The 1990 Donruss baseball card set is considered one of the most valuable sets from the late 1980s and early 1990s. While it did not feature the biggest stars or rookies of that time period, there are still several cards that have appreciated greatly in value and are worth significant money today for collectors. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the key 1990 Donruss cards that can command higher prices in the today’s market.

One of the real gems from the 1990 Donruss set is the Frank Thomas rookie card. As one of the most prolific hitters of the 1990s, Thomas went on to have a Hall of Fame career with the Chicago White Sox. His rookie card from Donruss is one of the more sought after rookie cards from that era. In PSA 10 Gem Mint condition, Thomas’ rookie currently sells for around $3,000. Even lower graded examples in PSA 8 or 9 can fetch $400-700. For a card printed in such high numbers, finding a PSA 10 of Frank Thomas’ rookie is no small feat and worthwhile for any serious collector.

Another offensive standout with a valuable rookie in the 1990 Donruss set is Chipper Jones. Like Thomas, Jones would rise to stardom in the 1990s primarily with the Atlanta Braves. His iconic reverse negative image rookie has appeal from both Braves fans and collectors interested in Jones’ full career. A PSA 10 Gem Mint Chipper Jones rookie can sell for over $2,000 individually. Even well-centered, sharp examples in lower grades often trade hands for $300-700 depending on condition. His is one of the rookie cards from 1990 that has held and increased in demand long after its initial release.


While rookie cards tend to draw the biggest attention, there are plenty of established superstars featured in the 1990 Donruss set that can be quite pricey as well. For example, a PSA 10 Gem Mint Ken Griffey Jr. card regularly auctions over $500. Arguably the most collectible player of the 1990s, Griffey was already a two-time All-Star and approaching his peak seasons when this card was produced. Even raw, sharp copies can sell for $100-250 online depending on the exact state of preservation. Whether raw or professionally graded, Griffey cards from the late 1980s/early 1990s era typically retain strong collector interest.

Speaking of durable superstars, Nolan Ryan’s 1990 Donruss card has also proved a steady riser in value over the long haul. As one of baseball’s most admired pitchers who continued performing at an elite level late into his 40s, Ryan cards are a staple for any collection spanning the 1970s through 1990s. A PSA 10 of his 1990 Donruss sells for $400-700. Even well-centered raw copies could fetch $150-250 based on recent sales. His legendary career and popularity with fans ensures certain player cards like this one remain relatively scarce and desirable on the secondary market.


Rookies and stars weren’t the only cards that gained long term value from the 1990 Donruss set either. Kirby Puckett had broken out as a true All-Star by this point after winning two batting titles and a World Series with the Minnesota Twins. His 1990 Donruss card that grades PSA 10 sells between $300-500 today. Even lower grades have potential six figure valuations given Puckett’s untimely passing in 2006. Collectors understandably place extra significance on chronicling the career of a player like Puckett who was taken far too soon.

Another high value card that showcases the long term rise of certain players is the 1990 Donruss Ripken Stadium Club subset parallel. While not his true rookie season anymore, Cal Ripken Jr. had established himself as one of baseball’s preeminent talents by 1990 with a Rookie of the Year award and two batting titles already. Still, carrying a parallel “short print” designation only added to this Ripken card’s scarcity over the decades. A PSA 10 example recently sold for $2,000 due to Ripken’s all-time iconic Iron Man record and Hall of Fame plaques. Even lower grades can attract bids over $500 in today’s market.

Of course, no discussion of the 1990 Donruss set’s most expensive cards would be complete without mentioning the true short prints and rare parallel insert cards released that year in much lower quantities. The super rare Ken Griffey Jr. Diamond Kings SUBSET INSERT parallel is considered the true crown jewel, regularly selling for over $10,000 graded mint by PSA. Even just #1 parallel versions of Frank Thomas, Cal Ripken Jr., or Ozzie Smith routinely trade hands for thousands in near mint condition through online auctions and private sales. With radically lower print runs, these inserts and parallels are the true pot of gold waiting at the end of the rainbow for complete 1990 Donruss collectors.


While the 1990 Donruss set may not be as flashy or feature the biggest rookie class as some other years, savvy collectors have recognized several cards within greatly increased in value through the passage of time. Stars like Frank Thomas, Ken Griffey Jr., and Cal Ripken Jr. predictably hold strong appeal decades later. Meanwhile, players like Chipper Jones, Nolan Ryan, and Kirby Puckett saw careers blossom into full on superstardom after 1990 in way that gives their cards notable cache among fans and investors alike. Combined with scarce parallels and inserts, the overall vintage and star power ensures certain 1990 Donruss cards will continue appreciating for committed collectors and investors tracking baseball history.

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *