By the time 1985 Fleer baseball cards made their debut that spring, collectors pretty much knew what to expect from the company who put an end to Topps’ monopoly in 1980.

Namely, a solid design with solid photography, solid player selection, and even a solid numbering scheme.

While all of that “solid” might have spelled b-o-r-i-n-g to some collectors, it was also a comfort to know what was coming.

And, in 1985, Fleer added just a touch of flair with gray borders and colorful inner borders to complement team logos.

Add in a stellar crop of rookie cards and a slight scarcity relative to their competitors, and you had the makings of a long-lasting hobby classic that still has plenty of fans today.

Here, then, are the most valuable 1985 Fleer baseball cards in PSA 9 condition as ranked by recent auction sales.

1985 Fleer Roger Clemens (#155)

1985 Fleer Roger Clemens

Clemens may never make it to the Hall of Fame (though he still might), but there was no denying his greatness on the mound during his playing days … before we even knew what “PED” meant.

This card has been a hobby staple now for more than 35 years, and top condition specimens still draw a lot of interest.

Expect to pay $80+ for a copy in PSA 9 condition.

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1985 Fleer Kirby Puckett (#286)

1985 Fleer Kirby Puckett

Kirby is sort of the anti-Roger — a sparkplug whose career was shortened by physical ailments, Puckett’s Hall of Fame case was no sure thing on paper.

But everybody in the game, including (maybe especially) fans, seemed to love the Twins superstar, and he was a key member of two Minnesota championships.

Puck’s Fleer rookie card has stood near the top of the 1985 heap since he broke out with a .328 batting average and 31 home runs the next season, and it’s still a favorite today.

Prices generally fall in the $65-75 range for slabbed mint copies.

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1985 Fleer Eric Davis (#533)

1985 Fleer Eric Davis

Davis was just one of many young Reds prospects who had the Cincinnati faithful dreaming about big things as new manager Pete Rose instilled some hustle into a moribund club when he arrived from Montreal during the 1984 season.

There were so many young guys, in fact, that it was hard to know who were the real talents and who would end up as bench players or traded … until, that is, Davis got his first extended playing time in 1986.

That summer, Eric the Red hit 27 home runs, drove in 71, and stole an amazing 80 bases in just 132 games.

Then, he was even better in 1987 in fewer games — 37 HR, 100 RBI, 120 runs scored, 50 stolen bases in 129 appearances.

Predictably, collectors pounced on E.D.’s rookie cards and catapulted them toward the top of hobby hot lists.

And, though Davis’ fragile frame limited his on-field time over the years, and though he fell short of the otherworldly expectations we all draped upon his shoulders, he still maintains some cardboard swagger today.

This Fleer RC sells for around $30 in PSA 9 condition these days.

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1985 Fleer Dwight Gooden (#82)

1985 Fleer Dwight Gooden

Gooden didn’t need any lead-in time at all in order to burn up the hobby — he just needed some actual baseball cards.

After an amazing Rookie of the Year campaign in 1984 that included a Major League-leading 276 strikeouts, Doc had collectors frothing at the mouth for a peek at his first cards. Those came in the form of Topps Traded and Fleer Update issues that fall, but we’d have to wait until the next spring to find Gooden in wax packs.

And, when Gooden uncorked a season for the ages in 1985 (24-4, 1.53 ERA, 268 strikeouts), the frenzy only intensified.

From the beginning of that new collecting season, the 1985 Topps Gooden was a hobby favorite, followed by the black-bordered Donruss.

All these years later, though, it’s Gooden’s Fleer rookie that usually finishes runner-up to Topps, value-wise.

Expect prices in the $30-35 range.

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1985 Fleer Don Mattingly (#133)

1985 Fleer Don Mattingly

Mattingly entered the 1984 season as a virtual unknown even though he’d played parts of two seasons for the New York Yankees.

By the end of May, though, Mattingly was hitting nearly .340 and stood among the A.L. batting leaders, setting off an explosion of interest in his rookie cards.

The trends held — Donnie Baseball went down to the wire with teammate Dave Winfield for the A.L. batting crown, pulling out a .343-to-.340 victory at the very end of the season.

And then, in 1985, Mattingly showed that he was among the best players in the game — batting .324 with 35 home runs, 145 RBI, and 48 doubles, and adding a Gold Glove at first base for good measure.

It was enough to snag the American League MVP award and cement Mattingly as a hobby icon.

In fact, that 1984 Donruss Mattingly RC changed the way collectors looked at rookie cards and set the stage for all the price craziness to come, including the hobby’s latest explosion in the early 2020s.

It was quite a phenomenon to behold, and one that lifted all of Mattingly’s cards to superstar status.

Like Gooden and Davis, Mattingly maintains a decent dollop of that sheen these days, with this second-year card checking in at about $25 in graded mint condition.

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1985 Fleer Nolan Ryan (#359)

1985 Fleer Nolan Ryan

In 1985, Ryan was a couple years removed from breaking Walter Johnson‘s all-time strikeout record (along with Steve Carlton and Gaylord Perry), but many observers still considered him a sort of one-dimensional fireballer.

Would he make the Hall of Fame?

There were plenty of folks who would answer a resounding “no,” and Ryan’s advanced age (38) argued that time was running out.

Of course, no one really understood at that point that the Nolan Express was constructed of actual steel, a composition extending all the way to his nerves.

After landing with the Texas Rangers as a free agent in December 1988, Ryan reeled off two more no-hitters, put the strikeout record out of reach of mortal men, and generally established himself as a living legend.

Oh, and as the hottest active player the hobby had ever seen.

All these years later, you can bet that Ryan will appear on the “most valuable” list for just about every set where he has a card.

In the case of 1985 Fleer, expect prices in the $20-25 range for PSA 9 copies.

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1985 Fleer Orel Hershiser (#371)

1985 Fleer Orel Hershiser

As amazing as Dwight Gooden’s 1985 season was, Hershiser’s wasn’t far behind, and it had the element of surprise going for it.

I mean, who could have expected a 19-3, 2.03 performance from a guy most fans had never really even heard of.

Heck, entering the season, Orel Hershiser may as well have been Tom Niedenfuer, another Dodger with rookie cards in the 1985 sets.

By the end of the summer, though, Bulldog was the mound hero for a division winner, and his RCs were hot hobby commodities. A Cy Young Award and World Series title in 1988 only solidified Hershiser’s status, and you could make a decent argument that he was better than some hurlers enshrined in Cooperstown.

All of that, plus some late-career heroics for the Cleveland Indians keep this first Fleer Hershiser card at around $20 in PSA 9.

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1985 Fleer Ryne Sandberg (#65)

1985 Fleer Ryne Sandberg

Sandberg was one of the revelations of 1984, along with the Detroit Tigers, Don Mattingly, and Tony Gwynn.

And, after leading his Chicago Cubs to their first-ever division title, Ryno was named National League MVP, turning up the heat under his already-hot baseball cards.

Those warm hobby feelings lasted all through the great second baseman’s career, and beyond.

This Fleer card pictures a pinstriped Sandberg from that golden summer of ’84 and trades for $15-20 in graded mint condition most of the time.

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1985 Fleer Cal Ripken, Jr. (#187)

1985 Fleer Cal Ripken, Jr.

Ripken was still more than ten years shy of Lou Gehrig‘s record for consecutive games played when this card debuted, but he was already a hobby superstar.

A Rookie of the Year and MVP award in your first two years has a tendency to do that, and Cal also already had the reputation as a guy who showed up every single day.

By the time he copped his second MVP in 1991, Ripken was bona fide hobby royalty, and his 1982 Topps Traded card drew gasps whenever a dealer would plop one into a showcase.

This 1985 Fleer Rip card didn’t set any standards, but it’s a solid early career card that sells for about $15 in PSA 9 condition.

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1985 Fleer Rickey Henderson (#425)

1985 Fleer Rickey Henderson

This card had to have made Oakland A’s fans pretty sad in 1985, considering that their Man of Steal had been traded to the New York Yankees in December of 1984.

While painful to watch for some, though, Henderson’s stellar performance in New York only served to raise his profile in the game beyond his already lofty heights.

And Rickey would return “home” to Oakland in 1989 with time to spare before he broke Lou Brock‘s all-time stolen base record early in the 1991 season.

By then, of course, he was already generally recognized as the greatest leadoff hitter of all time, and then he went ahead and played another 12 years!

And at a high level.

Rickey’s cards will always have a strong fanbase, and this one frames him perfectly, doing his thing — disrupting on the basepaths.

It’s a $10-15 buy in PSA 9 condition.

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