When 10,000 Was Rare - 1991 Donruss Elite Baseball

When 10,000 Was Rare – 1991 Donruss Elite Baseball

What's considered rare in the hobby today? Cards numbered to 50? Maybe 25 total copies. Singles with print runs of 100 can sell for a dollar or two. Go back a couple of decades and it's a totally different picture. 1991 Donruss Elite inserts come numbered to 10,000. Yes, that's a one followed by four zeroes. By today's standards, that's a lot. Yet, this ground-breaking set still commands some solid attention on the secondary market. And rightfully so.

1991 Donruss Elite was a ground-breaking set at the time. It really did change the game. The insert set is credited as being the first set of serial numbered cards. While others had hand numbering like the various Pro Set holograms and 1990 Upper Deck Reggie Jackson autographs, none went to the same lengths as Elite.

This set a finite limit on print runs. It also made the card makers accountable as there wasn't much to hide behind as far as print runs go.

Rarity can be somewhat relative. While the number of Elite cards is very high by today's standards, print runs back in 1991 were massive. These inserts were found less than one per case. Factor in the eight cards in the main set plus the more limited Nolan Ryan card and the Ryne Sandberg autograph and you get the idea that Donuss made a lot of cards back in 1991.

A popular story suggests that some would use metal detectors to try and cherry pick cases and boxes that had an Elite card.

Check out the entire set of 1991 Donruss Elite inserts below.

1991 Donruss Elite Visual Checklist

1 Barry Bonds, Pittsburgh Pirates

1991 Donruss Elite 1 Barry Bonds 212x300 Image

3 Jose Canseco, Oakland Athletics

1991 Donruss Elite Jose Canseco 213x300 Image

5 Doug Drabek, Pitsburgh Pirates

1991 Donruss Elite 5 Doug Drabek 216x300 Image

7 Rickey Henderson, Oakland Athletics

1991 Donruss Elite 7 Rickey Henderson 214x300 Image

L1 Nolan Ryan, Texas Rangers

1991 Donruss Elite Legends L1 Nolan Ryan 208x300 Image

2 George Brett, Kansas City Royals

1991 Donruss Elite 2 George Brett 214x300 Image

4 Andre Dawson, Chicago Cubs

1991 Donruss Elite 4 Andre Dawson 214x300 Image

6 Cecil Fielder, Detroit Tigers

1991 Donruss Elite 6 Cecil Fielder 214x300 Image

8 Matt Williams, San Francisco Giants

1991 Donruss Elite 8 Matt Williams 214x300 Image

S1 Ryne Sandberg, Chicago Cubs

1991 Donruss Elite Signature Series Ryne Sandberg 204x300 Image

ebaysmalllogo Image
3014480694354040 1 Image
BARRY BONDS 1991 Donruss Elite # 5839 10,000
$9.99
2012445516924040 1 Image
1991 - 1992 Donruss Elite Legends Rickey Henderson
$33.00
1415081779104040 1 Image
1991 Donruss Leaf Elite Legends Series Nolan Ryan L1 4799 7500
$100.00
1715996439154040 1 Image
CECIL FIELDER 1991 Donruss Elite Series #6 Serial Number 8,533 of 10,000
$5.00
1914276453714040 1 Image
JOSE CANSECO 1991 ELITE SERIES MLB DONRUSS ORIGINAL CARD, OAKLAND ATHLETICS
$29.50
2716878980144040 1 Image
1991 DONRUSS ELITE Set 1-8 ALL BGS Graded AVG. Grade 8.25 Bonds, Henderson PSA?
$499.00
2007476905464040 1 Image
1991 DONRUSS ELITE SERIES ANDRE DAWSON RARE #4
$39.99
1607855349984040 1 Image
1991 DONRUSS ELITE LEGENDS SERIES NOLAN RYAN VERY RARE
$149.99
3511924026604040 1 Image
1991 DONRUSS #4 ANDRE DAWSON "THE ELITE SERIES" #6832 10000, CHICAGO CUBS, HOF
$19.75
1115497281294040 1 Image
1991 Donruss Leaf Elite Legends Series Nolan Ryan L1 5058 7500
$115.00
1415090485564040 1 Image
1991 Donruss Elite Series Doug Drabek #5 9051 10000
$19.99
1115497282314040 1 Image
1991 Donruss Elite Series Barry Bonds # 1 6543 10000
$29.99
1415090486424040 1 Image
1991 Donruss Elite Series Andre Dawson #4 8230 10000
$29.99
1415090486474040 1 Image
1991 Donruss Elite Series Doug Drabek #5 8347 10000
$19.99
1415090486554040 1 Image
1991 Donruss Elite Series Doug Drabek #5 9141 10000
$19.99
3810912145704040 1 Image
1991 Donruss Elite Series Doug Drabek #5 8082 10000
$19.99
« Previous12
 Image

Ryan Cracknell

E-Mail Author | 
Ryan's collecting origins began with winter bike rides to the corner store, tossing a couple of quarters onto the counter and peddling home with a couple packs of O-Pee-Chee hockey in his pocket. Today, he continues to build sets, go after inserts with cool technologies, chase Montreal Expos and finish off his John Jaha master collection. Ryan can be found on Twitter @tradercracks and Google+.

Leave a Comment: