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A Guide To Finding The Top CJ Stroud Rookie Cards For Investing

cj stroud rookie card

CJ Stroud, the Houston Texans rookie quarterback, is making waves in the world of football cards and potentially could revolutionize the NFL card market just as we’re seeing from Victor Wembanyama in basketball.

As an extraordinary talent, Stroud has garnered significant attention and even some MVP talk, prompting us to provide a comprehensive guide for investors.

This guide delves into key investment strategies for CJ Stroud rookie cards, addressing crucial questions such as whether to opt for sealed boxes or singles.

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Stroud Rookies: Fanatics vs. Panini Edition

The single most important thing to understand about Stroud rookies is the never-before-seen turbulence between Fanatics (Topps) and Panini.

Fanatics landed Stroud on an exclusive autograph deal, so almost zero Panini products will feature Stroud autographs. He signed a few cards for Panini Draft products and a couple of Topps Now cards, but most of those are unlicensed or NCAA-licensed.

So, in short, he won’t have any standard licensed autographs rookies wearing his Texans jersey. You can get an autograph, or him in his Texans jersey… not both. We’ll explore what cards to look for further along in this guide.

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CJ Stroud Mosaic Football rookie card

How to Invest in CJ Stroud Rookie Cards

One thing is nearly for certain: the market is about to get flooded with CJ Stroud.

Topps was the first to get in on the action despite not having an NFL license (yet). He’s been signing for Bowman University Chrome since its first release in 2021, and that card is considered his 1st Bowman.

Because of this, there’s a very good chance the 2021 Bowman University Chrome 1st Bowman Auto could eventually be considered his best autograph card It’s his first major autograph card, and much like baseball 1st Bowman autographs, that could carry some weight with collectors down the road.

CJ Stroud 2021 Bowman University

The other noteworthy autograph will be his Panini Instant autograph, which will be his only licensed autograph card from Panini (it was released before they lost his autograph rights).

panini instant nflpa rookie premier cj stroud

And we’re in a unique situation since Fantatics (through Topps, presumably) is taking over cards in the next few years, so it’s impossible to predict how the market will react.

While Prizm will be the hot rookie for Stroud this year, nothing is set in stone, but we can still do our best to predict the future. Here are a few investment strategies.

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Mistakes to avoid when investing in CJ Stroud Rookie Cards

Here are a few ways that you can miss the mark when buying CJ Stroud rookie cards.

Buying the wrong cards

It’s hard to say which cards will be the most valuable in 10 years: either his autographed Topps cards or NFL-licensed Panini cards.

My guess? They’re both extremely valuable at some point, but a favorite will emerge in 10 years. But that’s not to say that can’t co-exist — many collectors prioritize different things, from autographs to licenses. Buy whichever you’re more comfortable with and the one that makes the most sense with your budget.

Buying overpopulated cards

Despite the MVP hype as early as his rookie season, buying base rookie cards is going to be a mistake, even if Stroud becomes the generational talent that he’s flashed thus far.

Cards are being printed at an all-time high right now, so even Prizm rookies won’t hold their value like they should if there are 15,000 PSA 10 Stroud rookies a decade from now. Avoid those.

Thinking more is more

Rookie collectors often prioritize having a lot of cards, but remember that you’re better off holding fewer cards that are more valuable ones. Just like the cards described in the previous point, investing in quantity leads to buying overprinted ones while investing in quality leads to smaller supplies that will hold value better

CJ Stroud rookie card score

Tips to remember when investing in CJ Stroud Rookie Cards

Offering tips for prospective investors, we suggest focusing on numbered parallels, acquiring autographs, and investing in sealed wax to safeguard against overprinted cards.

Keep reading and we’ll also recommend specific products to consider for Stroud collectors, catering to various budgets.

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Buy parallels

It’s often better to have one numbered parallel rookie card than ten of the base version of the same. Before buying a base card, look at the PSA population report for whatever set you’re considering and how the populations line up from star rookies of the past.

Try to find a parallel or SP that carries a fraction of the population of the base. Supply and demand play a major role in long-term value, so always buy something with a limited supply

Buy autographs

CJ Stroud autographs, much like the parallels, will sidestep all the concerns around the overprinted cards.

Having an autograph gives them a personal touch and sets a finite limit to how many copies can be created, while Panini can print practically unlimited quantities of standard base and unnumbered cards. 

Buy sealed wax

Old horror movies operated on the idea that the human mind can come up with something far scarier than what you’ll ever see on screen. In the same way, people imagine best-case scenarios for ripping boxes of cards.

Because of that, sealed boxes are almost always worth more than the actual cards inside, and if you can buy a sealed product of the correct product (more on that soon), it could soar in value in the future thanks to the power of wishful thinking.

Investing in sealed Football card boxes for CJ Stroud rookies

Ready to start investing in CJ Stroud rookies? Buying sealed wax is a safe bet to keep its value over time… if you buy the right product.

What are the best products to buy for CJ Stroud collectors?

It’s hard to say given that we don’t know how much Panini will be able to do with his cards, but here’s our list of products that should be coming down the pipe this NFL season.

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  1. 2023 Prizm
  2. 2021 Bowman University Chrome (1st Bowman Autograph potential)
  3. 2023 Donruss Optic
  4. 2023 Select
  5. 2023 National Treasures
  6. Any other Bowman/Topps college product with autograph potential
  7. 2023 Donruss
  8. 2023 Flawless
  9. 2023 Mosaic
  10. 2023 Absolute Memorabilia

This is an opinioned list, of course, but I based it on a combination of factors including price, newness, print size, and how many rookies it contains (“too many” is a real concern with some products.)

In other words, while I’d much rather have a box of National Treasures than Prizm, there’s a “bang for your buck” factor influencing the ratings.

Panini Prizm box

Best CJ Stroud rookie and prospect cards to buy

Investors have very different types of budgets, and we wanted to cover all of them. Here are our predictions for the cards to buy if you’re looking to invest in CJ Stroud on any budget (pro-tip: grade them yourself instead of buying them graded).

Numbered Donruss Parallel

My top pick for a Wembayama rookie would be a numbered Donruss parallel. These are great cards and a top brand – think of it like the LeBron Topps Rookie from 2003. If you can pick up a numbered rookie at a decent price, I’d take that over a base Prizm every day of the week.

Optic Holo or Mosaic Parallel

Optic Holos have historically cost less than Silver Prizms while also carrying a lower population. It might not seem like it now, but that’s going to matter a lot in ten years. 

Unnumbered Bowman Autograph 

An unnumbered autograph from a set like Prizm, Optic or the like will cost a lot, but could also be worth a lot more in the future. 

Best High-End CJ Stroud Rookie Cards

Looking to go big? Here are some cards that will cost a lot when they release, but could also be worth more than a new truck if Stround pans out. Again, bonus points if they grade well at PSA.

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Numbered Prizm Rookie

A numbered Prizm rookie of CJ could be worth a small fortune. Numbered Burrow rookies from the same set can sell for $25,000 or more if they’re numbered low enough, and imagine if Stroud is even better. 

CJ Stroud Panini Prizm rookie card

Numbered 1st Bowman Rookie Autograph

The 2023 Bowman University 1st Bowman Chrome Autograph could perhaps be considered Stroud’s best autograph ever in a few years. I’d take that risk.

YouTube video

Are you ready to invest in CJ Stroud RCs?

While all collectors are excited about Stroud rookies, not everybody is going to be strategic with how they buy them.

Being smarter than collectors now can make you wealthier than those collectors in the future. Are you ready for the challenge? How do you plan on investing in Stroud? Let us know on Twitter @card_lines and be sure to subscribe to our free newsletter right here.

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Jesse Haynes

Jesse Haynes

Jesse Haynes is the co-founder of Solaro Shades, an Amazon #1 Bestselling novelist, and a lifelong sports card collector. His nonfiction work has been featured in Forbes, Inc., MarketWatch and more. At CardLines, Jesse’s specialties are basketball and football cards, not to mention making informative video and Instagram content.

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