In the spring of 1987, collectors hoping to complete all that year’s baseball card sets were confronted with a stark reality — you couldn’t find 1987 Donruss or Fleer cards anywhere.

The perception of scarcity plagued these cards for years, but by the mid 1990s, we knew the truth — there were plenty to go around, and then some.

But, while 1987 Donruss never climbed through the stratosphere from a value standpoint, that doesn’t mean they’re worthless.

In fact, a handful of the black-bordered classics still trade for decent prices on a regular basis.

What follows is a list of the ten most valuable 1987 Donruss baseball cards, as listed in PSA’s Sports Market Report (SMR), or as culled from actual eBay sales.

Let’s dig in!

Bo Jackson Rated Rookie (RC) (#35)

In the mid to late 1980s, there were few hotter athletes in the hobby than Bo Jackson.

Sure, in 1987, we had big-time sluggers like Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco lighting up the boards, all-around greats like Don Mattingly and Ryne Sandberg wowing us with their excellence, and fireballers like Roger Clemens and Nolan Ryan blowing our doors off.

But Bo Jackson could do, like, anything on the diamond. And on the gridiron.

Ultimately, a football injury curtailed his career in both sports, but Bo’s cards remain popular items among collectors who remember how exciting it was to watch a guy we thought just might make the Hall of Fame … twice!

The SMR has his Donruss Rated Rookie card at $10 in MINT (9) and $25 in GEM-MT (10) condition.

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Greg Maddux Rated Rookie (RC) (#36)

1987 Donruss Greg Maddux Rookie Card

Greg Maddux look like Ferris Bueller with a mascara mustache, or maybe your local pizza delivery boy, on his 1987 Donruss Rated Rookie card.

But even then, the future Hall of Famer was starting to make waves in the hobby.

For starters, he was a Rated Rookie, and that was enough to get us thinking hard about a guy back in those days.

For another thing, Maddux had just landed a spot in the Chicago Cubs rotation and was a year out from turning in his first big season — 18-8, 3.18 ERA, an All-Star selection for the 1988 Cubs club that played the first night games at Wrigley Field.

After that, of course, it was pretty much a straight shot into Cooperstown for The Professor.

SMR lists this card at $8 in PSA 9 and $70 in PSA 10.

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Mark McGwire Rated Rookie (RC) (#46)

1987 Donruss Mark McGwire

Nobody knew anything about androstenedione in 1987, and very few fans knew anything at all about steroids.

If you ever saw “PED,” chances are it was just a misspelling for everyone’s favorite funky candy, PEZ.

What we did know in that long-ago summer was that Mark McGwire could hit the stuffing out of a baseball.

All told, he went deep 49 times in 1987 to set the rookie record that stood until Aaron Judge undid it in 2017. Along the way, Big Mac’s cards rose to the top of the hobby Hot List, and this Donruss Rated Rookie beauty trailed only McGwire’s 1985 Topps Team USA issue in value and popularity.

Today, SMR has the 1987 RR at $3 in PSA 9 and $5 in PSA 10.

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Will Clark Rookie Card (#66)

1987 donruss will clark

One of the more vocal critics of the dudes who rollicked through the so-called “Steroid Era” was Will Clark.

You might call it sour grapes, but the truth is that Will the Thrill put up some pretty hefty numbers of his own early in his career with the San Francisco Giants.

How hefty?

Try 35 home runs in 1987, plus 29 in 1988 and 23 in 1989, with bells and whistles that included lots of walks, climbing RBI totals, and one of the most beautiful lefty swings of his era.

Those were big tallies in Candlestick Park in the 1980s, and then Clark’s power started to decline.

He stuck around until 2000, long enough to see oldsters like McGwire and Barry Bonds start to actually pick up their homer pace as they aged.

And Clark was quick to point out their shenigans.

In the end, Clark pounded out 284 home runs among his 2176 hits — a great career, but shy of the big-bopper stats we’ve come to expect from Hall of Fame first basemen.

These days, Clark’s 1987 Donruss card sells for $10-20 in PSA 10 on eBay.

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Cal Ripken (#89)

1987 donruss cal ripken

The 1987 Donruss Cal Ripken is not a blazing rookie card.

It’s not from an “important” year, such as an MVP campaign, or the year Ripken broke Lou Gehrig‘s consecutive games-played streak.

All this card is, is a mid-career card of a gosh-darn living legend and one of the greatest players of all-time.

For all that, this Ripken checks in at $10-15 in PSA 10 in eBay sales these days.

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Nolan Ryan (#138)

1987 donruss nolan ryan

If you’ve ready any of my other articles on card values, then you’ve heard this before, but …

When Nolan Ryan appears in a baseball card set issued pretty much any time from 1968 through the mid-1990s, you can bet he’s going to make the list of most valuable cards in that set.

This 1987 Donruss card, issue during Ryan’s last year with the Houston Astros, is no exception.

Though he turned 40 that year and plenty of folks had written him off, The Ryan Express had plenty of gas left in his tank.

This black beauty typically pull in $15-30 in PSA 10 on eBay.

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Pete Rose (#186)

1987-Donruss-Pete-Rose

Pete Rose sort of falls into the same bucket as Nolan Ryan — if Pete’s in a set, he’s probably going to be among the most valuable cards.

Whether this is true despite the controversy around his sports betting and lifetime suspension from baseball, or because of it, is open for debate.

What’s not up in the air is that Pete Rose remains one of the most talked-about athletes of all-time, and thousands of collectors still clamor for his cardboard.

This 1987 Donruss card trades on eBay for $10-20 in PSA 10.

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Barry Bonds Rookie Card (#361)

1987-Donruss-Barry-Bonds

Yeah, you knew Barry Bonds would make this list, right?

Look, you’ve heard it all before, but Bonds did stuff in the 2000s that were pretty much unfathomable … and still are.

Right, I know — PEDs. But (and you’ve heard this before, too), Bonds was a Hall of Famer before he ever took aim on Roger Maris, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Babe Ruth, and, ultimately, Hank Aaron.

Bonds’ first Donruss card was in The Rookies from 1986, but this one is his base RC.

The SMR has it at $3 in PSA 9 and $8 in PSA 10.

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Barry Larkin Rookie Card (#492)

1987 donruss barry larkin

Barry Larkin came to the Cincinnati Reds among a flurry of young players who were going to lead Cincy to a string of World Series titles …

Eric Davis

Kal Daniels

Tom Browning

Kurt Stillwell/Jeff Treadway

Paul O’Neill

And on and on.

They would bring glory back to the Riverfront and ride into Cooperstown together.

That never really panned out, but Lark sure did, collecting more than 2300 hits in a 19-year career spent entirely with the Reds.

Oh, and the 1995 NL MVP award.

Oh, and the Reds won the 1990 Fall Classic with Larkin at shortstop.

Oh, and Larkin made the Hall of Fame cut in 2012.

So, what does a 1987 Donruss rookie card with that kind of pedigree behind it bring these days?

According to SMR, it fetches $2 in PSA 9 and $5 in PSA 10.

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Roberto Clemente Puzzle Card (#612)

1987 donruss roberto clemente diamond king

Donruss cards didn’t come with bubble gum — they came with puzzle cards.

As in, each wax pack had three pieces of a puzzle, and if you collected enough pieces, you could put the whole thing together to see a Perez-Steele rendering of a baseball great.

And they don’t come a whole lot greater than 1987’s subject, Roberto Clemente, whose legend and hobby sway seem to grow with each passing year.

But you didn’t have to collect all the puzzle pieces to get a gander of the full Clemente painting in 1987 — all you had to do was score card #612.

Today, graded copies in PSA 10 of the Pittsburgh Pirates superstar Hall of Famer sell on eBay in the $20-30 range.

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1987 Donruss Baseball (36) Unopened Wax Packs

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