No matter what ever happens to the 1986 Donruss baseball card series, I believe that it will forever be known as the “Canseco rookie card set.” There is good reason for that. The number 39 card was none other than Mr. Jose Canseco’s first appearance on a Donruss Card. Its was also his first appearance on any card as a Major League player. That fact alone has secured this sets place in history.
Rookie Jose’s particular baseball abilities combined with the junk wax collecting boom happening live at the time, seen this single card shoot up to well over $100 in book value. I personally can remember it reaching a book value of $125 around 1990. Complete retirement funds and investment portfolios were built around this 1 single card.
I personally never had any ’86 Donruss at the time. In 1986, I was buying Topps mostly. I had a few Fleer pack runs too. No Donruss though. By 1988, (even 1987) the ’86 donruss wax packs had gone up in price quite a bit. There was easily 10 places in town to buy 2-3 year old unopened wax products, but everyone wanted more than I could spend on packs as a kid.
I didn’t have a single ’86 Donruss card even at the time. As a kid, I traded heavily and still cant recall any from this set in my prized star card collection at the time. I was one of the kids looking at the Canseco rookie from behind glass. I was however a holder of the legendary (at the time) Madison Muskies Canseco card. But thats a topic for another post.
The 1986 Donruss Baseball series is a pretty simple set to look at. Its got 660 cards in the set with Rated Rookies and Diamond Kings being small subsets. There’s also unnumbered checklist cards, and a Hank Aaron puzzle.
The collecting industry history of the Canseco card alone earns this set its place in the junk wax hall of fame. There are however a couple other cards worth mentioning that make this series stand out. The Fred McGriff Rated Rookie is a great set companion to the Canseco. Paul O’Neil also has a noticeable Rated Rookie card.
There are also solid cards of several other great players like Roger Clemens, Cal Ripken and Nolan Ryan.
A few key rookies that call this set home are cards of Cecil Fielder, Vince Coleman, and Ozzie Guillen
A few lesser known rookies show up as well. Billy Beane, Roger McDowell, Harold Reynolds, and Lenny Dykstra all have rookie cards here.
This is a great time to be a junk wax collector. Perhaps the best time there will ever be is now. Currently you can get a factory sealed set of 1986 Donruss delivered to your door for about $25-$35. A wax box will get to you for about $45.
In Part 2, I’ll take a look at some of the card values over the years as the market has changed.
Check out the Facebook page for other things pertaining to these articles and what goes into making them and my personal cards behind them. Classic Wax Cards on Facebook