Kris Bryant Rookie Card Checklist and Guide
A popular name well before his MLB debut, Kris Bryant came with a hype unmatched in recent years. This, of course, extended to his many cards and he headlined a stacked 2015 rookie class. Bryant closed out his strong rookie season with the NL Rookie of the Year Award and his cards have continued to command considerable interest from collectors.
When Kris Bryant debuted for the Chicago Cubs a couple of weeks into the 2015 season, it opened the floodgates for Topps and Panini to start including the heralded slugger — and overall nice guy — in their main sets. Helping his cause, the Chicago Cubs also enjoyed a good 2015 season and Bryant did his part with an All-Star appearance and NL Rookie of the Month Awards in May and August. Although the team did not reach their ultimate goal, the Cubs are loaded with young talent and Bryant leads the way.
While Kris Bryant cards were around for a couple of years before this, they were either inserts or part of prospect sets. So even though his first Bowman Chrome autographs might still be the most popular of his widely available cards, they're not rookie cards by traditional definitions.
See also: Kris Bryant Prospect Card Guide
The cards that have the distinction of being the first Kris Bryant rookie cards are 2015 Topps Archives and 2015 Topps Finest. Both came out on the same day and many more followed. If you are interested in seeing the Kris Bryant cards that are currently the most popular with collectors, check out our real-time hot list.
Kris Bryant Rookie Card Guide
The following is a list of Kris Bryant rookie cards that are included in 2015 base sets. While many inserts are highly desirable, they're often not classified as rookie cards. If you're looking for a specific card or interested in current values, click on the links or images to shop for singles on eBay or to check completed sales. Linked sets below go directly to product profiles.
Although Bryant has been on a few Bowman Chrome cards over the years, 2015 Bowman Chrome is his only official rookie card. That won't result in high prices, but it will remain an important fact to rookie collectors. Bryant also has a Chrome Rookie Autograph in the set, but they were issued as redemptions.
Certainly not a common design, 2015 Bowman's Best utilizes a Cubs logo that is superimposed over the background image of fans that are still slightly visible. Although the remnants can be distracting, the logo seems to double as a bullseye and helps draw attention largely to the image of Bryant.
This is the first Kris Bryant rookie card that's readily available. Not a short print and part of one of the most plentiful sets of the season, it's one that is ideal for those on a tighter budget. If you're looking for it in packs, it's found in 2015 Topps Series 2. In addition to a multitude of parallels, there is also a retail variation found in the factory set.
Featuring a classic A&G design, this rookie card for Kris Bryant is likely to be one of the more popular low-end choices for collectors. The full-size version only has a few parallels, but 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter also includes a good amount of mini card parallels for Bryant. There is also a black version found in 2015 Allen & Ginter X.
Archives has had short prints before, but not usually like this. Rather than one in every few packs (they were 1:4 in 2014), they're 1:70 packs. With 30 in the set, this Kris Bryant rookie card is going to be tough to find despite not having any sort of embellishments. It may not quite be at the level of rarity as the 2012 Topps Archives Bryce Harper, but the majority of the value for the 2015 Topps Archives Kris Bryant comes from how tough it is to pull.
Featuring the chromium version of the flagship Topps design, 2015 Topps Chrome is simple and modern. Although this Kris Bryant rookie still sits more on the low-end side of things, the value is decent and the many Refractor parallels see strong interest. Bryant also has an on-card autograph in the product that features a different image.
Debatable as an official rookie, Topps Dynasty is one of the most premium rookie-year options for Kris Bryant. Somewhat misleading, every autographed patch is numbered to ten or less, but Bryant has five different images versions that are each numbered to ten. This puts the real total at fifty for the base versions. The card shown below is #AP-KB5.
Like Archives, the 2015 Topps Finest Kris Bryant rookie card is part of another batch of extreme short prints. It's one of 11 high number cards that combine to land approximately one per case. For a brand that has never been too big into cornerstone rookie cards, this might be enough to inject some long-term interest. Despite being hard to find in packs, the base version is not serial numbered.
A top option for collectors, the 2015 Five Star rookie autograph for Kris Bryant was originally issued as a redemption but is now live. Although the wait likely caused a little dip in interest, the on-card autograph and Five Star brand give it tremendous longevity with collectors.
Part of a factory set, the Heritage '51 Collection rookie card for Kris Bryant pays homage to origins of Topps baseball with the 1951 Blue/Red Back design. The simple card is unlikely to carry too much value but will be a little tougher to find compared to other low-end releases because it is part of a factory set. There is also a signed version of the card.
Although Kris Bryant missed out on the main Heritage checklist, Topps was able to include him in their update set. The 2015 Topps Heritage High Number rookie card for Bryant offers a retro look and feel and celebrates the 1966 design. In addition to the base card, multiple variations are available. The Action Image option switches the posed shot to a post-swing pic and the Color Swap replaces the orange banner background with black.
Featuring one of the wildest designs, 2015 High Tek includes an acetate design with a variety of base design patterns. Because players are grouped for the various designs, Bryant is also found with Dots, Pipes, Chain Link, Diamonds or Grid in addition to the primary Waves base card. Exclusive to Asian boxes, there is also a Sky Rainbow parallel for Bryant, numbered to 79. Signed versions exist, but they were originally issued as redemptions.
If you're looking for a simple but slick card that doesn't cost a ton, 2015 Topps Stadium Club is it. A late addition to the checklist, Bryant's photo doesn't hit the same standard as a lot of others in the set, but it does come with a simple design and moderate price tag.
A key instance where the image does not do the card justice, 2015 Topps Strata pays special attention to deign and stock with an on-card autograph finish. In addition to several colored parallels, collectors can also find Bryant in most of the other inserts, including the Clearly Authentic sets with MLB game-used authentication.
No, it's not an early look at Kris Bryant's second-year card in 2016 Topps Triple Threads. Despite the lack of RC logo, this is actually his 2015 TTT rookie. The design is elegant and the image pops but many collectors will be left scratching their heads about the missing rookie logo.
Unlikely to wow anyone, Elite offers a rookie card for Kris Bryant that is easy on the wallet and a solid option if you don't need team logos. There is another Kris Bryant card with the Elite design that could easily be mistaken as a variation. The card in question is #36 and showcases him with a bat. However, it is part of an insert set from 2015 Donruss Baseball and does not include the RC logo.
On one hand, the sticker autographs and lack of MLB logos diminishes the interest for the Immaculate Collection card. However, it is still an official rookie card, part of a well-respected brand and one of just a few signed rookie cards for Bryant. Also helping things, the total print run for both cards combined is less than 150 and the patch version further builds on the appeal.
Even without the logos, this is one of the most premium rookie Kris Bryant rookie cards. The large swatch, limited print run and on-card autograph are further enhanced with the NT brand name. Limited to just 99, the card is only rivaled by his Dynasty and Five Star rookies.
Original article by Ryan Cracknell.