Why Are There So Many Errors In 1991 Donruss Baseball?

January 9, 2023

Like many sets released during the junk wax era, the 1991 Donruss baseball series had its fair share of error cards. While the 1991 Donruss error cards aren’t as popular as their 1990 counterparts, a few are especially notable, commanding excellent value on the market.

This article shall review everything about the 1991 Donruss errors and which card is worth adding to your collection.

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The 1991 Donruss set

Donruss’s 1991 baseball card set consisted of 770 cards highlighting rookies, veterans, and players from Major League Baseball. This set was the first time Donruss released a set in two series. Series 1 consisted of 286 base cards and featured blue borders with a red highlight and multi-coloured dots and stripes.

Series two featured 384 cards highlighted on green borders, red backgrounds and similar dots and stripes. It was also the first time Donruss introduced its popular Elite Series, which numbered 10,000 copies.

It also introduced several subsets, which included:

  • Diamond Kings (1-27)
  • Rated Rookies (28-47/413-432)
  • AL All-Stars (48-56)
  • MVP’s (387-412)
  • NL All-Stars (433-441).

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The 1991 Error Cards

Like many produced during the junk wax era, the 1991 Donruss set had its fair share of error cards. This was due to the rushed and careless production practice common during the time. The demand for sports cards was at an all-time high, and competition among the various card manufacturers was intense.

These companies tried to put out as many cards as quickly as possible. Hence, they often overlooked quality control practices, and errors made their way to the final product.

Most experts also believe that some trading card companies manufactured error cards to drive sales. Error cards had proven to be a successful marketing strategy as collectors chased packs to seek out valuable and rare error cards. However, it was more common for an error card to be produced as a mistake.

Error cards in the 1991 Donruss set ranged from misprinted player names, incorrect team logos, wrong stats and many more. While most of them aren’t worth anything today, a few still hold considerable value due to the rarity/nature of the error. Additionally, the 1991 set is essential in the history of baseball card collecting, and collectors look at error cards from the set fondly.

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Notable 1991 error cards

A few of the 1991 Donruss error cards stand out from the rest. Here are a few of the most notable from the set.

1991 Donruss Ken Griffey Jr. error card #77

While not particularly expensive, the 1991 Donruss Ken Griffey Jr. error card is highly sought after by collectors. Its low price is due to the nondescript nature of the error and the fact that Donruss did not correct it. It’s a common “no dot after INC” error, and ungraded copies go for about $1 on eBay. Higher grades, such as PSA 10, have been sold for up to $10.

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1991 donruss ken griffey jr error

1991 Donruss Jose Uribe #375 Double Error Card

The rarity, type of error, and player depicted make this card (who is also on another famous “error” card), one of this series’s most valuable error cards. There’s an error in his date of birth and the spelling of his last name.

His birth year is listed as 1960, while his actual birth year was 1959. Uribe’s middle name, “Alta”, is also wrongly spelt as “Elta”. This card has been sold up to $2,500, depending on the grade, although there seems to be shill bidding at work. If you are patient you can probably get this card for a couple of bucks.

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Jose Uribe 1991 Donruss error card

1991 Donruss Jose Conseco #50

Yet another common error only worth talking about because of the player depicted on the card. The “A’s” in the stats line is supposed to be an “AL”.

It was also one of the few error cards in this set to be corrected. Depending on the condition, it goes for anything between $2 to $50.

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1991 Donruss Frank Thomas error #477

Here is a breakdown of some of the most notable error cards from the set.

The Frank Thomas error card is also one of this series’s most valuable error cards. This is due to the player depicted rather than the uniqueness of the error, as it’s mundane. This error card sells for anything between $2 (Ungraded) to $50 for a PSA 10. However, it’s worth mentioning that there have been two $200+ sales for this card on eBay over the last few months.

1991 Donruss Nolan Ryan reverse triple error card (Bc-3)

The Nolan Ryan triple error card, is highly sought after by collectors because it has major and minor errors. Cards with single or double errors aren’t worth much. However, his triple error cards can fetch quite impressive figures. The triple error card goes for $5 to $100, depending on its condition.

1991 nolan ryan donruss triple reverse error

Other examples of 1991 Donruss error cards from the set

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CardError
Roberto Alomar #12It is missing the trademark symbol on the team’s logo on the reverse side.
Ron Gant #10It is missing the trademark symbol on the team’s logo on the reverse side.
Rafael Palmeiro #19It is missing the trademark symbol on the team’s logo on the reverse side.
Pedro Guerrero #25It is missing the trademark symbol on the team’s logo on the reverse side.
Chuck Finley #26It is missing the trademark symbol on the team’s logo on the reverse side.
Ryan SandbergRyan was a Diamond King in 1985, not 1983 stated on the card
Jack McDowell #57Didn’t record his 1990 stats. Was corrected
Mike Blowers #63There’s a typo on the reverse side that says “Collegiate aseball” instead of “baseball.”
John Smoltz #75It lists “Warren, Michigan” as his place of birth rather than “Detroit, Michigan.”
Bruce Hurst #83Wrongly spelt middle name. It is spelt as “Vee” rather than “Lee.”
Lance Parrish #135Wrong place of birth. Clairton rather than McKeesport.
Sammy Sosa #147Wrong date of birth. 11/10 rather than 11/12.
Steve Sax #163Missing an asterisk that shows he was a League Leader on the stats area
Tony Phillips #286Wrong date of birth. April 15th rather than April 25th
Corey Snyder #288It contains a double word typo on the reverse side (…also led led AL of…)
Steve Fry #292He bats right but is depicted batting left.
Marquis Grissom #307Wrongly spelt middle name. “Deon” rather than “Dean.”
Colby Ward #330There is no coma between his city of birth and state of birth.
Jeff Reardon #369Wrong place of birth. He was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, but the card states that he was born in Dolton.
Card #386 ChecklistThe card comes with both green and blue borders. The Green borders are rarer, although there’s no significant difference in value.
Brian Harper #398Stat box titled “Major League Performance” rather than Career Performance”.
Roberto Kelly MVP #400He is listed as playing two positions. 2nd Baseman is on the front, and Outfield is on the reverse side.
Rich De Lucia #426Wrongly spelt name. Rich Delucia rather than Rich De Lucia
Mike Scioscia #436He has a yellow star beside his name, while every other “all Star” card comes with a white star.
Monty Fariss #455Typo in his name. Farris rather than Fariss
Paul Abbott #639Birthplace and home are reversed on the back of the card
Steve Balboni #650Wrong date of birth, January 5 rather than January 16
Matt Williams #685The last line on the reverse bottom is blank. It was corrected to include the line.
Stan Belinda #699Typo in his place of birth. Huntington instead of Huntingdon
Bud Black #719He is shown wearing a Blue Jay uniform while the card has a Giants logo.
Rob Deer #729The card carries a Tigers’ logo, while Rob was a Milwaukee Brewer
Ken Dayley #735He’s wearing a Cardinal uniform jersey while the card carries a Blue Jay logo. All three of these players were traded late in the season. Hence these are not technically error cards. However, people consider them error cards
Dr Dirt and Mr Clean #744This card has no “Donruss 91” tag like all other cards from this set.
Billy Hatcher #763Line 13 says “…88 World Series, no on had..” instead of “…88 World Series, no one had..”.
Andy Hawkins BC12His position was put on the front of the card Instead of his achievements. The front of the card said “pitcher” when it should’ve been “no hits white Sox”. Was corrected
Terry Mulholland BC 14Reverse side. His teammate’s name on this card is Chris Hayes, but it’s actually Charlie Hayes.

The value of 1991 Donruss error cards

The majority of the errors in the 1991 Donruss set are common errors. These include things like typos, wrong date of birth or incorrect stats. The underwhelming nature of the 1991 Donruss error cards reflects in their value. An error card’s value is dependent on a few factors. This includes:

  • Rarity – Difficult to find cards are generally more valuable than common error cards.
  • The uniqueness of the error – Unique errors with an exciting story can drive demand.

The 1991 Donruss error cards fail on both counts. The majority of errors from this set are typos or wrong statistics and Donruss printed millions of these cards.

This has ensured that the value of most error cards from this series is nothing grand. However, a few cards from this set are highly sought after by collectors.

Error cards from famous players and corrected error cards are an example. These cards can fetch you an impressive ROI, especially if they’re in remarkable condition.

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Bottomline of 1991 Donruss error cards

While the 1991 Donruss series was met with little enthusiasm when it was released, the set plays an interesting part in how we collect cards to this day.

Additionally, this series has a huge nostalgic factor for today’s collectors. This is because most present collectors grew up collecting this series. Thus, collectors look fondly at cards from this set.

However, as a set produced in the junk wax era, millions and millions of packs were printed, and this supply overload has placed a ceiling on its monetary worth. Notwithstanding, professionally graded error cards of famous players in gen mint condition can sell for fair figures.

So while collecting these cards as an investment isn’t recommended, they’re still an essential part of every collection. If you’re looking for error cards with great monetary value, you can check out our list of most valuable Pokémon error cards.

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