Bartolo Colon-o-mania Is Here — 2016 Topps Now Home Run Card Selling for $50+

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57 Bartolo Colon

By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

It’s amazing what happens when a 42-year-old pitcher hits his first career home run. It’s almost magical. And when there’s magic involved, strange things can happen. And some strange and illogical things are happening with the 2016 Topps Now Bartolo Colon card commemorating the pitcher’s unlikely moon shot.

First, nearly 9,000 copies of the on-demand card were sold. And right when you think supply might hinder it’s place as a cardboard novelty, a second wave of strangeness emerges with some crazy secondary market prices to the tune of $50 and up — for now.

Like all 2016 Topps Now cards, it was available to order on the Topps website for 24 hours. The card got a tremendous amount of mainstream and social press given its quick turnaround time. That led to a print run of 8,826 copies, more than 7,000 more than the second highest Topps Now card thus far.

So you’d think the flood would mean somewhat reasonable prices on the after market, right? Nope. While some of the early ones to sell on eBay didn’t go for a lot, things have quickly escalated. The first were likely sold by dealers who locked in at the initial bulk rate and flipped them for easy, guaranteed money. But the big print run led to another wave of press and more attention for the card. By the afternoon, the 2016 Topps Now Bartolo Colon home run card was topping $30. By the time New York was settling in for dinner it had jumped again to $50 and higher.

Colon-Topps-Now

Don’t expect it to stay at these levels, though. While the card has an audience outside of regular baseball card collectors, the high prices right now are in large part due to the news cycle.

The same thing happened last year when Derek Jeter’s 2015 Topps base card spiked, with one even selling for $100. It repeated when 2016 Topps Baseball came out and the Canadian masses caught a glimpse of Jose Bautista’s postseason bat flip card.

These Jeter and Bautista cards still sell for more than most of their comparable issues, but at more reasonable levels. They capture a moment and tell a specific story that resonates with fans, not just card collectors.

So while it’s not likely to ever be found in a dime box, the 2016 Topps Now Bartolo Colon home run card is likely to drop once people move on to other moments. But what if this is the only card to feature Colon’s magical at bat? Then the card will be the only one to tell the story. The card itself has a unique story in its own right, complete with best-seller status.

And what is the price of a story? Less than a week earlier, Colon had a different Topps Now card for passing Pedro Martinez on the All-Time Wins list. That card has a print run of 298. Despite having more than 18,500 fewer copies, it was initially selling for under $10.

Comments? Questions? Contact Ryan Cracknell on Twitter @tradercracks.

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Ryan Cracknell

A collector for much of his life, Ryan focuses primarily on building sets, Montreal Expos and interesting cards. He's also got one of the most comprehensive collections of John Jaha cards in existence (not that there are a lot of them). Got a question, story idea or want to get in touch? You can reach him by email and through Twitter @tradercracks.

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5 comments

  1. Richard 11 May, 2016 at 10:55

    smh.
    For a tiny fraction of that they could get his best rookie card or a minor league autograph from his first year.

    Topps has got to love this. This is likely their most profitable individual card from that set. Printing that many makes their base cost next to nothing.

    And, when Topps comes out with a set later in the year using the exact same image, it will put the nail in the coffin for the price.

    • Ryan Cracknell 11 May, 2016 at 11:12

      Why is it a bad thing that people are spending money on something they like? Sure it might not make sense to regular collectors but there’s a story here they connect with and want to buy. That’s the point of the program. And yes, Topps is probably happy because they’re a business. But the on-demand nature means it’s out of their hands. It’s likely most of those spending the real money right now on these either don’t usually collect cards or don’t care what they’re worth. It’s something fun they can connect with.

  2. Steve Osowski 11 May, 2016 at 13:29

    I don’t quite understand the rationale that is driving up these cards up beyond the ipo (initial price offering) on these cards, of 9.99 (or less, per card depending on how many as a consumer you purchase). It would be one thing if the print run was announced ahead of orders placed like etopps, where there was the potential to be shutout on a card that you attempted to order/purchase, but the way topps now is structured, cards ordered=cards printed. No getting shutout on a card desired. On top of that, you can use paypal, on topps now, just like on the bay. With that being said, the are extremely nice looking cards! Love the concept behind. Hope something topps now worthy happens at least at one of the games I attend later in the season. Happy collecting all!

  3. Ronnie Rosicki 17 May, 2016 at 15:32

    Ryan Cracknell writes incredible posts, I concur with his comment. People get more out of cards then the cards cost and the cards sale price. The satisfaction to a true mets fan when there favorite pitcher hits a home run is priceless. Ryan keep up the great info!

    Topps, I got to hand it to you. This card was made and there was the availibility for a buyer to get one card for $10 or a dealer to get extras with a price break. Topps did something great. They didn’t try to make anything additional as far as profit. They did not manufacture the card for themselves and then sell on EBAY or on there site.

    Basically that $50 card is $40-$45 profit to any dealer prior to fees. And for the Buyer its priceless they now have a piece of baseball history.

    Hats off Topps for a flawless transaction

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