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The further we move away from the steroid ERA, the more lucrative Barry Bonds rookie cards will become. You could easily make a case for Barry being the best baseball player in terms of performance and stats. If you don’t already own a Bonds RC, please correct this issue ASAP.
The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Barry Bonds (7/24/64) with the 6th overall pick in the 1985 MLB June Amateur Draft.
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.
He is one of the best-known left fielders of all time, playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Fransico Giants over 22 controversial, for the most part, injury-free seasons.
Unfortunately, in November of 2007, Barry Bonds was indicted on perjury and obstruction of justice charges regarding the BALCO investigation (Barry Bonds RCs sank in value).
The case against Bonds stated he lied under oath about his alleged use of steroids. Now everyone in baseball knew this Bond was a juicer, BUT so were many other players at the time.
Despite controversies regarding steroid use, his rookie cards are still some of the more popular in the hobby. The Giants retired his number 25 shirt following his retirement (many close to the organization predicted this would never happen).
Best Barry Bonds Rookie Cards
We’ve listed his best rookie cards to look out for and provided an investment outlook for the near future.
1986 Barry Bonds Topps Traded RC #11T
Pretty much the same card as the above, except more of them were produced. The card has the same bright, bold yellow “Pirates” lettering across the top is instantly recognizable to collectors.
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Remarkable Fact: Bonds was initially drafted by the San Fransico Giants with the 39th pick in the 2nd round of the 1982 MBL Draft.
Drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 2nd round of the 1982 MLB June Amateur Draft from Junipero Serra HS (San Mateo, CA)
1986 Barry Bonds Topps Traded Tiffany RC #11T
The 1986 Topps Traded Tiffany Barry Bonds Rookie Card is one of the most undervalued cards in all of sport and would be worth triple the amount (maybe more) if he had not allegedly used PEDs.
This is one of the most recognizable cards in the hobby as it features an image of Bonds with a bat in hand, the classic 1980’s Pirates cap (who doesn’t love this hat), with a crisp black, white and yellow motif to fit his Pirates jersey.
Topps Tiffany versions were sold in a limited number, offering collectors higher quality cards than the base version. Like many others on this list, a gem mint version will quickly sell for four figures.
They should be a good investment considering they were going for 400 dollars just over a decade ago. When he breaks into the Baseball Hall of Fame (and he eventually will), this card will pop.
1987 Barry Bonds Topps Tiffany RC #320
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 and mentions that he majored in Criminal Justice.
It’s another exciting 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 shows an excellent mid to long-term trajectory.
1987 Barry Bonds O-Pee-Chee RC #320
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.
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O-Pee-Chee released Canadian alternatives to many popular Topps cards (Pete Alonso Topps Polar Bear Card), 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 it’s so expensive at higher grades.
1987 Barry Bonds Leaf Rookie Card #219
Another Bonds rookie card with that retro Pirates baseball cap (it resembles a conductor hat, but we love it!).
The card also features another close-up picture of Barry, which makes us wonder if he was vain enough to ask for these in some of his early rookie card photo shoots.
1986 Barry Bonds Donruss Rookies RC #11
Another close-up headshot of Bonds on one of his early cards. Image that!
The card is numbered #11 and again features what we are now calling the Pirates conductors hat. Maybe he requested to wear this as well! Either way a lovely Barry Bonds rookie card at an affordable price.
1987 Barry Bonds Classic Travel Update Green Back RC #113
We’ll start with an affordable card with a great image and an eye-catching border.
The 1987 Classic Travel Update features Bonds in mid-sprint; as you might have guessed from the name, the back is green.
You’ll also find basic stats on the reverse and five classic baseball questions. Of the two versions to look out for, the Green Back is notably more valuable than the Yellow Back.
Looking at the stats below it’s no wonder Barry Bond’s rookie cards are valued in the thousands (actually they should be worth more but we will get to that later). His last few seasons in the league were actually some of his best.
Barry Bonds Rookie Year Stats: 113 games | .223 avg. | 16 HR | 48 RBIs | 36 SB | .746 OPS
Barry Bonds Final Season Stats: 126 games | .276 avg. | 28 HR | 66 RBIs | 5 SB | 1.045
1987 Barry Bonds Fleer Hottest Stars RC #5
This Bonds rookie card is unique as it shows Bonds with a canary yellow batting hat on while looking off into the distance with a somewhat dazed look on his face.
The card is numbered #5 and the back simply shows his stats to go along with his vital statistics (i.e., height, weight).
1987 Donruss Opening Day (Dark Jersey-Johnny Ray) Barry Bonds Error Card #163
Here is one of the better-known error baseball cards ever printed (by mistake). Donruss produced the Opening Day set featuring players from their first game of the 1987 season.
However, an error is the main reason this card is one of the most expensive Bonds rookie options, as the image shows Johnny Ray on the front.
The mistake was discovered relatively quickly, so it’s one of the rarest available on our list. It’s also pricey, as a PSA 9 will go into the 4 figures.
If you’re only after gem mint, three PSA 10s (read PSA vs. BGS) 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.
Ironically, the most expensive Barry Bonds card doesn’t feature the player, but that is typical when looking at high-end error cards. It will likely remain his most valuable rookie card for the foreseeable future, even if it’s just for the story.
Most Valuable Barry Bonds Cards
Most Expensive Barry Bonds Baseball Cards
Here is a list of the most valuable Barry Bonds baseball cards. Please note all three of these cards are right around the same value if they were graded the same (i.e., all PSA 10).
Barry Bonds Rookie Card Value
Even with Barry not being in the Baseball Hall of Fame, his rookie cards are still increasing in value at a moderate rate. Like any card, the exact price will depend on various factors.
The 1987 O-Pee-Chee rookie card #320 or the 1986 Topps Traded Tiffany rookie card ##11T are fighting for the top spot regarding which Barry Bonds rookie cards are worth the most.
If you have a Barry Bonds rookie card and would like an estimate on how much the card might be worth, please email us at email@example.com (include card photos).
Barry Bond’s most typical baseball card up for auction on eBay (on average) is the 1987 Topps Barry Bonds RC #320 and the 1986 Barry Bonds Topps Traded RC #11.
Barry Bonds Rookie Card Checklist
Barry Bonds Baseball Card Price Guide
Here is a price guide in regards to the top 3 Barry Bonds baseball cards outside his rookie cards in terms of value. They also happen to be some of the best investments outside his rookie cards.
2002 Fleer Platinum ’86 Update Bonds Buyback Auto /73 #U14
1993 Finest Refractor All-Star #103
1999 Upper Deck Century Legends Epic Signatures /100 #BB
Barry Bonds Buyers Guide and Investment Outlook
Bonds’ rookie cards will always 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.
Investment Rating: Strong Buy (4.8 out of 5)
Best Barry Bonds Rookie Card: 1986 Topps Tiffany RC
Ownership Disclosure: None
While his rookie cards hail from the famous JUNK WAX ERA cards, there are still several diamonds amongst the rough, especially when you look at some rarer options available.
‘It’s essential to consider the Hall of Fame issues that have impacted his career post-MLB. However, support for Bonds’ claim has increased every year following his retirement, and it seems likely that he will eventually find his way into the Hall of Fame.
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Bonds will always be an icon and would be considered the best player to step up to the plate, not for the PED issue.
As the years pass, fans, the media, and even the MLB are seemingly becoming more empathic regarding the steroids era.
We believe Barry Bonds will eventually be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and his rookie cards are one of the best investments in the hobby.