The 1990 Kmart baseball card set is one of the more unique and interesting vintage card issues for collectors to pursue. Unlike typical releases from Topps, Donruss, etc. that year which contained photos and stats of current major leaguers, the Kmart set focused on memorable players and moments from baseball history. Spanning 126 cards in the base set, it took collectors on a visual journey through the earliest days of the sport in the late 1800s all the way up to legendary stars from the 1980s. While the emphasis wasn’t as much on evaluating current player value, the historical perspective and colorful retro designs have ensured this set maintains popularity among both casual and dedicated baseball memorabilia enthusiasts.

Some key things to know about the 1990 Kmart baseball cards include:

Distribution: As the name implies, the full 126-card set was exclusively sold in Kmart stores at the time for around $2. These cards came packaged 16 to a plastic rack pack.

Design: Each card featured a dramatic black and white or sepia-toned action photo from baseball’s past on the front. Statistics and a brief description were listed on the back. The colorful borders wrapped around edge-to-edge for an eye-catching visual style.


Subject Matter: Rather than just reprinting mundane player photos, the set chose to depict iconic games, events and statistical milestones throughout history. Examples included Babe Ruth’s “called shot”, Hank Aaron’s 715th home run, and Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series. Famous ballplayers from each decade were also given cards.

Low Print Run: Being a one-year retail release rather than a traditional card company product, experts believe the 1990 Kmart set had a much smaller total print run compared to other issues from that time period. This scarcity has helped certain cards retain or increase value over the decades.

Condition Sensitivity: One downside of the rack pack distribution was the high odds of fingerprint smudges, bent corners and other handleability issues impacting the condition out of the packaging for many collectors upon opening. Near Mint or better examples of especially popular subjects can command higher prices.

While no individual cards from this set would be considered super high-dollar “keys”, there are a number of subjects that typically gain more interest and demand in today’s market for 1990 Kmart baseball cards:


Babe Ruth: Iconic cards of the legendary “Sultan of Swat” will always demand prices above similar careers of even other Hall of Famers from the earliest eras. His cards typically range from $10-30 in NM-MT condition depending on the significance of the depicted moment.

Hank Aaron: Another all-time great home run hitter, Aaron passed Ruth’s career record and his cards rank among the most popular from the pre-1960s players depicted. Examples fetch $8-20 usually.

Rare Ex-Mints: The extreme scarcity and demand for pristine collectibles helps a tiny handful of PSA/BGS GEM MT 10 graded 1990 Kmart cards break above typical values. A perfect 10 copy of the Don Larsen perfect game could theoretically bring a few hundred dollars.

1969 Miracle Mets: The underdog World Series winning “Amazins” gained renewed popularity after a recent documentary release brought attention once more to their fairytale run. Tommie Agee or Jerry Koosman cards from this set tend to sell for $5-10.


1973 NLCS: The pivotal “Blue Monday” Game 3 between the Big Red Machine Reds and Justin’s Mets is considered one of the greatest playoff games ever. Any cards highlighting that specific contest will attract extra interest.

Recent Hall of Famers: Players inducted into Cooperstown in the 1990s or later maintain more active collectors markets. Carter, Murray, Raines, etc. Examples sell for minimum $5 but often over $15-20 each.

While the 1990 Kmart baseball card set will never achieve the same investment potential as sport’s all-time most valuable traditional issues, the historical perspective, retro designs and very limited production still make it an area of strong collecting interest today especially among fans who appreciate the nostalgia of the earlier baseball eras highlight cards depict. With smart accumulation of the more iconic subjects and emphasis on condition, long-term growth in values can certainly be realized for patient collectors down the road.

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