The 1991 Fleer Ultra baseball card set is considered one of the most valuable vintage baseball card sets from the early 1990s. Issued in packs from 1991-1992, the Ultra set had several features that made it stand out from other sets at the time and led to some cards achieving legendary status among collectors.
With vibrant design and color photography of each player on a textured gold foil background, the Ultra set was visually striking compared to basic cardboard issues of the past. Fleer also used newly acquired licensing from both the MLB and MLBPA, allowing them to use active players’ names and images. This gave the cards superior authenticity and appeal for collectors.
More significantly, the extremely small print run of just 12 cards per box made the 1991 Ultra cards instantly scarce. By 1992, Fleer had lost the MLB license and the set was no longer produced. Combined with the popularity of stars from that era like Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr. and Frank Thomas, these factors fueled strong initial and longterm demand for the cards.
Several stars from the ’91 Ultra set have cards now worth thousands of dollars or more in top grades. Here are some of the most valuable:
Barry Bonds Rookie Card (RC): As one of the most iconic rookie cards in the hobby, Bonds’ 1991 Ultra RC is widely considered the key card from the set. In Near Mint-Mint (NM-MT) condition, it currently sells for $4,000-$6,000 raw or $10,000+ if professionally graded Gem Mint (GM) 10.
Ken Griffey Jr. RC: Fellow rookie Griffey’s star power and the card’s rarity have it rivaling Bonds as the second most valuable ’91 Ultra card. NM-MT copies trade around $3,000 while a PSA 10 can fetch over $8,000 at auction.
Frank Thomas RC: Though not as rare as the Bonds/Griffey RCs since he was a late-round pick, Frank The Big Hurt’s rookie remains highly sought after. Pricing is $1,200-$1,800 NM-MT and $3,000+ for a true mint PSA 10.
Nolan Ryan Mini: Limited to one per wax pack, the Nolan Ryan mini-card parallel features a close-up shot on a smaller Card#250 size. Only 120 are estimated produced, making it the rarest regular issue and worth $4,000+ NM-MT.
Cal Ripken Jr. / Eddie Murray Dual: Only 10 of these 1/1 unique dual mini cards featuring future Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr. and Eddie Murray are reported to exist. Speculated value is $20,000+ depending on certification.
While not true investments, holding high grade examples long term has proven profitable for 1991 Ultra cards. The rarity, iconic players, and nice original design have maintained strong demand. Even commons sell for $5-15 each raw depending on the player today.
For serious collectors, finding that elusive PSA 10 Barry Bonds RC in a group lot break or internet auction could yield a small fortune. With popularity of the players and nostalgia for cards of that era constantly growing the hobby, the 1991 Ultra cards seem poised to remain among the most valuable vintage issues for years to come. Their extremely limited print run, colorful design, and superstar rookie class cemented this set’s place in baseball card history.