Forget Stephen Strasburg - there is a new sensation in Washington D.C. His name is Bryce Harper, and if you believe the hype, he should be on the National rosters coming out of spring training.
He won't be. The Nationals already said he'll likely play the entire season in the minors. And that makes sense as he is only 18 years old. However, when ESPN makes a big deal about his first spring appearance, and his first spring training hit, you know new-card collectors are going to start swooping in for his first cards.
And boy, are they digging deep into their wallets.
The first products showcasing Harper came out last year in the Bowman series as draft pick cards. The AFLAC Autograph cards from that set, numbered to 230, are where the high dollars come into play.
So far, one - and only one - has been graded a BGS 10. It sold for $3,500. Those that didn't quite meet that grade, at 9.5, have brought slightly more than $1,400. Some ungraded examples of these cards are selling for around $1,000.
The "second tier" cards appear to be the 2010 Bowman Chrome Redemption Autos, which have been selling for $1,300. These are numbered to 100 and were part of a wrapper redemption program. These are ungraded.
These are the high-end, but even ungraded singles are bringing in $700+.
I understand "rookie" cards are where the modern-card market makes its leaps and bounds, but these prices never cease to amaze me when the player has never stepped into a professional game. It's a boom-or-bust game I was never interested in playing in.