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 1997 prospect to come out of this release?
To see what’s currently on eBay from 1997 Bowman Chrome, click here.
|Winter 1997||Release Date|
1997 Bowman Chrome is a 300-card set issued in 4-card packs with and SRP of $3.00, and is Bowman’s inaugural Chrome issue. Key RCs: Adrian Beltre, Lance Berkman, Jose Cruz Jr., Aramis Ramirez, Miguel Tejada, Vernon Wells, Kerry Wood, and Roy Halladay.
Know what’s sad? When this product came out, I hated it because I thought Topps was over-crowding the market with more chrome-like products. I mean, we had Finest and Bowman’s Best, why add more?
If I had to choose though, I would say Travis Lee was my favorite prospect. And now you can see why I don’t prospect for a living! 🙂
HA! That’s a good point. I can remember the Chrome craze of the late 90’s. To me, this was the last great trend run of that decade. In my eyes, it will always be highly regarded. I wish card collecting was still this simple.
Regarding prospects, T.Lee is the reason why I no longer invest in new prospects right out of the gate. I need to watch these guys develop before I spend money on ’em. 8) (kicking myself for not buying Pujols in ’01)
I was out of cards in ’01 but if I had know about Pujols’ cards, I would have bought 1 or 2 when they were “low” compared to now. Or hell, even a LeBron RC.
Agreed on both. I would like to also add a Sidney Crosby to that list. $350 for a base RC?!? With all the jersey dual cut rookie auto nonsense that plagues the market these days, it’s a miracle that a base card ever brakes the $100 mark anymore. When it does, I’m always amazed that it survived the overshadowing from all of the gimmicks. To some degree, base cards have lost their significance and that’s something unfortunate. I will always be a fan of simplicity in design. It’s the player, not the technology involved in creating the card, that’s ultimately important. At the end of the day, they are just cards. It’s all fun and games. I’ll likely add additional banter about this on another post at a later date. For now, we shall reminisce. 8)