The 1988 Bowman baseball card set holds significant historical value for collectors and players alike. Issued towards the tail end of the “junk wax” era, the ’88 Bowman set was one of the last major releases before the baseball card market crashed in the early 1990s. Thanks to some big rookie cards and stars of the era featured, certain 1988 Bowman cards continue to garner interest from collectors today.

One of the most notable rookies in the 1988 Bowman set is Ken Griffey Jr. As one of the most talented players of his generation, Griffey became a 13-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove award winner during his career. His rookie card remains one of the most iconic and sought-after cards ever issued. In pristine mint condition, a 1988 Bowman Griffey rookie can fetch thousands of dollars today. Another PSA 10 copy recently sold for over $15,000. Even well-worn copies still pull in hundreds due to the player’s prominence.


Joining Junior in the rookie class of ’88 Bowman is Mark McGwire, who would go on to shatter the single-season home run record a decade later. Like Griffey, McGwire’s star power translates to collectible value for his rookie card. High-grade versions regularly sell for $500-1000+, and even poorly-preserved copies sell over $100. Another notable rookie is the mustachioed Anthony Young, who is best remembered today for setting the MLB record for most consecutive losses at 27. His ’88 Bowman RC sells relatively cheap, in the $10-30 range regardless of condition.

In terms of star veterans featured, the ’88 Bowman set highlights Atlanta Braves first baseman and 3-time NL MVP Dale Murphy on the cover. Murphy mania was still strong during this era, and his base cards usually sell for $10-25 each. Another Braves star, pitcher Tom Glavine, has cards in the $5-15 range. Over in Cincinnati, slugger Eric Davis and pitcher Tom Browning continue to have mid-level recognition. Their base cards trade hands for $3-10. On the Cardinals, outfielder Vince Coleman and catcher Tony Pena garner modest interest at $2-7 per card.


While Griffey and McGwire attract the biggest bucks, completing a 1988 Bowman set still carries nostalgic value for many who collected during their childhoods. In recent years, as the junk wax era faded further into the past, interest and prices for late ‘80s and early ‘90s cards has rebounded overall. For teams scarcer in the set like the Expos or Mariners, finding some stars remains challenging. But sharing the memories of many future Hall of Famers like Griffey, McGwire, and Glavine make the 1988 Bowman set a worthwhile investment, at the very least through its historical sports collectible significance spanning one of baseball’s most transitional eras at the dawn of a new decade. As the junk wax period recedes further into living memory, iconic cards from sets like 1988 Bowman will surely retain their stature for years to come.


While the 1988 Bowman set was produced during the overproduction era, certain star rookie cards and players from the set such as Ken Griffey Jr. and Mark McGwire continue to hold high collector value today. Even well-preserved copies of talented veterans can still fetch $10-25 considering the set highlights baseball’s transition to a new era in the late 1980s. Continuing to showcase notable stars and rookie sensations cements the 1988 Bowman set as a worthwhile collectible for investors and those nostalgic for their childhood collections alike.

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