It’s interesting to look at the book values of the cards in the 1986 Donruss Baseball set over the years. Not so much to see the listed book prices, but to see which cards were most in demand at different points in time. Several changes occur within the 1986 Donruss baseball series over the last 30 years. We see newer players who would become stars but hadn’t yet. We also see veteran players that have had more valuable cards in the past, but see a drop in value in the ’86 set. Many of these players increase once again years later due to long term historical status or Hall Of Fame entry.
For the purposes of this article, we will be using a copy of the Beckett “Official 1987 Price Guide To Baseball Cards.” This would be the first appearance for the 1986 Donruss baseball set in an annual price guide. 1986 is the last year covered in the 1987 Edition book.
We will also be using a current copy of a price guide to compare values and assign ranks.
Using the 2 books, we will be looking at about the top 12-15 cards of the series. We will use the book values to determine a rank. For instance, the card/cards with the highest value would be 1. The next highest book value would be 2, and so on. We will look at the rank placement within the set instead of the actual book value of the card.
Looking at about the top 12-15 cards of the set allows us to give about 7 rankings.
We will start on the far end with the lesser valued top cards in the 7th place rank. These cards would be considered securely above common card status and would still be considered of the cards in high demand at the time of printing. In 1987, we see the George Brett card, as well as Ernie Riles, Wade Boggs, and Dale Murphy start to show up as the 7th most valuable cards in the box, at the time.
These days, the 7th most valuable spot in the set goes to Mike Schmidt, Kirby Puckett, both Ozzie Guillen’s and Cecil Fielder’s rookie card, and the Tom Seaver variation with the yellow borders around the name. We also see the good old George Brett card, still in the same spot after all these years.
The 6th place spot for value in the 87 book goes to Ozzie Guillen’s rookie card, and the Mariano Duncan card. Currently this spot is held alone, by Mr. Charlie Hustle, Pete Rose.
We see Pete again in the 5th place highest value spot in the 1987 price guide. Interestingly, once again, Pete Rose holds this spot alone. Nobody wants to get to close to poor Pete Rose. Hang in there Pete! You’ll get in!
These days, the number 5 spot goes to Cal Ripken. You can always count on Cal to make an appearance as one of the top cards in a junk wax set.
The 1987 book gives the infamous Jose Canseco Rated Rookie card a position of the 4th highest value card in the set at the time. On an interesting side note, in this 1987 Price guide, its listed in mint for $ .75 . Not even $1. The start of a great time. Canseco shares this spot in ’87 with the Don Mattingly Card.
The 4th spot is currently held by Nolan Ryan and Paul O’Neil’s Rated Rookie card.
Doc Gooden’s Diamond King card stands out alone as number 3 in 1987. Currently this spot is held by Roger Clemens.
Coming in for the 2nd place spot in the 1987 book is Vince Coleman. These days the card at number 2 is the Fred McGriff Rated Rookie.
And the card with the highest book value in the series in 1987 is… Dwight Gooden. Listing at a mint condition value of $1.50.
Today, with little surprise or fanfare, the card some would proclaim as “King of the Junk Wax,” the Jose Canseco Rated Rookie grabs up the 1st place spot as the best card in the box.
A few interesting things stand out after taking a look at the cards in a system like this. We can see that most of the valuable cards in the set today, do not even make an appearance in the 1987 rankings. This would include the Fred McGriff, the Roger Clemens, both the Nolan Ryan and Paul O’Neil card, Cal Ripken, Mike Schmidt, Cecil Fielder, Kirby Puckett, and the Tom Seaver yellow border variation.
We see that the only cards that make both lists are Pete Rose, Jose Canseco, Ozzie Guillen, and George Brett. We can also see fun details like George Brett holding the same rank, and Pete Rose Standing alone.
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