Ken Griffey Jr. enjoyed a phenomenal 22-year career in Major League Baseball that saw him hit over 600 home runs and make the All-Star team 13 consecutive times. Not only was Griffey one of the most dominant players of his generation on the field, but his cards from the late 1980s and 1990s have become some of the most coveted and valuable in the entire hobby. Let’s take an in-depth look at some of Griffey’s most noteworthy rookie and early career baseball cards and explore what they can fetch on the modern market.

One of Griffey’s all-time rarest and most valuable rookie cards is his highly sought after 1989 Upper Deck RC. Only about 1 in 10 hobby boxes contained a Griffey RC during the card’s original run, making it incredibly scarce even back then. In pristine mint condition, graded gems of this coveted rookie now sell for upwards of $100,000. Even well-centered near mint copies can sell for $15,000-$25,000. The card is so rare in high grades due to the fragile cardboard stock Upper Deck used in 1989.


Another hugely valuable Griffey rookie is the 1989 Fleer baseball card. While not quite as scarce in supply as the Upper Deck issue, graded mint copies are still extremely rare finds. A PSA 10 Fleer Griffey RC recently sold for just under $90,000, showing strong ongoing demand. Most well-centered near mint copies in the PSA 8-9 range will still fetch $4,000-$8,000. The card established Griffey as a budding superstar and is iconic from his early baseball card years.

Shifting focus to Griffey’s true “rookie season” cards from 1989 Topps, they aren’t considered true rookie cards but feature him as a rookie. The highlight is the red-foiled traded version that shows him as a Seattle Mariner. High-grade examples in PSA 10 have cracked $20,000, with most pristine copies selling closer to $15,000-$18,000. Even heavily played PSA 5s can still attract bids up near $1,000 due to Griffey’s name recognition and popularity.


Griffey fans looking for a more budget-friendly option would be wise to consider his solid early 1990s Topps issues like the 1990, 1991, and 1992 series 1 cards. All three depict Griffey in his Mariners emerald greens and golds and can sometimes be acquired in PSA 8-9 condition for $100-300. They capture Griffey in his early offensive prime years and remain widely obtainable compared to his ultra-rare 1989s.

Shifting gears, one of the rarest Griffey cards overall remains the 1992 Fleer Ultra Retro RC parallel. The retro design paid homage to the original 1954 Topps set. Only 36 copies are know to exist in PSA 10 condition. In 2019, a pristine example sold for a stunning $106,100, showing unfathomable demand over 25 years after the card’s initial release. Even heavily played copies can sell for $1,000+ due to the retro parallel’s legendary rarity.


Griffey mania reached new heights in the mid-1990s thanks to iconic Upper Deck inserts like the holograms and Refractors parallel sets. The 1996 Ultra Refractors parallel captured his offensive dominance with Seattle. High-grade 1998 Ultra Platinum Refractors and 1995 Finest Refractor Parallel RCs remain six-figure cards. Even heavily played examples typically sell in the ballpark of $500-$2,000.

In summary – while the affordable 1990-1992 Topps issues allow fans to collect Griffey on a budget, the holy grails of his 1989 Upper Deck, Fleer and 1992 Ultra Retro RC parallel consistently shatter records. Prices remain sky high for the true Griffey rookie cards decades later, showing his enduring popularity and the cards’ significance. With each passing year, as supplies diminish further, don’t be surprised to see yet higher prices for Junior’s early baseball treasures.

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