Barry Bonds (7/24/64) is one of the best known left fielders of all time, playing for the Pirates and the Giants over 22 seasons.
A 14-time All-Star, his stats and numbers are legendary among baseball fans. Bonds was the home run king, he’s the all-time leader in walks, and owns a career 1.051 OPS.
Shop for Barry Bonds rookie cards on eBay
Despite controversies regarding steroid use, he’s still a popular figure, and the Giants retired his number 25 shirt following his retirement.
We’ve listed his best rookie cards to look out for, as well as providing an investment outlook for the near future.
1987 Classic Travel Update Barry Bonds (Green Back)
We’ll start off with an affordable card that has a great image and an eye-catching border. The 1987 Classic Travel Update features Bonds in mid-sprint, and as you might have guessed from the name, the back is green. You’ll also find basic stats on the reverse, along with five classic baseball questions.
Of the two versions to look out for, the Green Back is notably more valuable than the Yellow Back. A gem mint version of the latter is worth roughly $30, while the Green can go for $400.
1987 Topps Tiffany Barry Bonds #320 (shop for card on eBay)
Bonds’ Topps Tiffany card has a wood effect along the border, with an image of the player after a clean hit. The reverse has detailed stats about his ‘85/’86 seasons, as well as mentioning that he majored in Criminal Justice.
It’s another interesting option if you’re looking at cheaper Bonds rookie cards, although gem mint versions have picked up in value over recent years. A PSA 10 version can go for anywhere from $450-$650, which is a solid return on 2012 prices. It went for $110 just eight years ago, showing a good trajectory in the mid to long-term.
1986 Topps Traded Tiffany Barry Bonds #11T (buy on eBay)
The Topps Traded Tiffany is another popular option, and it’s one of the more traditional rookie cards available. There’s an image of Bonds with bat in hand, with a crisp black, white and yellow motif to fit his Pirates jersey. It’s actually the exact same image as the O-Pee-Chee card listed below, but they were distributed in different territories.
Topps Tiffany versions were sold in a limited number, offering collectors higher quality cards compared to the base version. As with many of the others on this list, a gem mint version will easily sell for four figures. A couple sold for $1,750 each recently, but they should be a good investment considering they were going for $400 dollars just over a decade ago.
Vintage O-Pee-Chee cards are often desirable, and Bonds’ 1987 version is no different. The image shows Bonds smashing a shot into the sky, with a Pittsburgh Pirates logo prominently featured.
O-Pee-Chee released Canadian alternatives to many popular Topps cards, and this one is the most expensive Bonds rookie card that wasn’t released in error. The border makes it especially difficult to find this card in pristine condition, which is one of the main reasons why it’s so expensive at higher grades.
A gem mint version sold for $2,151 in December 2019, which is notably lower than the $2,400-$2,600 they were going for a couple of years ago. However, they were selling for $1,800 in 2018, so a continuation of the upswing does seem likely.
1987 Donruss Opening Day (Dark Jersey-Johnny Ray) Barry Bonds #163 (find it on eBay)
Donruss produced the Opening Day set featuring players from their first game of the 1987 season. However, an error is the main reason why this card is one of the most expensive Bonds rookie options, as the image actually shows Johnny Ray on the front. The mistake was discovered fairly quickly, so it’s one of the rarest available on our list.
It’s also pricey, as a PSA 9 sold for $999 at a recent auction. If you’re only after gem mint, three PSA 10s sold in 2018 for between $3,400 and $4,000.
The prices are slightly inflated, but it’s hard to find a better-known error card. It’s ironic that the most expensive Barry Bonds card doesn’t actually feature the player, but that is typical when you’re looking at high-end error cards. It’s likely to remain as his most valuable rookie card for the foreseeable future, even if it’s just for the story.
How much is a Barry Bonds rookie card worth (i.e. value)?
The exact price will depend on a variety of factors.
If you have a Bonds rookie card and would like an estimate on how much the card might be worth please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org (include card photos).
Barry Bonds Rookie Card Investment Outlook
Bonds’ rookie cards are always going to be collectible, especially as we start to look back on his career through a nostalgic lens. Problems from the past tend to fade away in time, and he’s still well-liked.
While his rookie cards do hail from the junk wax era, there are still a number of diamonds amongst the rough, especially when you look at some of the rarer options available. It’s important to consider the Hall of Fame issues which have impacted his career post-MLB. However, support for Bonds’ claim has increased every year following his retirement, and it seems likely that he’ll finally be able to join depending on a close result in the 2020 ballot. It should provide a slight bump to average prices.
He still makes the news consistently, even if it’s not necessarily for the best reasons. Regardless, Bonds will always be an icon, even if his legendary numbers are tarnished by the use of steroids in an era where it was often more difficult to find a clean player.
The majority of his high-end cards have retained value, and many are worth far more than they were a decade ago. If you can pick up his cards on a downswing there’s always room to make a profit the next time Bonds hits the headlines. If anything, his flaws make his cards more collectible.
INVESTMENT OUTLOOK: DON’T BUY