As junk wax era sets go, 1991 Topps Baseball offers a great mix of variations and rare cards which are extremely valuable in the present day.
The 40th-anniversary issue blends classic designs with great images, while they streamlined the printing process which helped to keep errors at a minimum.
It was the last time that bubblegum was inserted into Topps wax packs, and the wrapper material changed from wax paper to a more familiar cellophane plastic by the end of the year.
We’ve come up with a list containing five of the most valuable 1991 Topps Baseball cards, along with our top investment pick overall.
5 Most Valuable 1991 Topps Baseball Cards
Without further ado, let’s take a look at these bad boys. And as always we recommend buying grades PSA 10, PSA 9, BGS 10, BGS 9.5, or SGC 10. Cheers!
6. 1991 Ivan Rodriguez Topps Traded Tiffany RC #101T
Rather than the base set, the first option is found in the 132-card collection of traded players and rookie cards released in the fall of 1991.
Ivan Rodriguez had just joined the Texas Rangers, and went on to have a storied career in which he was named the AL MVP in ‘99, and won the World Series with the Florida Marlins in 2003.
His RC is found in the Topps Traded update, featuring a great profile shot of the player as he stares off-camera.
The most valuable option is the Tiffany version, distinguishable due to the glossy finish on the front of the card.
5. 1991 Bo Jackson Topps Desert Shield #600
Bo Jackson was an incredible athlete and the first ever to become an All-Star in both baseball and football.
“Bo Knows”, and he could have been one of the best two-way players of all-time if not for a disintegrating hip that eventually had to be replaced during the latter stages of his career.
His Desert Shield card is numbered #600, and looks exactly the same as the base version.
Design-wise, it’s understated, with an action shot of the player as he sprints towards the base.
As with all of the cards seen below, there’s also a “Topps 40 Years of Baseball” logo in the top left corner.
4. 1991 Jeff Bagwell Topps Traded RC #4T
The second rookie card to make the list features Jeff Bagwell.
One of the best baseball players of the 1990s, he enjoyed a successful 15-year career with the Houston Astros.
Bagwell’s luscious locks are barely visible underneath his baseball hat in a strong profile image, while there’s a vintage Astros logo found in the bottom left corner.
Another RC from the 1991 Topps Traded set, this means there’s no Desert Shield version. Instead, the Topps Traded Tiffany edition is the most valuable overall.
3. 1991 Ken Griffey Jr. Topps Desert Shield #790
Ken Griffey Jr. nearly takes the top spot thanks to an appearance on the Desert Shield checklist.
Griffey Jr. is an all-time great, so any rare card with his image is sure to be one of the bigger hits from an early 1990’s set.
The card shows the player in an action shot after a successful swing, and he was signed with the Seattle Mariners at the time.
There are just 25 PSA 10 graded copies according to the registry, and they don’t come up for sale often.
2. 1991 Nolan Ryan Topps Desert Shield #6
One of the most underrated cards of all the Nolan Ryan baseball cards. The 1991 Topps Desert Shield baseball card is a thing of beauty and is a must-have for all Nolan Ryan fanboys.
1. 1991 Chipper Jones Topps Desert Shield RC #333
So named because his dad saw him as a “chip off the old block”, Chipper Jones has an RC which is the most valuable card from the 1991 Topps set.
This is true whether you’re looking at the base card, the premium Tiffany variant, or even the Desert Storm version which is limited in number.
In terms of value, we’d advise you to skip past the normal 1991 Topps set entirely and look to the Topps Tiffany, or even the Desert Shield if your budget permits.
All versions feature the player in a posed profile shot, with a bat, slung over his right shoulder.
1991 Topps Baseball Most Valuable Cards Summary
As you can see the list is dominated by cards released as part of the “Desert Shield” set given to soldiers who served in the first Gulf War.
One of the most popular options from the 1990s in the here and now, they had to make it back from an active warzone and can be easily identified thanks to a distinctive gold foil Desert Shield logo in the top right corner.
(Other than the Desert Shield logo, they’re exactly the same as the normal 1991 Topps Baseball set that was made available to the public.)
It’s thought that less than 7,000 cards were produced for each player, making for one of the rarest early 1990’s baseball sets produced. (However, there’s no real confirmation of the print runs.)
There are lots of fake versions of the Desert Shield cards floating around, so it’s recommended to stick with graded copies whenever possible.
The same is true when seeking out the most valuable cards, as the difference in price between a PSA 9 and a PSA 10 grade will be significant.
1991 Topps Error Baseball Cards
There is not much to write home about in regards to error cards related to the 1991 Topps Baseball card set. Below are a few that have recently sold on eBay. Don’t even think about buying any of these for an investment.
- 1991 Mark Whitten Error Topps Baseball Card Hand Over Left Border #588
- 1991 Don Mattingly Error Topps Baseball Card 10 Hits Error #100
- 1991 Keith Comstock Error Topps Baseball Card Error Cubs Logo #337
1991 Topps Baseball Cards: Top Investment Pick
Two words. Desert Shield.
In 2021, it’s crazy to think that Topps released a set to commemorate a war in which 149 American lives were eventually lost. It was a different time, even if 1991 is still close enough for many collectors to remember.
It’s unlikely that we’ll see anything like it in the future, and it’s certainly one of the more memorable sets from the decade.
A rumored 7,000 copies might sound like a lot, but it’s not like troops had easy access to penny sleeves and cardholders, and many were destroyed or badly damaged before making it back to the USA.
Of the cards listed above, the Chipper Jones RC has to be seen as the most valuable, and the best investment pick in terms of ROI.
The Griffey Jr. card has also made solid gains over the last year or so.
We’d recommend looking at Tiffany cards if Desert Shield editions are slickly out of budget, as they’re still rarer than the norm.
What is the most valuable 1991 Topps baseball card?
The most valuable 1991 Topps Baseball Card is the 1991 Chipper Jones Topps Desert Shield rookie card #333,
How much is a Nolan Ryan 1991 Topps baseball card worth?
A Nolan Ryan 1991 Topps baseball card is worth just over $3,600. A 1991 Nolan Ryan Topps Desert Shield baseball card graded PSA 10 sold for $3,697 via eBay auctions on April 2021.
Are any 1991 Topps baseball cards worth money?
Yes 1991 Topps baseball cards are worth money, a lot of money in some cases. For example a Chipper Jones 1991 Topps Baseball Desert Shield card sold for $21,588 in March of 2021.