As a general rule of collecting thumb, rookie cards of New York Yankees prospects are dripping with hype juice. So much so, that I wouldn't touch them with your momma's hands inside of a David Ortiz game-used batting glove.
But Jesus Montero is not your typical prospect. He's a power-hitting catcher who is primed for Yankee greatness.
Collectors and investors alike should look no further than across the diamond for a real-time comparison.
It wasn't too long ago that Robinson Cano burst upon the scene, and those of you who weren't asleep at the wheel were hoarding the few rookie cards the market had available: 2003 Topps Pristine, 2003 Topps Traded Chrome, 2003 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects and the money card, 2003 Bowman Heritage Signs of Greatness, Cano's first certified autograph card.
Those who did were rewarded handsomely, with copies of the Bowman Heritage certified autographs reaching highs of $200 a couple of years ago. Pretty good return considering copies were $25 to $30 prior to the Yankees 2009 World Series Championship season.
Montero has a decent assortment of rookie cards and certified autographs to choose from, but I will focus on two in particular: 2008 Bowman Chrome and 2008 Bowman Sterling, which also contains a swatch of game-used material embedded within the card.
Truth be told, purchasing either of these two Montero cards won't come cheap, however, the risk versus reward, coupled with the recent dip in price for both of these cards makes them both a good short-term play.
The 2008 Bowman Chrome Montero certified autograph rookie card was a hot seller last winter pushing the $100 mark per copy. Fast forward eight months and that same card can be yours for $65. Parallel versions such as refractors serial-numbered out of 500 are selling at similar discounts.
The Bowman Sterling autographed relic is a cheaper alternative but offers the same potential. Prior to the season, copies were moving rather freely at $40 to $45 per. Now you can own a copy for $20 to $25 per with refractors selling slightly below $50.
And for those of you who don't have the disposable income to drop a c-note or two on some high-end Montero autographed rookie cards, you might find the 2010 Bowman Platinum certified autograph or the 2010 Topps Pro Debut certified autograph as extremely affordable alternatives, with each setting you back about the cost of a large pizza pie.
As the hype machine continues to roll on Montero, and with a major league call-up imminent according to all the New York Yankees beat writers, the Montero rookie card market is primed for a major rebound. Even if the cards return to winter 2010 levels, that's a pretty solid short-term gain.
Montero possesses the quintessential five-tool make-up that all baseball card collectors look for: power hitter, big market team, premium position, homegrown talent and name recognition.
Next time I will tell you which Stephen Strasburg rookie cards you should be buying right now.
Happy collection, everyone.
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