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
1815006355004040 1 Image
KIRBY PUCKETT 1991 DONRUSS THE ELITE SERIES INSERT #17 TWINS RARE 1828 10000
$10.25
2814218024154040 1 Image
1991 Donruss Elite Series George Brett
$15.50
1413886223794040 1 Image
1991 Donruss Elite Barry Bonds SP
$21.99
3609752502094040 1 Image
1991 Donruss Frank Thomas elite series insert # 10,000 #18 ultra RARE NR-MINT
$64.99
2615490172184040 1 Image
1991 JOSE CANSECO Donruss Elite Insert #3 SP #'d 10000 RARE BEAUTY!!
$39.99
2615692858964040 1 Image
Doug Drabeck Donruss Elite Series 1991 No.05355 10000!
$14.95
2215336841234040 1 Image
1991 Donruss Elite Rickey Henderson #7 8 (# 10000) A's 91
$25.99
3012934501104040 1 Image
Rickey Henderson 1991 donruss elite. 5 10000
$450.00
1413875551604040 1 Image
1991 Donruss Leaf Elite Legends Series Nolan Ryan L1 4799 7500
$115.00
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
2715163968504040 1 Image
San Francisco Giants Will Clark 1991 1992 Donruss The Elite Series #11
$24.95
3312836822624040 1 Image
Jose Canseco 1991 Donruss Elite Series 10000 DAMAGED
$20.00
3711190427804040 1 Image
1991 DONRUSS ELITE COMPLETE SET #1-8 BONDS BRETT HENDERSON # 10,000 DAMAGED READ
$115.00
1114344555024040 1 Image
1991 DONRUSS # 1 ELITE SERIES BARRY BONDS (MINT)
$79.99
1114365406004040 1 Image
1991 Donruss Elite Series Doug Drabek #5 8347 10000
$19.99
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Ryan Cracknell

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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+.

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