1991 Topps Desert Shield Baseball Set Tops $100,000


Coming out at a time when card sets were, by and large, mass produced to numbers that are still hard to fathom today, 1991 Topps Desert Shield Baseball is an exception. It’s rare, it has a unique history behind it and cards are tough to find in top condition.

With a checklist of 792 cards, putting a set together is a major challenge in any condition. To put one together where virtually every card is graded Gem Mint, it’s a massive accomplishment.

The top-ranked 1991 Topps Desert Shield Baseball set in PSA’s registry sold on March 22 through a Mile High Card Company auction. And the six-figure price it fetched reflects what a rarity it is.

$106,475.78 was the final price for the 1991 Topps Desert Shield set when bidding closed. This includes the buyer’s premium.

Dubbed the Carolina Collection, 759 out of the 792 cards in the set are graded PSA 10. This includes the 1991 Topps Desert Shield Chipper Jones as well as other key superstars like Ken Griffey Jr., Nolan Ryan, Kirby Puckett, Cal Ripken Jr. and Greg Maddux. Many are among the only PSA 10 copies of that particular card.

1991 Topps Desert Shield Baseball is popular for a few reasons today. The biggest is its history and story. Topps produced a special run of their 1991 Topps Baseball set for members of the military who were part of the Gulf War.

The cards are essentially the same as the main set only with the addition of a gold foil Desert Shield logo on the front.

Understandably, many of these cards didn’t make it back to the United States. And those that did were likely handled, tossed in pockets and bags rather than custom card boxes and top loaders. Already rare to begin with, it’s this condition sensitivity that makes top-end cards so scarce.

Comments? Questions? Contact Ryan Cracknell on Twitter @tradercracks or by email.


Ryan Cracknell

A collector for much of his life, Ryan focuses primarily on building sets, Montreal Expos and interesting cards. He's also got one of the most comprehensive collections of John Jaha cards in existence (not that there are a lot of them). Got a question, story idea or want to get in touch? You can reach him by email and through Twitter @tradercracks.

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  1. Joseph 20 March, 2018 at 20:10

    Purchased a set 10-12 years ago. It isn’t in nearly as good condition as this one, of course, but it is one of my prized possessions.

  2. Gregory Wilson 5 August, 2018 at 11:20

    I was in Riyadh during Desert Storm and put together the complete set of the 1990 DS Topps card collection. I had 5 of the top cards graded and they came back mint to near mint. Every card is sitting in plastic sleeves. Who would be the best person/organization to contact if I wanted to sell them?

    Thanks in advance,


  3. Steve Wysocki 31 August, 2018 at 14:15

    I was there, and only saw like 2 cards. They were rare for folks at King Faud, and Incirlick

  4. Randy Venard 18 November, 2018 at 15:42

    They sent the cases back to myrtle beach SC we all got one case of cards I ended up buying 5 other cases from other soldiers i have a complete mint set in plastic sleeves the gum had stained the backs of the ones They touched I sold one case to Daryl Porter the catcher for the Cardinals for 500 dollars back in 91

  5. Scott Hill 20 December, 2018 at 23:26

    Confirmed about Myrtle Beach. Wife and I both active duty Air Force stationed there 89 to 92 and deployed to Saudi for Gulf War. When we came home we were both handed a box. We still have the unopened and untouched wax packs in a safe place. Except for the cards next to the gum I imagine most would be in really good shape. Been wondering if it’s cost effective to invest in having them graded. Seems that grading them would help to authenticate the stamp…heard there are fakes out there. Not sure what’s more valuable…unopened packs or graded.

  6. Dennis Bean 14 November, 2019 at 15:37

    I have a good friend who has several of the Topps 1991 Desert Shield Baseball Cards. He has asked me what they are worth, but I have no idea. How could he find out their value? Thanks.

  7. KK 16 March, 2020 at 11:11

    I have buyers for these cards / sets…
    Send me pics and information, and I will put you in touch if you really want to sell your cards!
    I was in the military in 1991, but stationed in the UK, so never had the privilege to serve down range like many of my BRAVE military colleagues, so if I can help in any way, I WILL!!!!!!
    I’m still in the UK, but work as a contractor now, since i separated from the Air Force in 1996!

  8. Scott B 21 March, 2020 at 12:16

    Somewhere between throwing grenades and apprehending prisoners in the Gulf war, this avid collector never knew they existed! Unfortunate part of actually fighting the enemy and being in the rear I guess.

  9. chris clark 23 November, 2020 at 21:49

    I was also stationed at Myrtle Beach AFB and collected a set. I traded my gum stained cards for others and have a very nice set. Always wondered if the set as worth anything. Served my tour at King Fahd.

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