The Most Expensive Ken Griffey Jr. Cards of All-Time

Ken Griffey Jr Cards mobile
Jason Koeppel // ONE37PM

What are most expensive Ken Griffey Jr. cards of all-time? Let's dive in to it!

If we asked you to picture the smoothest baseball swing ever, you probably would think of Ken Griffey Jr. A 2013 Hall of Fame inductee, “The Kid” put his immaculate play style on display for 22 MLB seasons. In turn, he became one of the most beloved and iconic players in the history of the game.

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When it comes to the hobby, few cards have reached the craze of Griffey’s 1989 Upper Deck rookie. It has been slabbed over 96,000 times by PSA, making it one of the most graded trading cards ever. Despite the lack of rarity, this highly recognizable piece of cardboard is still sought after to this day.

Griffey’s prime coincided with the launch of many popular card sets, such as Skybox PMGs and Topps Finest Refractors. Nearly three decades later, these cards have retained their value and serve as cornerstones for many Ken Griffey collectors. 

Griffey’s Career: A Retrospective

Son of an 18-year MLB veteran, Ken Griffey Jr. was drafted first overall by the Seattle Mariners in 1987. In fact, he is one of three #1 picks in the modern era to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. With 21 years in the Show, 630 career homers, and an unforgettable swing, “The Kid” is one of the greatest hitters to ever step on the diamond.

Griffey’s career began in Seattle, where he captained some historic Mariners teams alongside future all-time greats. He then pivoted to Cincinnati in 2000, where he would remain for another 8 seasons.

Today, we will be taking a look at some Griffey cards that encompass these different eras. To do this, we are highlighting the 13 biggest Ken Griffey Jr. card sales of all time.  To keep the list fresh, we are only allowing an individual card to appear once.  Let’s jump right in and show off the best of The Swingman!

13. Ken Griffey Jr. 1989 Donruss Rated Rookie Autograph PSA 10/AUTO 10 - $25,101

1989 Donruss Ken Griffey Jr Auto

To start the list off, we have another iconic card in the hobby’s lore. This is The Kid’s first Donruss Rated Rookie, and it received a perfect 10 grade on the card and the autograph. While Griffey still signs in many modern high-end releases like Topps Dynasty and Panini Flawless, there is something special about getting ink on his iconic rookies. 

T-11. Ken Griffey Jr. 1993 Topps Finest Refractor MBA PSA 10 - $26,400

1993 Finest Refractor Ken Griffey Jr

1993 was the first year of Topps Finest, a revolutionary optichrome trading card. Early Finest designs have held up very well throughout the hobby’s history, and many modern sets draw inspiration from them. This ‘93 Griffey refractor is visually striking and a must-have for any high-end 90s baseball collector. You can also notice the MBA sticker on the label, which distinguishes the stunner as one of the best-looking PSA 10s you will find. It sold for as high as $26,400 in May 2022.

T-11. Ken Griffey Jr. 1999 Skybox Premium Star Rubies /50 BGS 9 – $26,400

1999 SkyBox Premium Star Rubies Ken Griffey Jr.

The Kid would join the Reds for the 2000 MLB season, so this ‘99 Star Rubies insert is the last of an era. Much like the PMGs, this set is limited to just 50 copies and highly collected by hobbyists and fans alike. Many sets today draw inspiration from the Star Rubies’ wavy refractor pattern, making it a classic insert within the Hobby. This BGS 9-graded copy last sold for $26,400.

10. Ken Griffey Jr. 1998 Skybox E-X2001 Essential Credentials Future /91 BGS 9.5 - $27,300

1998 SkyBox E X2001 Essential Credentials Future Ken Griffey Jr

Next up, we have another fabled set from the late 90s, the EX-2001 Credentials. The acetate finish and bright neon colors were unheard of for cards when this set came out. It was fresh and innovative, becoming an immediate hit for sports card collectors. This Griffey received an astonishing 9.5 grade, which is nearly unheard of for an older acetate card. It last sold for $27,300 in November 2022.

9. Ken Griffey Jr. 1999 Skybox Molten Metal Fusion /50 PSA 10 – $30,400

Ken Griffey Jr 1999 Skybox Molten Metal Fusion

The Molten Metal set is another one of those all-time inserts that are slowly becoming harder to find. This Griffey Fusion is both /50 and a PSA 10, making it very desired. This one sold just after the 2023 National, proving that the market for these rare pieces are stronger than ever. It reached a final sale price on eBay of over $30,000.

8. Ken Griffey Jr. 1997 Donruss Crusade Red Refractor Sample #XX/25 - $33,100

1997 Donruss Crusade Ken Griffey Jr Red Refractor Sample

At #6, we have the one and only ungraded card on the list. The Crusade insert has become very popular across all major sports. This sample red refractor is from the first year of the medieval-inspired Crusade set, and it is limited to just 25 copies.  If a graded version were to surface, we could see this one jumping a few spots on our list in the years to come.

7. Ken Griffey Jr. 1999 E-X Century Credentials Now /17 BGS 9.5 - $35,130

Ken Griffey Jr. 1999 E X Century Credentials Now

Many of these late 90s inserts are surfacing publicly for the first time in years, which gives collectors a new chance to acquire a grail. Case in point: this Credentials Now Griffey is numbered /17, and a Beckett 9.5 grade is very impressive grade. Consequently, it became a highly sought-after auction piece in June 2023, ending at just over $35,000. And we’d be remiss to not point out that trademarked follow-through pose that you see on this card.

6. Ken Griffey Jr. 1999 Upper Deck Game Jersey Patch Auto /24 BGS 8.5 - $42,000

1999 Upper Deck Game Jersey Ken Griffey Jr PATCH AUTO

Much like the ‘98 patch auto from earlier, this set features a clean game-worn patch and signature of the Swingman. A card like this reminds collectors of Griffey’s flawless penmanship, which may contribute to his consistent autographed market. This BGS 8.5 copy last sold for $42,000, so it will be intriguing to see if any higher-graded versions appear at auction anytime soon.

5. Ken Griffey Jr. 1989 Upper Deck Rookie Autograph PSA 10/AUTO 10 - $55,201

1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr Auto

We referenced Jr.’s Star Rookie earlier; however, it’s not often that this card receives both a PSA 10 card and autograph grade. As we mentioned earlier, pack-issued autographs did not really exist in 1989. There is an intrinsic value to junk wax era cards that have been autographed and slabbed, which is evident in this stunner. Griffey’s Upper Deck ‘89 Auto has sold for as high as $55,000, and this is still a big chase for any high-end collector.

4. Ken Griffey Jr. / Mickey Mantle 1994 Upper Deck Dual Signed Card BGS 9.5/AUTO 10 - $57,600

1994 UpperDeck Ken Griffey Jr Mickey Mantle

For us, this is one of the coolest baseball cards to ever exist. Two titans of America’s pastime. Two of the hobby’s most heralded players. Two on-card signatures. This is the highest-graded copy to ever sell at auction, reaching a sale price of $57,600.  We will never see a card like this produced again, so this remained a grail for many Mickey Mantle or Ken Griffey Jr. collectors. 

3. Ken Griffey Jr. 1999 Fleer Brilliants 24KT Gold /24 PSA 10 - $59,000

1999 Fleer Brilliants 24KT Gold Ken Griffey Jr

This card checks all the boxes. It’s gold, it’s numbered, it’s a PSA 10 and it features an action shot of one of the best to ever do it. A photo scan can only do so much, but holding one of these cards in person feels like you have a bar of solid gold in your hands. With only one Gem Mint 10 in the world, this stunner may have found its forever home during an August 2023 eBay auction. This marks the biggest sale for a PSA-graded Griffey Jr. card, ending at just under $60,000.

2. Ken Griffey Jr. 1998 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems /50 BGS 9 - $66,000

Ken Griffey Jr. 1998 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems

A PMG with one of the most influential players in sports on it will result in an iconic card. Given their design, these parallels are susceptible to wear and tear over time. Nevertheless, this 1998 copy still managed a BGS 9 grade and a sale price of $66,000, making it the biggest Griffey PMG sale of all time. With many high-end sales in 2023, rare Griffey inserts are becoming harder and harder to find.

1. Ken Griffey Jr. 1998 Upper Deck A Piece Of Action Patch Auto /24 BGS 8.5 - $84,000

1998 Upper Deck A Piece Of Action 3 Ken Griffey Jr

To round this list off, we have one of The Kid’s first-ever patch autograph. Pack-issued inserts were not commonplace in the late 90s, and pulling one was no easy feat. Seeing this card maintained well with a BGS 8.5 grade and a perfect autograph grade is impressive in its own right. But this is a Griffey card that rarely appears at a Goldin or PWCC auction, so it’s no surprise that it stands atop our list with a final sale price of $84,000 in October 2022. 

Which of the most expensive Ken Griffey Jr. cards of all-time was your favorite? Let us know @CardTalkPod on Instagram and Twitter

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