It appears Nationals uber prospect Bryce Harper is not just a wanted man on the field, but off the field as well, in the form of autographed Topps baseball cards. I didn't even realize the baseball card industry was alive again, let alone garnering huge prices for autographed Harper cards (and last year, ironically enough, Stephen Strasburg cards). Via Chris Olds of ESPN's Page 2:
His first 2011 Bowman autograph card sold on eBay -- the easiest version to find -- for $1,150, though that version has ranged anywhere from $400 to $1,000 since. (The easiest Harper autograph to find falls one in roughly every 1,500 packs up to one in six-figures for the rarest.)
Topps is the only licensee of MLB baseball cards, and smartly enough, they signed Harper to an exclusive autograph agreement for their Bowman line of cards (Strasburg signed the same agreement last year). What does that really mean? Control of production, scarcity of cards, and crazy prices paid:
The Orange version of the card -- one with orange borders and limited to just 25 serial-numbered copies -- has sold for as much as $3,600 recently on eBay, while a Blue card (yep, blue border, and limited to 250 copies) has sold for as much as $1,925. Another rare version -- Purple -- with the appropriately colored border is limited to just 55 copies. They have often gone unsold on the auction site with $5,000 and up asking prices, while the highest actual sale price in recent weeks was $1,775.
I still can't believe baseball cards are back. I just called my mom and told her to ship me the binders and binders (and boxes) of cards I have sitting in my childhood home. Riches will surely ensue.