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15 Most Valuable Barry Bonds Rookie Cards

Most Valuable Barry Bonds Rookie Cards

While he may be controversial, Barry Bonds rookie cards are still very popular 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 rookie cards and we'd rip into pack after pack trying to find them.

And in this guide, we'll take a look at the 15 most valuable.

Let's jump right in!

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Ross Uitts

Ross Uitts - Owner

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1987 Donruss Opening Day #163

Johnny Ray Error Version Estimated PSA 10 Value: $15,000

Correct Version Estimated PSA 10 Value: $400

Check prices on: Amazon

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 Donruss Opening Day #163 Barry Bonds Rookie Card Error Version With Johnny Ray On Front
1987 Donruss Opening Day #163 Barry Bonds Rookie Card Correct Version With Bonds On Front

1987 O-Pee-Chee #320

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $12,000

Check prices on: Amazon

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.

1987 O Pee Chee #320 Barry Bonds Baseball Card

1986 Topps Traded Tiffany #11T

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $10,000

Check prices on: Amazon

It may not be his most expensive, but his 1986 Topps Traded card is arguably Bonds' most popular rookie card.

The card's design 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 around $10,000.

The price premium versus the standard Topps Traded card is because the Tiffany cards were printed on higher-quality stock and in far fewer quantities.

Therefore, they're tougher to find in high grade.

One of the easiest ways to tell them apart, aside from the different stock, is that the Tiffany's reverse side lacks the two stars/asterisks in the lower-left corner that appear on the standard Topps Traded reverse.

In the pictures below, you can see the difference.

1986 Topps Traded Tiffany #11T Barry Bonds Rookie Card

Topps Traded Tiffany

1986 Topps Traded Tiffany #11T Barry Bonds Rookie Card Reverse Side With Stats and Biography

Topps Traded

1986 Topps Traded #11T Barry Bonds Rookie Card Reverse Side With Stats and Biography

1987 Topps Tiffany #320

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $3,000

Check prices on: Amazon

With the 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 be worth around $350 in top condition, but if you land one of the Tiffany versions, it's worth much 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 make them worth much more.

One of the easiest ways to tell the Tiffany version apart from the standard base version is that the card stock used for the Tiffany appears much whiter and brighter on the reverse.

The Tiffany version also lacks the "PRTD. IN U.S.A." verbiage next to the Topps copyright mark on the reverse.

See the pictures below for a comparison.

1987 Topps Tiffany #320 Barry Bonds Rookie Card

Topps Tiffany

1987 Topps Tiffany #320 Barry Bonds Rookie Card Reverse Side With Stats and Biography

Topps

1987 Topps #320 Barry Bonds Rookie Card Reverse Side With Stats and Biography

1987 Leaf #219

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $1,500

Check prices on: Amazon

Printed for the Canadian market, the 1987 Leaf set consisted of 264 cards while its design nearly mirrored its Donruss counterpart.

Easy ways to tell the Leaf apart from the Donruss are:

  • the "Leaf" logo in the upper-left on the front of the card
  • the appearance of both English and French text on the reverse
  • the Leaf is number #219 while the Donruss is #361 since the Leaf set was a trimmed-down version of the Donruss set overall

Because they were issued in smaller quantities, the Leaf card can be challenging to find in PSA 10 condition.

Collectors have started to notice the relative scarcity of this card in high grade versus the Donruss lately, and its value has skyrocketed as a result.

1987 Leaf #219 Barry Bonds Rookie Card

1987 Classic Travel Update (Green Back)

Green Back Estimated PSA 10 Value: $1,000

Yellow Back Estimated PSA 10 Value: $300

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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 Classic Travel Update Yellow #113 Barry Bonds Rookie Card
1987 Classic Travel #113 Barry Bonds Card Reverse Side in Yellow
1987 Classic Travel 113 Barry Bonds Card Reverse Side in Green

1987 Fleer Glossy #604

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $750

Check prices on: Amazon

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 Glossy #604 Barry Bonds Rookie Card

1986 Topps Traded #11T

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $600

Check prices on: Amazon

While $600 for a PSA 10 example of this card is still a lot of money, you'll notice that there is a big difference between this one and the Tiffany version.

The standard Topps Traded version was simply printed in far greater quantities, making it much easier to obtain in top grade.

Remember, you can easily tell this one apart from the Tiffany based on the appearance of the two stars/asterisks in the lower-left corner of the reverse side.

1986 Topps Traded #11T Barry Bonds Rookie Card

1987 Fleer Hottest Stars #5

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $500

Check prices on: Amazon

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.

1987 Fleer Hottest Stars #5 Barry Bonds Baseball Card

1986 Fleer Update #14

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $500

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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 Fleer Update #14 Barry Bonds Rookie Card

1987 O-Pee-Chee Stickers #131

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $500

Check prices on: Amazon

This set consisted of 198 stickers in total, some featuring one player and others featuring two.

Bonds was paired up with Neil Allen, a pitcher who spent eleven seasons in MLB with five different teams as both a starter and reliever.

Allen spent all of 1986 and part of 1987 with the Chicago White Sox during the back half of his career and would end up with a 58-70 record and 75 saves when he retired.

You don't see these come up for sale or auction very often in high grade, making them worth quite a bit in a PSA 10 holder.

1987 O Pee Chee Stickers #131 Barry Bonds Baseball Card

1987 Toys "R" Us Rookies #4

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $450

Check prices on: Amazon

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.

1987 Toys R Us Rookies #4 Barry Bonds Baseball Card

1987 Fleer #604

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $425

Check prices on: Amazon

The standard 1987 Fleer version of Bonds' rookie card may not be as expensive as the Glossy version, but it's still worth quite a bit in high grade.

Again, the main difference between the two is that the Glossy version was printed on higher quality stock with a glossy finish and in less volume.

1987 Fleer #604 Barry Bonds Rookie Card

1986 Donruss Rookies #11

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $350

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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.

1986 Donruss Rookies #11 Barry Bonds Rookie Card

1987 Topps #320

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $350

Check prices on: Amazon

As mentioned earlier, the Topps Tiffany version of this card is worth far more than the standard Topps version of this card because of its higher quality and relative scarcity, but $350 in top condition isn't too shabby.

1987 Topps #320 Barry Bonds Rookie Card

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.

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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