Aaron Judge Rookie Card Market Guide

Posted on 1/5/2023

Planning to buy some Aaron Judge rookie cards? Read our full market guide first to find out which ones to look for and where you can find them.

Aaron Judge has gone from a promising young talent to one of Major League Baseball's elite players. There are numerous rookie cards available from his debut season, but are they worth investing in? Our guide will help you sort through his lengthy rookie cards list to find the best ones for your collection along with their current market values.

Who Is Aaron Judge?

Aaron Judge debuted for the New York Yankees in 2017 with an impressive rookie season. He broke the rookie home run record with a total of 52 and won the Rookie of the Year award. He was also named the Sid Mercer/Dick Young New York Player of the Year and the Joe DiMaggio Toast of the Town Award winner. Over the next few seasons, he continued to perform at a level that inspired whispers of Hall of Fame status in the future.

Judge has been a fan favorite ever since, and he had the top-selling jersey of all MLB players for three seasons between 2017 and 2019. His 2022 season was equally strong as he broke the Yankees’ and American League's single-season home run record with a total of 62.

Judge had some issues with injuries in the early seasons of his pro career. However, he continues to prove himself as one of the best players in the MLB. After signing a new 9-year deal to stay in New York this offseason, Judge is looking to solidify his name as an all-time Yankees legend. If he continues to break hitting records and stays healthy along the way, Judge looks like he could very well be on track for a Hall of Fame career.

What Makes Aaron Judge's Cards So Valuable?

Any player that wins Rookie of the Year and breaks records in their first season catches the attention of fans. Usually, the cards of players with successful careers and Hall of Fame status tend to hold their value. Only time will tell whether Judge achieves that, but if his current performance is anything to go by, his cards have a good chance of maintaining their value.

Additionally, the New York Yankees are one of the most popular team sports franchises in the world. They have a global fanbase and their players are likely to be popular with fans from all over, which is true of Aaron Judge. The same people buying his jerseys every year would likely be interested in his cards.

The 2010s is a difficult era for rookie cards because there are so many. There were one or two rookie cards per player in the past, and it was easy to know which ones to go for. Now, many rookies are produced, and many cards are printed before the player is officially on their team's roster. On the one hand, this can help increase the value because there are many unique parallels and autograph cards to search for. However, oversaturation can push prices down. So, although some of his cards may have value in the future, many could decrease in value. Finding the right cards is crucial for investors.

Investment Potential

Since Aaron Judge is a popular and well-known player, there is a chance that his cards will hold their value well. That said, investors should be careful and monitor prices. Buying cards while a player is at the peak of their career is risky because prices are potentially inflated. It may be better to wait until later in his career when fans have moved on to another exciting new player.

There are also no guarantees that Judge will be a Hall of Famer. He started his career somewhat late, at age 25. He also had several injuries during his early seasons. If his health continues to cause problems, he may be unable to put in the performances to remain among the MLB’s elite.

Yet, Aaron Judge's rookie cards could be worthwhile for investors, especially if you can find them for the right price. Be aware of the risks and prepare for prices to stay stagnant though. The most important thing is that you invest in the right cards. This can be difficult when there are so many to choose from, but here’s a list of some of the best Aaron Judge rookie cards to keep an eye on.

Best Aaron Judge Rookie Cards

2017 Topps Transcendent Framed Autographs #TCA-AJ Aaron Judge RC#/25 ($2,090)

The Topps Transcendent sets are high-end collectors sets that sell for around $25,000 per box on release. The set comes in a wooden display box, and each box features four one-of-a-kind cards and 50 framed autograph cards, each limited to 25 copies or less. So, any cards from these sets are quite rare and may be of interest to collectors in the future. Aaron Judge had an autographed card in every box in 2017.

The Topps Transcendent Framed Autographs #TCA-AJ Aaron Judge rookie card from this set is valued on average at roughly $2,090 by PriceGuide.Cards, as of mid-January 2023. The value was very similar in 2018 but dropped in the years between. In 2020, for example, the average value of a graded card was just over $200. If you want to invest in an autographed Aaron Judge rookie card, track the price of the Topps Transcendent cards. You may be able to pick them up for a low price and sell them when the value increases again. The limited number available means that they could be worth something in the future.

2017 Topps Definitive Collection Rookie Autographs #DCRA-AJ Aaron Judge #/50 ($660)

Autographed cards tend to retain their value well, so they may be a good choice for investors. There are several autographed Aaron Judge rookie cards, including some premium ones with patches, which are very expensive. The 2017 Topps Definitive Collection Rookie Autographs #DCRA-AJ Aaron Judge card is more affordable than our previous entry, and could be a solid investment. Judge has several autographed cards in this set, including an inscription autograph and a framed autograph. The low-print run gives these cards more appeal to collectors.

PriceGuide.Cards lists the average price for graded cards at around $660. The value of the card has increased since its release too. In 2017, the highest price was $179.50. By 2022, the top sale price jumped to $2,800. This suggests that it's a safe bet for investors, although there are no guarantees.

2017 Topps Chrome #169 Aaron Judge — Catching ($160)

Topps Chrome is a set known for quality. It only focuses on the best players and uses premium cardstock with a flashy design. This is perhaps the best base card for anybody collecting Aaron Judge rookie cards. There are multiple versions of the card to collect with different images, as well as some refractor parallels and an on-card autograph.

One version shows Judge mid-catch, and SportsCardsPro lists the average value at around $160. The version with a photo of Judge running may be more valuable. In mint condition, it is valued at $565, and even in less-than-mint condition, it could be worth almost $350. Both versions are worth looking for. The catching version is more common, but you can still find the card with the running image for sale online. There are also a lot of parallels to search for, which are often worth more than the standard cards.

2017 Topps Series 1 #287 Aaron Judge ($138)

Multiple versions of this card feature the same three images as on the Topps Gold Label Aaron Judge rookie, though there is little price difference between them. SportsCardsPro values it at approximately $138 in mint condition. However, the price decreases at Grade 9.5 to around $100 and Grade 9s sell for less than $50.

This is another affordable card that is the basis of any good Aaron Judge rookie card collection. PriceGuide.Cards shows that the average value almost tripled between 2017 and 2022. So, even though it is not the most expensive card, it has the potential to be lucrative for investors down the road.

2017 Topps Gold Label #86 Aaron Judge ($130)

The 2017 Topps Gold Label set is another one that has multiple versions of the Aaron Judge rookie card with different images — fielding, batting and running. The card design is simple, with a big variable image on the left and a smaller image of Judge in batting position on the right, which is the same on every card.

The running variation is the rarest of the three, but the value is similar for all of them. A mint condition running card is valued at $133, while the batting variation is valued at $129. As for the catching card, it’s given an average value of around $130.

Compared with other Aaron Judge rookie cards, this one is cheap and may not have as much investment potential. Some excellent gold, red, black and blue parallels are available, which may be more valuable.

2017 Bowman #32 Aaron Judge ($89)

The 2017 #32 Bowman Aaron Judge is the most basic of his rookie cards, but it is an affordable option for collectors of any level. Bowman sets remain popular, even though they are not the flashiest, so this is worth picking up. The card features a standard image of Judge in the batting position with his name along the bottom and a Bowman logo in the top right corner.

The card is valued at around $89 by SportsCards Pro, so compared with some other Aaron Judge rookie cards, it's accessible. It has also gained value since it released. PriceGuide.Cards listed the value at $25 soon after it debuted in 2017. By 2022, that had increased to around $89. While this card may not reach the heights of flashy autographed Aaron Judge rookie cards, it is still worth buying because it is quite cheap, and, historically, the value has increased.

2017 Donruss Optic Rated Rookies #38 Aaron Judge ($39)

Donruss Optic Rated Rookie cards are extremely popular among collectors. If you are building a set of Aaron Judge rookies, you should look for his card from this 2017 set. His card from the standard Donruss Rated Rookies set is a good staple, but the Optic set is a bit more exciting as it has chromium backing and lots of parallels to search for.

The base card from this set is valued at a graded average of around $39, so it's an easy one to add to your collection. Once you start looking for parallels, the value is marginally higher. The Holo Parallel, for example, is valued at just over $70 as the graded average.

The set also included some autographed Aaron Judge rookie cards, which are much more expensive. The standard Optic Rated Rookie signature could be worth as much as $800 in excellent condition.

The base Donruss Optic Rated Rookie is ideal if you want a cheap Aaron Judge rookie card that still has potential. The autographed version is also a good choice if you want a rarer card.

Where Can I Purchase Aaron Judge Rookie Cards?

Now that we have looked at which Aaron Judge rookie cards might be best for your collection or investment, you can start purchasing some. The best place to buy your rookie cards is through online auction sites because you can easily search for specific cards. The best sites to check include:

  • eBay
  • PWCC Marketplace
  • Goldin Auctions
  • Lelands

You may be able to find Aaron Judge rookies in specialist hobby shops or at collector's conventions, but you could be searching for a while if you need a specific card.

How Are Aaron Judge Rookie Cards Graded?

Aaron Judge rookie cards are graded to determine the condition and give a guarantee to any buyers. Professional bodies like Certified Sports Guaranty (CSG) carry out grading and provide a certificate of authentication for each card. Getting a better grade can potentially increase the value of a card, especially if it is in mint condition. Sellers should always have cards graded, and buyers should always check for proof of the condition before purchasing.

Cards are graded based on several things:

  • The general appearance of the card and any visible wear and tear
  • The centering and clarity of the image on the card
  • The sharpness of the corners

Once each area has been assessed, a grade is assigned. All graded cards will be put inside a state-of-the-art plastic slab to protect them. The materials are carefully chosen to display the card in the best possible way, enhancing all the details.


This list is by no means exhaustive because there are so many Aaron Judge rookie cards out there on the market. But it gives you a good cross-section of the best cards, including some of the more expensive autographs and the cheaper base cards.

As an investor, there are lots of exciting cards to consider. However, Aaron Judge rookie cards may be a risk. If he does not achieve Hall of Fame status, this could damage their value. So, while investing in his rookie cards could be beneficial, proceed with caution and stick to the more affordable options to manage the risk.

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