Ultimate Guide to Chipper Jones Rookie Cards and More
A couple of themes run through the Chipper Jones Rookie Card lineup. The big one is that they’re well recognized. They came along at a time when cards were everywhere. And so were card shops. Everyone was a card collector and the hobby was part of the mainstream.
For the most part, Chipper Jones Rookie Cards look great. Some of that comes with the high notoriety. But a lot of sets came with great designs during the boom era, something that isn’t always given as much attention as they deserve.
Unfortunately, these things haven’t translated into value today, at least for the most part. If you’ve got the more common Chipper Jones Rookie Cards, they’re not worth a lot despite his Hall of Fame credentials. But that’s all about supply. They remain popular cards but there are simply so many of them that demand outpaces supply. A couple of exceptions exist, including a couple of big ones, for scarce versions of his Rookies.
Grading can also come into play. Whereas you can often find a Chipper Jones Rookie Card for a couple of dollars, getting one that’s Gem Mint or Pristine can be significantly more. These are regarded as the best of the best and certified as such.
But, by and large, Jones’ first cards aren’t expensive and they’re not hard to come by.
Here’s a list and breakdown of all of the Chipper Jones Rookie Cards (noted with RC) as well as other important early cards and minor league issues.
Chipper Jones Rookie Card Breakdown and Beyond
1991 Bowman Chipper Jones RC #569
1991 Bowman Baseball might have the best photo for a Chipper Jones Rookie Card. The design itself is drab, especially with the murky card stock that does anything but pop. But there’s something about that shot. Perhaps it’s a little cliché for a baseball card, but there’s also a certain level of iconography when it’s done right. Jones is one of plenty of Rookie Cards on the 1991 Bowman checklist. Joining him is one of only two RC’s of fellow 2018 Hall of Fame inductee, Jim Thome.
1991 O-Pee-Chee Chipper Jones RC #333
The Canadian cousin to Jones’ 1991 Topps card, the 1991 O-Pee-Chee Chipper Jones Rookie Card is identical on the front. But when you flip it over, a couple of things pop out. First, there’s the white stock on the back that’s bright and beautiful in its own simple way. Also present is the telltale O-Pee-Chee sign, bilingual text. If, for some reason, you’re still not sure, there’s O-Pee-Chee in the copyright on the back as well.
If there’s a sleeper among Chipper Jones Rookie Cards, this might be it. It’s significantly harder to find than the regular Topps version. This make sense because distribution was in Canada, a much smaller market than the United States, especially when it comes to baseball. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by collectors with values significantly higher than its Topps counterpart.
1991 Score Chipper Jones RC #671
1991 Score Baseball has plenty of things to love. And that golden gradient in the background of the 1st Round Draft Pick cards is definitely one of them. Sure, it might be a design relic of its time, but that’s what baseball cards are. Even in the realm of easy-to-find ’90s cards, this might be one of the easiest. 1991 Score was everywhere in a variety of pack and box formats. If you’re having a hard time finding one or five, you’re probably not looking.
1991 Topps Chipper Jones RC #333
When you take all the different variants into consideration, there are five different cards from 1991 that use this design and photo. Regular Topps is the most common and least valuable version. At the same time, it’s one the main and most iconic Chipper Jones Rookie Cards, something that can’t always be measured by a price tag.
1991 Topps Desert Shield Chipper Jones #333
The 1991 Topps Desert Shield Chipper Jones is a card with a history. When the first Iraq war broke out, Topps made a special run of 1991 Topps Baseball to send to troops serving in the Middle East. Not all of them made it that far, but they were still used as a boost for those serving at the time.
These cards came with a special foil stamp on the front making for a new card. Not only was the production on these extremely low for the time, they’re hard to find today in top condition. When you’re stationed thousands of miles away, there’s no supplies to keep them in. Plus, other things may have been more important than baseball cards.
The result? Perhaps the most coveted Chipper Jones card of all-time. A couple of weeks before his Hall of Fame induction, a PSA Gem Mint 10 copy sold for $13,000. A massive chunk of that is because of the grade and the fact that there are only a handful to reach that standard. But even ones in far-from-perfect shape can fetch significant amounts.
1991 Topps Micro Chipper Jones RC #333
The 1991 Topps Micro Chipper Jones gets its name for its size–or lack there of. Measuring just 1 by 1 3/8 inches, it’s “Honey, I Shrunk the Cards” worthy. The came packaged only in factory set form. The look, design and content are all the same as regular Topps, only postage stamp-sized.
On the Chipper Jones Rookie Card spectrum, this isn’t a rare card but it’s not common either so it may cost a few extra dollars versus his more common Rookies. Card collectors like tradition and the minuscule size definitely makes this one different. Plus, it’s so small, it’s hard to read or even make out the image very well.
1991 Topps Tiffany Chipper Jones #333
Think of the 1991 Topps Tiffany Chipper Jones as the Porsche version of the regular Topps card. For starters, this one is rare. It came only in a special edition factory set. Production was also limited. How low? It’s uncertain. Unlike other Topps Tiffany sets from the ’80s, no estimates for 1991 were given. That said, it’s widely believed that 1991 Topps Tiffany and 1991 Topps Tiffany Traded are among the scarcest of them all. This was also the final year for the line. So this is where the card gets its value, which is high. Only the Desert Shield is on the same level when it comes to the earliest Chipper Jones cards.
So how can you tell a 1991 Topps Tiffany Chipper Jones from a regular one? It’s not that easy unless you have both in hand (or you have a graded copy where it’s on the label). Going by touch, Tiffany versions have a glossy front where your fingers glide right across. Also, if you hold the font in the light, there’s a shine to it that’s not on the regular card.
On the back, the Tiffany card has bright white stock, similar to like you’d find on the O-Pee-Chee card. Basic Topps is much more dark and you can see the texture in the stock.
1991 Upper Deck Chipper Jones RC #55
As far as the most basic and common Chipper Jones Rookie Cards go, 1991 Upper Deck has the highest product values. The glossy construction was still the thing of premium sets at the time, which gives it a huge jump in production values versus Score, Topps and Bowman. That said, like the other flagship releases, there’s a ton of it out there so prices are very much on the low side with no real premium.
1992 Bowman Chipper Jones #28
The 1992 Bowman Chipper Jones is not a Rookie Card. That said, it’s still one of his most popular cards. Compare it to 1991 Bowman and its totally different. The drab and boring stock gives way to something slick and in line with what Upper Deck might offer. Plus, it’s considered to have a smaller supply than a lot of other major sets from the era. Does that mean the 1992 Bowman Chipper Jones is rare? Absolutely not. It just means that it’s got another element that gives it a slight edge up over his other second-year cards and even some of his Rookies.
And let’s not ignore the shorts-button shirt-weave belt combination that’s topped off with the Nike high-tops. It’s one of many questionable fashion choices in 1992 Bowman.
Chipper Jones Minor League Cards
The following list features Chipper Jones minor league cards released in 1991 or earlier.
1990 Classic Draft Picks Chipper Jones #1
Distributed as part of a 25-card factory set, the 1990 Classic Draft Picks Chipper Jones has only 150,000 copies. As the first overall pick in the 1990 MLB Draft, it’s only appropriate that he kicks things off here.
1990 Classic Draft Picks Chipper Jones/Rondell White Checklist
Jones is joined by another top prospect at the time, Rondell White, on this unnumbered checklist. The thing to marvel at most here might just be how young the pair look.
1990 Classic Yellow Chipper Jones #T92
1990 Classic Yellow was the third and final set of the year for the company as part of its main baseball line. As far as early Chipper Jones cards go, it’s not particularly notable for much beyond its early status. The bright borders make it stand out for visual reasons. Readily available, despite being part of a packaged set, it’s by no means an expensive card.
1990 Classic Yellow Chipper Jones/Frank Viola/Nolan Ryan/Reid Ryan/Don Mattingly
This 4-in-1 card combine Jones with several other notable names from the era. All are shrunken down versions of other cards from the 1990 Classic Yellow set. It comes with a blank back and is not numbered.
1991 Classic/Best Chipper Jones #268
The 1991 Classic/Best Chipper Jones is one of his most readily available minor league cards. Sold in both pack and factory sets, this isn’t a typical MiLB release with limited regional distribution.
1991 Macon Braves Classic/Best Chipper Jones #19
In direct contrast to his other Classic/Best issue, this might be the toughest Chipper Jones minor league card. It’s part of a 30-card team set for the Single-A team. If you’re shopping for this card, be sure not to get it mixed up with the regular Classic/Best Chipper Jones, which shouldn’t be too hard given the different photos and nameplates, among other things.
1991 Macon Braves ProCards Chipper Jones #872
1991 Fleer wasn’t the only set of baseball cards that year to go with bright yellow on the front. ProCards took it a step further by adding some notepad clip art to the backdrop as well. This card came issued as part of a factory team set, one that is still somewhat common to come by, at least in minor league card circles.
1991 South Atlantic League All-Stars ProCards Chipper Jones #SAL33
Part of Chipper Jones’ popularity is the fact that he came across as a hard-working, All-American type player. It’ll be tough to find a card that’s more patriotic feeling than this one. Another factory team set, it’s one of those cards that is a little challenging to find but definitely not impossible.
1991-92 ProCards Tomorrow’s Heroes Chipper Jones #190
1991-92 ProCards Tomorrow’s Heroes is a fairly comprehensive minor league release of 360 cards. While a lot of the players on the checklist didn’t amount to much, Jones is an outlier who did. Fairly basic in its approach, it draws into question the number of photos ProCards had to work with for him.