Ian Happ Pre-Rookie Card and Prospect Card Highlights

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

Just when you think the Chicago Cubs are loaded with plenty of strong, young players, another one comes along. Ian Happ Rookie Cards may not be out just yet, but that’s doesn’t mean he doesn’t have cards.

Within a few months of being drafted by the Cubs with the ninth overall pick in the 2015 draft, the first Ian Happ cards were on the market. However, these early cards fall under a couple of categories. They’re either cards from prospect-only or minor league sets or they’re inserts.

But there are plenty of collectors that treat these cards similar to traditional Rookie Cards. The 2015 Bowman Chrome Ian Happ is particularly popular.

Ian Happ Rookie Cards will start showing up later in the 2017 season. Once he made his MLB in mid-May, he became eligible for regular base sets. However, it usually takes a few months for this to trickle down into products as the checklists are often settled far in advance. At any rate, Ian Happ Rookie Cards are on the way. In the meantime, here are some of his key early cards.

Key Ian Happ Prospect and Pre-Rookie Cards

Please note that this isn’t an exhaustive list. Rather, it’s highlights from early Ian Happ cards that came out prior to his Rookie Cards.


2015 Bowman Chrome Draft ian Happ Autograph


2015 Bowman Chrome Draft Draft Pick Autographs Ian Happ #BCA-IH

If you’re looking for the key Ian Happ card, Rookie or otherwise, this is it. Some may come along and be more valuable. Others are already significantly more scarce. But when it comes to baseball, first Bowman Chrome autographs have been king for years. The brand is that powerful when it comes to prospects. Like virtually every Bowman Chrome autograph, the signature is on-card and it comes with a rainbow’s worth of Refractors.

Parallels: Refractors, Purple Refractors (/250), Green Refractors (/99), Gold Refractors (/50), Black Refractors (/35), 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)

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2015 Bowman Chrome Draft Ian Happ


2015 Bowman Chrome Draft Ian Happ #28

Everything about the regular 2015 Bowman Chrome Draft Ian Happ is the same as the autograph — except for the autograph. That means a significant discount that’s more in line with the average budget. It’s also a lot less risk should Happ’s career not pan out in the long run.

Happ also appears on a regular Bowman Draft card minus the chromium. While it may be an option, the Chrome version is more popular on a wider scale.

Parallels: Refractors, Black Asia Refractors, Black Wave Asia Refractors, Sky Blue Refractors, Purple Refractors (/250), Blue Refractors (/150), Green Refractors (/99), Gold 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)

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2015 Bowmans Best Best of 2015 Autographs Ian Happ


2015 Bowman’s Best Best of 2015 Autographs Ian Happ #B15-IH

Tradition can be a bit of a finicky thing. As collectors, we all have our preferences. We all have those sets that we chase year after year. That  longevity has made Bowman Chrome so strong and the corresponding prices for key cards. That’s what might make the 2015 Bowman’s Best Ian Happ autograph so enticing to some collectors. Like Bowman Chrome, it’s got the on-card autograph. Like Chrome, Happ’s pictured in his MLB threads. And yet the price is only a fraction of Bowman Chrome.

Is it as desirable to the masses? No, because Bowman’s Best doesn’t have the same continuity and tradition. But for many more concerned about the card itself and less about potential future values, this is one of a handful of alternatives.

Parallels: Refractors, Green Refractors (/99), Atomic 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)

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2015 Bowmans Best Top Prospects Ian Happ


2015 Bowman’s Best Top Prospects Ian Happ #TP23

Again, autographs aren’t everyone’s thing, whether by collecting preference or budget. The 2015 Bowman’s Best Top Prospect Ian Happ insert is another early card with him in his Cubs uniform. The design is also more bold than the Bowman Chrome Draft Ian Happ. Done in a chromium style, there’s no shortage of Refractors to go with it.

Parallels: Refractors, Atomic Refractors, Blue Refractors (/150), Green Refractors (/99), Gold 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)

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2015 Elite Extra Edition Prospect Autographs Ian Happ


2015 Elite Extra Edition Prospect Autographs Ian Happ #10

Although not quite as old as regular Elite, the spin-off Elite Extra Edition brand still has a lot of history behind it. Originally an update set of sorts bringing rookies into the mix, EEE has morphed into a prospect product. The 2015 Elite Extra Edition Prospect Autographs Ian Happ is his key card in the product. It includes an on-card autograph along with a bright new design compared to many previous years for the brand. Parallels are numerous, featuring a mix of colors and die cut designs.

Parallels: Aspirations Die Cut (/100), Status Purple Die Cut (/75), Status Blue Die Cut (/50), Red Ink (/25), Status Emerald Die Cut (/25), Green Ink (/10), Status Orange Die Cut (/10), Status Gold Die Cut (/5), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Status Black Die Cut (1/1)

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2015 Eugene Emeralds Ian Happ


2015 Eugene Emeralds Grandstand Ian Happ #11

The 2015 Eugene Emeralds Grandstand Ian Happ is a bonafide minor league card. It’s not the prettiest card in the world, but it’s not easy to find, either. That’s because distribution was largely limited to the local market.

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2015 Leaf 25th Metal Autographs Ian Happ


2015 Leaf 25th Metal Autographs Ian Happ #BA-IH1

As the set’s name and a little quick math suggests, 2015 Leaf 25th is a celebration of the popular 1990 Leaf Baseball where new cards are created using the original design. However, there are some key differences. Ian Happ’s card is done as a Leaf Metal card, giving it a chromium look and feel. Perhaps even bigger is the fact that it’s autographed. The base Silver version is a short print compared to others in the set. According to Leaf, it has 88 copies. A handful of serial-numbered parallels also exist.

Parallels: Blue  (/25), Purple (/15), Green (/10), Red (/5), Gold (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1)

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2015 Leaf Metal Draft Ian Happ Autograph


2015 Leaf Metal Draft Ian Happ Autograph #BA-IH1

The 2015 Leaf Metal Draft Ian Happ autograph is all about the chromium. Well, that and an autograph. The design takes a minimalist approach, giving a chance for the Refractor-like Prismatic background to shine. Like Leaf’s other Ian Happ cards, this one isn’t licensed by MLB so there are no logos or official uniforms. While that may be a deal breaker to some, for others concerned about the signature, it makes for a more affordable price.

Parallels: Prismatic Blue (/50), Prismatic Purple (/25), Prismatic Green (/10), Prismatic Red (/5), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Prismatic Gold (1/1)

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2015 Leaf Trinity Autographs Ian Happ


2015 Leaf Trinity Autographs Ian Happ #AIH1

This is one of three different, distinct cards of Ian Happ in 2015 Leaf Trinity Baseball. In addition to his signature, Happ added a variety of different inscriptions to the cards.

Parallels: Blue (/25), Red (/10), Silver Spectrum (/5), Gold Spectrum (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1)

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2015 Leaf Trinity Patch Autographs Ian Happ


2015 Leaf Trinity Patch Autographs Ian Happ #PAIH1

For Trinity card number two, the autograph is joined by a jumbo patch swatch. These come from player-worn jerseys, which are very clearly Chicago Cubs cuts.

Parallels: Blue (/25), Red (/10), Silver Spectrum (/5), Gold Spectrum (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1)

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2015 Leaf Trinity Pure Ian Happ Autograph


2015 Leaf Trinity Pure Autographs Ian Happ #PAIH1

The 2015 Leaf Trinity Pure Autograph is done on a thick, clear card stock. But it’s not traditional acetate. Instead, it’s done with a plexiglass material. When you look at the live cards, there’s a level of visual depth to them that is tough to convey with just an image.

Parallels: Blue (/25), Green (/10), Red (/5), Purple (1/1)

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2015 Leaf Ultimate Ian Happ


2015 Leaf Ultimate Draft Ian Happ Autograph #BA-IH1

After all the flash of Leaf’s other Ian Happ autographs, 2015 Leaf Ultimate Draft takes a more subdued approach. The foil accents add some pop, but the focus is on offering a more traditional, albeit on high-end stock, autograph card. The small number of parallels change up the intricate foil color from the base bronze.

Parallels: Silver (/25), Red (/5), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Purple (1/1)

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2015 Panini Contenders College Ticket Autographs Ian Happ


2015 Panini Contenders College Ticket Autographs Ian Happ #11

The Ticket Autograph theme has long been a popular one with Contenders, particularly in football. Like Panini’s other early Ian Happ cards, this one from 2015 Panini Contenders Baseball captures him in his University of Cincinnati Bearcats gear, which ties in appropriately to the College Ticket theme of the base version. The regular version pictures Happ fielding. A variation version also exists with him batting. Both have the same number of parallels. Print runs of the base versions were not released. While most of Happ’s early autographs come on-card, this one uses a sticker.

Parallels (both base and variation versions have the same parallels): Blue Foil, Red Foil, Draft Ticket (/99), Playoff Ticket (/15), Cracked Ice (/23), Championship Ticket (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1)

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2015 Panini Immaculate Collegiate Ian Happ Autograph


2015 Panini Immaculate Collegiate Multisport Ian Happ #390 Autograph /99

2015 Panini Immaculate Collegiate mixes baseball, football and basketball to make for a fairly expansive high-end checklist. Happ’s base card in the product is limited to just 99 numbered copies and is hard-signed.

Parallels: Numbers Rookie Autographs (/99, photo has Happ batting), Gold (/25), Platinum (1/1)

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2015 National Treasures Collegiate Ian Happ Auto Jersey


2015 Panini National Treasures Collegiate Multisport Ian Happ #401 Auto Jersey /99

Basically, if you take the 2015 Immaculate Collegiate Ian Happ autograph and add a jumbo memorabilia swatch and you’ve got National Treasures. Another collegiate product covering multiple sports, this card is a little more high-end, both in its construction and brand prestige.

Parallels: Colossal Materials Signatures (/99), Colossal Materials Signatures Prime (/25), Silver (/25), Variation (/10), Gold (/10), Black (/5), Blue (1/1), Brand Logo (1/1), Colossal Materials Signatures Brand Logo (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1)

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142 Ian Happ


2017 Topps Now Ian Happ

The first Ian Happ cards to arrive following his MLB debut came out within hours of his first game. They’re part of the print-on-demand 2017 Topps Now Baseball release. Cards are offered on the Topps website for 24 hours. Whatever’s bought during that window are what’s printed. Happ has multiple cards in the ever-evolving set, although his first is #142. It has 2,241 copies, making it one of the most-ordered cards of the year.

Parallels: Golden Ticket (1/1)

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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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