MOST EXPENSIVE TOPPS BASEBALL CARDS 1991

The 1991 Topps baseball card set marked the 30th anniversary of Topps as the leading producer of baseball cards. While not quite as iconic or valuable as some earlier sets from the late 1980s, the ’91 Topps issue does contain some highly valuable rare cards that can fetch big money from collectors. Let’s take an in-depth look at some of the most expensive 1991 Topps baseball cards that have sold for top dollar over the years.

Perhaps the most well-known rare card from the 1991 Topps set is the Ken Griffey Jr rookie card. Griffey was already one of baseball’s brightest young stars in 1991 and his iconic smiling face on this rookie made it incredibly popular. The Griffey rookie is one of the most coveted in the hobby due to his impressive 22-year career and status as a true five-tool player. PSA 10 Gem Mint examples of the Griffey rookie have consistently sold for well over $10,000 in recent years, with some auctions even topping $20,000-25,000. In PSA 9 Near Mint-Mint condition, Griffey rookies still demand $5,000-10,000.

Another highly valuable 1991 Topps rookie is the Chipper Jones card. Like Griffey, Jones would go on to have a Hall of Fame caliber career spent entirely with one franchise, making his rookie one of the most iconic from the set. PSA 10 Jones rookies have sold for over $7,500, while PSA 9 versions still pull in $3,000-5,000 at auction. The combination of Chipper’s career accomplishments and the rarity of high-graded versions of his first Topps card make it a true blue chip investment for vintage baseball card collectors.

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A real “hit” card from 1991 Topps was the Frank Thomas “rookie” card, which was actually his second year in the league after debuting late in 1990. Despite not technically being a rookie card, Thomas’ marketability and production made this one of his most iconic early issue cards. High grades are quite rare, thus PSA 10 examples have sold for $3,000-$4,000. PSA 9 versions still demand $1,500-2,500 on the open market. Any collector would be thrilled to pull a Thomas from back in the day or acquire one now as an investment holding.

Much rarer and thus more valuable among the key 1991 Topps cards are the Barry Bonds and Greg Maddux rookie selections. Bonds’ rookie is considered the more scarce and sought after of the two, with PSA 10 specimens selling for $5,000-7,000 in recent years. Even PSA 9 Bonds rookies have topped $2,500, highlighting the California native’s already huge baseball card presence and collector interest, even pre-steroids allegations. Maddux’s star turn rookie has also done quite well, with a PSA 10 bringing around $3,000-5,000 and PSA 9s at $1,500-2,500. Both are true six-figure cards in pristine, unattainable PSA 10 Gem Mint condition based on past pop report data.

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Staying in the realm of superstar pitchers, Tom Glavine’s first Topps card has also held strong value thanks to the left hander’s stellar Cy Young winning career almost entirely with the Atlanta Braves. A PSA 10 Glavine rookie can pull $2,500-3,500, with PSA 9s settling in the $1,000-2,000 range. He may not have been as hyped a prospect as Bonds or Maddux, but Glavine more than lived up to his potential and status on the star team of the 1990s Braves dynasty cements his first card as a valued commodity, especially in top grades.

Moving to more mid-range key cards, the rare Jim Abbott rookie refractor parallel from 1991 Topps stands out. Abbott, born without a right hand, had one of baseball’s most inspirational stories in overcoming his disability to become a major league starting pitcher. Only 10 Abbott refractors are known to exist, thus any that become available on the open market instantly become headline cards and can demand six figures for the true near-mint quality elite specimens. Another notable insert is the Robin Yount Turn Back The Clock multi-border parallel, with PSA 10s reaching the $3,000-4,000 level in recent auction outcomes. Yount’s retro design and low population make this a true find for collectors.

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While 1991 Topps may not rival the iconic 1952, 1957, 1960s, or ultra-high end 1980s releases, it does contain some real hobby blue-chip investments at the star rookie and low-population parallel level. With Griffey, Jones, Bonds, Maddux leading the way, as well as valuable stars like Thomas, Glavine, add the ultra-rare Abbott, this issue certainly holds value and excitement for vintage baseball card collectors decades after its original packaging and distribution. As the years roll on, the highest graded examples of these talents’ earliest cardboard can be expected to continue their appreciation trajectory for discerning investors.

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