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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Depending on what website you visit, Jose Altuve height is between 5' 5" to 5' 7" ... but what doesn't change is his high batting average and ability to get on base for the Houston Astros this season. Altuve has been getting lots of attention for being the shortest player in the MLB, but his play on the field lately has taken his cards to new heights.

Signed as an international free agent, Jose Altuve has been developing his skills in the minor leagues since 2007. With all that experience, he still is only 22 years old - and has proven that he might become a solid MLB player. All this has gotten the attention of collectors and especially Houston Astros fans. One of his most notable cards to date is his 2010 Bowman Chrome Blue Refractor serial numbered to just 150 copies. I chose to look at the price movement of this card because I was able to find good sales data going back almost 1 year. Note that there are some gaps in the data, but I think this will give you a good idea of how his prices have risen over that last few months. You can imagine that the base version, and certainly all his other parallel cards from this set have risen over the last 3 months as well.

As you can see in the price graph, Jose Altuve actually made his MLB Debut in late 2011 ... and didn't play too poorly, but a .276 AVG with little power potential is not going to light your cards on fire. However, you can see once the 2012 season started, and he got his average into the high .300's people really started to take notice. Now that he's into his 3rd month of playing All-Star level baseball, you see people really start to bid up on his rare Bowman Chrome RC's. The last sale was at $46.23 - and at the time of writing this, there were no Blue Refractor Jose Altuve Bowman Chrome cards for sale on eBay.

2010 Bowman Chrome Jose Altuve Blue Refractor #/150
2010 Bowman Chrome Jose Altuve Bowman Chrome Blue Refractor #/150 Price Graph 2010 Bowman Chrome #BCP137
Blue Refractor #/150
Complete Sales On eBay
  • 6/14/2011 $19.85
  • 7/25/2011 $21.56
  • 8/7/2011 $26.00
  • 8/31/2011 $20.00
  • 9/21/2011 $9.65
  • 12/23/2011 $12.69
  • 3/15/2012 $12.99
  • 4/2/2012 $12.59
  • 5/16/2012 $22.72
  • 6/11/2012 $46.23
It's very difficult to know where this card goes the rest of the season. Altuve is playing at an ultra high level for a bad team - so that sometimes takes the pressure off because he is one of the few bright spots for Astros fans this season. Being the shortest player in the game will get Altuve more fans and more attention from collectors similar to Spud Webb and other 'short' athletes. If I was an owner of this card (or another rare cards of his) I would probably sell at some point this season because I feel his hype is about to swell. If you think he's going to be a future HOF, you can probably re-buy at another point in his career when the hype wears off and the attention is on another group of prospects. Either way, if you bought and held his cards up to this point, your investment has done pretty well.

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Tim Lincecum During 2011 SF Giants Spring Training in Arizona

I listen to lots of KNBR 680 on the radio during the day and certainly whenever the San Francisco Giants play. During most of the day they run sports talk, and usually the talk centers around the Giants this time of year.

One of the topics that have people calling in quite a bit about is the play of 2-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum. The Giants are 2-11 when Timmy starts for them this season, and even the much maligned Barry Zito has looked better most of the year. Tim's last few months on the diamond have by far been his worse stretch as a professional and fans really seem to be worried about Tim's future as a dominant pitcher in the league.

Over the last few days of listening to the radio here are some of the fan suggestions to improve Tim's play:

  • Send Him Down To Fresno (The Minors)
  • Visit The Pitching Guru Barry Zito & Alex Smith Saw
  • Skip Your Next Start
  • Move Him To The Bull Pin
  • Take Away His Bong
  • Get Him A New Bong
  • Let Barry Bonds Talk To Him
  • Get A Hair Cut
  • Talk To Pablo About Gaining Some Weight

I honestly don't think Tim has too much to worry about right now, as he has proven that he can bounce back from a rough stretch of games before. The Giants announcers have noted that his fastball velocity is no longer in the 95-96 MPH range, which means he has to rely on control and his other pitches. Other pitchers have learned how to do this in their career, and I'm sure Timmy will adjust over time.

Photo: Taken By Me!

With all that said, the big question I had was ... are collectors paying less for his cards because of his bad play this season?

I went back and looked at completed auctions of his 2007 Bowman Sterling Autograph on eBay from October 2011 to June 2012. You can see that people were paying a pretty consistent price for a while, and actually the slide in price started pretty quickly once the season started. Personally I think this card will hold in the $60 - $70 range for a while before it falls below those levels if Lincecum continues to play poorly. If you like to buy & sell singles (flipping) you're upside value on these cards is around $80 - $90 ... so if you can buy one at around $60 or less, you can make a nice profit.

2007 Bowman Sterling Baseball Tim Lincecum Autograph RC Card

2007 Bowman Sterling Tim Lincecum Autograph RC

2007 Bowman Sterling Tim Lincecum Autograph RC Price Graph

 

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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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