Rookie Card Year: 2007
Investment Rating: 7.0
Following a trade to the high-profile Atlanta Braves, Justin Upton cards and memorabilia took a leap. Although one of baseball's most promising young stars, he was somewhat overlooked while playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks. But following a trade before the 2013 season began, Justin Upton cards started looking up, just like his on-field fortunes.
The first overall pick in the 2005 MLB Draft, the Diamondbacks took Upton out of high school. Touted as a five-tool talent, the outfielder could hit for average, power, move quickly and play solid defense. It didn't take Upton long to make the majors, debuting for Arizona in August, 2007 while still a teenager.
With the Diamondbacks, Upton was a two-time All-Star and one of the team's most potent offensive weapons. However, outside of a couple of key prospect cards, he failed to fully catch on in the hobby. But a switch to the Atlanta Braves, where he'll play alongside his brother B.J., could provide the necessary spark.
The first mainstream Justin Upton cards are part of 2004 Bowman Draft -- sort of. He was added to the set's Bowman Chrome AFLAC redemptions as an autograph following a redemption mistake. Extremely rare on the secondary market, it's traded for high amounts since it was released. And while it came as a result of a 2004 redemption, the card didn't come out until 2006, following the release of other Justin Upton cards.
More common but still very popular is the 2006 Bowman Chrome and 2006 Bowman Sterling Justin Upton autographs. Although technically an insert and not an official rookie cards, it's treated like one by many collectors. The situation is similar with Justin Upton cards in 2006 Bowman Heritage and 2006 Bowman Originals.
Justin Upton rookie cards can be found in 2007 products from Topps and Upper Deck. Most are very reasonably priced, including some low-numbered autographs.
Autographed Justin Upton memorabilia is out there but not in large quantities. Also, the vast majority currently pictures him as a member of the Diamondbacks, which may not be as desirable in the long-term.
Top Justin Upton Rookie and Prospect Cards
This card came to being as part of a Topps error. The company issued redemptions for AFLAC sets in 2004 Bowman Draft. After running into some major licensing issues, the sets weren't released for more than a year in 2006. The mistake came with extra Gold Refractor redemptions getting printed. As a make good, Topps gave the collectors the option of the original Gold Refractor set or a set of newly created autographs including this Justin Upton.
This is another pre-rookie Justin Upton card that gets considerable attention from collectors. An on-card signature, Chrome technology with black borders make high-grade examples highly desirable.
This is the only Justin Upton rookie card to include an autograph and memorabilia combo. Numbered to 199, there are also two parallel versions numbered to 99 and 25. The cards numbered to 25 have patch swatches.
Justin Upton Rookie Card Checklist
Budget Rookie Cards
Premium Rookie Cards
Key Prospect and Pre-Rookie Cards
Justin Upton Autographed Memorabilia Buying Guide
Below you will find an example of what Justin Upton's authentic signature looks like. This can be used as a first point of reference for determining the legitimacy of autograph memorabilia, but is not a substitute for having your items authenticated by a well-respected professional autograph authentication company. Some of the trusted sources within the sports memorabilia market include the following companies: PSA, JSA, Steiner, Tristar and Sports Card Guaranty. Click on any of the images below to view full size photos.
Justin Upton Cut Signature Exemplar
Justin Upton Key Signature Attributes: An authentic Justin Upton signature autograph will exhibit several distinguishing characteristics. Regardless of the type of item or when it was signed, look for the following signature features:
- Signature is signed on a relatively even plane.
- The letter "J" features an angled, oval loop which is closed.
- The letter "t" is crossed towards the top and sometimes exhibits a loop like a lower-case, cursive "l."
- The letter "u" is not easily discernible as it appears lower case, it also contains a loop to start making it resemble more of an "e."
- The letter "p" is usually on a severe slant.
- The second "t" is crossed more traditionally.
- Often the "o-n" are not present.
Justin Upton Signed Baseball
Justin Upton Signed Jersey
Justin Upton Signed Bat
Justin Upton Signed Photographs
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Ryan is a former member of The Cardboard Connection Writing Staff. His collecting origins began with winter bike rides to the corner store, tossing a couple of quarters onto the counter and peddling home with a couple packs of O-Pee-Chee hockey in his pocket. Today, he continues to build sets, go after inserts with cool technologies, chase Montreal Expos and finish off his John Jaha master collection.