The 1997 Bowman Chrome International Refractor features one of my all-time favorite designs. This International Refractor is a level 3 parallel. If you consider the 1997 Bowman base set, this could even qualify as a 5th tier parallel. With the base set, there was the base and international parallel. However, for the sake of quality discussion, let's just stick with the Chrome set and call this a 3rd tier parallel. What this means is that there are two other parallels below this one that mirror the base Chrome set. Those included the base Chrome refractor and the base Chrome international. This being a combination of the two, it is the toughest to pull. We'll talk statistics here in a bit. For now, let's consider general design. These cards have a silver/gray border which fares extremely well when coated with a refractor finish. That coupled with the flag background really adds considerable pop to this release. I personally think this was Bowman Chrome's greatest year. Coincidentally, it was also its inaugural year. That alone adds significance. Another really nice touch is the vintage look of where the players name is placed. That blue swipe that's rounded on one side and sharp on the other kinda reminds me of something out of the 1974 Topps set. I like how Bowman integrated a vintage feel with a modern release.
According to Beckett, these international refractors were seeded at a rate of 1:24 (1:box). Based on secondary market value, let's assume an SRP of 2.99/pk. To pull one of these guys, expect to spend about $71.75. Here's where it starts to get interesting. Given that there are 300 cards in the Chrome set, in order to pull any one player of your choice, you would have to spend $21,528! That's a lot of dough to drop on a Travis Lee international refractor. Ha! My advice, save your money and go straight secondary market for your card.
Question of the Day:
Who was your favorite '97 prospect to come out of this release?