Often regarded as one of the most prominent Major League Baseball prospects ever, Bryce Harper has lived up to the hype. Since attending Las Vegas High School, Harper has been one of the most feared and prolific baseball players in recent memory. Bryce Harper polished his generational talents at the College of Southern Nevada, putting on a clinic in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
Surprising nobody, Bryce Harper was the first player off the board in the 2010 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, selected by the Washington Nationals. Harper not only competed but dominated in the Washington Nationals farm system, ultimately promoted in the first month of the 2012 MLB season.
Since being promoted to The Show, Bryce Harper has been one of the faces of baseball, where he earned the 2012 Rookie of the year, amassed six All-Star Game appearances, and received two Silver Slugger awards while capturing the National League Most Valuable Player twice.
The one-time most promising prospect in baseball has lived up to his lofty expectations, and the value of his rookie cards is proof of that. With that said, the following are the top 10 best Bryce Harper rookie cards.
2012 Bowman Platinum Bryce Harper Jumbo Relic Autograph Gold Refractors RC #AJR-BH #'d/50
Recent sale: $405
We commence the list with Bryce Harper's Jumbo Relic Autograph Gold Refractors rookie card from the 200-card 2012 Bowman Platinum set, issued on July 25, 2012. The set comprises 100 rookies and veterans and 100 of the most promising MLB prospects. Bryce Harper's second most valuable rookie card from the set arises from the Autographed Jumbo Relics checklist, limited to only 50 copies. According to PSA's population report, only three of Harper's Jumbo Relic Autograph Gold Refractors rookie card has been graded, with the highest grade meriting a PSA 9. As for Beckett, Harper's coveted rookie card has been analyzed 11 times, as the highest card warranted a BGS 9.5. Overall, Harper's Jumbo Relic Autograph Gold Refractors rookie card has a total PSA and BGS population of 14, none of which was deserving of a PSA or BGS 10.
Once upon a time, Bryce Harper played catcher for his Las Vegas High School team in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he became a high school sensation and was unanimously regarded as the number one overall prospect in baseball, most notably after he guided team USA to the Gold Medal at the 2008 Youth Pan Am Games. As a sophomore at Las Vegas High School, Harper compiled 14 home runs, 55 RBIs, and an unprecedented .626/.723/.1.339 slash line, becoming the first underclassman to capture Baseball America's High School Player of the Year Award.
As one of two rookie cards that appear on the list that doesn't feature a PSA or BGS 10, the value of Bryce Harper's Jumbo Relic Autograph Gold Refractors rookie card from 2012 Bowman Platinum is firmly entrenched and highly desirable.
2012 Topps Tier One Bryce Harper On The Rise Autographs RC #OR-BH #'d/30
Recent sale: $449
The 2012 Topps Tier One Baseball set is a high-end product catered to collectors seeking on-card autographs, memorabilia cards, and relics. Topps offered the coveted set on June 20, 2012, comprised of three serial-numbered cards featuring a Crowd Pleasers Autograph, On the Rise Autograph, and a relic card. Bryce Harper's most illustrious card from 2012 Topps Tier One is his On the Rise Autograph rookie card, limited to 30 copies. Graded a PSA 8, this is the only On the Rise Autograph Bryce Harper rookie card in PSA's population report. As for Beckett, 11 copies have been graded, with the highest grade deserving of a BGS 9.5, sustaining a population of three.
Competing close to home, Bryce Harper attended the College of Southern Nevada, which competes in the Scenic West Athletic Conference (SWAC) of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). Despite being the youngest player on the team at 17 years old, Harper excelled at the College of Southern Nevada, posting a surreal .443/.526/.987 slash line. Harper tallied 31 home runs, 98 RBIs, 98 runs, 23 doubles, and 20 stolen bases in just 66 games.
As a result, Bryce Harper received the 2010 SWAC Player of the Year and the 2010 Golden Spikes Award, presented to the most talented amateur baseball player. Other than Harper's Jumbo Relic Autograph Gold Refractor rookie card, this is the only other card that has yet to warrant a PSA or BGS 10, indicating Harper's On the Rise Autograph rookie card has lofty potential.
2012 Topps Mini Bryce Harper RC #661
Recent sale: $500
2012 Topps Mini delivers a spin on the 2012 Topps set, offered to collectors during the 2012 National Sports Collectors Convention at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland, and Topps' website. While modern-day sports cards are 2 1/2" x 3 1/2", the 2012 Topps Mini set measures 2 1/4" x 3 1/8", paying tribute to 1975 Topps, which held identical dimensions. 2012 Topps Mini has a 661-card checklist, allocating 24 packs of 10 cards in each hobby box, with Bryce Harper's coveted rookie card the last card in the checklist.
Regarded across the board as the best prospect in baseball and one of the most encouraging prospects of all time, Bryce Harper was selected as the first overall pick in the 2010 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Washington Nationals. Although Harper primarily played catcher throughout his baseball career, the Nationals viewed Harper as an outfielder, where he overpowered the competition in the club's minor league farm system.
Across 139 games in the minors, Harper tallied 23 home runs, 75 RBIs, 29 stolen bases, and a sensational .300/.397/.521 slash line. Despite Harper's 2012 Topps Mini rookie card bearing one of the highest populations and being one of the least-condition sensitive cards on the list as 55% warranted a PSA or BGS 10, hobbyists continue to treasure Harper's rookie card from the memorable 2012 Topps Mini product.
2012 Panini Prizm Bryce Harper Prizms Red RC #152
Recent sale: $535
Bryce Harper's Red Prizm rookie card arises from the 2012 inaugural release of the Panini Prizm brand in the baseball landscape. The 2012 Panini Prizm product was made available just after Opening Day in the 2013 season and is distributed in hobby boxes and retail boxes, the former in 20 packs of six cards and the latter in 24 packs of four cards. 2012 Panini Prizm accentuates a 200-card checklist featuring current MLB stars, former MLB legends, and the brightest rookies from the 2012 MLB season. Collectors can only discover Harper's Red Prizm rookie card from retail boxes, sold exclusively at Target. Although not serial-numbered, Harper's rookie card from 2012 Panini Prizm is one of the most limited cards on the list, as only 26 cards have surfaced. Graded a PSA 10, this is one of 15 copies to merit PSA's ultimate grade.
Beginning the 2012 season in Triple-A with the Syracuse Chiefs of the International League, the Washington Nationals called Bryce Harper up to the majors on April 27, 2012, later making his major league debut on April 28, 2012. Recording 22 home runs, 59 RBIs, and a .270/.340/.477 slash line, Bryce Harper guided the Nationals to a first-place finish in the National League East behind a 98-64 record, the best record in the 2012 MLB season, and the best record in franchise history, including the former Montreal Expos.
The rookie phenom captured his first All-Star Game appearance, the 2012 National League Rookie of the Year, and finished 30th in the National League MVP race. The long-awaited debut of Bryce Harper was in full swing, where his Red Prizm rookie card is one of his most cherished rookie cards.
2012 Topps Bowman Platinum Bryce Harper RC #56
Recent sale: $669
The second appearance of Harper's rookie card from the 2012 Bowman Platinum set is his base card and Harper's most expensive rookie card from the set. Although Harper's base rookie card from 2012 Bowman Platinum showcases his most graded card on the list, 523 cards by PSA and 227 cards by Beckett, Harper's base rookie card is exceptionally challenging to discover in good condition, illustrated by just 14% meriting a PSA or BGS 10. In fact, of the 227 cards graded by Beckett, the highest card warranted a BGS 9.5, carrying a population of 32.
The Harper-led Washington Nationals continued to excel in the National League East, finishing second in the division with an 86-76 record. In a similar fashion, Harper's sophomore campaign was comparable to his rookie season, recording 20 home runs, 58 RBIs, and a .273/.344/.423 slash line. Harper was selected to his second-consecutive All-Star Game and competed in the 2013 Home Run Derby, becoming the second-youngest participant in the annual event and the youngest to reach the Derby's final round. In the 2014 MLB season, Harper was hindered by a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb that required surgery and placed the budding phenom on the injured list.
Across 100 contests in the 2013 season, Harper contributed only 13 home runs and 32 RBIs for the Nationals. Despite the setback, his rookie cards flourished, represented by the price of Bryce Harper's base rookie card from the 2012 Bowman Platinum set.
2012 Topps Archives Bryce Harper Fan Favorite Autographs RC #FFA-BHA
Recent sale: $1,199
Topps issued the 2012 Archives set in blaster boxes, rack packs, and retail packs on May 17, 2012, and in hobby boxes on May 23, 2012. Collectors can only pull Bryce Harper's Fan Favorite Autographs rookie card from the 2012 Topps Archives set in hobby boxes that can be unveiled from the set's 24 packs of eight cards. Harper's Fan Favorite Autographs rookie card is the generational talents' most valuable rookie card from 2012 Topps Archives. Graded a BGS 9.5 for the card's condition and a BGS 10 for Harper's blue-penned on-card autograph, Harper's Fan Favorite Autographs rookie card is one of two cards from the list where the most valuable copy of the respective card is graded by Beckett.
The 2015 Major League Baseball season belonged to Bryce Harper. In Harper's 153 contests, Harper connected on a career-high 42 home runs, tallied a career-high 118 runs scored, and registered 99 RBIs, his third-highest career mark. In doing so, Harper produced a .330/.460/.649 slash line and an OPS of 1.109, the 78th highest on-base plus slugging percentage in MLB history, becoming one of 19 unanimous MVP winners in league history. Harper also tacked on his first Silver Slugger Award and his third All-Star Game appearance.
Harper followed up his first National League MVP season with 24 home runs, 86 RBIs, and a .243/.373/.441 slash line. Harper showed impeccable plate discipline despite the regression in the 2016 season, walking 108 times compared to 117 strikeouts. Harper's Fan Favorite Autographs rookie card from the 2012 Topps Archives set will remain one of his best signed baseball cards as it's one of the most challenging to find in a high grade.
2012 Topps Heritage Bryce Harper RC #H650
Recent sale: $1,400
Paying tribute to 1963 Topps, the 2012 Topps Heritage set is a 600-card set released in two series. The first series was issued on March 14, 2012, two weeks prior to the 2012 MLB season, while the second series was allocated on November 6, 2012, after the 2012 World Series. Bryce Harper's yearned rookie card from 2012 Topps Heritage appears in the set's second series, also known as the "Heritage High Number" series, with only 1,000 hobby boxes produced by Topps. Bryce Harper's short print rookie card has a total PSA population of 143, 37, or 25%, earned a PSA 10. According to Beckett's population report, none of the 83 cards warranted higher than a BGS 9.5, bearing a population of 45. Overall' Harper's short print rookie card from 2012 Topps Heritage has attained a PSA or BGS 10 at a 16% clip.
After a down season, Harper prospered in the 2017 MLB season, totaling 29 home runs, 87 RBIs, and a .319/.413/.595 slash line. Harper received the most votes for the 2017 MLB All-Star Game, earning his 5th nod to MLB's annual Mid-summer classic. Harper received the 12th most votes for the 2017 National League Most Valuable Player Award. Harper once again thrived in the 2018 season, playing in a career-high 159 games for the Washington Nationals. Harper tallied 34 home runs in the 2018 season, then the second-most in his career, reached the 100 RBI plateau for the first time in his decorated MLB career, and earned his 6th All-Star Game appearance.
Bryce Harper became a free agent after the 2018 MLB season, ending his illustrious stint with the Washington Nationals, though not before tallying 184 home runs, 521 RBIs, and a .279/.388/.512 slash line for the franchise. Harper's short print rookie card from 2012 Topps Heritage is only a PSA 9, yet consistently fetches four figures and endures as one of Bryce Harper's best rookie cards, with room to soar in value when a PSA or BGS 10 hits the secondary market.
2012 Topps Chrome Bryce Harper Gold Refractors RC #196 #'d/50
Recent sale: $3,000
2012 Topps Chrome is a 220-card set home to Bryce Harper's third most valuable rookie card. Topps released the product on August 22, 2012, in 24 packs of four cards, as collectors pursue two autographs, one Dynamic Die Cut card, eight refractors, and four X-Fractors. Harper's Gold Refractor rookie card is limited to merely 50 copies and ranks as his third most condition-sensitive card on the list. Graded a BGS 9.5 after earning a 9.5 for centering, 9.5 for corners, 9 for edges, and 9.5 for surface, this is Bryce Harper's highest-graded card by Beckett, along with 14 others.
On March 2, 2019, Bryce Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies inked the most significant contract in MLB history at the time, agreeing to a 13-year, $330 million contract. In his first season with the Phillies, Harper belted 35 home runs, a career-high 114 RBIs, and slashed .260/.372/.510. The Bryce-Harper led Philadelphia Phillies posted an 81-81 record to finish 4th in the National League East in his first season and missed the postseason.
Although the Phillies were unable to make the 2019 MLB Postseason, Harper continued playing at a high level, averaging an exit velocity of 91.9 mph (92nd percentile) and a maximum velocity of 116.4 mph (99th percentile). Harper's 2012 Topps Chrome Gold Refractor rookie card embodies prominence in the baseball card landscape and persists as one of his most challenging cards to locate in mint condition.
2012 Bowman Chrome Bryce Harper Rookie Autographs Blue Refractors RC #RA-BH #'d/99
Recent sale: $3,250
Bryce Harper's second most coveted rookie card is his Rookie Autographs Blue Refractors rookie card that arises from the 2012 Bowman Chrome set in the Rookie Autographs checklist. Harper's Rookie Autographs Blue Refractors rookie card is one of his more limited rookie cards, serial-numbered to 99 copies. Harper's Blue Refractors rookie card has a PSA population of 23, 17 of which merited a PSA 10, while Beckett has a population of 58, none of which deserved higher than a BGS 9.5. Overall, Harper's Rookie Autographs Blue Refractors rookie card has earned a PSA or BGS 10 at a 21% clip.
In the pandemic shortened 2020 MLB season, Harper tallied 13 home runs, 33 RBIs, and a .268/.420/.542 slash line. Harper led the league in walks with 49, marking his only MLB season where he recorded more walks than strikeouts (43). Back to a 162-game slate for the 2021 MLB season, Bryce Harper put together arguably the most remarkable season of his career. Through 141 games, Harper recorded 35 home runs, 84 RBIs, an MLB-leading 42 doubles, and .309/.429/.615 slash line.
Harper led all of MLB in slugging percentage and OPS (1.044) en route to his second Silver Slugger and National League Most Valuable Player award, cementing the significance of his 2012 Bowman Chrome Rookie Autographs Blue Refractors rookie card.
2012 Topps Update Bryce Harper Target Red Border RC #US183
Recent sale: $5,000
Released on October 1, 2012, the most valuable Bryce Harper rookie card materialized from the 2012 Topps Update set as collectors track down his Target-exclusive Red Border rookie card. The highly desirable 2012 Topps Update set features a 330-card checklist and contains 55 of the most promising MLB rookies. Harper's Red Border rookie card is graded a PSA 10 and is one of 17 cards to earn PSA's most desired grade.
Now in his 4th year with the Philadelphia Phillies, Bryce Harper is off to a relatively slow start through the first two-plus weeks of the 2022 MLB season. Through his first 16 appearances, Harper has recorded two home runs and 11 RBIs to go along with a .226/.300.419 slash line. However, his average exit velocity is 91.2 mph, which remains on pace with his career average, and his maximum exit velocity of 112.7 mph ranks in the 95th percentile.
Harper is currently hampered by a mild strain in his right elbow, though as the National League has finally adopted the designated hitter, Harper can remain in action as the Phillies' designated hitter for the time being. If Harper remains off the injured list, he will continue wreaking havoc on MLB pitchers as the number three-hitter in the Philadelphia Phillies batting order and the worth of his Red Border rookie card from 2012 Topps Update will follow suit.
Bryce Harper Continues to Transcend Expectations
Bryce Harper continues to exemplify greatness in his 11th Major League Baseball season as arguably one of the most prevalent players in the league over the last decade. In Major League Baseball's rich history, only 32 players have captured an MVP award more than once, and just 11 players captured the honor on three occasions. Currently holding the 4th best odds of capturing the 2022 National League MVP Award at +1200, Bryce Harper can cement himself as one of the most decorated players in league history, steering his rookie cards to unprecedented values.