2017 Biggest Pulls: 1-5

Best year ever? You be the Judge.

It took all week, but we’ve finally gotten to the best of the bunch.  In 2016, I struggled to come up with five cards to showcase.  In 2017, we had 45 cards to get through before the top 5.  You can’t predict baseball… cards?  Here we go…

5. 2017 Topps Now Noah Syndergaard Road to Opening Day Purple Autograph ODAP-256B 03/25
$125.00-200.00 (Estimated)

Topps kicked off the second season of Topps Now, its limited run on-demandish cash grab, with Opening Day team sets featuring photographs from spring training. Each 15-card team set sold for $50, with an autograph version adding a 16th card, signed by one of three possible players, for an additional $50. The three signers for the Mets were Rookie Robert Gsellman, common Steven Matz, and Noah Syndergaard. Parallels added to the fun, but would any of them be worth $50? I fully expected to get a base Matz (still not too bad because the secondary market has a few people asking way too much for these and little more), but this Syndergaard blew me away. One apparently sold for $200 shortly after I got mine and another sold recently for $125, so we’ll go with that. Realistically, that’s one zero too many, but this hobby is insane. Let me have this one.

3. 2017 Topps Fire Aaron Judge Purple Autograph FA-AJ #/50 Redemption
4. 2017 Bowman Aaron Judge Chrome Rookie Autograph CRA-AJ Redemption

I just can’t catch a break, even when I catch a huge break… After pulling card #6 on this list from my first 2017 Bowman jumbo box, I took a chance that I knew wouldn’t pay off by buying another 2017 Bowman jumbo box. I even said as much when I bought it. Either I come up empty in the first box and give up or push my luck and come up empty in the second. And then I pulled an Aaron Judge autograph redemption card. I was hoping for at least $160 based on selling prices at the time but had to settle for $135. Not bad, but not the big hit I was looking for (even after already pulling two $100+ cards that early in the year). One Aaron Judge autograph later and these were selling for more than twice the price. Damn it…

Five months later, Topps Fire was the next big thing and, after a brief search, I found a massive stash of Fire and the newly returned Bowman Mega Boxes. Violating my directive to Never Leave a Mega Box Behind, I left a bunch of the Mega Boxes behind and grabbed two $70 boxes of Fire in their place. Each box had a low-numbered autograph, one numbered to 50 and the other to 25. Both of them Yasmani Grandal… Combined, the two could get you a dollar or so from someone taking pity on you for your sad misfortune. I had passed on some blaster boxes the day before, which had been lucky for at least one person by then:

Three days later, my local Target had five Fire blasters in stock and they had a $25 off $100 deal going. So I grabbed all five plus a pack of Series 2 to push my total over $100. Sure enough, just like the tweet above, the blaster had a purple parallel Aaron Judge autograph redemption in it. What are the odds? Maybe now I could finally get full value for an Aaron Judge autograph. This one had to be worth at least $300, right? Right???

No. Some frenzied bidding at the end brought it to $157.50, better than the Bowman but not by much. At least it was more than I spent to get those worthless Grandals…

2. 2017 Topps Series 1 Kris Bryant Postseason Performance Autograph PPA-KB 01/50
$150.00-200.00 (Estimated)

My junk autograph collection is filled with worthless base Topps autographs (Mark Hamburger, anyone?), so, coming off a dreadful 2016, I had no hopes for my 2017 Topps Series 1 jumbo box. $100 gets you a base set, some inserts, and three hits that won’t amount to much, but it’s a hit I can take 3 times a year. And there’s always a chance you can get something good. Case in point, this card.

Another Kris Bryant autograph… I suppose I should be happy, but I like variety when it comes to big name autographs. I pulled a nice one (though a redemption) in 2015 and sold it (for more than anything on this year’s list), then got another one in 2016 through other means. Pulling a third one gave me some flexibility – I could sell it and pocket the cash, sell the other one and get back about enough to cover the price of the box, or keep them both and taunt Cubs collectors. I only really need one though and one corner looked slightly dinged, so it was out with the old and in with $90 (minus fees). And I now have a Kris Bryant autograph in my collection. Want it? Tough, I no longer sell Cubs cards with any possible imperfections after having a return forced on me last year on a $7.50 card. Suck it, Cubs fans, this one is mine.

1. 2017 Topps Archives Aaron Judge Rookie Stars Autograph RSA-AJ 017/150

Of course, it has to be Aaron Judge in the top spot. Unanimous Rookie of the Year and nearly MVP to boot, Judge’s historic run was apparent early in 2017. But exactly how historic was still unclear when Topps Archives was released at the end of May. His sudden surge in popularity had the hobby off balance, with prices tipping back in the downward direction at the start of June. I managed to convince my local shop to sell me one box of Archives on launch day from a stack of four set aside for another customer. I lucked out and pulled this card, which looked like a $300 card at first. But the market seemed to be collapsing and even $200 looked like it might be out of reach. I quickly listed it with a $200 buy-it-now and tried to cash out before the Aaron Judge frenzy was over.

Well, that never happened. Bidding closed just short of $250, more than my asking price but well below what it could have sold for later in the month. It turns out I had far more luck pulling Aaron Judge autographs than I did selling them at the right time. Especially once I started looking back at previous years’ sales. But before we get to that…

0. 2014 Topps Five Star Don Mattingly Golden Graphs FSGG-DM 28/50
$50.00 (Estimated)

It was an interesting year for long overdue redemptions. While Panini still can’t manage to get Michael Conforto to sign his 2014 cards, Topps finally sent out 50 Tom Seaver Relics from 2012 Topps Series 1, all plain bat cards. Yeah, not terribly exciting. Among the others I’ve been waiting for, no dice. So I put in for some replacements. I had two Gabriel Ynoa Bowman Black Collection autograph redemptions (they ended within a minute of each other, so I put bids in on both and won both for $13 each), so, with Ynoa no longer on the Mets, I cashed one in. The return was better than I could have hoped for: a Don Mattingly Golden Graphs autograph numbered to 50 and a bonus Travis d’Arnaud RC numbered to 10.

So I tried again with a Jeurys Familia autograph numbered to 25 that only cost me $10. And got a Lucas Giolito base Bowman Chrome prospect autograph and a bonus Marquis Grissom Topps High Tek autograph. You win some, you lose some…

2017 Biggest Pulls: 6-12

2017 Biggest Pulls: 13-20

2017 Biggest Pulls: 21-32

2017 Biggest Pulls: 33-50

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