Baseball cards may be a thing of the past, but they have become one of the most valuable collectibles of all time. Like a particularly rare Pokémon card, an old and cared-for baseball card can go for big money.
Baseball cards were big business back in the 70s and 80s, but most people stopped caring about the hobby sometime around the infamous 1994-95 baseball strike. And while these '90s cards were released while interest in the hobby was rapidly dwindling, they are still valuable to collectors and baseball enthusiasts. So check your attic, because you may be in the possession of a very rare, and very valuable, baseball card.
10 1990 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. #156
This is a beautiful baseball card. The colors pop, the photo is crystal clear, and Ken Griffey is absolutely beaming, his enthusiasm for the game palpable and infectious. 1990 was a big year for Griffey, as he played with his father, became an All-Star, and won his first of ten straight Golden Gloves.
A #156 in good condition can range from $150 to $250, as evidenced by this mint condition card. We doubt anyone would have a mint condition card laying around, but hey, you never know! At least take a look.
9 1990 Score Frank Thomas RC #663
Frank Thomas, AKA The Big Hurt, is one of the best designated hitters in the game, a five-time All-Star, and a four-time Silver Slugger winner. He was also the AL batting champion in 1997 and his number, 35, has been retired by the Chicago White Sox. He made his MLB debut in August 1990 and soon became known for his incredible power.
This specific card is highly coveted, being Thomas' rookie year, and one in pristine condition is worth around $300. It's just too bad that baseball cards greatly decreased in value throughout the '90s because Frank Thomas had a career for the ages.
8 1990 Topps Frank Thomas No Name on Front #414
However, if you want to get real serious with Frank Thomas cards, it really doesn't get any better than this rare piece. This Frank Thomas Topps rookie card is very notable for its mistake: the complete absence of Frank Thomas's name!
Even cards in less-than-perfect condition can go for hundreds, maybe even thousands, and a professionally-rated card is darn-near mythical. This PSA 7.5 NM+ card is currently selling for $5,500 on eBay, so that gives you an idea as to just how expensive these babies can be. Now just imagine how much a pristine-rated card can go for!
7 1990 Topps George Bush #USA1
There's a lot of history behind this beauty. In 1990, Topps made a special card of George H.W. Bush from when he played baseball at Yale. The CEO of Topps, Arthur Shorin, gifted President Bush 100 personal copies of the card. And while these copies had a laminated coating, other copies somehow found their way into the public, and they quickly garnered a reputation on the trading market.
This near-mint, 8-rated card is worth about $7,000, which is clearly indicative of this card's rarity and repute. So, if you happened to have a relative working at the White House in 1990, check your attic! Maybe they brought one home.
6 1992 Bowman Mariano Rivera RC #302
Mariano Rivera is one of the greatest closers in the history of the game. He played his entire career, spanning from 1995 to 2013, for the New York Yankees and became a 13-time All-Star, five-time World Series champion, and three-time MLB saves leader. Not only that, but his number has been retired, and he currently holds the MLB record for the most number of saves at 652.
His career didn't really take off until the late '90s, so this card from 1992 is a true collectible. One mint condition card is going for $550 on eBay, while an autographed card is selling for $1,464. To be honest, we kind of expected more...
5 1992 Bowman Mike Piazza RC #461
Mike Piazza is one of the most iconic catchers in the game. He primarily played for the Dodgers and Mets and was an All-Star 12 times between 1993 and 2005. He also won ten straight Silver Slugger awards, cementing his status as one of the greatest offensive catchers in the game's history.
This card from 1992, showing Piazza in a crowded catcher's stance, is worth a fair amount of money within collector's circles, often going between $200 and $300. Sure, it's not George H.W. Bush money, but it's still a decent payout for a '90s baseball card!
4 1992 Bowman Chipper Jones #28
This is probably one of the goofiest-looking baseball cards of all time. Rather than a typical baseball-themed stance and appearance, the Atlanta Braves' Chipper Jones stands with one foot above the other while wearing a super '90s outfit consisting of a large-billed cap, an oversized striped shirt, baggy shorts, and dad shoes. Oh, weren't the '90s great?
But as goofy as it looks, it is still immensely valuable, as a pristine card can go for as high as $1,300 on eBay. Not bad for a baseball card that doesn't even look like a baseball card!
3 1993 Pinnacle Derek Jeter RC #457
Even non-baseball fans know who Derek Jeter is. That's because he's one of the most prolific, and best, baseball players in history. A 14-time All-Star, five-time World Series -champion, five-time Gold Glove winner, five-time Silver Slugger, and two-time AL Hank Aaron Award winner, Jeter helped re-define the game throughout the 1990s.
This card from 1993, when Derek was just 19 years old, is worth quite a bit of money, although probably not as much as you may expect. For example, this mint condition card is selling for $650 on eBay. It's not that much, but then again, this isn't a particularly rare card.
2 1991 Topps Desert Shield Chipper Jones #333
Now THIS is a Chipper Jones card! While the other card showed a very '90s dad Chipper Jones, this one showed Jones in a more professional outfit and stance. However, that's not why this card is so much more valuable. What makes this card so unique is the Desert Shield logo underneath the #1 Draft Pick graphic, as this card set was distributed to soldiers in Iraq.
These cards can go for hundreds of dollars, even ones in mediocre condition, while cards more properly cared-for can fetch thousands. This mint-condition autographed card is selling for $3,500, making it one of the most valuable baseball cards from the '90s.
1 1992 Bowman Trevor Hoffman #11
Trevor Hoffman isn't as well-known as the other players on this list, but his #11 Bowman card is still worth a decent bit of money. Hoffman played for the San Diego Padres between 1993 and 2008, scoring seven All-Star appearances and becoming a 2x NL saves leader. And while he's not a Hall of Famer yet, it's probably only a matter of time.
His #11 Bowman card from 1992 can fetch over one hundred dollars given the right condition, and this specific autographed card is going for $700 on eBay. That just goes to show you how valuable an autograph can be!