Ken Griffey Jr.
Rookie Card Year: 1989
Investment Rating: 8.0
When Ken Griffey Jr made it to the Major League in 1989, few could have predicted the jolt he would give baseball and the card collecting world. What ensued was one of the greatest rookie chases in collecting history. The chase pushed Ken Griffey Jr card values to unlikely heights and firmly planted him in rare collecting company. The iconic 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr card is the most graded card in history. The high values remained despite huge production runs that inevitably doomed most of the cards in the 1990s.
Unfortunately for collectors who were caught up in the rush, many ultimately overpaid. Injuries caught up to the superstar and the values have since Ken Griffey Jr card values leveled off. Now, almost all the rookies except for ones with high professional grades can be had for a very low-cost.
Few players have ever reached the level of collecting that Griffey spurred on by his amazing athletic ability and charisma. Although he never quite lived up to the lofty expectations that were created by his early successes, he still had a Hall of Fame career and had a hand in creating the hobby collectors know today.
For his entire playing career, Griffey was a spokesperson for Upper Deck, appearing prominently in almost all their baseball card releases. However, starting in 2012, Griffey will have his first Topps autographs. This will help expose younger collectors to the legacy of Griffey and give the older collectors something new to chase.
Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Card Checklist
The slightly over-sized Bowman card features a stoic looking Griffey on one knee with hills visible in the background. Griffey's facsimile signature is prominently displayed on the bottom of the card. A rarer Tiffany version of the card also exists. Sold in limited edition box sets, Tiffany cards feature a glossy finish and lighter card stock.
The 1989 Donruss Rated Rookie Ken Griffey Jr card is very unfortunate looking. The purple and blue combination on top with a black border on the side look like something a small child designed.
The Fleer card features too much gray and the striping evokes the image of a poorly constructed prison. Griffey's face is either very greasy or very sweaty in this card.
The 1989 Score Rookie/Traded Ken Griffey Jr card contains a rather bizarre image of the Mariner great at the end of his swing. The design has a clean look but the color combination leaves much to be desired.
Topps Traded shows Griffey in a similar pose as two other rookie cards (Fleer and Donruss). The classic design and strong image set it apart. After the classic 1989 Upper Deck, the Topps Traded card is his most attractive rookie. Collectors have been particularly interested in the limited-run Tiffany version.
This is the Ken Griffey Jr card that is head and shoulders above the rest, the one that started the craze. This rookie will bring back a lot of memories to many current and former collectors. Easily the most iconic card to come out since the hobby exploded in the late-1980s, this card is a true classic that belongs in every baseball card collection.
Ken Griffey Jr. Autographed Memorabilia Buying Guide
Below you will find an example of what Ken Griffey Jr.'s authentic signature looks like. This can be used as a first point of reference for determining the legitimacy of autograph memorabilia, but is not a substitute for having your items authenticated by a well-respected professional autograph authentication company.
Signed Baseball Pricing:
Average eBay Sales Price: $95
Lowest Amazon Price: $126.95
Signed Jersey Pricing
Average eBay Sales Price: $260
Lowest Amazon Price: $219
Signed 8x10 Photo Pricing
Average eBay Sales Price: $75
Lowest Amazon Price: $93.95