If you wanted to collect 1987 Fleer baseball cards the same year they rolled off the press, you might have had a problem.

In particular, it was nearly impossible to find these things that spring!

In fact, both Donruss and Fleer cards were scarce before the weather warmed up that summer, and each seemed to be available in just a few select pockets across the country.

Add to that scarcity intriguing new designs that collectors loved, and you had a formula for escalating prices. And escalate they did!

Before May ever reared its beautiful head, Fleer and Donruss packs had climbed to $1 each — more, in some cases — if you could even find them.

Singles escalated right along with them, and there were several star and rookie cards that topped the $1 mark while the wax was still ostensibly fresh.

1987 Fleer Baseball Unopened Wax Box

The Donruss market eased as summer wore on and the packs became more plentiful (somehow), but the blue-fade borders of 1987 Fleer remained a rare sight at card shows and in most collections for a year or more.

Over the decades, demand has subsided, and plenty of product has come out of the woodwork … whether through product dumps, collectors moving around to spread the distribution, or alien conspiracies, I’m not sure.

But it happened, and prices have dampened accordingly.

Still, even all these years later and even with more than enough product to go around, some cards still pique collector interest.

With that in mind, then, here are the ten most valuable 1987 Fleer baseball cards, as determined by recent eBay sales of PSA 9 specimens.

Fade to blue …

1987 Fleer Barry Bonds Rookie Card (#604)

1987 Fleer Barry  Bonds

Everyone derides Barry Bonds, and they pretty much always have.

First, it was because he didn’t hit for enough power, and because he seemed to feel spoiled, somehow, as the son of a Major Leaguer (Barry Bonds).

Then, it was because he was surly and had a nasty demeanor.

Then, the biggie — steroids! Cheater!

But all along the way, Bonds was one of the best players in baseball, and he retired as one of the all-time greatest hitters, no matter who doesn’t want to admit it.

Cooperstown has been elusive for Bonds so far, but chances are he’ll get there someday.

Until then, his early-career cards are popular enough to pull in collector dollars, and this 1987 Fleer rookie card generally sells for around $20 in PSA 9.

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1987 Fleer Bo Jackson Rookie Card (#369)

1987 Fleer Bo Jackson

Bo is sort of the anti-Barry, in that everyone has pretty much always loved him.

Bo could play baseball.

Bo could play basketball.

Heck, Bo could probably be President.

And even today, decades after a hip injury suffered on the gridiron derailed all his athletic endeavors, Bo knows collectors still love him.

How much?

About $15 worth for this 1987 Fleer rookie card in graded MINT condition.

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1987 Fleer Will Clark Rookie Card (#269)

1987 Fleer Will Clark

This smiling Will Clark pasteboard has got to be one of the most iconic cards of the whole hobby boom in the 1980s.

Clark was going to be the next big thing, and even at a time when sets were teeming with monster rookies, he was the one who most people thought had the potential to climb into the ranks of the all-time greats.

As things turned out, Clark was great at times, and really good for a long while, but he fell short of Hall of Fame standards by most reckonings.

Though not by all that much.

Couple that star power with the memory of how this card was a face of the hobby — at card shows, in magazine adds, in trading sessions on the playground — and you have a $15 gem in PSA 9.

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1987 Fleer Wade Boggs (#29)

1987 Fleer Wade Boggs

By 1987, Wade Boggs had already won three American League batting crowns and was in the midst of a four-year title streak.

He would slow down a little after 1988, never again batting above .332 in a full season, but that’s a bit like complaining about never earning more than $1 million in a year.

Problems of the great, huh?

Anyway, Boggs is and pretty much always has been strong in the hobby, and this 1987 Fleer card hovers around $10 in PSA 9.

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1987 Fleer Jose Canseco (#389)

1987 Fleer Jose Canseco

Yeah, Jose Canseco feels a little buffoonish a lot of the time, but he was one of the muscle monsters who made the long ball really popular again.

May have been the key muscle monster, in fact.

And this card shows that might to good effect. It’s also the only one of the major 1987 Canseco issues that’s not a rookie card, since Fleer got Jose on a Future Stars card in 1986.

Whatever … this is still a $10 card in slabbed MINT condition, no matter how far Canseco fell.

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1987 Fleer Reggie Jackson (#84)

1987 Fleer Reggie Jackson

By the time this card first saw the light of day, Reggie was back in the bay to finish his career with the Oakland A’s.

He’d get one more green-and-gold issue in the Fleer Update set that fall, but that summer, he graced his last Angels Fleer card.

This grinning version of Reginald Martinez sells for about $10 in PSA 9 these days.

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1987 Fleer Barry Larkin Rookie Card (#204)

1987 Fleer Barry Larkin

Barry Larkin was a late-comer to the Cincinnati Reds youth movement of the 1980s, which featured a bevy of bright prospects with names like Gary Redus, Eric Davis, Kal Daniels, Jeff Treadway, Kurt Stillwell, Tracy Jones, Paul O’Neill, and Tom Browning.

You can throw John Franco in there for good measure, too.

Of course, Larkin turned out to be the best of the bunch, and the only one who made it all the way to Cooperstown.

Today, Larkin’s Fleer rookie card hammers down for around $10 in PSA 9.

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1987 Fleer Nolan Ryan (#67)

1987 Fleer Nolan Ryan

Entering his second-to-last year with the Houston Astros in 1987, Nolan Ryan was already a legend, thanks to his blazing fastball and historic strikeout totals.

Of course, that legend would explode to a whole new level once he joined the Texas Rangers in 1989, and his cardboard followed The Ryan Express right into the stratosphere.

This particular hunk of Ryan ephemera is a $7-10 item in PSA 9.

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1987 Fleer Don Mattingly and Darryl Strawberry SuperStar Specials (#638)

1987 Fleer Don Mattingly and Darryl Strawberry Super Star Specials

Baseball stars didn’t get any bigger in 1986 than Don Mattingly and Darryl Strawberry.

Mattingly was the consensus best player in the game, after all, and Darryl was the big-stick “Straw” that stirred the drink for the World Series champion New York Mets.

A bad back sapped Mattingly of his long-term production, and personal issues did the same for Strawberry, but it’s tough to fully dim a shine so bright.

That’s why, even after all these years and after all that’s gone down, this is still about a $10 card in graded MINT condition.

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1987 Fleer Roger Clemens (#32)

1987 Fleer Roger Clemens

Clemens seemed to spring up fully grown from the Fenway Park mound during a magical 1986 run that saw the young right-hander fan 20 in a game and fashion a gaudy 24-4 record.

For his efforts, The Rocket won both the AL Cy Young and AL MVP awards, and sent collectors scrambling to rescue his 1985 rookie cards from the commons bins.

Of course, six more Cy Youngs and a statistical profile that says he’s one of a handful of the greatest pitchers ever have been marred to a great extent by steroid rumors that always swirl around Clemens.

But his cards still have some life in them, and this 1987 Fleer is a $5-10 buy when you find it in PSA 9 condition.

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