In some ways, 1990 Bowman baseball cards righted a lot of wrongs.

For one thing, they “fixed” the oversized, misfit nature of the inaugural Bowman reboot in 1989 that kept that set from going anywhere.

For another, 1990 Bowman gave us a Topps card that summer without garish borders and with big, clear photos.

And for another another … 1990 Bowman was loaded with rookies, which set up the brand to become the place to go for prospect pasteboards within just a couple years.

Of course, all that goodness was sort of blunted by the volcanic volume of cardboard that erupted from the Topps factory that summer …

Even now, you could be walking down the street on a beautiful clear blue autumn afternoon and suddenly be covered by a dollop of 1990 Bowman packs that have just been hanging therein the atmosphere for a few decades.

But all is not lost if you’re looking for 1990 Bowmans that are worth something. See, because they’re still new(ish) and because there are so many of them out there, a fair amount have been sent in for grading.

And the ones that come back with a perfect score are in that sweet spot of being just scarce enough to be interesting but common enough to be attainable.

With all that in mind, then, here are the nine most valuable 1990 Bowman baseball cards, based on recent eBay sales for specimens in PSA 10 condition.

1990 Bowman Frank Thomas Rookie Card (#320)

1990 Bowman Frank Thomas Rookie Card

If you weren’t following baseball in the early 1990s, then you missed out on the amazing phenomenon of a young Frank Thomas.

The man slammed into the sport like a linebacker and turned in consistent, gaudy power-plus-average performances we hadn’t seen since the days of Ted Williams.

Every dang season for the better part of a decade, The Big Hurt was good for, like, .320, 30 home runs, 100 RBI, 100 runs scored — which may not sound that amazing now, but it left us breathless 25 years ago.

Not surprisingly, Big Frank climbed to the top of the hobby mountain on his way to Cooperstown, and that sheen never really wore off.

Today, Thomas’ Bowman rookie is a $50 card in PSA 10 condition.

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1990 Bowman Sammy Sosa Rookie Card (#312)

1990 Bowman Sammy Sosa Rookie card

Once upon a time, Sammy Sosa was a slender young man with a blend of power and speed that made him a 30-30 threat for the Texas Rangers.

And then for the Chicago White Sox.

And then for the Chicago Cubs, for whom he actually turned the trick, in both 1993 and 1995.

And then, well, home runs. And more home runs. And more home runs.

So many home runs, in fact, that Sosa ended up with 609 of them on the strenght of three seasons of 60+. No one else has ever done that.

But, then there were PED accusations and silliness and a general fall from grace.

Sammy may not make the Hall of Fame cut any time soon, but he still holds enough sway with collectors for his ’90 Bowman RC to climb into the $35 range (in PSA 10).

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1990 Bowman Larry Walker Rookie Card (#117)

1990 Bowman Larry Walker Rookie Card

Larry Walker is another mid-1990s super duper star who didn’t fare as well with Hall of Famer voters as we all might have expected during his prime … but he eventually made the cut!

Unlike Sammy, the culprit for Booger wasn’t PEDs — it’s mountains.

As in the Colorado Rockies, whose batters tend to do things in the thin air that mere mortals living closer to the surface could barely fathom.

Still, a .313 lifetime average, 2160 hits, 383 home runs, a .965 OPS, 72+ WAR, and enough Gold Gloves to keep three-and-a-half pairs of Larry Walker hands warm have to mean something.


Time told the tale on the HOF front, and with his election in 2020, it all amounts to a $75 Bowman RC for the big galoot.

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1990 Bowman Rickey Henderson (#457)

1990 Bowman Rickey Henderson

On the other hand, there was never much doubt that Henderson was a first-ballot Hall of Fame lock. The only question was … would he ever retire?

When this 1990 Bowman card first slid out of packs, though, Rickey was a long way from retirement and about to embark on maybe his greatest season — certainly the only one that resulted in an MVP award for the speedster.

Early the next year — 1991 — Henderson broke Lou Brock’s all-time stolen base record.

At that point, the hobby officially spiraled into an incurable case of Hot Dog Fever, and Henderson’s cards have never really lost their appeal since.

Today, his 1990 Bowman sells for around $20 in PSA 10.

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1990 Bowman Ken Griffey Jr. (#481)

1990 Bowman Ken Griffey Jr Card

By 1990, we were all pretty sure Junior was going to be a superstar — he had the pedigree, the sweet swing, the love of the game.

All we had to do was wait, and all he had to do was fill out a bit and then deliver.

Griffey came through on almost all the expectations even his most ardent, um, expectors heaped on him. And, if not for some shaky years in Cincinnati, Mike Trout might be chasing The Kid’s records right now instead of Babe Ruth‘s and Willie Mays’ and Barry Bonds’.

As it stands, Griffey is a top-tier Hall of Famer with as strong a collector base as you’ll find, and his 1990 Bowman hammers down around $20 in PSA 10 condition.

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1990 Bowman Nolan Ryan (#486)

1990 Bowman Nolan Ryan

Nolan Ryan made his first base-set appearances as a member of the Texas Rangers in 1990.

Already a legend before coming to Arlington, Ryan found some extra magic in that “T” logo and set himself apart from every other power pitcher, and from every other player from a hobby standpoint.

When this card was issued, the old man was just about the hottest thing going, card-wise, and collectors’ love affair with the wily fireballer continues today.

Expect to pay about $20 for a PSA 10 copy of Ryan’s 1990 Bowman card.

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1990 Bowman Moises Alou Rookie Card (#178)

1990 Bowman Moises Alou Rookie Card

For many fans, the enduring image of Moises Alou involves the Cubs outfielder losing out in a battle for a foul ball in the 2003 playoffs to Steve Bartman.

It’s a painful and controversial moment in Chicago history that has been somewhat ameliorated over the years, especially since the Cubbies took home the 2016 World Series trophy.

Kind of lost in all that is the fact that Alou was a really good player, hitting .303 with 2134 hits and 332 home runs over a 17-year career split among seven franchises.

Enough collectors remember the good times, though, to make this Bowman rookie a $15 item in PSA 10.

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1990 Bowman John Olerud Rookie Card (#510)

1990 Bowman John Olerud Rookie Card

The enduring image of John Olerud, on the other hand, usually involves the first baseman standing near the sack while wearing his batting helmet.

It was an unusual look, and you could always pick out the Blue Jays (and Mariners and Mets) star by his unique silhouette in the field.

Like Alou, though, Olerud was a stellar hitter, collecting 2239 hits and 255 home runs to go with his .295 batting average and .863 OPS.

Dale Sveum’s cousin was also a solid fielder at first, nabbing three Gold Gloves with Seattle late in his career.

Beyond an initial buzz when some folks pegged Olerud as a .400 average waiting to happen, collectors never got too excited about his cardboard, but his overall excellent resume make this a $15 RC in PSA 10.

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1990 Bowman Bernie Williams Rookie Card (#439)

1990 Bowman Bernie Williams Rookie Card

All of the key members of those great 1990s and 2000s Yankees teams have always enjoyed strong hobby profiles, and Williams is no different.

I mean, any NYY center fielder who helps the team win multiple World Series titles while batting close to .300 for his career, tagging nearly 300 home runs, and banging out 2300+ hits is going to have some popular cardboard.

In the case of Bernie’s Bowman rookie card, you can expect to pay about $15 for a copy in slabbed GEM MT condition.

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