10 Most Valuable Barry Bonds Rookie Cards
While he himself may be controversial, Barry Bonds rookie cards are still very popular cards in this hobby.
I loved watching Barry Bonds play as a kid...
From his earliest days you could tell he was a gifted baseball player.
And after he broke out big time during the 1990 season in which he took MVP honors, it was off to the races to see how far he'd go in the history books.
Everyone I knew wanted his cards
1987 Donruss Opening Day #163
Johnny Ray Error Version Estimated PSA 10 Value: $3,000
Correct Version Estimated PSA 10 Value: $50
I'll never forget when I was looking up prices in a Beckett price guide that day as a kid long ago when I ran across the 1987 Donruss Opening Day section...
I was stunned when I read the price next to the Barry Bonds error card. My next move was to go diving through my cards to see if I had one.
No I did not...
I didn't know it at the time, but these errors only turned up in factory sets and all my Donruss Opening Day cards had been pulled from packs.
This Barry Bonds card with Johny Ray pictured on the front goes down in hobby history as one of the most recognizable error cards ever produced. And as you can see, it's value has held up very well over time.
Even in lower grade they can still go for hundreds of dollars.
1987 O-Pee-Chee #320
Estimated PSA 10 Value: $2,000
The Candian counterpart to his regular 1987 Topps issue, this O-Pee-Chee version is one of his most expensive and it didn't take an error to do so. The young slugger is shown hitting a towering shot high into the air in his Pittsburgh Pirates uniform. It's so difficult to find this card in pristine condition, but if you do, then you'll see them sell for around $2,000 or so.
1986 Topps Traded Tiffany #11T
Tiffany Estimated PSA 10 Value: $1,250
Base Estimated PSA 10 Value: $85
It may not be his most expensive, but his 1986 Topps Traded card is arguably Bonds' most popular rookie card. The design of the card with its huge, bright yellow "Pirates" lettering across the top is instantly recognizable. As is the striped Pirates hat that Bonds was wearing. Aesthetically, it's one of his best rookie cards and in top condition the Tiffany version can easily be worth more than $1,000.
1987 Topps Tiffany #320
Tiffany Estimated PSA 10 Value: $325
Base Estimated PSA 10 Value: $50
With the exact same design as the O-Pee-Chee version on this list, the 1987 Topps Tiffany also earns a spot among his priciest rookies. The regular Topps version can still be worth around $50 in top condition but if you land one of the Tiffany versions, then it's worth quite a bit more. The Tiffany versions were only distributed as part of a limited number of higher quality cards than the base versions. So the higher quality and added rarity makes them worth much more.
1987 Classic Travel Update (Green Back)
Green Back Estimated PSA 10 Value: $250
Yellow Back Estimated PSA 10 Value: $30
Classic cards may not have ever been as popular as some of the mainstream brands like Topps, Fleer, and Donruss but I do remember their cards being quite popular back in the day. In 1987, they produced this fantastic-looking Barry Bonds card that shows a great action shot of him surrounded by bright yellow borders. There were two different backs, though, a yellow one and a green one. The green back variation is far more rare and worth much more as a result.
1987 Fleer Glossy #604
Tiffany Estimated PSA 10 Value: $185
Base Estimated PSA 10 Value: $100
Similar to the Topps Tiffany concept, these glossy cards that Fleer produced were much higher quality than the regular base cards. The blue and white gradient borders are easily recognizable and make the card really standout. Interestingly, while the difference between the regular Topps and Tiffany versions can be several multiples, Bonds' Fleer Glossy rookie is only worth around double the base version.
1987 Fleer Hottest Stars #5
Estimated PSA 10 Value: $175
The design of this card screams 1980's. The red and blue bordering as well as the "Baseball's Hottest Stars" graphic in the lower left are very telling of that time period. A young Bonds is shown staring off into the distance on this card that was only one of 44 total in a set that included other big names of the day like Roger Clemens, Rickey Henderson, Jose Canseco and Don Mattingly.
1986 Fleer Update #14
Estimated PSA 10 Value: $90
I always liked the design of the 1986 Fleer Update set. This card with its blue bordering, bright yellow nameplate down below and image of Bonds in the batting cage has a lot going for it. In top condition they can be worth just under $100.
1986 Donruss Rookies #11
Estimated PSA 10 Value: $60
On the other hand, I never really got used to the design of the 1986 Donruss "The Rookies" set, a counterpart of the Topps Traded series. The seemingly endless series of thin stripes on the background and color scheme give this Bonds card a very odd look compared to others. It's still not a bad card to own though as there is still value in top condition.
1987 Toys "R" Us Rookies #4
Estimated PSA 10 Value: $50
To round out our list of the most expensive Barry Bonds rookie cards we turn to the 1987 Toys "R" Us Rookies issue. This one was a close call compared to other possibilities like his standard 1987 Donruss rookie. Regardless, this card can still have decent value in high grade and the design is a memorable one. As you can see, anyone and everyone like Toys "R" Us was looking to capitalize on the card boom of the 1980's.
Barry Bonds' Legacy
It remains to be seen if Bonds will ever be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
He'll always be remembered for his 2007 indictment on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice during the BALCO investigation on steroid use.
But fans will also never forget the incredible talent that Bonds possessed and some of the incredible seasons that he produced even before the steroid scandal.
The all-time career (762) and single-season (73) home run king would also go on to achieve the following:
- 7x MVP
- 14x All-Star
- 8x Gold Glove
- 12x Silver Slugger
- 2x NL Batting Champ
Those are just some of his accomplishments over what was an amazing career.
And for those of us who grew up collecting his rookie cards during the late 1980's, we'll always have memories of chasing some or all of them on this list.