The season started with a high-profile SuperFractor sale from 2010 Bowman and it’s winding down with one as well.
The Bryce Harper USA Baseball 1/1 from the overwhelmingly popular prospecting line has sold and was confirmed as a $12,500 purchase on eBay, emulating the other high-profile Washington Nationals sale of earlier this year — the $21,403 Stephen Strasburg.
This time, though, the card took a little more time on the auction block before actually selling — it was listed five times, according to original owner Earnest Clinton — before it was purchased by Aaron Marcus of Long Island, N.Y.
“I am not going to sell the card, as I want it for my personal collection,” Marcus said on Tuesday. “I might consider selling some of the other Bryces that I own someday, though.”
Among the other cards of the 17-year-old Nationals prospect in his collection are Refractors of a couple different rare shades.
“I also own Bryce’s Bowman Chrome USA Red Refractor (numbered out of five) as a BGS 9.5,” he said, “as well an Orange Refractor (numbered out of 25).”
So what was it that attracted him to the Harper?
” I read that Sports Illustrated article when it was published and was intrigued by Bryce’s story,” Marcus said. “His physical ability and maturity at his age is jaw-dropping. But one thing that really struck me about his make-up is his work ethic. He has all of the ability in the world to be great and doesn’t take his gift for granted. He continues to work hard because of his desire to be the best. For all we know in a few years he could be hitting 600-foot home runs regularly.”
Marcus is an investment banker who admits that he took a break from collecting but has returned with a focus on rarities, much like the first buyer of the Strasburg Superfractor, Robert J. Power.
“I began collecting in the mid-1980s through the mid-1990s,” he said. “I took some time off and began collecting again in 2007 because I liked the direction that the companies took with the changes to the products compared to the 1990s when cards were mass-produced. The thought of owning a card, and only a handful of them were made, brought my attention back to the hobby.
Ironically, Marcus isn’t a Nationals fan. He’s a fan of a different NL East team — the Mets — and he collects a few different players.
” I collect high-end Mets cards, as well as Miguel Cabrera, Hanley Ramirez, Albert Pujols and many top prospects from most organizations,” he said.
The Harper Superfractor did have a slight defect out of the packaging — a raised edge on the back bottom of the card — which might have made it tougher to sell. Clinton said he was glad he finally sold the card of the highly touted No. 1 overall draft pick.
“I am relieved at selling the card,” he said. “It took three months of non-stop low offers from almost everybody,”
Razor purchased the Strasburg from Power for $21,403 earlier this year, allowing the Michigan-based accountant a $4,000 profit on a card that had generated harassment after his purchase and the publicity that it generated.
Marcus said the Harper card’s defect didn’t worry him.
“The ‘issue’ with the card’s condition was not huge deal to me as this is the only one that exists,” Marcus said. ” It is what it is. When I received the card and saw the small scratch, it really wasn’t that bad at all. The seller mentioned that it was slightly damaged. There is a strong possibility that it could grade to a 9 as there are no other visible flaws. A bigger deal was made about the imperfection than should have been. Regardless, chances are that the public won’t ever see it again anyway as I’m putting it away.”
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.