Friday, November 27, 2015

Mike Trout 2011 Bowman Draft RC

Photos: from my own collection

Here's a Mike Trout Bowman Draft rookie card.

This is not to be confused with the 2011 Mike Trout Bowman Chrome rookie card, or the 2011 Mike Trout Bowman Chrome Draft rookie card.  Both cards with "draft" in the name are #101, while the Chrome is #175.  Go figure.  What I can tell you is that when I went to bid on these, and the many dozens of other options that showed up, I had to look at my Beckett Graded book to see which one was which time and time again, since the three different cards also have different values.  I had to stop a few times and adjust my eyes, and it doesn't help that the listings on Ebay are often misleading or flat-out incorrect.  The sellers didn't seem to know what they were selling, at times, since some said they were selling a Bowman Chrome when they were actually selling a Bowman Chrome Draft.  There were many other misleading tags as well.  Crazy. And, oh yeah, there are tons of bunched-together listings in the Beckett book, and they tended to blur together after awhile, too.

I also had to look at the established Mike Trout rookie cards from, which lists the actual rookie cards of every important player.  This is now necessary, since there are so many cards that say "rookie" or "RC" on them, but they're not actual rookies, they just got released in the player's rookie year.  That makes it a rookie, right?  No, because there are so many subsets from the same card company that not each of them are considered rookies.  Plus, there are a lot of "prospect" cards, which used to mean rookie, but now doesn't.  And some players have a rookie card even before their rookie year or their prospect card--see: Mark McGwire's Olympics card, which is his rookie.

For those who're wondering, Mike Trout's only rookie cards are: 2011 Bowman Chrome #175; 2011 Bowman Chrome Draft #101; 2011 Bowman Draft #101; 2011 Bowman Sterling #22 (Good luck! That one's BV is $150 for a NmMt 8 and $500 for a Gem 9.5 / 10); 2011 Finest Baseball #94 and 2011 Topps Update #US175.  (See how the Chrome and Topps is #175?  That's because Topps owns Bowman, but all the Bowman Draft sets and subsets are #101.)  That's a lot to see, and blur through, while you're sorting out listings by condition, cost, reputation and listing accuracy--the last of which was terrible!

And thank you to Cardboard Connection for providing those separate rookie and prospect listings.

By the way, did you know that prospect cards are released before the rookie cards, so you'll see them before you see the rookie cards, which used to be the ones you'd see first?  And some prospect cards are traded and bought like they're rookies, and are often worth much more than the rookie cards!

Anyway, as I mentioned in the previous Bryce Harper entry, I don't usually buy recent rookie cards. Bryce Harper is an exception worth taking a chance on.  Mike Trout is an exception you have to take a chance on.  Trout is a no-brainer, like Pujols was, but more so, because Pujols was so obvious, and so alone in the field of new players at the time, that he didn't even have to be awesome to be the one to buy at that time.

Mike Trout is different because he is shoulders above some very impressive newer players in the past few years.  Bryce Harper also stands out almost as much.  But there's also Paul Goldschmidt, the most underrated player in baseball, who's finished second in the MVP voting the past two straight years, and who noticed?  Very quiet player who plays for a very bad team; had he played for the Yankees, we'd be talking about him like we do Trout and Harper.  (I've been trying to get a Goldschmidt rookie, too, though I have far surpassed my holiday spending.  But a Mint Condition Goldschmidt Topps Update RC is only $10--and that's Buy It Now, not even bidding.  (Bids tend to be a few bucks cheaper.)  Anyway, I feel Goldschmidt is a sleeper, and I'm going to get his rookie now while it's cheap.  I just did the same with Jose Altuve's, which is just plain cheap; I got 7 Altuve Bowman RCs for $7, including shipping.  Ungraded, sure, but I gave to a friend the one with a few corner dings, and I'll send the best of the others to get graded and take my chances.

And we haven't talked about Rizzo, or Correa, or Arrieta, or any of the other ones.  These last 3-4 years have been amongst the best three to four year stretch for rookies since the early 90s.

Anyway, Mike Trout stands way above all of these guys, and the collectors seem to know it, since his ungraded Bowman cards sell for about $20 when bidding, and over $30 for Buy It Now.  Lots of buyers are Buying It Now, too, which tells me they're in very high demand, since experienced Ebay shoppers would rather spend $10 more just to know they can get one.

I spent $19.38 for the one pictured above, and that includes shipping.

So I'm taking a chance, because once I send it away, it has to be graded an 8 or better for me to break even.  In fact, an 8 is just $20 BV, so I'll lose out a little bit because I have to pay for it to be graded (I wait for the $5 or $7 specials from SGC) and I have to pay about a buck combined for shipping and insurance.  (I send 10 cards at a time to SGC, because it costs the same to ship and insure 1 card as it does 10 cards, so you may as well do 10.)

Since I'm spending another $7 to $9 or so on the grading, shipping and insuring, I need this card to get graded at least an NmMt+ 8.5, worth $25, in order to break even.  I have no idea whether this card is that or not, as I have long ago decided that I'm not going to drive myself crazy predicting a grading company's grade for a card, since I have conclusive evidence that they're often wildly off their own grading scale, and so it's basically a crapshoot.  This is especially true of newer cards.  (I've been very good at grading T206s--but the grading companies have been much more consistent with their grades for those, too.)  Even cards from the mid-80s have been graded one or two grades different than I'd predicted.  Why's my 1980 Rickey Henderson RC an 8 rather than a 9--which is a difference of about $275 in Ebay bidding value?  Couldn't tell you.  What's the difference between my Rickey 8 and the previous Rickey 7 it just replaced?  I don't know.  The corners and the gloss and the centering are the same.

Will this one break even?  I don't know, but here's why it's worth the chance for me, and also why I bought a 2011 Mike Trout Bowman Chrome RC and a 2011 Mike Trout Bowman Chrome Draft RC:

--Trout's RC values have increased lately and, I believe, will continue to do so.  For a long time.

--My Trout Chrome RC is a 9 and the Chrome Draft RC is a 9.5, so I've got my Mint condition Mike Trout rookie card situation covered.  (Those deals will be blogged about when they come in.)

--If this one is a dud--say, a 6 or 7--I can give it as a gift to either a relative or a friend of mine.  Neither takes this anywhere near as seriously as I do, and would love to have a Trout rookie of any grade.

--Worst possible scenario: I can sell it at the occasional yard sale I have every other summer, and I can get $20 to $25 for it, no problem, especially from older folks who love baseball but hate the internet.  And there's lots of those!

And that's why I bought an ungraded Mike Trout rookie, and would do so again, for either the relative or the friend who doesn't get this one.

Sorry for the long entry!

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