The Bowman brand has become a staple for rookie card collectors in multiple sports, and Bowman Chrome has earned a similar status. Not much has changed for the 2007 Football edition, which features rookie autographs, Chrome refractors and some of the nicest unnumbered rookies around.
Hobby boxes of 2007 Bowman Chrome Football contain 18 packs with four cards per pack. Highlights include a rookie card in each pack, one autographed rookie variation per box and an uncirculated box loader.
Base Cards and Parallels
Unlike most base sets, Bowman Chrome puts the rookies up front. That's because the first 55 cards in the set are actually found in packs of 2007 Bowman Football - which also happens to be the product that gave this one its design. It's a great marketing tool for Topps to push both brands, though it's also easy to see why some collectors may not like this approach.
In any case, most of the big name rookies from the 2007 draft are found in packs of Bowman Chrome, and they're all attainable since the cards are not numbered or placed in tiers. They are advertised as falling one per pack, and the sample box I opened produced 18 rookies; the best of the bunch were Calvin Johnson, Brady Quinn and Dwayne Bowe.
Cards 111 through 220 are NFL veterans, and the Chrome stock makes them stand out a bit from average commons. I pulled 48 veteran base cards with no duplicates.
Keeping with Topps tradition, all of the base cards can be found as various Refractor parallels, ranging from standard Refractors (seeded four per box) to hobby exclusive, one-of-one Super-Fractors. My review box yielded four Refractors, plus an X-Fractor (easy to spot thanks to its checkerboard design) of Titans rookie Chris Davis.
Autographed variations of the 55 rookie cards are also one of the draws of Bowman Chrome Football, and they appear one per box on average. While equality reigns among the base rookies, the same can't be said for the autos, as they utilize a tier system making it much more likely you'll find, say, Johnnie Lee Higgins than JaMarcus Russell. Calvin Johnson's signed cards are especially tough pulls, seeded at an eye-popping 1:50,900 packs.
The cards themselves are pretty typical by today's standards, using a fairly transparent autographed sticker. The Ryne Robinson card I pulled is pictured here. The rookie variations also have several levels of Refractors with print runs between one and 75 copies.
Found only in hobby boxes, the 2007 Signatures Series Autographs continue on into Bowman Chrome. At 1:14,344 packs, most collectors won't be finding one, but those who do can expect to see names like Tom Brady, Jerry Rice and Earl Campbell. They're numbered to just 50, making them extra sweet.
Uncirculated cards aren't the big deal they once were, but they can still make nice box toppers - especially when they are numbered rookie parallels. Topps does just that for Bowman Chrome, taking a silver-bordered rookie variation and sealing it inside a thick plastic holder with a security seal.
Regular box topper cards are numbered to 1079, while special versions of the autographed rookie variations can also be found, limited to just 10 copies each. My box held a regular Chris Leak card, numbered 0623/1079.
The Last Word
Bowman Chrome takes an already good product (this year's Bowman set) and improves upon it, which is exactly what Topps intends. Some seasons the design translates better to the Chrome stock than others, and this is one of the successful ones.
The set's lack of memorabilia cards and sparse autograph content may freeze out certain hobby niches, but it's a solid buy for many others. Anyone who wants to step up one level from the low end products should find this season's attractive, focused edition to their liking.