It’s hard to make the claim that any 1990 Fleer baseball cards are really “most valuable” from a monetary standpoint.

And even among the overproduced cards from the first year in a decade noted for, well, overproduction, 1990 Fleer baseball cards seem especially plentiful.

Still, that doesn’t mean 1990 Fleer cards have no value. In fact, you may have followed the interesting saga of the 1990 Fleer Jose Uribe card, which some have ludicrously claimed is a rare and valuable card.

To be clear, it’s neither, but it is eye-popping to look at some of those asking prices — like in these eBay listings (affiliate link).

Instead of playing into that hype, though, it’s more instructive and genuine when looking into which 1990 Fleer cards hold some real value to examine how much they actually sold for.

What follows is a list of the ten 1990 Fleer cards with the highest sale prices on eBay in PSA 10 or PSA 9 condition within a couple months of writing. For reference, the first card (Frank Thomas) comes in around ten bucks, while Travis Fryman at the bottom is around a buck. Everything else falls somewhere in between.

For convenience, I’ve also included links to current Amazon and eBay listings for each card so you can see where things stand when you read this (these are affiliate links).

Let’s dig in …

(Check out our other posts about card values here.)

1990 Fleer Update Frank Thomas Rookie Card (#U-87)

1990 Fleer Update Frank Thomas

In 1989, Frank Thomas emerged from Auburn University and almost immediately started putting “The Big Hurt” on Major League pitchers (OK, at least by the next summer). By the middle of the decade, Thomas was putting up numbers reminiscent of the great Ted Williams and many thought he might develop into the greatest all-around hitter ever. He slowed down as he aged, but Thomas still finished with monster numbers that included 521 home runs, 1704 RBI, nearly 1500 runs, more than 2400 hits, and a .301 lifetime average.

While he had other, more high-profile rookie cards (1990 Leaf, for example), the 1990 Fleer Update card of the 2014 Hall of Fame inductee is an overlooked gem that can still be had for reasonable sums.

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1990 Fleer Mark McGwire (#10)

1990 Fleer Mark McGwire

In 1990, Mark McGwire enjoyed a rebound season that saw him slam 39 home runs, the most he had logged since his rookie-of-the-year campaign in 1987. That performance helped his Oakland A’s get back to the World Series (where they were swept by the Cincinnati Reds) and served notice that Big Mac was back.

Of course, he’d go on to break Roger Maris‘s single-season home run record, smacking 70 in 1998, before the steroid debacle tarnished his Bunyanesque feats.

Will McGwire ever make it to Cooperstown?

Hard to say at this point, but his cards remain popular, as evidenced by this entry’s high standing among its contemporaries.

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1990 Fleer Sammy Sosa Rookie Card (#548)

1990 Fleer Sammy Sosa

McGwire’s running mate (or mortal foe) during that magical season of 1998, Sammy Sosa also surpassed Maris but finished second in the homer race. Never mind, that, though, because Sammy nabbed the NL MVP award and then went on to hit 60 homers in a season two more times.

Another player whose legacy was decimated by PEDs, Sosa started MLB life as a more slender and toolsy outfielder who could steal bases, hit home runs, and just be pretty lively in general. That’s the version we see here on his 1990 Fleer rookie card.

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1990 Fleer Ken Griffey, Jr. (#513)

1990 Fleer Ken Griffey Jr

In 1990, Ken Griffey, Jr., was still more about potential than production. While he had finished third in voting for the 1989 American League Rookie of the Year balloting, he did so with only 16 homers, 16 stolen bases, and an uninspiring .264 batting average.

It didn’t take long for The Kid to ramp things up from there, and he soon took his rightful place as one of the two or three best players in the game. When he finally wrapped up his career in 2010, his stat line looked like a video game high-scorers table: 630 home runs, 1836 RBI, 1662 runs, nearly 2800 hits, and even 184 stolen bases.

Not surprisingly, Griffey’s cards have been among the most popular in the hobby since his 1989 debut, and this early Junior entry still sells well, though at reasonable prices.

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1990 Fleer Nolan Ryan (#313)

1990 Fleer Nolan Ryan

By 1990, Nolan Ryan was just turning 98 years old but still had plenty of gas in the tank — enough time for four more seasons, in fact. That kept him in the Major Leagues through 1993 and allowed him to amass more than 5000 strikeouts and 300 wins, not to mention his seven no-hitters.

Ryan didn’t land with the Texas Rangers until 1989, but he became synonymous with that team thanks to his Texas swagger and the records he smashed in the Red, White, and Blue Rangers garb. And since 1990 was the first time base sets showed The Ryan Express with Texas, and they’re popular among collectors.

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1990 Fleer David Justice Rookie Card (#586)

1990 Fleer David Justice

You don’t hear much about him today, but man! David Justice was a legitimate phenomenon in the early 1990s. This dude had it all …

Good looks.

Sweet swing.

A strong young team around him.

Movie star wife (Halle Berry).

Oh, and he could also smack the stuffing out of a baseball.

Justice won the NL Rookie of the Year award in 1990 with 28 home runs and 78 RBI, the same year his rookie cards hit hobby shelves.

Though his star waxed and waned over the years, Justice still tallied 305 homers in a 14-year career, and his early cardboard remains popular.

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1990 Fleer Randy Johnson (#518)

1990 Fleer Randy Johnson

In 1990, Randy Johnson was still a mystery — a monster arm with control problems who had Hall of Fame potential but more questions than strikeouts.

The year before, though, the Montreal Expos had sent the man who would become The Big Unit to the Seattle Mariners, and it was there that Johnson would blossom as a pitcher.

Nineteen years and nearly 300 additional victories later, Johnson finally hung up his spikes with no doubt about his Cooperstown credentials.

All of the Unit’s cards, including early-career junk wax goodies like 1990 Fleer keep collectors interested all these years later.

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1990 Fleer Juan Gonzalez Rookie Card (#297)

1990 Fleer Juan Gonzalez

Juan Gonzalez kind of got lost in the shuffle of the home run barrage during the late 1990s and the early 2000s, and especially because he sort of flamed out in his early-to-mid 30s.

But there were few sluggers as feared as Juan Gone through most of the 1990s, and he won two American League MVP awards with Texas, in 1996 and 1998.

At one time, this 1990 rookie card sat near the top of the new-card mountain and still pulls decent collector interest today.

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1990 Fleer Omar Vizquel Rookie Card (#528)

1990 Fleer Omar Vizquel

Omar Vizquel started his Major League life as a light-hitting, slick-fielding shortstop. That’s never been a golden combination for unlocking big card values.

But Omar kept showing up for 24 years and improved his bat enough along the way to eventually accumulate nearly 2900 hits and more than 400 stolen bases.

He’s also something of a legend in Cleveland Indians lore, and his cards are just about as strong as ever.

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1990 Fleer Update Travis Fryman Rookie Card (#U-98)

1990 Fleer Update Travis Fryman

Travis Fryman came to the Detroit Tigers in the early 1990s just as Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker were starting to round out their Hall of Fame careers.

The young shortstop and third baseman was supposed to help Detroit bridge the gap to the next great era in Tiger baseball.

Well, Fryman did his part, mostly, hitting about 20 homers a year during his eight seasons in Motown.

The Tigers didn’t do much during that stretch, though, and Fryman ended up in Cleveland from 1998-2002. And then, at just age 33, Fryman was done.

Still, Fryman finished with 223 home runs and nearly 1800 hits and enough of a following to keep his rookie cards from sliding into obscurity.

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(Check out our other posts about card values here.)

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