10 Most Valuable 1990 Topps Baseball Cards

1990 Topps Baseball Card BoxUsually collectors will have a strong opinion one way or the other about 1990 Topps baseball cards:

Either they love them or they hate them…

And it has everything to do with the multi-colored design.

Personally, I’ve always liked the look of these cards and as a kid I loved ripping packs in search of rookies and star players.

In this guide we take a look at the 10 most valuable 1990 Topps baseball cards.

Let’s jump right in…

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Ross Uitts

Ross Uitts - Owner

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Before we get started, I do want to make it clear that most of the cards from this set do not have any value these days.

Like the 1990 Donruss and Fleer sets, far too many of them were printed and the market is over-saturated with them.

So, in order for the cards on this list to be worth much, they'll either have to be the Tiffany version (Topps' premium factory set) and/or be graded by PSA to be in perfect, gem mint condition.

That means the card needs to be basically flawless.

Now that we got that out of the way, let's take a look at the top ten:

1990 Topps #414 Frank Thomas Rookie Card

No Name On Front Estimated PSA 10 Value: $50,000

Tiffany Estimated PSA 10 Value: $400

Base Estimated PSA 10 Value: $20

You did not read that first price incorrectly.

As shocking as it may seem, yes, this version of the 1990 Topps Frank Thomas rookie card can be worth some serious money.

Even if it's not in pristine shape it can still be worth thousands of dollars.

The version without his name on the front (pictured below) is an incredibly rare error and collectors are willing to pay up big time for it.

The Tiffany version of his card is also worth a lot of money in top condition. 

1990 Topps #414 Frank Thomas Baseball Card
1990 Topps #414 Frank Thomas Rookie Card (No Name On Front)

1990 Topps USA#1 George Bush

Estimated PSA 9 Value: $10,000

To honor President Bush, Topps printed 100 or so of these with a picture of him during his college days in his Yale uniform.

The company's chairmain, Arthur Shorin, even presented some of them in a binder to the former president in 1989.

It's said that those that made it to the White House were coated with a glossy finish.

Like the "No Name On Front" Thomas rookie card, this one is exceptionally rare and card collectors go crazy for this card.

Added to that, there are presidential artifact collectors who also drive up the price for it.

1990 Topps USA #1 George Bush Baseball Card

1990 Topps Ken Griffey Jr.

Tiffany Estimated PSA 10 Value: $500

Base Estimated PSA 10 Value: $50

I remember searching for this card left and right.

And I don't think I ever pulled one from a pack.

Griffey was one of the most popular players of the era and his cards were always in high demand.

The "Topps All-Star Rookie" trophy symbol made this one stand out a bit more from other cards in this set, too.

Somewhat surprisingly, Griffey Jr.'s card is actually worth more than the Frank Thomas rookie (with his name on the front).

1990 Topps #336 Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball Card

1990 Topps Sammy Sosa Rookie Card

Tiffany Estimated PSA 10 Value: $45

Base Estimated PSA 10 Value: $25

It would take a few years for Sammy Sosa's career to heat up so I don't recall this card being too hyped at the time.

But as his career progressed and the home runs kept piling up, he turned into one of the most popular players in the league.

We all know of his association with the PED controversy.

Despite that tarnished reputation, his 1990 Topps rookie still has some value to it in high grade. 

1990 Topps #692 Sammy Sosa Rookie Card

1990 Topps Larry Walker Rookie Card

Tiffany Estimated PSA 10 Value: $55

Base Estimated PSA 10 Value: $15

Larry Walker could flat out rake.

And he could field, too.

He was one of my favorite players to watch growing up as the guy could do it all.

I especially remember that monstrous 1997 season he had with 49 home runs, 143 runs scored, 130 RBI and a .363 batting average.

Remarkably, that stat line wasn't good enough to take home the Triple Crown but he did win MVP honors that season.

I'm not sure if he's got the career stats to warrant it, but I would love to see this guy in the Hall of Fame someday.

1990 Topps #757 Larry Walker Rookie Card

1990 Topps Bernie Williams Rookie Card

Tiffany Estimated PSA 10 Value: $45

Base Estimated PSA 10 Value: $15

Bernie Williams was an extremely productive player during the mid to late 1990's.

And he was an integral part of the Yankees dominance of that era.

I used to love watching him play--he was a class act.

You could argue he was a better center fielder than others (like Lloyd Waner, for example) who made it to the Hall of Fame, too.

His 1990 Topps rookie card has held up over the years with decent value.

1990 Topps #701 Bernie Williams Rookie Card

1990 Topps Juan Gonzalez Rookie Card

Tiffany Estimated PSA 10 Value: $30

Base Estimated PSA 10 Value: $10

Gonzalez was one of the most feared hitters of his era and seemed like a lock for 40+ homers and 100+ RBI every season.

I think it's odd that he was a two-time MVP but only a three-time All-Star.

He was consistently productive although he did have some seasons here and there shortened by injury.

His is the last of the key rookie cards in this set.

1990 Topps #331 Juan Gonzalez Rookie Card

1990 Topps Nolan Ryan

Tiffany Estimated PSA 10 Value: $35

Base Estimated PSA 10 Value: $5

Ryan's popularity drives most of the reason for the value of this card being what it is.

There are tons of Nolan Ryan collectors so demand is still decent for this card.

Because of his accomplishment the year before of eclipsing the 5,000 strikeout mark, Topps placed him as the first card in their 1990 set.

1990 Topps #1 Nolan Ryan Baseball Card

1990 Topps #2-5 Nolan Ryan 5000 K Salute

Tiffany Estimated PSA 10 Value: $20

Base Estimated PSA 10 Value: $5

Speaking of that 5,000th strikeout accomplishment, Topps also released a subset in his honor.

Cards number 2-5 tell the story of his career with the Mets, Angels, Astros and Rangers up to that point in time.

I think it was a great way to salute Ryan and these cards remain one of my favorite subsets of all-time from any set.

1990 Topps #2 Nolan Ryan (The Mets Years) Baseball Card
1990 Topps #2 Nolan Ryan (The Mets Years) Baseball Card Reverse With Summary of Career With Mets
1990 Topps #3 Nolan Ryan (The Angels Years) Baseball Card
1990 Topps #3 Nolan Ryan (The Angels Years) Baseball Card Back Side With Summary Of Career With Angels
1990 Topps #4 Nolan Ryan (The Astros Years) Baseball Card
1990 Topps #4 Nolan Ryan (The Astros Years) Baseball Card Back Side With Summary Of Career With Astros
1990 Topps #5 Nolan Ryan (The Rangers Years) Baseball Card
1990 Topps #5 Nolan Ryan (The Rangers Years) Baseball Card Back With Summary Of Career With Rangers

1990 Topps #300 Bo Jackson

Tiffany Estimated PSA 10 Value: $15

Base Estimated PSA 10 Value: $5

Score's Bo Jackson card that showed him shirtless, wearing football shoulder pads and holding a bat across the back of his neck is his most recognizable from that year.

But this one is still worth enough to round out the top ten list of 1990 Topps.

Jackson was an incredibly popular player of that era and there are collectors today who were kids then that still chase his cards.

1990 Topps #300 Bo Jackson Baseball Card

1990 Topps Baseball Cards In Review

So there you have it, the ten most valuable 1990 Topps cards.

As you can see, it will take them being professionally graded in gem mint condition to be worth much.

This set was a monster and contained a 792 card checklist in total.

Within the set were also several different subsets, including:

  • All-Stars
  • Checklists
  • Manager Cards
  • Nolan Ryan 5,000 Strikeouts
  • Record Breakers
  • Topps All-Star Rookies
  • Turn Back The Clock

It really is a pretty decent set overall.

And for those of us who grew up collecting these as kids, they'll always have a huge nostalgic factor to them despite not having the most monetary value.

Ross Uitts
 

Ross is the founder of Old Sports Cards and has been collecting sports cards for over 30 years. He also loves to write about the hobby and has written for Beckett, Topps, SABR and of course, this website. Need help buying or selling cards or have a general question about the hobby? Contact him at [email protected]

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