Nevertheless... buried among some of those junk wax products are gems that have maintained collectors' interest and have surprisingly held their value over the years.
1991 Donruss Elite #7
The 1991 Donruss Elite inserts are one of those sets. They were one of the first mainstream, serial numbered cards inserted into packs.
I was working at my local card shop when 1991 Donruss was released and was blown away by how much money people were willing to spend on singles from this set.
Here's a peek into the September 1991 Beckett:
Let's zoom in on what they had these inserts listed for:
These days there are several different high end products released each year, so it's not that uncommon to see cards worth triple digits pulled from packs.
But back in 1991, there weren't too many current issue cards that commanded that kind of cash right out of the gates.
Why the hype?
Well... they were really, really, really tough to pull.
One look at my Rickey Henderson numbered to 10,000 might have you scratching your head, since that's a figure that seems astronomical by today's standards. He wasn't alone. Donruss produced seven other guys who had cards numbered to 10k. Plus Nolan Ryan had a special Legends card numbered to 7,500. And there was an autographed Ryne Sandberg card numbered to 5,000.
That's 92,500 insert cards produced in total! However... you've gotta remember that this was the Junk Wax Era.
One blogger did the math a few years ago and estimated that Donruss produced almost 7,000,000 wax boxes (Series One and Two combined) of baseball. He based his numbers on an estimation published on BaseballCardPedia that stated that collectors pulled these inserts at a rate of around 1:75 boxes.
If either of these numbers are even remotely true, then you can't deny just how difficult these were to pull.
Today the Rickey no longer commands $200. But it isn't a $2 insert either. After a small bidding war, I ended up paying $27 (+ $2.99 shipping) about a month ago on eBay. I've seen a few go for less, but I paid a premium to finally cross this card off of my wantlist.
You have no idea how good it feels to finally scratch a twenty-seven year itch.
And assuming this post is published on schedule, it'll feel a little bit better knowing that the regular school year ended a few hours ago and my four day weekend (until summer school session) has begun.
Happy Thursday and sayonara!