This past year I pulled two cards of two of the top prospects from the past two years, Bryce Harper and Jurickson Profar. These autographs weren't just your average autograph, the Bryce Harper was and still is one of the top selling of his autographs on Ebay.
The Bryce Harper I pulled was a 2011 Bowman Autograph BCP111 from a $2.99 retail pack from Wal-Mart. When pulled the autograph was going for near $400 on Ebay.
Earlier this year I bought a blaster box of 2011 Donruss Elite on discount at Target for $9.99. The autograph inside was a Jurickson Profar 2011 Elite Back to the Future. At the time, Profar was the top prospect in the MLB and this card was on Ebay from $150-200.
At the time of pulling the cards in theory I could have flipped both for over $500. Today you can pick up the same 2011 Donruss Autograph Jurickson Profar for around $30-50. Right now I have found a few of the Bryce Harper 2011 Bowman BP111 Autographs at buy it now at $249. You may even be able to pick it up cheaper bidding on the card.
Since pulling each of the cards I have followed these two cards pretty closely on Ebay tracking what the average sales have been. "Normally" you can most of the time pick up a card lower then its Buy It Now price. I have graphed the lowest Buy It Now prices I found in those months. I remind you that this graph is NOT book value nor is the Ebay tool to officially track the sales. I just randomly go to Ebay, put lowest buy it now price and average what I find.
Bryce Harper has just about met his expectations, but in the past year has taken a back seat due to the enormous success of Mike Trout and Yasiel Puig. Harper no doubt will have a great baseball career but if his career begins to mirror many other major league players his cards will continue to fall. On the bright side, he should have a good career so his cards should always be in demand. The worst feeling is paying $500 for a hot card just to have the player flop and be out of baseball before his 25th birthday. Unless he starts hitting .350 and hit 50 home runs, I would expect his 2011 Bowman autograph to level out around $200.
Jurickson Profar's autographs have taken the biggest hit so far, mostly because of his struggles so far this year. So far in nearly 300 career at bats he is hitting just .233. Harper in his first 300 at bats was hitting around .260. Yasiel Puig after his first 300 career at bats was hitting near .350. Mike Trout after his first 300 at bats over his first two years was hitting around .300. So you would expect Profar to have the biggest decline of all the recent big name rookies. Here is Profar's Ebay prices.
I ended up trading the Bryce Harper last year, click here for the trade information. I am still pretty happy with the overall trade. After picking up the Profar I decided to gamble by holding on to it, hoping that he would be that great hitter that everyone was writing about. So far he has struggled, but he is still very young. As for his cards value, I would expect his card to decline to stay around $30, and depending how quickly he starts off next year would determine if the card goes up or down anymore.
My personal view as a collector, it is very hard for me to buy high on a player who has yet to perform on the field. 9 times out of 10 that card will go down. Does everyone remember the person who paid $15,000 on a Strasburg 1/1 Bowman card? Strasburg hasn't disappointed, but hasn't performed to the standard to warrant having a $15,000 baseball card. I love collecting rookie cards because it is always great to have a player go from a nobody to a somebody. For example I have five Chris Johnson rookie autographs, collectively I maybe spent $12 on those five cards. Today Chris Johnson is one of the top hitters in the NL for the Atlanta Braves. Those same five cards collectively on Ebay are going for nearly $50.
We all have a style of collecting, some are the BUY HIGH, HIGH RISK collectors, and then there is how I love to collect, BUY LOW, LOW RISK collecting. What type of collector would you call yourself? Where do you think the Harper and Profar rookie autographs will level off at and do you think the Profar card will ever go back up?