $67 - $75 Current Box Price On eBay $105 - $115
Original Wholesale Cost $73.50 Original Wholesale Cost $76.00

2011 Timeless Treasures
Features RC Signatures On Leather

Original Release Date: Sept. 21, 2011

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2011 Panini Timeless Treasures Football Tin

2011 Prime
Wide Range Of RC's and Parallels

Original Release Date: Sept. 28, 2011

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2011 Topps Prime Cam Newton Autograph RC Card
Current Box Price On eBay $49 - $82 Current Box Price On eBay $86 - $100
Original Wholesale Cost $76.50 Original Wholesale Cost $72.25

2011 Absolute Memorabilia
Top RC's Sign RPM On-Card

Original Release Date: October 16, 2011

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2011 Panini Absolute Memorabilia Cam Newton RPM Autograph RC Card

2011 Gridiron Legends
This set might not make it back in 2012

Original Release Date: October 11, 2011

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2012 Topps Gridiron Legends Cam Newton Autograph RC Card
Current Box Price On eBay $96 - $108 Current Box Price On eBay $50 - $60
Original Wholesale Cost $122.00 Original Wholesale Cost 65.00

2011 Crown Royale
Signed Silhouette RC's Were Popular

Original Release Date: November 2, 2011

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2011 Panini Crown Royale Randall Cobb RPS Autograph Rookie

2011 Chrome
Seemed To Be Very Popular Set This Year

Original Release Date: October 26, 2011

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2011 Topps Chrome A.J. Green Autograph Black Refractor RC Card
Current Box Price On eBay $69 - $78 Current Box Price On eBay $120 - $130
Original Wholesale Cost

$75.00

Original Wholesale Cost $54.75

2011 Certified
Freshman Fabric RC's Don't Stand Out

Original Release Date: November 21, 2011

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2011 Panini Certified Cam Newton Autograph RC

2011 Triple Threads
Always A Tough Sell At That Cost

Original Release Date: Nov. 30, 2011

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2011 Topps Triple Threads Kyle Rudolph Autograph RC Card
Current Box Price On eBay $81 - $95 Current Box Price On eBay $140 - $160
Original Wholesale Cost $75.00 Original Wholesale Cost $155.25

2011 Gold Standard
The Gold Themed Set Debuts

Original Release Date: December 6, 2011

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2011 Panini Gold Standard DeMarco Murray Autograph Material RC

2011 Bowman Sterling
The Premium Bowman Brand In Football

Original Release Date: Dec. 14, 2011

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2011 Bowman Sterling Peyton Manning Autograph
Current Box Price On eBay $142 - $155 Current Box Price On eBay $200 - $240
Original Wholesale Cost $150.00 Original Wholesale Cost $217.00

2011 Gridiron Gear
Top Rookies Feel Like An Insert Set

Original Release Date: December 6, 2011

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2011 Panini Gridiron Gear Cam Newton Trios Gems

2011 Supreme
An NFL Only Product For Now

Original Release Date: January 11, 2012

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2011 Topps Supreme Football Mark Ingram Autograph
Current Box Price On eBay $69 - $80 Current Box Price On eBay $70 - $80
Original Wholesale Cost $81.00 Original Wholesale Cost $75.50

2011 Limited
Solid Looking Autograph RC's

Original Release Date: January 15, 2012

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2011 Panini Limited Torrey Smith Autograph RC Card

2011 Precision
Dual Auto Julio Jones Cards, But No RC?

Original Release Date: February 1, 2012

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2011 Topps Precision Mark Ingram Red Ink Autograph Card
Current Box Price On eBay $65 - $72 Current Box Price On eBay $90 - $100
Original Wholesale Cost $75.00 Original Wholesale Cost $148.75

2011 Plates & Patches
Deep Checklist In This Set

Original Release Date: January 25, 2012

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2011 Panini Plates & Patches Mark Ingram Autograph Card

2011 Five Star
Topps' Super Premium Product

Original Release Date: February 22, 2012

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2011 Topps Five Star A.J. Green Autograph Card
Current Box Price On eBay $90 - $105 Current Box Price On eBay $285 - $305
Original Wholesale Cost $112.50 Original Wholesale Cost $372.00

2011 Contenders
Make Sure You Check The Riddell Logo!

Original Release Date: February 17, 2012

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2011 Panini Contenders Terrelle Pryor Autograph Card

No storing or shipping

Current Box Price On eBay $91 - $107
Original Wholesale Cost $108.00

2011 Totally Certified
Reminds Me Of Limited More Than Certified

Original Release Date: March 23, 2012

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2011 Panini Totally Certified Cam Newton Autograph RC
Current Box Price On eBay $87 - $97
Original Wholesale Cost $90.00

2011 Prime Signatures
Cards Looked Similar To Gridiron Legends

Original Release Date: March 28, 2012

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2011 Panini Prime Signatures Peyton Manning Base Card
Current Box Price On eBay $45 - $50
Original Wholesale Cost $45.00

2011 National Treasures
Parnini's Premium Product

Original Release Date: April 4, 2012

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2011 Panini National Treasures Andy Dalton Autograph Rookie #/99
Current Box Price On eBay $400 - $435
Original Wholesale Cost $300.00

2011 Playbook
Interesting Late Season Product

Original Release Date: April 6, 2012

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2011 Panini Playbook Aldon Smith Autograph RC Card #54
Current Box Price On eBay $149 - $160
Original Wholesale Cost $150.00

Back in December, we analyzed what 2011 Topps Baseball Cases were selling for on the open market vrs. the original wholesale price for the box. Now we take a look at 2011 Football Product from Panini & Topps. 2011 was a great year for football card collectors, as several rookies had Pro-Bowl seasons and made a huge impact on the NFL and the hobby. With the 2012 NFL draft (and subsequent product lines coming soon) this should give you an idea on what kind of profit is possible.

Just based on Panini's re-sale prices, I'd say you should think about your selling strategy. Given that this was a pretty hot year with Cam Newton, AJ Green, Andy Dalton and others - most of the product is 'worth' about what you paid for it originally, and that's before any fees in selling it. While you could have probably made more money selling the boxes during the release window, having inventory that is going down in value after you buy it is a very risky business to get into without experience.

What I found interesting here is that Panini really had quite a few products (about 6) that came out in 2012 ... when most people's favorite teams are out of it & it's after the Christmas buying season. Not sure if this is by plan or because of product delays, but more product during the regular season might help hobby store owners sell more. Panini also stacked 2 premium products at the end of the year - Playbook & National Treasures. As a dealer, you'd be forking over some big bucks for these launches in the same week during the NFL off-season. Also, as a buyer - in this economy, not many can pay hundreds of dollars for products in the same week. In 2012 Panini needs to move more of its products into the September - December window, and not wait until 2013 to sell almost half of its 2012 NFL Football cards.

Seems like Topps had about 4 or 5 less products than Panini, which again, not sure if this is by accident, contractual obligations ... ect - but maybe the 'less is more' approach is what they are shooting for. Most of Topps' sets didn't stray too far away from what they've done in the past. It's evident that after going through all the set checklists that Topps doesn't work harder than Panini designing cards, packaging and developing sub-sets and insert sets. In fact, I think they spend less time on this because they usually have 'refractor' type parallels that are simply a color change and many of their products only have a handful of insert sets. Collectors seem to enjoy it most of the time, so I'd imagine 2012 will be business as usual for Topps. One set I'd like to see them use again is Bowman Chrome. They use Bowman Platinum and Bowman Sterling (the two weakest Bowman 'brands') but not Bowman or Bowman Chrome? Seems strange to me, you use the Bowman brand, but not the best selling property within that brand. Most of Topps' products held up in value pretty well, with only Precision & Five Star being huge losers. Topps Chrome had an epic year.

That's it for 2011, we'll see if Andrew Luck, RG III and others can elevate box prices in 2012.