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2021 Bowman Chrome Sterling Transcendent Review

Bowman Chrome is now available on presell (get Bowman Chrome cases on eBay)

We have three big Bowman releases dropping in September. In the 2021 Bowman Chrome Sterling Transcendent review, we will take a look at all of them to ascertain their value, release formats, and who to chase.

An increasing number of baseball collectors today prefer Bowman to the Topps flagship releases. Therefore, Topps has upped the number of annual Bowman releases significantly. However, to make up for that, the LITE release offers exclusive Black & White Mini-Diamond Refractor cards, which appear in 1 out of every 2 packs.

With the introduction of new Bowman refractors, Fuchsia and Fuchsia Shimmer, we ask the question on everyone’s mind. What on earth is Fuschia, and what does it look like.

Bowman Chrome

Release Date: September 22. It was initially slated for release on the 17th, but the date was pushed back.

Release Formats

A new LITE format supplements the usual hobby box releases. These new Topps releases do not have any guaranteed autos, and therefore may not be worth the risk. However, if you are not interested in autos, it may be a good release for you. After all, you are likely to get some Bowman 1sts without paying a premium for guaranteed autos.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum is the HTA Choice Box, which includes ONLY autos. It does so at a price point similar to the regular Hobby Box but with an extra auto. So, whatever you are looking for, one of the formats will likely satisfy your needs.

Here is the breakdown of the formats:

Hobby Box

  • 2 mini-boxes per master box
  • 6 packs per mini-box
  • 5 Cards per pack
  • 12 boxes per case
  • 2 on-card autographs per box
  • Orange Refractor /25 hobby exclusive
  • SuperFractor Parallel 1/1 hobby exclusive
  • Preselling for $203
  • Cases are preselling for $2,430

Bowman Chrome is now available on presell (get Bowman Chrome cases on eBay)

HTA Choice Box

  • 1 pack per box
  • 3 cards per pack
  • 3 autos per box
  • 12 boxes per case
  • Preselling for $220
  • A case presells for $2,610

Lite Box

  • 5 cards per pack
  • 10 packs per box
  • Contains LITE Exclusive Black & White Mini-Diamond Parallels
  • 16 boxes per case
  • Presells for $205
  • A case goes for $3,550

Checklist Information 

The checklist is fairly similar to previous Bowman releases. There is a total of 250 cards included, with a mix of veterans and prospects.


Bowman Chrome has refractors for both veterans and prospects. However, most collectors are only interested in the prospect variants. And for a good reason, as they are the only ones to really hold value.

While the list here is familiar, there are a few new inserts in the chrome release. They include the Speckle Refractor, Purple Shimmer Refractor, Fuchsia, Fuchsia Shimmer Refractor, Aqua Refractor, and the Yellow Refractor.

What is fuchsia? We had no idea either. Apparently, it is a bright purple associated with the fuchsia plant, first discovered on the island of Hispaniola in 1696 by a French monk. You are welcome.

Here is a list of the available prospect inserts:

  • Black and White Mini Diamond Refractors – 1:2 Hobby LITE packs
  • Shimmer Refractors – 1:12 hobby packs
  • Refractors – /499
  • Speckle Refractors – /299
  • Purple Refractors – /250
  • Purple Shimmer Refractors – /250
  • Fuchsia Refractors – /199
  • Fuchsia Shimmer Refractors – /199
  • Blue Refractors – /150
  • Aqua Refractors – /125
  • Green Refractors – /99
  • Green Shimmer Refractors – /99
  • Yellow Refractors – /75
  • Gold Refractors – /50
  • Gold Shimmer Refractors – /50
  • Orange Refractors – /25
  • Orange Shimmer Refractors – /25
  • Red Refractors – /5
  • Red Shimmer Refractors – /5
  • Black Shimmer Refractors – 1/1
  • SuperFractors – 1/1

If you hit the SuperFractor 1/1, pop the champagne (get Luis Robert SuperFractors on eBay).


Here is a full list of the Chrome prospect autos:

  • B&W Mini-Diamond Refractor
  • Base Refractor – #/499
  • Speckle Refractor – #/299
  • Purple Refractor – #/250
  • Blue Refractor – #/150
  • HTA Choice – #/150
  • Atomic Refractor – #/100
  • Green Refractor – #/99
  • Green Atomic Refractor – #/99
  • Yellow Refractor – #/75
  • Gold Refractor – #/50
  • Gold Shimmer Refractor – #/50
  • Orange Refractor – #/25
  • Shimmer Ref Orange- #/25
  • Wave Refractor Orabge- #/25
  • Red Refractor – #/5
  • Shimmer Refractor Red- #/5
  • Wave Refractor Red- #/5
  • Black Mojo Refractor – 1/1
  • SuperFractor – 1/1

Bowman Sterling

Topps revived the Bowman Sterling line three years ago. It is intended for higher-rollers who wish to cut to the chase and avoid all that base. This auto heavy set comes with five signed cards per hobby box. The base set is less than half the size of the Bowman Chrome set, with 100 cards.

The release date is currently set for September 29, 2021.

Hobby Box

  • 6 cards per pack
  • 5 packs per box
  • 5 Chrome autos per box
  • 12 boxes per case
  • Preselling for $290

Auto Inserts

As you would expect in an auto heavy set, there is a wide variety of signed parallels available in Bowman Sterling. Here is the full list:

Base Autographs

  • Refractor – #/150
  • Wave Refractor – #/125
  • Speckle Refractor – #/99
  • Orange Refractor – #/75
  • Gold Refractor – #/50
  • Blue Refractor – #/25
  • Black Atomic Refractor – #/10
  • Red Refractor – #/5
  • SuperFractor – 1/1

The Black Atomic Bowman Sterling Refractor is 1/10 (look for Jasson Dominguez refractors on eBay).

Sterling Recollection Autographs

  • Blue Refractor – #/25
  • Black Atomic Refractor – #/10
  • Red Refractor – #/5
  • SuperFractor – 1/1

Sterling Tender Autographs

  • Black Atomic Refractor – #/10
  • Canary Diamond Refractor – #/3
  • Red Refractor – #/5
  • SuperFractor – 1/1

Dual Refractor Autographs

  • Black Atomic Refractor – #/10
  • Canary Diamond Refractor – #/3
  • Red Refractor – #/5
  • SuperFractor – 1/1

Triple Refractor Autographs

  • Black Atomic Refractor – #/10
  • Canary Diamond Refractor – #/3
  • Red Refractor – #/5
  • SuperFractor – 1/1

2021 Bowman Transcendent

2021 will be the second year for this high-end Bowman release. Topps only makes 100 cases of these boxes annually. Therefore, you can be assured that these cards circulate in limited quantities. The release has a 50-card base set. Meanwhile, there are 50 image variations, one for each base card.

The case contains no less than 34 autos. It also includes an invitation to a Topps VIP event.

Release Formats

2021 Bowman Transcendent only comes out in a hobby box format. While individual hobby boxes may be available later, currently, presale is limited to cases. Here is the breakdown of its contents.

Hobby Box Case

  • 50-Card Bowman Icons or all-new Bowman Icons Image Variation set (#’d to 50)
  • Bowman Icons Deco Gold Autograph Variation (#’d 1-of-1)
  • Transcendent Collection Autographs (#/20 or Less) including Red, Rose Gold, or Platinum Parallels all 1/1
  • A Wander Franco or Alec Bohm Through the Years Autograph card 1/1
  • 1 1989 Bowman Baseball SuperFractor Autograph 1/1
  • An oversized 1956 Bowman Prototype Baseball Cut Signature 1/1
  • 1 VIP Event Invitation

Autos Available In Bowman Transcendent

As (yet another) auto heavy release, Bowman Transcendent has an impressive array of signed cards available. Here is the full breakdown:

Transcendent Collection Autographs

  • Blue Parallel: sequentially #/10
  • Emerald Parallel: sequentially #/5
  • Red Parallel 1/1
  • Rose Gold Parallel 1/1
  • Platinum Parallel 1/1

Bowman Transcendent autos have a unique look (get Transcendent autos on eBay).

Transcendent Collection Image Variations Autographs

  • Blue Parallel: sequentially #/10
  • Emerald Parallel: sequentially #/5
  • Red Parallel 1/1
  • Rose Gold Parallel 1/1
  • Platinum Parallel 1/1

Special Edition Autos

  • Alec Bohm and Wander Franco Through the Years Autographs 1/1
  • 1989 Bowman SuperFractor Autos 1/1

The 2021 Bowman Chrome Sterling Transcendent Review Value Overview

We don’t know what the future value of the new Bowman products will be. However, the best indication of future value is past value. So, let’s look at how previous releases have held out.

Bowman Chrome Wax Value

Year Blaster Hobby Box
2017 Bowman Chrome $189 $689
2018 Bowman Chrome $150 $1,150
2019 Bowman Chrome $159 $479
2020 Bowman Chrome $80 $289

Bowman this year does not have a particularly impressive crop of 1sts. However, the quality of the non-1st prospects in the set is still very high and should help 2021 Bowman Chrome maintain value.

2018 Bowman Chrome holds strong value (get a case on eBay).

Therefore, at a price point slightly above $200, the hobby box will net a nice profit if you hold it for three years or more. Unfortunately, the blasters are not out yet. But when they are released, they should be well worth it if you can nab them for under $50.

Bowman Singles Value

Let’s look at how some prominent Bowman Chrome 1sts and autos fare as singles. All cards here are PSA 10s.

Year Bowman 1st Auto
2017 Bowman Chrome Ronald Acuna Jr. $335 $350
2018 Bowman Chrome

Shohei Ohtani

$315 (these cards are the first but do not have the 1st logo). $8,600
2019 Bowman Chrome

Wander Franco

$212 $2,495
2020 Bowman Chrome

Bobby Witt Jr.

$220 $600

As you can see, the value of the best prospects is pretty high. They can then significantly increase their value, as Shohei and Wander have once they are called up. Acuna also had much higher prices before his injury lowered the value of his Bowmans.

While most of the hobby boxes will not repay their price, a good proportion will. Bowman Chrome remains a better value rip and hold than most products.

Bowman Sterling Wax Value

Sterling is a relatively new product. It is only released in a hobby box format. Let’s check how the previous releases hold up.

Year Hobby Box
2019 Hobby Box $700
2020 Hobby Box $500

The previous years’ hobby boxes have held up well. Since this is a more limited edition, sealed wax is relatively rare. Therefore, there is little risk involved in buying it at its presell price point. It will likely appreciate significantly over the years.

Bowman Sterling Singles Value

Bowman Sterling focuses on delivering a maximal amount of premium autos at a relatively low price. So, let’s see how much value those autographs hold.

Wander Franco 2019 Bowman Sterling Prospect Auto Speckle #/99 $2,500
Wander Franco 2019 Bowman Sterling Blue Chrome Refractor #/25 $4,800
Bobby Witt Jr.  2020 Bowman Sterling Prospect Wave #/125 $700
Bobby Witt Jr.  2020 Bowman Sterling Gold Refractor  #/50 $2,000

Once again, most autos are not going to fetch these prices. But, on the other hand, you can get the boxes with several autos at under $300. So your chances of making it back with a good prospect are pretty high. So, altogether, Bowman Sterling is a pretty good buy.

Bobby Witt Jr. was the auto to chase in 2020 Bowman Sterling (look for Bobby Witt autos on eBay).

Bowman Transcendent Wax Value

Bowman transcendent is currently available only by case. However, at over $20,000, it is not exactly a small investment for most of us. So, how likely are you to make money from one of these cases?

We only have one year of previous data to examine. Nonetheless, the answer is clear. Cases from last year sell for $4,875. Therefore, you would have to be crazy to buy the case at its current price point.

However, the 2020 case is an excellent buy for the current price. Quite a few autos from it have sold in the $2,000-$4,000 price range and more than a few for well above.

The 2021 Bowman Chrome Sterling Transcendent Review Of The Top Chases 

Bowman is the home of the baseball prospect. However, the most desirable rookies in a set are not always the best-rated prospects. Therefore, there is a premium on cards designated a Bowman first.

Bowman 1sts To Chase

Many of the top prospects appearing in Bowman have already appeared previously. For example, Spencer Torkelson had his Bowman first in 2020, so he is not one of the main cards to chase this year.

Austin Martin

Austin was one of the most popular prospects in Bowman Baseball and is set to remain pivotal in the September releases. He is universally considered a top 20 prospect for his plate discipline and consistent ability to make contact. However, the center fielder is no slam dunk. Martin has little power and questionable fielding abilities.

Austin Martin is the top Bowman 1st chase in 2021 (look for Martin Bowman 1sts on eBay).

Mick Abel

Mick is one of the finest pitching prospects in the MLB and has been compared to Hall of Fame pitchers by several scouts. His fastball is particularly impressive, hitting 97 mph at times, and he seems ready for prime time. But Abel is no one-dimensional blazer. He has three solid pitches and a good baseball brain. His ERA this year is not as low as it could be, and a case of tendonitis has reassured no one. However, Mick’s 1.21 WHIP is an indication that he is learning to perform at the minor league level.

Jake Eder

Eder is putting together a stellar season of AA ball at Pensacola. With an 0.98 WHIP and a 1.77 ERA in over 70 innings pitched, to say he has shown potential is an understatement. In addition, the pitcher consistently hits 92-94 mph. His stuff is undoubtedly MLB level. However, some scouts have voiced doubts that he is starter material.

Autos And Numbered Cards To Chase

The top prospects’ autos and low numbered parallels are a worthwhile chase, even if it is not their Bowman 1st card. The following three blue-chip prospects stand out amongst the non-Bowman 1st prospects on the auto list.

Julio Rodriguez

Julio is almost assured of being an elite MLB hitter within a few years with his current performance levels. Though question marks are surrounding his defense, Julio’s offensive upside more than makes up for it. Thus, a Bowman auto of his should have good long-term value.

Adley Rutschman

The catcher is currently the Baseball America #1 prospect in the country. Playing in AAA, he is ready to break in next season and become the long-term Orioles starter. His combination of hitting and fielding means that his ceiling is somewhere near Johnny Bench territory.

Adley Rutschman has Hall Of Fame potential (look for Adley Rutschman autos on eBay).

Jasson Dominguez

Jasson’s long-term potential is a point of controversy. MLB.com rates him as the #17th best prospect in America, a very high placing for an 18-year-old. However, so far, Dominguez has had trouble hitting anything but fastballs. Still, he is likely to be a star, and if he remains part of the Yankees system, his card value will be significantly enhanced.

Bottomline Of The 2021 Bowman Chrome Sterling Transcendent Review 

The Bowman 1st class for these releases is a bit thin. Therefore, the value of wax from these releases will probably not be as high as in the years with top-notch Bowman 1sts like Wander Franco or Shohei Ohtani. However, the more ‘veteran’ prospects are excellent, and we wouldn’t be surprised if one or two of the 1sts break out as well.

Therefore, both Bowman Chrome and Bowman Sterling are strong buys. The price point is quite reasonable in relation to the potential value of the cards. The exception is Bowman Transcendent which seems vastly overpriced. We hope the 2021 Bowman Chrome Sterling Transcendent review helps you make the right decisions for your collection.

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim is the emeritus editor of Cardlines. He continues to write for several hobby outlets, including this one and Cardbase. He collects primarily vintage baseball and soccer and has a weird obsession with 1971 Topps.

In his spare time, Shaiel is sobbing into his bourbon when the Mets lose and playing Dungeons and Dragons. In a past life, Dr. Ben-Ephraim was a political science professor, journalist, and diplomat. But cards are more fun.

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