Wander Franco was a top MLB rookie prospect, and sports collectors just couldn’t get enough of him earlier in 2022. Then the 2022 Topps Series 1 baseball set came out and the Wander Franco craze really heated up. Collectors were ripping packs and posting Wander Franco’s card #215 as if it was going to be the next best thing in the sports collectibles hobby. That was then.
As the 2022 MLB season has now ended and is in the playoffs, we wanted to know what the state of Wander Franco happened to be for collectors who are looking forward rather than looking backwards. Franco’s wrist injury in 2022 meant that he only played in 83 games, just over the 70 games in the 2021 season. His batting average .277 in 2022 was down 0.11 from 2021 and his total number of hits was 87 versus 81 the prior year. Franco’s on-base percentage was .328, down from .347 the prior year.
There is a lot to wonder about for 2023 about Wander Franco’s career. The hobby of sports collectibles also has a lot to wonder about regarding Wander Franco. This is where athletic performance meets supply and demand in the sports card hobby. Let’s just say there is more than ample of supply.
POPULATION FLOODGATES WIDE OPEN!
Of the readily available estimates and calculations in early 2022, there may have been some 750,000 or more of each card produced in the 2022 Topps Series 1 release. Then there are the parallel cards, and PSA’s population report data show that there were 5,291 PSA graded 2022 Topps Wander Franco base cards already graded. Of those, some 3,554 base cards are graded at the prized PSA 10. Keep in mind that many of those grading times were also when there was still a huge rush for grading along with much higher prices.
Where Wander Franco rookie cards get even more extreme is that the there are 17 listed parallel cards for each Series 1 card. But PSA population reports have a total of 25 various printings of Wander Franco’s card #215. Then all of SGC, BGS & CSG.
And as for the 2021 Topps Now (#402) debut of Wander Franco’s first hit over a year ago (on June 22, 2021) it at least happened to be of a home run. Still, that print run was shown to be 61,305 cards printed in Topps’ on-demand series. And the latest sales results data showed that only 152 graded examples exist in the PSA pop reports.
It is unknown how many cards are in the so-called “phantom population” of cards that are already in the grading system but not yet accounted for and the number of cards that collectors will jump to grade in an instant if they think it will pay off to pay for the grading. And we have to account for lower grading prices now too.
LOOKING BACK AT THE POST-RELEASE TIME
On eBay auctions around the time of the 2022 Topps release, there was not any easy way to filter out the boxes, packs and lots that had “Wander Franco” in the description. A manual eBay search on sales above $10.00 and only in “Auction Only” back to Feb. 16, 2022 initially showed 2,152 sales results using that criteria, and then allowing for “All Listings” that includes “Buy It Now (or Best Offer)” and just the “Buy It Now” then left a massive number of 5,280 sold items.
There were large issuances of other sets by other card makers from long before 2022 came to pass. This is good news for those want it to be easy to buy rookie Wander Franco cards. it’s bad news for the sports card investors because the huge supply of getting Wander Franco “rookie cards” without much trouble means that the supply may always exceed the demand.
AND FOR PRICING NOW?
Grading fees were still at very high prices in early 2022. The market for modern sports cards had already cooled, but grading demand was still off the chart with a massive backlog. The first instances of PSA 10 Wander Franco cards in the Series 1 issue were selling for handily above $100 through mid-May of 2022. Prices have been on a steady and slow decline since, but at least those prices have begun to stabilize around the current $40.00 or so handle (see below). Many PSA 10 examples of the 2022 Topps Wander Franco cards are now being sold in lots rather than as single cards, but this is a breakdown of PSA’s data on the last 20 individual card sales with dates and prices:
- 10/17/2022 $41.00
- 10/16/2022 $39.00
- 10/16/2022 $38.00
- 10/15/2022 $45.93
- 10/12/2022 $40.01
- 10/12/2022 $41.06
- 10/12/2022 $38.00
- 10/12/2022 $36.00
- 10/12/2022 $35.00
- 10/12/2022 $41.06
- 10/11/2022 $34.33
- 10/11/2022 $39.11
- 10/11/2022 $34.00
- 10/11/2022 $33.00
- 10/11/2022 $31.00
- 10/9/2022 $36.00
- 10/8/2022 $38.00
- 10/6/2022 $33.00
- 10/5/2022 $34.00
- 10/5/2022 $41.09
The sad issue here, at least in the base cards, is that there is a possibility the grading fees from PSA, SGC, and BGS may end up being a higher amount than the total population’s value. And if Wander Franco’s 2023 doesn’t look much better than the 2022 season, even if it is due to injury, you know what the hobby will likely expect for prices and demand for his cards.
As of March 2022, these were the highest Wander Franco card sales of all-time. Needless to say, if those cards were sold today the prices would be far different. Here is a look at the current PSA population report for all that will fit on to a tall screen.