By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor
Hitting home runs in your first two MLB games while wearing a New York Yankees jersey gets people talking. Breaking Mark McGwire’s rookie home run record cements your name in history. For Aaron Judge cards, it’s still too early to see what the next decade’s going to look like. But after a hot start to his career in the Bronx, it’s time to take a closer look at the Aaron Judge Rookie Cards and other early releases that are out there.
The first Aaron Judge cards came out not long after the Yankees picked him in the first round of the 2013 draft. Topps landed him in a couple of late-season Bowman products while both Panini and Leaf put the outfielder in multiple prospect-heavy sets as well.
All of these are considered to be prospect cards or inserts. His rookie cards will be coming out of 2017 packs. That said, in today’s hobby, many of his early cards will trump most of his Rookie Cards in overall importance.
Trying to predict the long-term market for Aaron Judge Rookie Cards is tough. It levelled off after his impressive 2016 but picked up and dominated the market for the first half of the 2017 season. After a slump following the All-Star Game and his Home Run Derby victory, Aaron Judge cards roared back at the close of the season after setting the new MLB record for rookie home runs, knocking Mark McGwire down to second spot. Judge also helped the Yankees secure a postseason berth.
Playing in New York puts pressure on players, but it has also helped fuel Aaron Judge Rookie Card sales and prices. It’s a big market and the Yankees have passionate fans (and collectors) around the world.
Here’s a look at the Aaron Judge Rookie Cards released so far followed by highlights of his other top early cards.
Aaron Judge Rookie Cards
Only cards with the RC tag are included, not inserts. If you’re looking for Aaron Judge Rookie Card values, they are available to Beckett Baseball Card Price Guide. More will be added throughout the year as new products are released.
Cards are listed in alphabetical order.
2017 Bowman Aaron Judge RC #32
For 2017 Bowman Baseball, much of the attention is on the young prospects, particularly the autographs. But there is a base set. And on that checklist is Aaron Judge. It’s not a high-end card and as more Rookie Cards are released, it will likely be one of the more overlooked ones. That said, the design has more going on than a lot of other recent Bowman sets. Although not a traditional RC, Judge does have a Chrome Rookie Autograph in the product as well.
Parallels: Silver (/499), Purple (/250), Blue (/150), Green (/99), Gold (/50), Orange (/25), Red (/5), Black (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1)
2017 Bowman Chrome Aaron Judge RC #56
2017 Bowman Chrome has one of the more simple Aaron Judge Rookie Cards, more interest is likely to be paid to the colorful Refractors that go with it. Judge also has a variation short print where he’s in the dugout holding a cap and jersey.
Parallels: Refractors (/499), Purple Refractors (/250), Blue Refractors (/150), Green Refractors (/99), Gold Refractors (/50), Orange Refractors (/25), Red Refractors (/5), Superfractors (1/1)
2017 Bowman Platinum Aaron Judge RC #91
To find the 2017 Bowman Platinum Aaron Judge Rookie Card, you’ll want to start your search at Walmart. That’s because the product is exclusive to the retail giant. Done on foil stock, it has a shine to it, but not necessarily like Chrome and Finest. While it may be hard to find the product in store, especially since it has not only Judge but the first Cody Bellinger Rookie Card, there should be a good amount on the secondary market once things settle down.
Parallels: Ice, Purple (/250), Green (/99), Orange (/25), Black (/10), Gold (1/1)
2017 Donruss Aaron Judge RC #38
Things look a little retro with the 2017 Donruss Aaron Judge Rookie Card and it’s totally by design. It starts with the general design, which could be described as 1990 Donruss crossed with a snow storm. There’s a certain throwback appeal with the Rated Rookie logo as well. As part of the subset, this card is a slight short print. But that doesn’t make it rare. Donruss is one of Panini’s most widely available brands with footholds in both the hobby and retail markets.
Parallels: Cyan Back, Gray Border (/199), Press Proof Gold (/99), Aqueous Test Proof (/49), Pink Border (/25), Artist’s Proof (/10), Press Proof (/5), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1)
2017 Donruss Optic Aaron Judge RC #38
2017 Donruss Optic Baseball puts a chromium spin on the main Donruss set. As far as appearances go, Judge’s card here has the same photo and layout. However, the stock is more solid and comes with the metallic shine common in chromium sets. It’s a lot like how Bowman Chrome is to Bowman and Topps Chrome is for flagship Topps. Also like those sets, Optic brings with it a large parallel rainbow.
Parallels: Holo, Pink, Purple, Aqua (/299), Orange (/199), Blue (/149), Red (/99), Carolina Blue (/50), Black (/25), Gold (/10), Green (/5), Gold Vinyl (1/1)
2017 Finest Aaron Judge RC #2
The 2017 Topps Finest Aaron Judge Rookie Card is the one that combines chromium card stock with a bold design. It’s not subtle like you’d find in a Bowman release. However, like Bowman, there are several Refractor parallels to chase as well. The set also has Aaron Judge autograph inserts landing on a regular basis.
Parallels: Refractor, Purple Refractor (/250), Blue Refractor (/150), Green Refractor (/99), Gold Refractor (/50), Orange Refractor (/25), Red Refractor (/5), Superfractor (1/1)
2017 Immaculate Collection Aaron Judge RC #113 Auto Patch /99
The 2017 Immaculate Collection Aaron Judge Rookie Card takes things to the high end with both an on-card autograph and a prime swatch from a player-worn jersey. That means multi-color patches galore. As usual, Immaculate delivers a clean look that lets the signature and memorabilia do the talking.
Parallels: Gold (/49), Blue (/5), Platinum (1/1)
2017 Panini Diamond Kings Aaron Judge RC #138
2017 Panini Diamond Kings brings art to baseball. Like Donruss, there’s a certain level of nostalgic appeal connecting the brand to Donruss’ 1980s baseball roots. It’s not expensive but its look is distinct.
Parallels: Framed Green, Framed Grey, Artist’s Proof Gold (/99), Framed Red (/99), Framed Brown (/49), Artist’s Proof Blue (/25), Framed Blue (/5), Framed Black Masterpiece (1/1), Masterpiece (1/1)
2017 Stadium Club Aaron Judge RC #64
2017 Stadium Club Baseball is all about the photographs. At least the base set is. That means a simple, albeit glossy, design. Images are done in full-bleed with minimal design elements to go with it. It’s not a short print so its value shouldn’t be too high despite the slightly more premium approach to its construction.
In addition to the regular assortment of parallels, Judge is also part of the Chrome insert set. The general design is the same on these, albeit with chromium card stock. Chrome cards are also numbered differently.
Parallels: Gold Foil, Black Foil, Sepia, Black and White, Members Only, Rainbow Foil (/25), First Day Issue (10 copies), Gold Rainbow (1/1)
2017 Topps Aaron Judge RC #287
There’s some power that comes with a Rookie Card from Topps’ flagship set. It won’t end up being the most valuable Aaron Judge Rookie Card, but it should be one of the most recognized simply for being part of the main set (Series 1 to be exact).
In addition to the common base version, Judge is featured among the set’s short print variations.
Parallels: Negative Black and White, Purple, Rainbow Foil, Gold (/2017), Vintage Stock (/99), Black (/66), Father’s Day Blue (/50), Mother’s Day Pink (/50), Memorial Day Camo (/25), Clear (/10), Platinum (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1)
2017 Topps Allen & Ginter Aaron Judge RC #172
For all the quirks Allen & Ginter has (and thrives on), the base set is one of the quaintest out there. That’s because its roots come from more than 100 years ago when the brand was a tobacco staple. For Judge, there’s not much to the card in regards to being fancy. But its antique look is certainly different that other products out there. Gypsy Queen is probably the closest given both were inspired by similar eras. But Ginter takes a much more minimalist approach, focusing on a head shot versus an action image.
Parallels: Mini, Allen & Ginter X Black, Allen & Ginter X Black Mini, Allen and Ginter Back Mini, Gold Border Mini, Hot Box Foil, No Number Mini, Brooklyn Back Mini (/25), Framed Mini Cloth (/10), Allen & Ginter X Black Mini Red (/5), Metal Mini (/3), Allen & Ginter X Mini Silver (1/1), Framed Printing Plates Black (1/1), Framed Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Framed Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Framed Printing Plates Yellow (1/1), Glossy (1/1), Glossy Mini (1/1), Wood Mini (1/1)
2017 Topps Archives Aaron Judge RC #62
The 2017 Topps Archives Aaron Judge is a throwback to 1960 Topps Baseball as far as design goes. It’s part of a mash-up style set that’s kind of like Heritage but with several releases mixed together. The product also has an Aaron Judge autograph done to look like 1983 Topps and another that’s part of the 1960 Rookie Star Autographs checklist.
Parallels: Grey Back, Peach (/199), Blue (/75), Red (/25), Black (1/1)
2017 Topps Bunt Aaron Judge RC #20
2017 Topps Bunt brings a physical side to the namesake app. This is far from a premium card. Along with Opening Day, Bunt is the cheapest product on the card maker’s calendar. While Opening Day is somewhat hindered by having a near-identical design to the flagship release, Bunt is a new one, separate from the main set in the app as well.
Parallels: Black, Blue, Green (/99), Orange (/50), Purple (/25), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1), Red (1/1)
2017 Topps Chrome Aaron Judge RC #169
2017 Topps Chrome marks another chromium instalment in the Aaron Judge Rookie Card lineup. While the base version is not expensive, some of the Refractors can get up there. Judge is also one of the anchors of the product’s Rookie Autographs and has a variation as well.
Parallels: Refractors, Negative Refractors, Pink Refractors, Sepia Refractors, Prism Refractors, X-Fractors, Purple Refractors (/250), Blue Refractors (/150), Green Refractors (/99), Blue Wave Refractors (/75), Gold Refractors (/50), Gold Wave Refractors (/50), Orange Refractors (/25), Red Refractors (/5), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1), Superfractors (1/1)
2017 Topps Definitive Aaron Judge RC #ARC-AJU Auto Jersey /50
2017 Topps Definitive is one of the most super-premium products the company has ever made. And this is a card that illustrates why. For starters, there are just 50 copies. There’s also that on-card signature and the massive swatch of game-used jersey. Despite all this, this Aaron Judge Rookie Card looks clean, stressing a certain high-end elegance.
Parallels: Purple (/10), Red Button (1/1), Red Laundry Tag (1/1), Red MLB Batter Logo (1/1), Red Majestic Logo (1/1), Red Team Logo Patch (1/1)
2017 Topps Fire Aaron Judge RC #
2017 Topps Fire marked the brand’s standalone debut in baseball. Although not a particularly high-end product, it is a Target-exclusive making it a little harder to track down in pack form. Featuring the graphics of Tyson Beck, to say the card is bold might be an understatement. While it might not be for everyone, it’s a distinct Aaron Judge Rookie Card that’s easily recognizable as to where it’s from.
Parallels: Blue Chip, Flame, Gold Minted, Onyx, Orange (/299), Green (/199), Purple (/99), Magenta (/25), Inferno (1/1)
2017 Topps Gold Label Aaron Judge RC #86
A foil design and doubled up photos gives the 2017 Topps Gold Label Aaron Judge RC a level of elegance to it. And it seems so simple. Really, there isn’t too much to it. However, all 100 of the set’s base cards have three different versions. Class 1 is the most common and is considered the Rookie Card. It’s most easily identified by the background photo that has Judge getting under a fly ball. Class 2 has him batting and Class 3, the rarest, features the Yankees star running.
Parallels: Black, Blue (/150), Red (/75), Gold (1/1)
2017 Topps Gypsy Queen Aaron Judge RC #168
2017 Topps Gypsy Queen is intended to remind collectors of the days of tobacco cards — or at least help them think about cards that came out before they were born (and without the tobacco). Much of the set’s appeal comes through more in the inserts and autographs (Judge has one), but the old-time look is distinct.
Besides several variations, Aaron Judge also has a tough-to-find variation.
Parallels: Green, Missing Blackplate, Missing Nameplate, Purple (/250), Black and White (/50), Green Back (50 copies), Red (/10), Black (1/1)
2017 Topps Heritage Aaron Judge RC/Tyler Austin RC #214
2017 Topps Heritage is based on the 1968 Topps set. Paying attention to detail, that means that Rookie Cards are dual-player cards. Judge is paired up with Tyler Austin on the base card. A variation also exists that has Judge by himself. Although definitely more scarce than the regular card, it is part of the most common tier of 2017 Topps Heritage variations.
Parallels: Chrome Purple Refractor, Chrome (/999), Chrome Refractor (/568), Chrome Blue Refractor (/68), Blue (50 copies), Bright Yellow Back (25 copies), Gray Back (10 copies), Chrome Gold Refractor (/5), Reverse Stock (5 copies), Chrome Superfractor (1/1)
2017 Topps Inception Aaron Judge Autograph RC #112 – Redemption
Although Topps generally releases its share of rookie autographs, they’re traditionally as inserts and not in the base set. 2017 Topps Inception Baseball is an exception. Judge is part of the Rookie and Emerging Star subset, all of which come signed. That said, it’s in packs as a redemption. The final card should be serial numbered like the others, but the amount is not yet known. Judge does have live autographed relic cards in the product as well.
Parallels: Magenta (/99), Red (/75), Orange (/50), Blue (/25), Inception (1/1)
2017 Topps Museum Collection Aaron Judge RC #95
Coming from a high-end product, the 2017 Topps Museum Collection Aaron Judge is a little fancier when it comes to design and construction compared to many of his other Rookie Cards. It also makes it a little more expensive. However, many collectors are focused more on his on-card autograph inserts that are also in the product.
Parallels: Sapphire (/150), Amethyst (/99), Ruby (/50), Emerald (1/1)
2017 Topps Opening Day Aaron Judge RC #147
2017 Topps Opening Day isn’t about producing the most valuable cards. In fact, this should be the opposite when it comes to Aaron Judge Rookie Cards. However, its prospects are helped by the fact that it has a different photo than his main Topps card. Usually, the only major noticeable difference between the two sets is Opening Day logo. Judge also has a variation.
Parallels: Opening Day Edition Blue Foil, Opening Day 1/1 Edition (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1)
2017 Topps Triple Threads Aaron Judge RC #RPA-JA
Part of the Rookies & Future Phenoms subset, Aaron Judge’s Rookie Card in 2017 Topps Triple Threads arrived in packs as a redemption. Not only will the final version have an autograph, but a trifecta of relic swatches as well. Redeemed base versions should have 99 copies based on information released by Topps about the set.
Parallels: Silver (/75), Emerald (/50), Onyx (/35), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1), Ruby (1/1), Wood (1/1)
Top Pre-Rookie Aaron Judge Cards
Here’s a look at some of the key Aaron Judge cards released before his MLB debut, focusing primarily on his earliest ones.
2013 Bowman Chrome Draft Aaron Judge #BDPP19
The first Aaron Judge Yankee cards came in 2013 Bowman Draft Baseball. While he has a “paper” version, it’s the 2013 Bowman Chrome Draft Aaron Judge that’s on more radars. The base Draft Picks card is cheap enough that going for the premium version is the way most like to go. It has no shortage of Refractor parallels, either. The card has a dozen different Refractor versions plus four different one-of-one Printing Plates.
For completists, there’s also a mini version (and more Refractors) that was available as part of a factory set.
Parallels: Refractor, Black Wave Refractor, Blue Wave Refractor, Blue Refractor /99, Green Refractor /75, Gold Refractor /50, Black Refractor /35, Orange Refractor /25, Red Wave Refractor /25, Silver Wave Refractor /25, Red Refractor /5, Printing Plate Black 1/1, Printing Plate Cyan 1/1, Printing Plate Magenta 1/1, Printing Plate Yellow 1/1, Superfractor 1/1
2013 Bowman Chrome Draft Autographs Aaron Judge #AJ
For most, the 2013 Bowman Chrome Draft Aaron Judge autograph is going to be his most desirable card. That’s the case with most players’ first Bowman Chrome autographs now. It’s like the feeling you got landing a rookie card in the 1980s. While rookies exist, collectors’ feelings have evolved. As a result, if you’re looking for the widely accepted best Aaron Judge card, this is it. Like the unsigned version, lots of Refractors await those looking for something even more rare.
Parallels: Refractor, Blue Refractor /99, Green Refractor /75, Black Wave Refractor /50, Blue Wave Refractor /50, Gold Refractor /50, Black Refractor /35, Orange Refractor /25, Purple Refractor /10, Red Refractor /5, Printing Plate Black 1/1, Printing Plate Cyan 1/1, Printing Plate Magenta 1/1, Printing Plate Yellow 1/1, Superfractor 1/1
2013 Bowman Sterling Prospect Autographs Aaron Judge #AJ
Like his Bowman Chrome autograph, the 2013 Bowman Sterling Aaron Judge autograph also comes with an on-card autograph. The outfielder is also pictured in his Yankees gear. Yet, it comes with a much smaller price tag. It may not have the same potential as the Bowman Chrome card, but if you’re looking for a little extra bang for your buck and don’t want to stray outside of MLB cards, this is it.
Parallels: Refractor /150, Green Refractor /125, Ruby Refractor /99, Orange Refractor /75, Gold Refractor /50, Blue Refractor /25, Purple Refractor /10, Japan Fractors /5, Gold Canary Diamond Refractor /3, Printing Plate Black 1/1, Printing Plate Cyan 1/1, Printing Plate Magenta 1/1, Printing Plate Yellow 1/1, Red Refractor 1/1, Superfractor 1/1
2013 Elite Extra Edition Aaron Judge Autograph #122 /599
Panini put out a couple of prospect-driven sets towards the end of their 2013 baseball card season. Elite Extra Edition is one of the longest standing brands in their portfolio. When it comes to prospecting, there’s nothing with more history. Although not licensed by MLB, the 2013 Elite Extra Edition Aaron Judge has something base versions of its Bowman Chrome counterpart doesn’t — it’s numbered. The card also boasts an on-card signature.
Paralells: Signature Aspirations /100, Signature Status Blue /50, Signature Red Ink /25, Signature Status Emerald /25, Signature Green Ink /10, Signature Status Orange /10, Signature Status Gold /5, Signature Status Black 1/1
2013 Leaf Memories Autographs Aaron Judge #AJ1
Modern Leaf loves 1990 Leaf Baseball. The design has been revived for several products in recent years, including 2013 Leaf Memories, which was both a buyback product and an expansion of sorts. Among the expanded elements is this card, which is highlighted by a hard signature. All parallels are limited to 50 copies or less.
Parallels: Blue /50, Gold /25, Green /10, Red /5, Black 1/1, Printing Plate Black 1/1, Printing Plate Cyan 1/1, Printing Plate Magenta 1/1, Printing Plate Yellow 1/1
2013 Leaf Metal Draft Aaron Judge Autograph #AJ1
2013 Leaf Metal Draft is the company’s own answer to Bowman Chrome. Every card has a Refractor-like finish, even the base autographs. There’s also the etching that Bowman Chrome has abandoned in recent years. Like Bowman Chrome, the 2013 Leaf Metal Draft Aaron Judge autograph has several color-based parallels. The lack of MLB marks keeps its value lower but it’s available in much smaller numbers.
Parallels: Prismatic Purple /50, Prismatic Blue /25, Prismatic Green /10, Prismatic Red /5, Printing Plate Black 1/1, Printing Plate Cyan 1/1, Printing Plate Magenta 1/1, Printing Plate Yellow 1/1, Super Prismatic 1/1
2013 Leaf Trinity Inscriptions Aaron Judge #DTIAJ1
Trinity gets its name for have three types of cards, all super premium in nature. Judge appears in all three levels of the product. The Inscriptions card comes with both an autograph and a note, giving it something of a personal touch.
Parallels: Silver /25, Gold /10, Red /5, Printing Plate Black 1/1, Printing Plate Cyan 1/1, Printing Plate Magenta 1/1, Printing Plate Yellow 1/1, Purple 1/1
2013 Leaf Trinity Jumbo Patches Aaron Judge #DTPAJ1
Next up is the jumbo patch autograph. It’s not a game-used piece but Leaf is careful to include attractive pieces from the player-worn jersey. Although not numbered, the base version is a short print with a confirmed print run of 30 copies.
Parallels: Silver /25, Gold /10, Red /5, Purple 1/1
2013 Leaf Trinity Pure Glass Autographs Aaron Judge #AJ1 /60
Finally, there’s Pure. These are the most unique cards in Trinity. First off, they’re thick. The cards are done on a plexiglass-like material. The graphics are done in layers, which makes it hard to truly appreciate unless you see it in person. The depth of the card is further enhanced with the clear nature of the stock.
Parallels: Blue /25, Green /10, Red /5, Purple 1/1
2013 Panini Prizm Perennial Draft Picks Prospect Signatures Aaron Judge #33
In case you were still questioning the popularity of chrome-style cards, 2013 Panini Prizm Perennial Draft Picks is essentially their version of Bowman Chrome. The look is different, opting to remove the background from the photo. However, the other hallmarks like an on-card signature and color-based parallels are certainly present.
Parallels: Prizms, Green Prizms, Red Prizms /100, Blue Prizms /75, Gold Prizms /10, Black Finite Prizms 1/1
2015 Panini National Treasures Prospect Silhouette Autographs Aaron Judge #1
By the time this card arrived, Aaron Judge had appeared on several autograph cards. What makes this one stand out is the fact that it’s an early super-premium edition. Boasting an on-card autograph, it also has a large jersey swatch layered underneath. Judge has another autographed memorabilia card available in similar quantities in the product, but it uses a smaller swatch and a sticker autograph.
Parallels: Gold /25, Black /10, Green /5, Brand Logo Tag Red 1/1, Laundry Tag Blue 1/1, Printing Plate Black 1/1, Printing Plate Cyan 1/1, Printing Plate Magenta 1/1, Printing Plate Yellow 1/1
2016 Topps Now Aaron Judge
By the time Judge had played two games, he’d already had three cards in the on-demand 2016 Topps Now Baseball release. Each was available for just 24 hours and printed to order through the Topps website. Judge shares his first Topps Now card with Tyler Austin (#351). It commemorates their back-to-back home runs to kick off their MLB careers. It was one of the most-ordered cards in the set with 5,250 copies. Judge’s other early Topps Now cards are solo efforts focused on his first two homers. #353 has a print run of 2,537 while #356 has 1,169 copies.
Comments? Questions? Contact Ryan Cracknell on Twitter @tradercracks.