Pros: really cheap to purchase boxes, great starter set for new collector, fun cards
Cons: overproduced set, won't make you rich as an investment
In 1991, the Donruss trading card company decided to try something different from the norm, and they split their set into two parts. The first part of their baseball card set came out before the new baseball year got started, with the intent of releasing series 2 at the halfway point. This was the first attempt to really get cards out before the season, and it made sense because off-season transactions meant the need to get new pictures of the baseball stars. Donruss released the series one cards in boxes, and I can vividly remember picking up my first two boxes at our local Costco store. I even remember my mom buying a box that she used as "reward" packs if we did things around the house or did well in school etc. It was an exciting time, and the cards were had a fancy coloring. Years (many years) later, I purchase another box cheaply at a local hobby store for much less, and still see them sold all over the place.
Donruss made a mistake when they produced the 1991 set, and that was in massively overproducing their cards. With the baseball card market reaching an all time high in interest, they produced many, many cards to fill that niche. The problem though, was that the draw to most cards is not only to own them, but to own something that is hard to get. With these boxes, you began to see them everywhere, and Donruss was more than willing to produce box after box, set after set. Soon the market was way over-saturated, and ever collector at the time had purchased their own boxes of the 1991 Series 1 Donruss. Now for the most part, these cards have found a way to collect dust in a lot of closets, but they have also become an easy to purchase box for new collectors looking for a blast-from-the-past experience.
The regular cards in the 320 card set all consist of a picture of the player, many in action sequences or stances during games. The twist is that many of the pictures were taken during early practices or spring training games, so it gave a new outlook to baseball cards. Around the four borders is a royal blue coloring (straight out of the early 90's) with a few faint stripes going into the background. At the bottom of the cards, the players name is in white, surrounded by a red box that helps to make the name stand out. There is also a team logo in the lower left hand corner, the Donruss insignia in the top left, and the players position in the bottom right. The backs of the cards are numbered, with biographical stats like their birthdates, height, weight, and whether they are right or left handed. There are then stats for the last 5 years, with a career total at the bottom.
Also on the back of the regular cards are contract details, how the player was acquired, and finally some career highlights about their best games. The statistics have never covered enough of the individual seasons for me, but they did pack a lot of additional information on the back of the cards to make them more interesting. This I am sure made them a lot more fun to collect, and still provide many hours of entertainment to read through the best in the game for 1991. The set wasn't just limited to the regular cards though, as they have the first 26 cards which were called Diamond Kings. These are one player selected from each team as the star, and a painted portrait is provided of the player. This has always been an interesting trademark for Donruss and I really liked it. The DK's are followed by a set of Rated Rookies (the best incoming rookies) and then the American League All-Star starters from 1990. It is all a really interesting set, which finishes off with a subset of highlight cards that include Nolan Ryan pitching his 6th No-Hitter, Cecil Fielder hitting 51 homeruns, and Carlton Fisk setting the Home Run Record for catchers; just to name a few.
Though the set is a little dated, I still love pulling cards from boxes like this one. Some of the cards that can be pulled from these series 1 boxes include Nolan Ryan, Ken Griffey Jr., Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, and Cal Ripken Jr. As the years have passed, the value of these boxes have become a little stagnant, and you could probably pick up one for less than $10.00 nearly anywhere these are sold. The Series 1 set itself is only booking at a value of $4.00, so you can see that it isn't something that you will be building your future around. The key with boxes of baseball cards like these, is that you are in it for the collecting-value of the set, and serves as a great "starter" box for someone new to the hobby. Just being able to open the packs is worth the purchase. Each box contains 36 packs of cards, with 15 cards in each pack. Each pack also contains a puzzle card that you can combine to create a painting of Willie Stargel. A fun set, and a great way to start up a hobby, the 1991 Donruss Series 1 boxes are cheap and affordable. I highly recommend them as a starting box for any kid that has shown an interest in collecting sports cards.
Selling for about $10.00 or less per box of series 1.
Possible Cards Included In the box:
**320 Card Set for Series 1
**36 Packs per box; 15 cards + 1 puzzle piece per pack
**26 Diamond King Portraits in set
**American League All-Stars randomly inserted in packs
**Includes players such as Mark McGwire, Don Mattingly, Sammy Sosa, Randy Johnson, George Brett, Ozzie Smith, Nolan Ryan, Cal Rikpen Jr., Roger Clemens, Ken Griffey Jr., and Barry Bonds.