Ah Bowman. I’m not sure there is another product in the hobby today that leans in to the lottery ticket aspect of collecting quite like Bowman. There aren’t many products upon release where base autographs can sell for many hundreds of dollars. The box prices end up reflecting this, however. While the suggested price is somewhere around $240, the boxes have been seen closer to $350.
Is it worth that price? Well, that’s where the lottery aspect comes in. If you hit a big prospect, it would be worth that much and plenty more. Most people will not hit the big prospect, however, and end up losing out. If you like the gamble of the prospect game, this is one of the best products for you. If you don’t, it’s probably better to just pick up what you like on the secondary market.
A jumbo box includes 12 packs of 32 cards, and advertises three autograph cards per box.
While 2017 was the year of Judge, it didn’t start quite as early as it has this year. 2018 has seen Ohtani being even more sought after. We saw it a bit with Heritage, but now with the Bowman release, Ohtani-mania is in full effect. Normally, we’d have a hobby box to break, but we’re seeing prices double and nearly triple the normal price around release time. That’s way too out of hand, for what is essentially hoping for the lottery ticket of an Ohtani autograph. That one card is the only way to really have a chance at getting value out of a box.
Retail is still the regular price, if you can find it. As a result of Hobby being so expensive, even retail is getting scooped up and often resold at a higher price. You have a lot tougher odds on inserts and parallels, but for many, retail is going to be the only option to open Bowman packs this year.
There are other rookies available as usual in Bowman, but they all seem overshadowed this year. This release is pretty standard fare for Bowman at this point. You have a 100 card base set, featuring some veterans and some rookies, along side the prospects paper and chrome insert sets, which is the meat of the release. These feature 150 prospects. Some are well known, and some really aren’t. I guess that’s part of the beauty of Bowman. You won’t really know how good a release it was for a few years. Which future stars may be hiding in this release?
Bowman has always been highly focused on prospects. This seems to be taking it to an extreme, however. The base set now consists of only 100 cards, while the prospects “insert” set features 150 different players. I miss the days when the base set was not just an after thought. The vast majority of autographs and other inserts are prospect related, but there are also a few veterans sprinkled in.
I don’t remember Bowman really doing buybacks in the same way the Topps flagship release has in recent years, but to celebrate the brand’s 70th anniversary, we get to see some this year. They’re using similar foil colors as the Topps release. I’ve only seen buybacks going back to 1990, as prior to that, the cards would be oversized compared to modern cards, and would not fit in packs.
Not a lot of surprises with the regular Bowman releases. The 150 card base set features a few top rookies and a handful of players from around the league. This release has always been much more about the prospects, however. You’ll find some top prospects, but for the most part, the majority of these players are pretty far away from the majors.
You can definitely find some hidden gems, but you may not notice it for a few years.
They’ve changed up the Bowman release a little bit this year, splitting it in to two series. It remains to be seen what Series 2 will bring us. Series 1 has a little bit smaller base set (150 cards) but increased the size of the prospect sets included (also 150).
A Jumbo box advertises 12 packs of 32 cards each, including 3 autograph cards per box.