A suggestion for Donruss/Panini

One of the things I make a point of doing at Wax Heaven is speaking my mind. There is enough “Hobby” politics other places that the least I could do is spread the truth. For me, one company that has been resting on their laurels has been Donruss, recently purchased by Panini.

While a very successful product like Prime Cuts put them back on the map and Elite Extra Edition has consistently performed well against “The Home of the Rookie Card”, Bowman Chrome, there are still many collectors disappointed with their return and possible new Major League Baseball license possibly in the works.

To many collectors from the 80’s, Donruss was one of the Kings of Baseball Cards. There was no worse news that I could recieve upon my return to collecting than the news of their MLB license being stripped after flooding the market with useless, unnecessary parallels.

What if Donruss AKA Panini Digital scores a license for 2010? Will they learn their lesson or continue to produce a “Shoeless” Joe Jackson bat relic and Pete Rose autograph every other month? How about a promotion that could easily bring back Donruss to its glory years of the early-90’s?

Donruss Elite was THE set of 1991. Not only did they feature serial numbered stamps, they also included on-card autographs which at the at the time was brand-spankin’ new in baseball. They may not have introduced it but they did it better than anyone else and created a frenzy in the Hobby that has not been seen since the introduction of the first Babe Ruth game-used relic.

Why not bring the card that made Donruss a legendary brand back into the Hobby with autographed buybacks in 2010? Can you imagine pulling a Rickey Henderson, Barry Bonds, or Nolan Ryan on-card autograph from 1991 Donruss Elite?

No parallels, variations, or stickers. Just a clean autograph.

Can you do it for the collectors?

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I Love the 90’s (Inserts)

Unless you were collecting in the early 90’s when Donruss Elite first hit the scene as a super-rare (at the time) insert, you will never truly appreciate the beauty of the card and its impact on this now crazy Hobby of ours. Back in 1991, there was no game-used relics, 1 of 1 anything, or even Refractors. Upper Deck had already squashed Topps in popularity and introduced collectors to the first ever “autograph in a pack”. Donruss really needed something special to compete with the big boys and so with the help of Dick Perez, ‘The Elite Series’ was born.

By today’s standards, ’90 & ’91 Donruss Elite is about as rare as a wax box of 1990 Topps. Any “Joe Collector” would be quick to discard these inserts but the truth is, without these cards there would likely be no Joe Collector. Think of how disappointed you become when you pay $100 dollars for a box of trading cards and then find out your “no name” autograph isn’t numbered. Well, thank The Elite Series for that.

By 1993, the “Elite” magic began to wear off but Donruss, never one to use restraint eventually made Donruss Elite an entire release on its own with some amazing inserts included but it wasn’t until 1998 that Donruss once again struck insert magic with the now legendary (and bigger than Elite) Donruss Crusades.

That of course, is another editon of ‘I Love the 90’s (Inserts)’…

Was Donruss THAT ahead of its time?

I was browsing eBay this morning and began to wonder about the origin of pack-inserted autographs. Who came up with the idea? Who ran with it first? As far as I can tell, it comes from 1991 Donruss and their now legendary “Elite” series, which I believe was also the first serial-numbered cards ever made. Again, I could be wrong so if you know the true story please let us know.

Below is an auction for the only card I could find from the set. It’s of Ryne Sandberg and if it’s not the first-ever “autograph in a pack”, it most certainly has to be Ryno’s first certified autograph in a pack. It is also numbered to 1,500. I am not entirely sure but I believe there is also a Tony Gwynn from this series.

Could someone help me out? I would love to know what astronomical ratios were set on pulling one of these gorgeous “hits”. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s 1 in every 5,000 packs or more.