The 1989 Donruss baseball card set is considered one of the most valuable releases from the late 1980s. While it did not have the hype or popularity of some other brands at the time, certain rookie cards and star players from 1989 Donruss have risen greatly in value in recent years. There are a few key cards that regularly fetch high prices at auction.

Perhaps the most coveted and expensive card from the 1989 Donruss set is the Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card. Widely considered one of the best players of his generation, Griffey was just entering his career with the Seattle Mariners in 1989. His iconic smiling face on the Donruss rookie captured the excitement around his potential. In high grade versions, the Griffey Jr. RC now sells for thousands of dollars in mint condition. PSA 10 examples have reached over $10,000 at auction. Even well-centered PSA 9 copies can pull in $3,000-$5,000. The Griffey rookie is simply one of the most iconic cards in the hobby due to his stellar career and popularity as a player.


Another hugely valuable rookie card from the 1989 Donruss set is the Chipper Jones card. As the No. 1 overall pick in the 1990 draft by the Atlanta Braves, Jones went on to have a Hall of Fame worthy career mainly with the Braves. He was a perennial All-Star and won the 1999 NL MVP award. Like Griffey, the Jones rookie remains one of the most appealing and sought after from the late 80s/early 90s era. High grade PSA 10 Jones rookies have sold for upwards of $6,000, with PSA 9 copies still achieving $2,000-$3,000 at auction. The combination of his star power and the rarity of pristine 1989 Donruss rookies makes this one extremely collectible.

In addition to the headlining rookies, some of the star veterans on 1989 Donruss cards have retained or increased in value over the decades. One of the most expensive in the set is the Nolan Ryan card. Even as his playing days were winding down with the Texas Rangers in 1989, Ryan’s status as perhaps the greatest strikeout pitcher ever granted his cards legendary status. High grade versions of his 1989 Donruss card in PSA 10 can sell for over $1,000. Other all-time greats like Roger Clemens and Wade Boggs also command $400-$500 for their pristine ’89 Donruss versions.


Some other key players whose 1989 Donruss cards hold value include Frank Thomas, Barry Bonds, Greg Maddux, and Cal Ripken Jr. All were ascending superstars by 1989 and have Hall of Fame careers to bolster interest in their early cards. PSA 10 editions of these can range from $300-$600 depending on the specific player. Mark McGwire also retained appeal after his record-breaking home run chase years later increased nostalgia for his rookie season.

In terms of team set cards, high grades of popular franchises like the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers can reach $100-300 apiece for PSA 10s. Alternate uniform variations, traded player versions, and rare serially numbered parallel inserts also attract collectors. Perhaps most notably, the Ken Griffey Jr. 1989 Donruss Major League Material card numbered to 1000 copies has sold for over $2,000 in pristine condition.


While it may lack the flashy design of score or topps and had Famous Players overshadow it at retail in 1989, the Donruss set still produced many iconic rookie cards. Years later, strong career performances and nostalgia have made gems like the Griffey, Jones, and star veterans significantly valuable. For dedicated hobbyists, finding and submitting high grade examples of these keys from the 1989 Donruss baseball release promises some of the best returns on investment in the collecting world.

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