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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Manny Machado was the top prospect in the Baltimore Orioles system before he was called up to the Major Leagues on August 9, 2012.  We take a look at the price of his 2010 Bowman Chrome Draft Autograph Refractor prospect card. Each card in the graph data points is graded by BGS - Beckett Grading Services and received a 9.5 Gem Mint score. The "autograph grade" was also a 10 for each card in the data series. At the very beginning of the MiLB season you could have gotten one of these cards for $98.00 (April 1. 2012). Shortly after Machado was called up to the big leagues the price elevated to as high as $258.00 for this card.

Card Set: 2010 Bowman Chrome Draft
Card: Manny Machado Autograph Refractor
Serial Numbered: #/500
Graded: BGS 9.5 (With 10 Autograph Score)

2010 Bowman Chrome Manny Machado Draft BGS 9.5

Manny Machado Price Graph
As soon as word got out that Machado had gotten called up to the Major League team the value for his cards shot up in value. Collectors starting scooping up the buy it nows on eBay and also sellers got on the ball and started listing the ones they had stacked away and put them up for sale. Machado got off to a decent start with the Orioles so it helped give his cards that extra boost. The #3 overall pick in the 2010 Draft, collectors have been sitting on Machado cards for a few years waiting for this time. Will his cards continue to rise? Or, will you be able to buy in at a cheaper price after the season ends?

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The San Francisco Bay Area, and Northern California in general, is a part of the world that can embrace athletes the rest of the sporting world has written off. Some examples in the past might be the Raiders team and made it to the Super Bowl with Rich Gannon, Jerry Rice, Tim Brown and other "older" players. Barry Bonds was hated and often booed across the entire country, but still draws cheers from fans to this day in San Francisco. Vlade Divac was re-born in Sacramento, Aubrey Huff and Cody Ross are superstars.
2005 Playoff Contenders Alex Smith Rookie Autograph #/401

That being said, the fans around here can go from being "some of the best in the league" to booing & trashing the players on talk-radio ... especially when you don't win.

You could throw Alex Smith, quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, and former #1 pick in 2005, into the list of players fans were booing for most of his career. The 49ers themselves have tried to replace Alex Smith several times, they even drafted young quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2011. Not to mention during the current off-season, after Alex Smith finally has a great season, (which led the 49ers all the way to the NFC championship game) the 49ers were rumored as one of the teams trying to sign Peyton Manning. Coach Jim Harbaugh downplayed the issue after Manning signed with Denver, but one thing is for certain, Alex Smith's career has been a wild ride!

Speaking of wild rides, you can bet with the ups/downs Alex Smith has experienced in the past year - one of his best rookie cards has been going up/down right with him. Smith has tons of rookie cards, but I found some really nice data on his 2005 Playoff Contenders RC #106 - which has a stated print run of 401 copies. This time last year (July 2011) collectors weren't paying much attention to Alex Smith, and most San Francisco 49ers fans had given up on the 7 year pro. Being the #1 pick, Even as the 49ers were winning games, the lack of big numbers from Smith kept most collectors away.

Then this little thing called the NFL Playoffs started

The rise in this price graph is not nearly as impressive as the data actually is if you include all the Buy-It-Now cards that were sold. Many eBay sellers were moving these during the December - January months as the 49ers marched through the playoffs for Buy-it-Now prices similar to the ones you see in the month of January. This data below only includes auctions with multiple bids ... so the volume of cards sold during the NFL Playoff months was much greater.
2005 Playoff Contenders Alex Smith RC Price Graph

This graph shows how quickly your cards can go up in the NFL if your team starts winning games. This graph also shows how important it is to remember as collectors - you can always wait until the hype wears off to buy the cards at a lower price. Even if the 49ers had went on to win the Super Bowl, his cards would have certainly cooled off a bit during the off-season. Buying cards during the heat of the playoff run is always exciting .... but being able to sell the card for that price ($200) is going to be difficult now unless Alex Smith can win a Super Bowl.

Buying in at today's price of $75 - $80 really can't get you hurt too bad considering the same card was selling for $25 - $40 when everyone thought he sucked. Additionally, if you are a collector who never really sells your cards, you can see selling this card during the hype would have been a great idea because you could have bought one back later at a much lower price. You'll want to keep this in mind as we are on the cusp of the 2012 NFL season

Here Is The Raw eBay Data

7/10/2011 --  $37.00
7/21/2011 --  $35.35
8/9/2011 --  $35.00
8/29/2011 --  $24.50
9/3/2011 --  $27.00
9/19/2011 --  $27.00
10/2/2011 --  $39.99
10/11/2011 --  $51.48
10/18/2011 --  $69.74
10/19/2011 --  $61.00
10/30/2011 --  $78.00
10/31/2011 --  $63.69
11/6/2011 --  $90.00
11/7/2011 --  $76.01
11/19/2011 --  $72.00
11/20/2011 --  $79.00
11/21/2011 --  $69.01
12/4/2011 --  $68.00
12/7/2011 --  $65.96
12/7/2011 --  $70.00
12/10/2011 --  $76.75
12/18/2011 --  $58.00
1/14/2012 --  $69.95
1/15/2012 --  $89.88
1/15/2012 --  $131.32
1/15/2012 --  $202.50
1/17/2012 --  $147.50
1/19/2012 --  $122.57
1/21/2012 --  $125.73
1/23/2012 --  $76.00
1/24/2012 --  $85.77
1/30/2012 --  $82.13
3/15/2012 --  $86.00
3/27/2012 --  $89.00
4/9/2012 --  $112.50
7/1/2012 --  $72.67

Current Contenders Cards on eBay
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Who's The Next "Alex Smith???"
2010 Topps Chrome Sam Bradford RC Card 2010 Press Pass Colt McCoy Card Kevin Kolb Bowman RC Card
Can Sam Bradford Bounce Back? Is Colt McCoy Done? Is Kevin Kolb The Real Deal?

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2010 Topps Chrome Stephen Strasburg Blue Refractor Autograph Card

I first became aware of Stephen Strasburg when my brother told me about him in 2009 - while he was still in college at San Diego State. I even mentioned him on the podcast on March 19, 2009 ... so other collectors hopefully benefited from that bit of wisdom. About a year later, one of his cards would sell for $16,403 and he had the baseball card world on fire for a while. It all seemed too good to be true, and once he blew out his arm ... many thought it was.

Not everyone bailed on his rookie cards though, but it certainly put a damper on his prices for a while. I could do a Google search for how many players have come back from Tommy John surgery ... some have had more than one. It now looks as if you can add Stephen Strasburg to the list of players that have come back from that surgery, as his play during the early part of 2012 has been sensational.

I wanted to take a look back at what collectors were paying for one of his major autograph cards from his rookie season. I chose the 2010 Topps Chrome Blue Refractor Autograph Card #212 serial numbered to just 199 copies. What I've found is not a very impressive rise, but a graph that looks as if collectors are still leery of his injury. With an average price of around $200.00 dollars for the last 12 months ... it's not like this card ever was cheap to begin with - but only recent sales have really broken well above that trend recently.

Speaking of one sale that broke through the trend - a recent auction on eBay this month closed at $311.00 dollars. I thought that was just a wacky price ... but the buyer left feedback, and I believe the buyer felt the card was in Mint+ condition, so it's possible it was worth the premium over other recently sold cards.

All these data points are from completed eBay auctions (with multiple bids in most cases)
2010 Topps Chrome Blue Refractor Stephen Strasburg Price Graph

While there have been some big spikes in prices, the long-term trend has been pretty steady for this card the past year. Collectors/Fans expect greatness from Strasburg, so I guess that's another reason why we haven't seen a big jump in prices during his excellent first half of 2012. If I was a buyer of this card ... I'd try to land one in nice condition for under $200 dollars. If I was a seller, I'd probably put a Buy-It-Now in the $275 dollar range and hope it sells to the right collector. In the short term, I expect this card to continue to trade in the $200+ range - with upside into the $300's because the Nationals are a hot young team & if Strasburg pitches this well all season, he will be a Cy Young candidate.

Only time will tell if Strasburg's arm will hold up over the course of a career. One thing is certain now though, the value of his 2010 Topps Chrome Blue Refractor Auto sure has held up pretty well the last year - and if his arm holds up ... the price might start climbing higher.

Here Is The Raw eBay Data

7/3/2011 --- $180.59
9/7/2011 --- $202.25
9/11/2011 --- $202.35
9/18/2011 --- $187.50
9/24/2011 --- $202.50
9/28/2011 --- $174.51
10/15/2011 --- $152.87
11/18/2011 --- $165.00
12/13/2011 --- $182.50
1/15/2012 --- $177.50
3/11/2012 --- $202.50
3/18/2012 --- $179.50
3/20/2012 --- $232.50
3/21/2012 --- $227.50
4/1/2012 --- $160.51
4/8/2012 --- $175.01
4/29/2012 --- $222.00
5/5/2012 --- $200.00
5/13/2012 --- $207.50
5/27/2012 --- $168.50
5/30/2012 --- $180.00
6/3/2012 --- $227.00
6/3/2012 --- $182.50
6/17/2012 --- $265.00
6/20/2012 --- $311.00
6/30/2012 --- $202.52

Blue Refractor Cards Currently On eBay
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