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Aaron Judge, Juan Soto becoming sports card stars

Young stars Aaron Judge and Juan Soto are headed for big pay days when their current contracts expire. They are already making a big splash on the sports card market.

Being an astute baseball fan, you know that Aaron Judge and Juan Soto turned down massive contract offers this spring and summer in order to test the free agent waters.

How high will their compensation soar? We know Judge declined a reported $213.5 million for seven years. And Soto slammed the door on a reported $440 million for 15 years. So both will expect more compensation than what those packages offered.

In both cases, there’s a gamble, of course. But Judge bet on himself, rolling the dice that his 2022 season would translate into a bigger payday. So far, so good. He’s having a historic home-run season, slamming 46 dingers with 100 RBI through Aug. 16. 

Soto is under contract through 2024, and his trade from the Washington Nationals to the San Diego Padres earlier this month doesn’t change that. On the field, he hasn’t skipped a beat: Soto is hitting just .254 but showing power (22 homers) and patience (103 walks). The 24-year-old also turned heads by winning MLB’s home run derby during the All-Star break.

Not surprisingly, both Judge and Soto are top-of-the-line hobby stars. Their most desirable rookie cards regularly draw four-figure prices, sometimes pushing into five figures. Want examples? Here’s a quartet of high prices paid for Judge cards on eBay this summer:

• $20,100 on 36 bids for a 2013 Bowman Chrome Gold Refractor marked #40 of 50. It was graded PSA 10.

2013 Bowman Chrome Aaron Judge Gold Refractor.

2013 Bowman Chrome Aaron Judge Gold Refractor.

Also See: Meet the owner of the record-setting 1952 Mickey Mantle 

• $9,702 on 30 bids for a Blue Refractor of that same 2013 Bowman Chrome Release. It was one of 99 released and was graded BGS 10.

• $7,884 on 51 bids for still another Chrome Blue Refractor, this one graded slightly lower at BGS 9.5.

• $4,150 on 28 bids for a 2017 Topps Heritage insert card designed after Topps’ classic 1968 set. Marked #20 of 68, the card featured a Judge sig in red ink. It was graded PSA 10.

As for Soto, his 2016 autographed Bowman Chrome Refractor releases are the big story. In recent weeks, we saw a PSA 10 specimen marked #227 of 499 sell for $13,433 on 51 bids.

Interestingly, different color Chrome versions of Soto’s 2016 rookie have been selling for less, even though they’re produced in more limited quantities. Examples:

• Purple Refractors: Only 250 were produced. Summer listings on eBay saw four different Purples sell for prices between $5,000 and $8,500. Each was graded between 9.5 and 10.

• Blue Refractors: Only 150 were issued. One of them, graded BGS 9.5 and marked #14, sold for $12,700 on 47 bids.

2016 Bowman Chrome Juan Soto Blue Refractor.

2016 Bowman Chrome Juan Soto Blue Refractor.

Also See: Babe Ruth-signed memorabilia highlights Memory Lane auction 

• Green Refractors: Only 99 were produced. In May, a BGS 9.5 example marked #27 brought $9,351 on 32 bids.

Another Soto item making a splash is his 2018 Topps Update “Gatorade Bath” card. 

2018 Topps Update Juan Soto Gatorade Bath card.

2018 Topps Update Juan Soto Gatorade Bath card.

In May, we saw a PSA 10 sell for $7,300 on 32 bids. In June, another PSA 10 specimen went for $5,850 on 13 bids. PWCC Marketplace currently has two PSA 10 examples for sale for $10,000 and $8,500.

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