We have three big Bowman releases dropping in September. In the 2021 Bowman Chrome Sterling Transcendent review, we will take a look at all of them to ascertain their value, release formats, and who to chase.
An increasing number of baseball collectors today prefer Bowman to the Topps flagship releases. Therefore, Topps has upped the number of annual Bowman releases significantly. However, to make up for that, the LITE release offers exclusive Black & White Mini-Diamond Refractor cards, which appear in 1 out of every 2 packs.
With the introduction of new Bowman refractors, Fuchsia and Fuchsia Shimmer, we ask the question on everyone’s mind. What on earth is Fuschia, and what does it look like.
Release Date: September 22. It was initially slated for release on the 17th, but the date was pushed back.
A new LITE format supplements the usual hobby box releases. These new Topps releases do not have any guaranteed autos, and therefore may not be worth the risk. However, if you are not interested in autos, it may be a good release for you. After all, you are likely to get some Bowman 1sts without paying a premium for guaranteed autos.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum is the HTA Choice Box, which includes ONLY autos. It does so at a price point similar to the regular Hobby Box but with an extra auto. So, whatever you are looking for, one of the formats will likely satisfy your needs.
Here is the breakdown of the formats:
The checklist is fairly similar to previous Bowman releases. There is a total of 250 cards included, with a mix of veterans and prospects.
Bowman Chrome has refractors for both veterans and prospects. However, most collectors are only interested in the prospect variants. And for a good reason, as they are the only ones to really hold value.
While the list here is familiar, there are a few new inserts in the chrome release. They include the Speckle Refractor, Purple Shimmer Refractor, Fuchsia, Fuchsia Shimmer Refractor, Aqua Refractor, and the Yellow Refractor.
What is fuchsia? We had no idea either. Apparently, it is a bright purple associated with the fuchsia plant, first discovered on the island of Hispaniola in 1696 by a French monk. You are welcome.
Here is a list of the available prospect inserts:
Here is a full list of the Chrome prospect autos:
Topps revived the Bowman Sterling line three years ago. It is intended for higher-rollers who wish to cut to the chase and avoid all that base. This auto heavy set comes with five signed cards per hobby box. The base set is less than half the size of the Bowman Chrome set, with 100 cards.
The release date is currently set for September 29, 2021.
As you would expect in an auto heavy set, there is a wide variety of signed parallels available in Bowman Sterling. Here is the full list:
2021 will be the second year for this high-end Bowman release. Topps only makes 100 cases of these boxes annually. Therefore, you can be assured that these cards circulate in limited quantities. The release has a 50-card base set. Meanwhile, there are 50 image variations, one for each base card.
The case contains no less than 34 autos. It also includes an invitation to a Topps VIP event.
2021 Bowman Transcendent only comes out in a hobby box format. While individual hobby boxes may be available later, currently, presale is limited to cases. Here is the breakdown of its contents.
As (yet another) auto heavy release, Bowman Transcendent has an impressive array of signed cards available. Here is the full breakdown:
We don’t know what the future value of the new Bowman products will be. However, the best indication of future value is past value. So, let’s look at how previous releases have held out.
|2017 Bowman Chrome||$189||$689|
|2018 Bowman Chrome||$150||$1,150|
|2019 Bowman Chrome||$159||$479|
|2020 Bowman Chrome||$80||$289|
Bowman this year does not have a particularly impressive crop of 1sts. However, the quality of the non-1st prospects in the set is still very high and should help 2021 Bowman Chrome maintain value.
Therefore, at a price point slightly above $200, the hobby box will net a nice profit if you hold it for three years or more. Unfortunately, the blasters are not out yet. But when they are released, they should be well worth it if you can nab them for under $50.
Let’s look at how some prominent Bowman Chrome 1sts and autos fare as singles. All cards here are PSA 10s.
|2017 Bowman Chrome Ronald Acuna Jr.||$335||$350|
|2018 Bowman Chrome
|$315 (these cards are the first but do not have the 1st logo).||$8,600|
|2019 Bowman Chrome
|2020 Bowman Chrome
Bobby Witt Jr.
As you can see, the value of the best prospects is pretty high. They can then significantly increase their value, as Shohei and Wander have once they are called up. Acuna also had much higher prices before his injury lowered the value of his Bowmans.
While most of the hobby boxes will not repay their price, a good proportion will. Bowman Chrome remains a better value rip and hold than most products.
Sterling is a relatively new product. It is only released in a hobby box format. Let’s check how the previous releases hold up.
|2019 Hobby Box||$700|
|2020 Hobby Box||$500|
The previous years’ hobby boxes have held up well. Since this is a more limited edition, sealed wax is relatively rare. Therefore, there is little risk involved in buying it at its presell price point. It will likely appreciate significantly over the years.
Bowman Sterling focuses on delivering a maximal amount of premium autos at a relatively low price. So, let’s see how much value those autographs hold.
|Wander Franco 2019 Bowman Sterling Prospect Auto Speckle #/99||$2,500|
|Wander Franco 2019 Bowman Sterling Blue Chrome Refractor #/25||$4,800|
|Bobby Witt Jr. 2020 Bowman Sterling Prospect Wave #/125||$700|
|Bobby Witt Jr. 2020 Bowman Sterling Gold Refractor #/50||$2,000|
Once again, most autos are not going to fetch these prices. But, on the other hand, you can get the boxes with several autos at under $300. So your chances of making it back with a good prospect are pretty high. So, altogether, Bowman Sterling is a pretty good buy.
Bowman transcendent is currently available only by case. However, at over $20,000, it is not exactly a small investment for most of us. So, how likely are you to make money from one of these cases?
We only have one year of previous data to examine. Nonetheless, the answer is clear. Cases from last year sell for $4,875. Therefore, you would have to be crazy to buy the case at its current price point.
However, the 2020 case is an excellent buy for the current price. Quite a few autos from it have sold in the $2,000-$4,000 price range and more than a few for well above.
Bowman is the home of the baseball prospect. However, the most desirable rookies in a set are not always the best-rated prospects. Therefore, there is a premium on cards designated a Bowman first.
Many of the top prospects appearing in Bowman have already appeared previously. For example, Spencer Torkelson had his Bowman first in 2020, so he is not one of the main cards to chase this year.
Austin was one of the most popular prospects in Bowman Baseball and is set to remain pivotal in the September releases. He is universally considered a top 20 prospect for his plate discipline and consistent ability to make contact. However, the center fielder is no slam dunk. Martin has little power and questionable fielding abilities.
Mick is one of the finest pitching prospects in the MLB and has been compared to Hall of Fame pitchers by several scouts. His fastball is particularly impressive, hitting 97 mph at times, and he seems ready for prime time. But Abel is no one-dimensional blazer. He has three solid pitches and a good baseball brain. His ERA this year is not as low as it could be, and a case of tendonitis has reassured no one. However, Mick’s 1.21 WHIP is an indication that he is learning to perform at the minor league level.
Eder is putting together a stellar season of AA ball at Pensacola. With an 0.98 WHIP and a 1.77 ERA in over 70 innings pitched, to say he has shown potential is an understatement. In addition, the pitcher consistently hits 92-94 mph. His stuff is undoubtedly MLB level. However, some scouts have voiced doubts that he is starter material.
The top prospects’ autos and low numbered parallels are a worthwhile chase, even if it is not their Bowman 1st card. The following three blue-chip prospects stand out amongst the non-Bowman 1st prospects on the auto list.
Julio is almost assured of being an elite MLB hitter within a few years with his current performance levels. Though question marks are surrounding his defense, Julio’s offensive upside more than makes up for it. Thus, a Bowman auto of his should have good long-term value.
The catcher is currently the Baseball America #1 prospect in the country. Playing in AAA, he is ready to break in next season and become the long-term Orioles starter. His combination of hitting and fielding means that his ceiling is somewhere near Johnny Bench territory.
Jasson’s long-term potential is a point of controversy. MLB.com rates him as the #17th best prospect in America, a very high placing for an 18-year-old. However, so far, Dominguez has had trouble hitting anything but fastballs. Still, he is likely to be a star, and if he remains part of the Yankees system, his card value will be significantly enhanced.
The Bowman 1st class for these releases is a bit thin. Therefore, the value of wax from these releases will probably not be as high as in the years with top-notch Bowman 1sts like Wander Franco or Shohei Ohtani. However, the more ‘veteran’ prospects are excellent, and we wouldn’t be surprised if one or two of the 1sts break out as well.
Therefore, both Bowman Chrome and Bowman Sterling are strong buys. The price point is quite reasonable in relation to the potential value of the cards. The exception is Bowman Transcendent which seems vastly overpriced. We hope the 2021 Bowman Chrome Sterling Transcendent review helps you make the right decisions for your collection.