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Yu Darvish Baseball Cards and Autograph Memorabilia Guide

Yu Darvish

Date of Birth: 8/16/1986
Rookie Card Year: 2012
Investment Rating: 6.5

Rookie Cards

Yu Darvish cards were some of the most anticipated of the 2012 season. Not since Hideo Nomo in 1995 had a Japanese pitching prospect generated as much buzz as Yu Darvish. The young pitcher debuted with the Texas Rangers in 2012 after signing a six-year contract with the team in the off-season.

Prior to arriving in North America, Darvish spent seven seasons in the Japanese Pacific League, winning MVP honors twice. His career numbers in Japan included a 99-38 win-loss record, 1.99 ERA and 1,259 strikeouts.

Topps signed Darvish to a card contract before his MLB debut. The deal gave Topps exclusive autograph rights to the pitcher allowing him to be featured in sets throughout his rookie season. His cards performed very well on the secondary market, which was partially due to his popularity in the international market, especially in Japan.

Pitching for Japan at the 2009 World Baseball Classic, Darvish had several cards commemorating the event. He also has several Japanese cards that pre-date his MLB rookie cards.

Yu Darvish Cards Rookie Card Guide

2012 Bowman Yu Darvish RC #209

A very clean-looking card, the 2012 Bowman Yu Darvish will appeal most to collectors simply wanting to own a rookie of the Japanese pitcher. With many collectors ignoring base Bowman for its Bowman Chrome cousins, this card will likely be overlooked.

Yu Darvish Cards - 2012 Bowman Baseball Yu Darvish

2012 Bowman Chrome Yu Darvish #84

A clean, straightforward option, many collectors go after the set's plentiful Refractor parallels and high-end autographed inserts. But if you're looking for a reasonably priced Yu Darvish rookie card, this is certainly a solid option.

2012 Bowman Platinum Yu Darvish RC #9

The 2012 Bowman Platinum Yu Darvish rookie is an affordable option with a more high-end feel. Although big dollars are being spent on autographs from the pitcher, this card is a part of the base set. The lack of short printing and serial numbers should keep prices in check over the long-term. That doesn't take away from the card's visual appeal.

2012 Bowman Sterling Yu Darvish RC #10

The 2012 Bowman Sterling Yu Darvish rookie might not look like a high-end card. However, it's extremely tough to find and commands strong prices (considering that it doesn't have a serial number, autograph or other key selling point). The set is extremely high end and autographs outnumber the base cards.

2012 Panini National Treasures Yu Darvish RC #224 Jersey #/99

Elegant and high-end, the 2012 Panini National Treasures Yu Darvish comes with a large jersey swatch. However, this Rated Rookie, which is numbered to 99, doesn't command huge sums on the secondary market. Collectors seem to be chasing the set's autographs and retired player content more than plain jersey cards of current players. The lack of MLB license is also another likely factor.

2012 Panini National Treasures Yu Darvish RC

2012 Panini Prizm Yu Darvish RC #151

With a clean, premium-feeling design, this is a nice choice for those on a budget and aren't concerned about what's on the pitcher's hat or jersey. Gold Prizm parallels are likely to garner a lot of attention.

2012 Panini Prizm Yu Darvish RC

2012 Panini Signature Series Yu Darvish RC #100

Like the 2012 Bowman Sterling, Darvish's 2012 Panini Signature Series Yu Darvish doesn't show up all that often because of product configuration. Single-pack boxes don't have many base cards. The intense portrait gives the card a distinct look. It also does a good job of masking Panini's lack of MLB license.

2012 Playoff Prime Cuts Yu Darvish RC #50 Jersey #/99

One would think that a Yu Darvish rookie card limited to 99 numbered copies that also comes with a memorabilia swatch would command high prices. That's not the case with the 2012 Playoff Prime Cuts Yu Darvish. Coming from a high-end product, it's tough to find and may prove to be a solid buy over te long-term.

2012 Topps Yu Darvish RC #660

Capturing the pitcher in action, the 2012 Topps Yu Darvish rookie shows great intensity. The set also has a short print variation showing Darvish tossing in left-handed during practice.

Yu Darvish Cards - 2012 Topps Baseball Yu Darvish 660

2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Yu Darvish RC #4

Simply design, yet with nice subtlety, the 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Yu Darvish rookie card should remain popular with the pitcher's fans. It sticks with the standard design for with Darvish shown in a posed portrait. The color behind the pitcher gives a not-so-abstract nod to the flag of his homeland.

Yu Darvish Cards - 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball Yu Darvish

2012 Topps Archives Yu Darvish RC #119

Based on the 1980 Topps Baseball design, the 2012 Topps Archives Yu Darvish does a good job of mixing new and old. The card is not short printed and should remain a reasonably priced Yu Darvish rookie card option.

Yu Darvish Cards - 2012 Topps Archives Yu Darvish

2012 Topps Chrome Yu Darvish RC #151

2012 Topps Chrome Baseball has tons of different Yu Darvish cards. Oddly, it's the rookie that's bound to be overlooked. Besides the base card, the Japanese pitcher has an autograph, a parallel Refractor rainbow and a rare variation. Darvish can also be found in basic insert sets.

2012 Topps Finest Yu Darvish RC #35

The 2012 Topps Finest Yu Darvish rookie will likely be overlooked in favor of the set's many parallels. Both the base card rookie and Rookie Autograph variation have several colored Refractors.

2012 Topps Finest Yu Darvish RC

2012 Topps Five Star Yu Darvish RC #61 #/80

2012 Topps Five Star Baseball has Yu Darvish's rarest official rookie card. Numbered to 80 copies, it's also part of the most expensive set of the year.

2012 Topps Gypsy Queen Yu Darvish RC #288

An extreme short print, the 2012 Topps Gypsy Queen Yu Darvish is extremely tough to come by. Collectors could expect to break several cases without finding one. The card is a variation, replacing C.J. Wilson. Because of the Darvish's variation status, 2012 Topps Gypsy Queen sets are usually sold with the Wilson card.

Yu Darvish Cards - 2012 Topps Gypsy Queen Variation Short Prints 288 Yu Darvish

2012 Topps Heritage High Number Yu Darvish RC #H600

Released as a part of a box set that was originally sold exclusively on the online Topps shop, the 2012 Topps Heritage High Number Yu Darvish is limited to 1,000 copies. While that's higher than many other issues, Heritage has a huge following among set builders. Plus, many sets were kept in tact. As a result, singles are harder to find than the numbers may suggest.

2012 Topps Mini Yu Darvish RC #660

An exact copy of Darvish's base Topps rookie, only smaller, his 2012 Topps Mini rookie could emerge as a popular choice. Other than a few boxes sold at the 2012 National, 2012 Topps Mini Baseball boxes were originally exclusive to the online Topps store. They quickly sold out. Although not a short print, the smaller print run could make this card (and everything else in the set) tough to find over the long term. Darvish also has an autograph insert in 2012 Topps Mini.

2012 Topps Triple Threads Yu Darvish RC #139 Autograph #/99

Unfortunately, Yu Darvish's 2012 Topps Triple Threads rookie is a redemption. Limited to 99 copies, it's one of his rarest rookie cards. Although other rookies in the set also have jersey swatches, the redemption card confirms there's just an autograph. That's not to say a jersey swatch won't be part of the final card, but we'll have to wait to be 100% certain.

2012 Triple Play Yu Darvish RC #84

2012 Triple Play Baseball has, perhaps, the most unique Yu Darvish rookie card. The set is comprised completely of player illustrations. It offers a distinct look. Aimed at young collectors, the card is very reasonably priced.

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2009 WBC Checklist

Yu Darvish Cards - 2009 World Baseball Classic Card Highlights

One of the standout international stars from the 2009 World Baseball Classic, Yu Darvish appeared in several Topps insert sets over the course of the year. Of the more than 60 cards available, several feature game-used jersey swatches from the tournament. Other popular cards include limited Refractors from 2009 Bowman Chrome and 2009 Topps Chrome.

The following is a complete checklist of Yu Darvish baseball cards Topps produced in 2009.

2009 World Baseball Classic Yu Darvish Cards

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Autograph Guide

Yu Darvish Autographed Memorabilia Buying Guide

Below you will find an example of what Yu Darvish'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, and Tristar. Click on any of the images below to view full size photos.

Yu Darvish Cut Signature Exemplar

Yu Darvish Signature Example

Yu Darvish Key Signature Attributes: An authentic Yu Darvish signature autograph will exhibit several distinguishing characteristics. Regardless of  the type of item or when it was signed, look for the following signature features:

  1. Largely indecipherable, look for what appears to be an over-sized letter "C" with a short line through the bottom at about a 45 degree angle.
  2. The pen lifts it and another line on a 45 degree angle, this time longerthan flows into what looks like a smaller "c."
  3. The three small characters including the long curved dash are always present.

Yu Darvish Signed Baseball

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Yu Darvish Signed Baseball

Yu Darvish Signed Jersey

Active Listings for Yu Darvish Signed Jerseys

Yu Darvish Signed Jersey

Yu Darvish Signed Photograph

Active Listings for Yu Darvish Signed Photographs

Yu Darvish Signed Photo

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 |  E-Mail Author | 
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.

User Comments

  1. Investment rating of an 8? On a scale to 100? His cards have no upside.

  2. Longterm, perhaps, but right now there is still more upside. Prices won’t be dropping much, if any, no matter what this year. There’s too much hype. However, with a strong start, they hype will go even higher, at least for the short-term.

  3. How are Yu Darvish and Bryce Harper hotter than Mike Trout? Trout 09 Bowman Draft Chrome Autos were 340, then 360, now Trout bins are being hit at 379.

    Also how about card overkill? We see it with Bryce Harper. How many cards does he have? U.D. 2009 etc. 2010 AFLAC, USA, USA buyback etc., and ALL of the auto and regular in 2011 from Bowman to Draft and everything in between.

    Same for Yu Darvish! How many Auto and “chase” cards will be produced during the card printing season?

    Yet Mike Trout has higher numbers and just as much or more upside. AND only three 09 cards( EEE, Sterling, and Draft Auto) just a few 2010 cards and what? 5 for “RC” in 2011? and putting up stats so far that line up with some the greatest ever for a 20 year old!

  4. Will (ID 48104) It’s actually one of the minor limitations of the site as some things are arranged by date. You will see Trout back on top probably within the next 24 hours. The main point is that all three are driving hobby sales right now.

  5. Well, after keeping an eye on his auto’s for about a month, i had a few kept updated in my watch list and looked before the game the other night, then saw on Twitter he was close to a perfect game, looked again and people were pulling their cards off and relisting at higher prices and others tripled. Over a dozen in my watch list sold in minutes. I found a good deal on a nice black refractor.

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