bo jackson rookie card

The Bo Jackson Rookie Card Investment Guide

While many of Bo Jackson's rookie cards from the 'junk era' were mass-produced, elusive high-grade gems present prime buying opportunities today.

Updated Oct 29, 2023

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Bo Jackson's rookie cards were issued from 1986 to 1987, a period known as the peak of the Junk Era in card collecting.

Bo remains one of the best two-sport athletes in history, but greatness on the field only sometimes equates to a great investment in sports cards.

The majority of Jackson's rookie cards were produced in massive quantities. Thus, not all Bo Jackson cards are worth money. 

In this piece, I'll dive into the investment potential for the most valuable Bo Jackson baseball cards while examining recent auction sales and overall scarcity. 

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You need to dig deep to find Bo Jackson's most valuable rookie cards, since they were produced in massive quantities. My suggestion - buy rarer rookies in high grades, like the 1986 Tiffany, 1987 Leaf and 1987 Topps Tiffany Cards.

bo-knows
Bo Jackson RC Highlights
  • Bo Jackson's Most Valuable rookie card is the 1986 Topps Traded Tiffany edition, with Gem-Mint, PSA 10 copies today selling for $7500. 
  • The 1987 Leaf Bo Jackson rookie card was released in Canada and produced in more limited quantities than the 1987 Donruss rookie card. 
  • Bo Jackson's Football card was released in the 1988 Topps Football set, however, massive quantities were produced. 
  • Most of Jackson's rookie cards are worth only a few bucks unless graded a PSA 10. 
Summary

Bo Jackson has a total of 17 XRC (extended rookie) and rookie cards. We chose six Bo rookie cards with limited supply (in PSA 10 high grades) with good investment potential. A recent correction in values from the peak pandemic-driven card bubble allows collectors to buy the most sought-after Bo Jackson rookie cards at a discount. 

Bo Jackson Rookie Card PSA 10 Values

Year
Set
PSA 10 Value
PSA 10 Population
1986
Topps Traded
$450
1100
1986
Topps Traded Tiffany
$7,500
37
1987
Topps
$125
1500
1987
Topps Tiffany
$600
400
1987
Fleer
$125
600
1987
Fleer Glossy
$250
150
1987
Donruss
$150
1300
1987
Leaf
$1500
100
1988
Topps Football
$1300
560

The Best Bo Jackson Rookie Cards

1. 1986 Topps Traded Bo Jackson Tiffany #50T (XRC)

  • Value (PSA 10): $7,500
  • PSA Population (PSA 10): 37
  • Highest Sale Price (PSA 10): $12,300 in June 2021 (source)

Our choice for the best Bo Jackson rookie card investment. The card was part of a very limited Tiffany Traded set from Topps and is Bo's rarest and most valuable rookie card.

tiffany-bo
bo-tiffany-traded-back

The card features a young Bo with his trademark smile. The back of the card details Jackson's collegiate career with Auburn University before joining the Kansas City Royals. 

What Is An Extended Rookie Card? (XRC)

While most of Bo's 'true' rookie cards are considered his 1987 base year issues, the 1986 Bo Jackson cards, such as the Topps Traded (and Tiffany Traded) cards are considered 'Extended Rookie Cards' or XRC's. 

Often, a company will include a very popular player in an update or traded set to get a jump on excitement from collectors. This was certainly the case with Bo Jackson, as fans soon realized how much of a beast this guy would be on the diamond.

While the print run on the 1986 Topps Traded factory sets is unknown it is likely a large quantity.

A quick look at PSA's population reports shows us that Bo's card from the set has a graded population of nearly 9,000 (note Barry Bonds 86 Topps traded card has a population closer to 50,000). 

Note that the Tiffany cards are identical to the base Topps cards but have a glossy coating on the front. 

However, Bo's 1986 Topps Traded Tiffany card is much harder to find. Topps printed only 5,000 total sets: Bo Jackson's card has a PSA graded population of only ~700

A number I'm more comfortable with, and why I view it as Bo's best rookie card from a long-term investment perspective.

PSA 9 (Mint) copies of Jackson's Traded Tiffany card sell for around $1000, which is a steal. And, of course, if you have the big bucks, a PSA 10 can be bought at auction for over $10K. 

Note that there are less than 200 graded PSA 9 or PSA 10 copies.

bo-pop

2. 1987 Donruss Bo Jackson Rookie Card #35 

  • Value (PSA 10): $150
  • PSA Population (PSA 10): 1430
  • Highest Sale Price (PSA 10): $510 in March 2021 (source)

Growing up in the '80s, I was fond of the 1987 Donruss set. Interestingly, it seemed more premium and elusive than Topps back then.

While it's true that the production of '87 Topps was roughly three times that of Donruss, the print runs for the '87 Donruss still reached nearly a million copies for each player.

87 donruss bo
87-donruss-bo-back

I'm hesitant to label the 1987 Donruss Bo Jackson rookie card as a stellar investment due to its high production numbers. But, it's noteworthy that these Donruss cards are particularly condition-sensitive because of their black borders.

Only about 1,300 of these Bo Jackson Donruss rookie cards have achieved the Gem Mint PSA 10 status, yet they can often be sourced for under $200.

Indeed, there's a vast number of ungraded cards still in circulation, with plenty of untouched wax packs available.

However, securing a card that grades a Perfect 10 isn't a walk in the park.

Therefore, investing in a PSA 10 1987 Donruss Bo Jackson rookie card now could potentially yield a favorable long-term return. 

bo-pop-donruss

3. 1987 Leaf Bo Jackson RC #35 

  • Value (PSA 10): $2000
  • PSA Population (PSA 10): 100
  • Highest Sale Price (PSA 10): $2,550 in Oct 2023 (source)

The Candian 1987 Donruss issue was issued in scarcer quantities and is much harder to find than the base Donruss set.

The only difference on the front of the cards is the big Leaf logo on the top left. The backs of the Leaf cards have both English and French commentary.

leaf-bo
leaf-bo-back

In examining the PSA Population reports, the Leaf Bo Jackson card has around 1/10th the graded population as the Donruss card.

PSA 10 (GEM Mint) copies have shown a big increase in value of late, with a recent auction sale of over $2500. Note, less than 100 have been graded. 

If you can afford the step up in cost from the 1987 Donruss Bo PSA 10 to the 1987 Leaf Bo Jackson PSA 10, I'd recommend it, just based on the relative scarcity. 

leaf-bo-jackson-psa

PSA Values of 1987 Bo Jackson Leaf Donruss Rookie Card

4. 1987 Fleer Bo Jackson Glossy #369 (RC)

  • Value (PSA 10): $250
  • PSA Population (PSA 10): 176
  • Highest Sale Price (PSA 10): $450 in March 2023 (source)

The 1987 Fleer Glossy issue was a new attempt for Fleer to create a premium variation of its regular baseball card issue.

bo-fleer-glossy
87-fleer-bo-back

The Fleer glossy set is identical to the base set, yet each card is covered with a layer of gloss. The sets were also issued in a blue metal collector's tin. 

87-fleer-glossy-set

It is believed that 75,000 1987 Fleer Glossy sets were produced, a higher print run than the 86 Topps Traded Tiffany set (5,000 produced) or the 1987 Topps Tiffany (30,000 produced) issue.

However, in one look at the population reports, it is clear that the 1987 Fleer Glossy Bo rookie card hasn't been graded all that much: only ~1100 copies in total have been graded.

And a PSA 10 (with an existing population of less than 200 cards) can be found for around $200.

I voted for the Bo Jackson Fleer Glossy rookie as the best value among all of Bo's rookie cards. 

fleer-glossy-bo

5. 1987 Topps Tiffany Bo Jackson (Future Stars) (RC)

  • Value (PSA 10): $500
  • PSA Population (PSA 10): 412
  • Highest Sale Price (PSA 10): $1525 in February 2021 (source)

Another true Bo Jackson rookie card, the Topps Tiffany set was a parallel issue to the base 1987 Topps set and similar to the Fleer Glossy set of the same year.

87tiff
bo-jackson-tiff-back

The 1987 Topps set also launched the infamous 'Future Stars' feature on the front of the card, similar to the 'Rated Rookies' cards from Donruss.

An estimated 30,000 Topps Tiffany sets were produced, meaning that the potential supply is still fairly high. 

Nearly 1600 copies of the Bo Jackson Tiffany rookie card have been graded, with over 400 earning a PSA 10 grade. So, easier to find in comparison to the 1986 Topps Traded Tiffany Bo, but a higher population than the 87 Fleer Glossy set, even despite a shorter print run.

A PSA 10 copy sells for under $700, so pricier than the 1987 Fleer Glossy Bo Jackson baseball card. I still like it for investment purposes, but it will set you back more than the comparable Fleer Glossy Bo rookie.

tiffany-bo-psa

I should mention that the base 1987 Bo Jackson Topps Rookie Card was produced in massive quantities, thus stick with the rarer Tiffany version if you want a better investment.

6. 1988 Topps Football Bo Jackson #327 RC

  • Value (PSA 10): $1300
  • PSA Population (PSA 10): 563
  • Highest Sale Price (PSA 10): $3,050 in February 2021 (source)

Topps was sure to get Bo Jackson into its 1988 Topps Football set, producing Bo Jackson's only true football rookie card

bo-fb-rc
88-bo-back

Unfortunately, the card was produced in massive quantities, making its investment potential somewhat unclear. 

However, we can't deny the importance of the card, and I advise collectors to look at PSA 10, Gem-Mint copies as a potential investment. 

Out of over 7,000 cards that have been graded, PSA has only awarded ~500 a PSA 10 grade. Collectors can typically find a PSA 10 Bo Jackson 1988 Topps Football card for under $1000.

Check out our Most Valuable Football Cards Of All Time guide for other investment ideas. 

The Investment Potential of Bo Jackson Baseball Cards

The allure of investing in Bo Jackson baseball cards, especially those in PSA 10 grade, has captured the attention of collectors. 

bo-jackson-rookie

Unfortunately, most of Bo's rookie cards came out during the junk wax era, when card manufacturers pumped out as many cards as possible. Due to the plethora of supply, we must pay close attention to existing graded population reports.

Thus, I recommend the Bo Jackson rookie cards produced in more limited quantities, such as the 1986 Topps Tiffany Traded #50T rookie card, while finding copies in either Gem-Mint (PSA 10) or Mint (PSA 9) condition. 

Collectors with a more limited budget should focus on the 1987 Leaf, 1987 Fleer Glossy, or 1987 Topps Tiffany Bo Jackson rookie cards in PSA 10 grade. 

We will cover each rookie card in further detail, providing more info on values, rarity, and the potential for long-term appreciation. 

What's The Most Valuable Bo Jackson Baseball Card Rookie?

The 1986 Topps Traded Tiffany XRC (Extended Rookie Card) #50 is the most valuable and rarest Bo Jackson rookie card. 

Topps printed only 5,000 of the limited release 1986 Tiffany Traded sets, and Bo's XRC (extended rookie card) from the set has been graded only 700 times by PSA. 

With only 37 PSA 10 (Gem-Mint) graded copies, the 1986 Topps Traded Tiffany Bo Jackson baseball card has the lowest PSA 10 graded population of all Bo's rookie cards. 

A PSA 10 (Gem Mint) condition copy of Bo's 1986 Topps Traded Tiffany XRC sells for over $10,000.  

However, collectors can score lower grade copies for under $1000 in lower to mid grades or even ungraded

Who Is Bo Jackson?

Bo Jackson was the epitome of a two-sport athlete. Unfortunately, a hip injury derailed what might have been a long history for Bo as one of the best two-sport players in professional sports. 

bo-raiders

As a football player, Bo Jackson spent his college years as a running back for the Auburn Tigers, an impressive Heisman Trophy winner in 1985, finishing his four-year collegiate career with an amazing 4,575 total yards and 45 total touchdowns.

While playing collegiate football, Jackson started to show more interest in baseball and refused to report to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who drafted him #1 in the 1986 NFL Draft.

Listen to Bo Jackson tell a young boy about his career.

Instead, Jackson opted to play baseball for the Kansas City Royals minor league system after the Royals drafted Jackson in the 4th round of the 1986 MLB draft. However, things changed when the Los Angeles Raiders drafted Jackson in the 1987 NFL Draft.

Jackson was comforted that the Raiders were willing to let Bo play both baseball and football and even miss some NFL games to do so.

Jackson was a fantastic athlete, and, unfortunately, he didn't get to have a longer career. His football career lasted only four seasons, and he was a part-time player, so when examining his stats, the numbers are hard to compare to anyone else. But when on the field, Jackson was an electric running back, and in my mind, one of the best I've ever seen.

I believe Jackson was a better football player than a baseball player.

But Bo was still a damn good baseball player; he had power, speed, and a ridiculous arm in center field. He struck out a lot, so he wasn't much of a contact hitter. But his 1989 season was an example of what Bo could do - batting .256, with 32 home runs and 26 stolen bases, but 172 strikeouts in 515 at-bats.

Here's one of Bo's most memorable moments on the baseball field!

Bo Jackson Baseball Card Rookie Checklist

Bo Jackson Baseball Rookie Cards:

1986 Southern League All-Stars Bo Jackson (Mephis Chicks) #13 (RC)
1986 Donruss Highlights Bo Jackson #43 (RC)
1986 Topps Traded Bo Jackson #50T Silver (RC)
1986 Topps Traded Tiffany Bo Jackson #50T Silver (RC)
1986 Sportflics Bo Jackson #40 (RC)
1987 Auburn Tigers Tiger Great Bo Jackson (RC)
1987 Classic MLB Game Bo Jackson #15
1987 Classic Travel Update Yellow Bo Jackson #109
1987 Donruss Bo Jackson #35 Rated Rookie
1987 Donruss Opening Day Bo Jackson #205
1987 Fleer Bo Jackson #369
1987 Fleer Glossy Bo Jackson #369
1987 Leaf Bo Jackson #35
1987 Sportflics Bo Jackson #190
1987 Topps Bo Jackson #170 Future Stars
1987 Topps Tiffany Bo Jackson #170 Future Stars
1987 Toys R Us Rookies Bo Jackson #13

Bo Jackson Football Rookie Cards:

1987 Auburn Tigers Bo Jackson
1988 Ace Fact Pack Bo Jackson
1988 Raiders Police Bo Jackson #9
1988 Raiders Smokey Bo Jackson
1988 Topps Raiders Team Leaders #325
1988 Topps Bo Jackson #327

Bo Jackson Rookie Cards For Sale on eBay

1986 Topps Tiffany Bo Jackson Rookie Card #50T

$1,999.00  

Buy It on eBay for only: $1,999.00
Buy It Now on eBay

sports cards

$5,000.00  
End Date: Monday Feb-26-2024 22:32:16 EST
Buy It on eBay for only: $5,000.00
Buy It Now on eBay

vintage baseball card singles rookie

$1,080.00  

Buy It on eBay for only: $1,080.00
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vintage rookie baseball cards

$12,000.00  
End Date: Monday Feb-26-2024 03:01:29 EST
Buy It on eBay for only: $12,000.00
Buy It Now on eBay

1988 Topps - #327 Bo Jackson (RC) Mutli Error Card

$11,500.00  

Buy It on eBay for only: $11,500.00
Buy It Now on eBay

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About the author

Chris Rogers, is the founder of All Vintage Cards. Launched in 2018, All Vintage Cards is the hobby's leading resource for vintage sports cards. Chris is also the author of 'The Complete Guide To Selling Your Sports Cards'. Chris remains an avid collector and can be reached at chris@allvintagecards.com.

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  1. That PSA 10 Bo rookie card is laughable, look at all the black spots on the card. Probably why I won a fraud case against em, people will eventually wake up and smell the gatekeeping scam.

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