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

3 Jose Canseco, Oakland Athletics

5 Doug Drabek, Pitsburgh Pirates

7 Rickey Henderson, Oakland Athletics

L1 Nolan Ryan, Texas Rangers

2 George Brett, Kansas City Royals

4 Andre Dawson, Chicago Cubs

6 Cecil Fielder, Detroit Tigers

8 Matt Williams, San Francisco Giants

S1 Ryne Sandberg, Chicago Cubs

1991 Donruss Elite Signature Series Ryne Sandberg

Top eBay Listings



1991 Donruss - BARRY BONDS - Elite Series #1 of 8 - GIANTS #d 6190 10000

1991 Donruss Elite Barry Bonds - #601 10,000

Rickey Henderson 1991 Donruss Elite #7 10,000 Hall of Famer RARE

Ryne Sandberg 1991 Donruss Elite Autograph PSA 10 Gem Mint 417 5000

1991 Donruss Elite Series Barry Bonds 4741 10000 Pirates & Giants #1 of 8!

1991 Donruss Elite Series Baseball Card Rickey Henderson 3579 10000 MLB A's HOF

1991 Donruss Elite #7 Rickey Henderson BCCG 10 *DLC

NOLAN RYAN 1991 Donruss ELITE Insert Card LGD #6726 7500 The Legends Series Foil

1991 Donruss Elite The Legends Series Nolan Ryan 7500 BGS 8.5 .5 Away 9 9 8.5X2

1991 Donruss Elite Legends Series Nolan Ryan #0132 7500 *MUS001

1991 Donruss Elite Series #3 Jose Canseco #07327 10000 *MUS004

1991 Donruss Elite Series #5 Doug Drabek #07552 10000 *MUS006

1991 Donruss Elite Series #6 Cecil Fielder #09228 10000 *MUS007

1991 Donruss Elite Series #7 Rickey Henderson #04730 10000 *MUS008
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Ryan Cracknell

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Ryan is a former member of The Cardboard Connection Writing Staff. His 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.

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