Topps is doubling down on the sport’s future with its prospect-heavy Bowman releases as collectors turn their attention towards next season’s breakout stars. Both Topps’ 2021 Bowman Chrome and Bowman Sterling products come with hefty price tags that entice collectors to place large bets on which minor leaguers will emerge as the favorites for 2022 and beyond.
2021 Bowman Chrome Baseball
Bowman Chrome baseball is one of the most-awaited releases of the season, as collectors can secure coveted first Bowman Chrome cards and autographs of this year’s prospect class. Shortstops Carlos Colmenarez (Tampa Bay Rays) and Cristian Hernandez (Chicago Cubs) headline the prospects making their debuts in 2021 Bowman Chrome.
The standard hobby boxes, which have two autographs per box across 12 packs, retails for $275. These include the base cards, inserts and parallels that spark life into Bowman Chrome’s set beyond the autograph hits. While most collectors will be chasing the standard Bowman Chrome issues, Topps has introduced additional variations of the Bowman Chrome product line to reach further segments of the hobby.
Realizing some prospectors merely desire the signatures from Bowman Chrome, Topps scratches this itch by offering the autograph-only HTA Choice box. Checking at a hefty $350 price, each box contains one pack of three autographed chrome cards. Autographed refractor parallels exclusive to HTA Choice Boxes are included to further drive collectors towards these high-end boxes.
For those with a more sensitive price point, Topps offers up 2021 Bowman Chrome Baseball LITE at half the cost of its HTA option. While the LITE box does not guarantee any autographs, it provides collectors with a chance to place their hands on coveted first Bowman Chrome cards and parallels.
2021 Bowman Sterling Baseball
Bowman Sterling is undoubtedly the brand’s premium issue, with retail prices close to $300 per box. Sterling attempts to justify its valuation by providing collectors with five autographs per box. The 100-card set focuses on 50 impact prospects and 50 rookies who will be in focus as spring training rolls around. Spencer Torkleson and Blaze Jordan lead the way for the prospects, with Alec Bohm and Ke’Bryan Hayes serving as the standout rookies in the set.
While the base set and corresponding autographs are centered on baseball’s rising stars, the Sterling Recollections are the most coveted autographs in 2021 Bowman Sterling. These autographs feature signatures of MLB’s elite players on their first Bowman cards, including Mike Trout’s coveted 2011 Bowman Chrome rookie. With signed copies of Trout’s autograph selling for $1,000-$2,000, these Bowman Sterling Recollection autographs allow collectors a chance at this iconic card without paying five-figures for the original.
Collecting prospects has been an increasingly expensive endeavor as the industry has exploded in the past few years. Topps has attempted matching that demand by expanding its Bowman product line through the aforementioned products. As Topps wrestles with an expiring MLBPA license after the 2022 season, the Bowman brand’s ability to showcase baseball’s prospects might become its hallmark moving forward.