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Jose Canseco rookie cards were among the most anticipated in the entire hobby heading into 1986, and they more than lived up to their hype.

And, after a “slow” start that saw him fall behind Wally Joyner on the rookie charts that summer, so did Canseco himself … for awhile, at least.

Combining power, speed, and swagger seldom brought together in one package, Canseco excited fans from coast to coast, and he quickly established himself as one of the brightest stars in the game, and a key part of the core of the Oakland A’s mini-dynasty of the late 1980s and early 1990s … the vaunted Bash Brothers!

By the time Jose won the American League MVP award in 1988, his rookie cards were among the most expensive of all modern RCs, and they appeared poised to rise in value forever as Canseco marched toward the Hall of Fame.

A funny thing happened on the way to Cooperstown, though. Quite a few funny things, really, and the wheels sort of fell off Jose’s wagon.

His rookie cards ran into tough times, too, spending many, many years mired deep on various hobby “cold lists.”

But today, as the smoke from the PED era begins to clear, and as we continue to gain a better understand of the relative populations of various cards from the so-called Junk Wax Era, Canseco’s rookie cards are about as solid as they’ve ever been. Indeed, there remains a strong core of collectors who focus their hobby energies and dollars on Jose’s cards and collectibles.

What follows is a complete rundown of Jose Canseco rookie cards, plus a few bonus issues that might rightly be called pre-rookies. In all cases, values shown are based on recent(ish) selling prices of cards in PSA 9 condition.

Batter up!

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1986 Donruss Jose Canseco (#39)

1986 Donruss Jose Canseco

This was the card that drove the hobby all through the spring and summer of 1986, and, really, even before … and definitely for several years after.

See, at the end of 1985, sports outlets across the land started hyping Canseco as the next Babe Ruth or Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle, or at least the next Reggie Jackson. All this on the back of an amazing capstone minor-league season split between Double-A and Triple-A that saw Canseco crush 36 home runs, drive in 127, and even steal 11 bases against *zero* times caught stealing.

All of that got Jose a September call-up to the A’s, where he clubbed five more long balls in 29 games.

At 21 years old, Canseco was the next hot thing, and he was right there front and center on the 1986 Donruss checklist when it became public late that fall.

So, armed with our knowledge of Jose’s exploits and our belief that his potential was unstoppable, collectors tore into our Donruss wax packs with great fervor the next spring … if we could get our hands on them.

A perceived scarcity of the issue, coupled with Canseco’s building legend pushed his Rated Rookie card to $3 and beyond in a flash.

And, even as Wally Joyner stole headlines from the future Bash Brother in the first half of the season, Canseco kept plugging away and eventually took home the 1986 American League Rookie of the Year Award that had seemed to be his birthright.

Half a decade of outright superstardom along a Hall of Fame trajectory followed, and when Canseco became the first 40-40 (homers-stolen bases) man in 1988, his RCs were the hottest cardboard in the land.

Alas, epic boneheadedness followed, and Jose fell off his flashy pace in the 1990s, particularly toward the end of the decade when other monster sluggers started putting up historic power numbers.

His 1986 Donruss card – and pretty much all the rest on this list – softened along the way, and Jose himself fell short of 500 home runs and the spot in Cooperstown that also once seemed pre-ordained.

Today, this is still the Rated Rookie that solidified that franchise as a 1980s staple, and it’s as recognizable a card as you’ll find anywhere in the hobby – certainly the most recognizable of Jose Canseco rookie cards — even if its long-term trajectory is more Mike Gallego than Mike Trout.

Value: $40-50

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1986 Donruss Highlights Jose Canseco (#55)

1986 Donruss Highlights Jose Canseco

ard manufacturers in the 1980s treated their license to print pictures of MLB players on little swaths of cardboard like it was a license to print money.

And, really, they weren’t far off.

So, anytime Topps, Fleer, or Donruss could squeeze in another card of a hot name, you could count on them doing just that.

Thus, in the fall of 1986, Donruss rolled out their second-consecutive 56-card Highlights set. And, naturally, they used the occasion to bestow Canseco with the prestigious “Donruss A.L. Rookie of the Year Award.”

These were never super popular cards, but there’s no denying this one is a rookie-year Canseco issued by a major manufacturer. Thus, no master Jose set is complete without it.

Value: $5-10

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1986 Donruss ‘The Rookies’ Jose Canseco (#22)

1986 Donruss 'The Rookies' Jose Canseco

Speaking of printing money, Donruss used the Adventures of Wally World and his battles with Canseco as the impetus to expand their late-year presence even further in 1986. To wit, they took the rookie card mania to its logical conclusion by issuing a 56-card box set of nothing but rookies – The Rookies.

It was the Joyner card that really drove The Rookies forward, since the Angels’ young slugger didn’t appear in any base sets that summer. And it’s the Bo Jackson, Barry Bonds, and Will Clark cards that have carried the set through the decades.

But Canseco added some extra oomph to The Rookies, especially early on, and this remains a key early Jose card.

Value: $10-15

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1986 Fleer Jose Canseco and Eric Plunk Rookie Card (#649)

1986 Fleer Jose Canseco and Eric Plunk Rookie Card

While Donruss went whole-hog with a solo Rated Rookie card of Canseco, Fleer stuck to their plan and included Jose on a two-player Major League Prospect card, joined by A’s teammate Eric Plunk.

But, even though Fleer made Canseco share his rookie card, collectors hardly seemed to notice that Plunk was there. Indeed, we plunked down cash for this RC fast enough to almost keep pace with our Donruss spending.

Today, as in the 1980s, Canseco’s Fleer rookie card runs a fairly close second to Donruss most of the time.

Value: $25-30

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1986 Fleer Baseball’s Best Jose Canseco (#5)

1986 Fleer Baseball's Best Jose Canseco

Of course, even though Fleer stuck with the two-prospect plan in their base set, they were not above printing money squeezing in another few cards of baseball’s hot names when they had the chance.

Enter Baseball’s Best, a 44-card box set that gained immediate fame for featuring the first major league card of Wally Joyner.

Naturally, Fleer didn’t stop there and included other young guns among the more established superstars: Will Clark and Canseco both had rookie–year cards in this set.

This isn’t the most sought-after Jose RC, but it still tends to garner a bit more attention than, say, Bryn Smith at #35.

Value: $15-20

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1986 Fleer League Leaders Jose Canseco (#3)

1986 Fleer League Leaders Jose Canseco

This 44-card box set was produced by Fleer and sold at Walgreen’s drug stores across the nation. And, as the name suggests, the lineup was filled with guys who had led their league in *something* during the 1985 season.

Plus Jose Canseco. Who led the American League in, like, most home runs by a guy named Canseco who had debuted after September 1.

Fleer was firmly in money-printing mode.

Value: $10-20

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1986 Fleer Mini Jose Canseco (#87)

1986 Fleer Mini Jose Canseco

So this one wasn’t *solely* about a rookie grab, as Fleer pushed this out too early to include guys like Wally Joyner and Will Clark.

But they DID manage to include Canseco, who had of course been part of their base set. Here in the 120-card mini set, Jose got his own card, checking in at a diminutive 1 13/16″ X 2 9/16″, just like all the other cards in the set.

Although small, these cards maintained the design of the base set, so this Jose was sort of a preview of what was to come.

Value: $10-20

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1986 Fleer Star Stickers Jose Canseco (#19)

1986 Fleer Star Stickers Jose Canseco

Much to the delight of collectors who were paying attention, Fleer ditched their tiny-stickers-and-album approach in 1986 and resurrected the Super Star Stickers format that they had rolled out during their debut year in 1981.

In 1986, that meant a fetching burgundy design and full-card-size for each of the 132 “stickers” on the checklist.

Yes, you *could* peel these babies, but they were cards, they were stiff like cards, they came in wax packs, and they were spectacular.

And, yes, there was a Jose Canseco rookie sticker.

Value: $20-30

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1986 Fleer Update Jose Canseco (#U-20)

1986 Fleer Update Jose Canseco

In their third year of printing update sets, Fleer used the opportunity of their 132-card year-end issue to roll out their first official Jose Canseco solo card.

Though not technically a rookie card, this one still garnered plenty of hobby interest and remains a key early Canseco issue.

And, though they may have had a slow start in the venture, this one put Fleer over the top as the king of Jose Canseco rookie cards (at least in terms of number of RCs).

Value: $15-25

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1986 Mother’s Cookies Jose Canseco Rookie Card (#9)

1986 Mother's Cookies Jose Canseco Rookie Card

Mother’s Cookies continued rolling out their gorgeous, oversize regional cards in 1986, covering the Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners, San Francisco Giants, and Oakland A’s.

Among the 28 Athletics was young Jose Canseco, smiling confidently into the camera from card #9.

This isn’t the most expensive Canseco rookie card on our list, but it just may be the best looking.

Value: $15-20

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1986 Sportflics Jose Canseco Rookie Card (#178)

1986 Sportflics Jose Canseco Rookie Card

Sportflics debuted in 1986, just in time to really jump into Rookie Card Mania with both feet.

Not only that, but they did so while bringing to bear such “innovations” as Mylar packs (see 1983 Topps Michigan test), lenticular triple-magic–motion sorcery/technology, and cramming as many players as possible onto one card.

In the case of the Jose Canseco rookie card, that meant he shared his real estate on his Big Six FUTURE STARS pasteboard with Mark Funderburk, Mike Greenwell, Steve Lombardozzi, Billy Joe Robidoux, and “Dan” Tartabull.

You can’t distinguish any one of them from the others, of course, but the card back says they’re all there.

Value: $15-25

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1986 Sportflics Star Rookies Jose Canseco (#11)

1986 Sportflics Star Rookies Jose Canseco

Sportflics jumped right into the late-season fray during their debut year, too, issuing a 50-card Star Rookies supplement that was available only in factory-set form.

This one had all of the usual suspects, and they even managed to squeeze in Danny Tartabull, presumably Dan’s evil twin.

As for Jose Canseco, he’s there at number 11, and slightly more decipherable on a triple-exposure card all his own.

Value: $15-25

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1986 Star Jose Canseco Rookie Card (#Fri Jan 07 2022 00:00:00 GMT-0500 (Eastern Standard Time))

1986 Star Jose Canseco Rookie Card

By 1986, Star was well established as the manufacturer of choice for single-player sets, having already given the royal treatment to players like Mike Schmidt, Carl Yastrzemski, Darryl Strawberry, and others.

No big surprise, then, that they unleashed their focus on the year’s flashiest newcomer, issuing a 15-card set dedicated to Jose Canseco, with a corresponding sticker parallel.

None of these come up all that often in top graded condition, so you’re bound to see a wide range of asking prices when they do.

Values below are for typical recent selling prices for any single card or sticker slabbed as PSA 9.

Value: $15-20

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1986 Topps Traded Jose Canseco Rookie Card (#20T)

1986 Topps Traded Jose Canseco Rookie Card

After pushing the boundaries of rookie card definitions in 1985 by including members of the Team USA Olympic squad in their base set, Topps went the boring route in 1986 – Vince Coleman and Ozzie Guillen, Rookies of the Year in 1985, were the big RCs in the black-and-white-bordered set.

That meant no Barry Bonds, no Will Clark, no Jose Canseco.

And, that, of course, set up 1986 Topps Traded for big hype and big success. Indeed, that 132-card year-end box set was one of the most anticipated Traded issues ever, and the Canseco XRC (eXtended Rookie Card) is still an iconic sight for collectors of the era.

Value: $15-25

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1986 Topps Traded Tiffany Jose Canseco Rookie Card (#20T)

1986 Topps Traded Tiffany Jose Canseco Rookie Card

As was their custom in those days, Topps issued a Tiffany parallel to their 1986 Traded set, with the usual super-glossy card fronts and limited production.

Indeed, with an estimated print run of just 5000 factory sets, 1986 Topps Traded Tiffany cards in top shape pull in big prices today, and that goes double for this first Canseco Topps issue.

It’s the most valuable of all Jose Canseco rookie cards.

Value: $75-100

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Minor League Cards

Before there were Jose Canseco rookie cards, there were Jose Canseco minor league cards. Consider them pre-rookies, if you will, or just enjoy them for the history lessons they provide.

1983 Fritsch Madison Muskies Jose Canseco (#13)

1983 Fritsch Madison Muskies Jose Canseco

Larry Fritsch wasn’t just one of the biggest card dealers in the country. Nope, by 1983, the big hobby cheese from Wisconsin was also producing minor league cards.

The lineup that summer included a 32-card run of the Madison Muskies, which featured a young Jose Canseco in his second minor league season.

Not extremely rare, this is still Canseco’s first professional card.

Value: $50-70

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1984 Chong Modesto A’s Jose Canseco (#5)

1984 Chong Modesto A's Jose Canseco

The Chong Modesto A’s Canseco card, on the other hand, is pretty darn hard to come by. In fact, PSA has handled only 56 of the Jose cards, with most of them garnering a PSA 8 or PSA 9 grade.

Chong had been issuing A’s minor league cards since at least the late 1970s and included the great Rickey Henderson among their subjects. Still, the 28-card 1984 Modesto set garnered little attention until Canseco really started mashing a year later.

Today, this modest black-and-white card is among the most valuable of all Canseco issues.

Value: $250-300

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1985 Huntsville Stars Jose Canseco (#44)

1985 Huntsville Stars Jose Canseco

Canseco made his first big splash on the national scene with the Double-A Huntsville Stars in 1985, smashing 25 home runs that summer before moving up to Triple-A Tacoma and, eventually, Oakland.

That same summer, the Stars issued this oversize 25-card set in conjunction with Burger King. By the next year, when Canseco was terrorizing American League pitchers, this card was a hobby star, and it remains one of the most recognizable minor league cards of the era.

Value: $25-30

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1986 Donn Jennings Southern League All-Stars Jose Canseco (#14)

1986 Donn Jennings Southern League All-Stars Jose Canseco

Like Larry Fritsch, mega card dealer Donn Jennings expanded their offerings beyond just pasteboards from the major manufacturers and began issuing their own minor league cards in the 1980s.

In 1986, while Canseco was already in Oakland, Jennings included the young slugger in their Southern League All-Stars set, joining 24 other prospects. Among those were big names – then and to be – like Billy Ripken, Bo Jackson, Glenallen Hill, Tom Glavine, and Gary Thurman.

Even in that heady lineup, Canseco remains one of the key cards in the issue.

Value: $20-30

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*7* 1986 JOSE CANSECO ROOKIE CARDS: TOPPS, DONRUSS, FLEER NEAR MINT!!!

$24.50 (10 Bids)
End Date: Monday 01/30/2023 20:00:01 EST
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(3) 1986 Donruss Jose Canseco Rated Rookie Card RC #39 Athletics 🔥

$17.50 (9 Bids)
End Date: Monday 01/30/2023 21:01:15 EST
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1987 JOSE CANSECO topps all-star rookie #620

$0.99
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1986 DONRUSS RATED ROOKIE JOSE CANSECO CARD # 39

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