$0.00 0
Cart

No products in the cart.

Continue Shopping
$0.00 0
Cart

No products in the cart.

Continue Shopping

A Breakdown Of The Nolan Ryan 1990 Donruss Error Cards

1990 donruss nolan ryan error card

Nolan Ryan is undoubtedly one of the greatest pitchers ever to grace the mound. Regarded as the MLB strikeout king, he tossed over 5,700 K’s during his impressive 27-year career.

An eight-time All-Star, Ryan was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999. Ryan’s name is ranked alongside the game’s all-time greats: Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Pete Rose, and many others.

Considering this, it’s no surprise that “The Ryan Express” trading cards still generate a lot of attention today.

As one of the best pitchers of all time, his error trading cards have also attracted a lot enjoyed a lot of attention including one produced during the height of the junk wax era, the Nolan Ryan 1990 Donruss error card, which is amongst his most popular error cards.

This article shall discuss Nolan Ryan 1990 Donruss error cards. It shall cover everything from Ryan’s illustrious career, why this error card has demand today and its value in today’s market.

Check prices of 1990 Donruss error cards of Nolan Ryan

Nolan Ryan’s legendary MLB career

Nolan Ryan, often hailed as one of the most dominant pitchers in the history of Major League Baseball (MLB), carved out a legendary career that spanned an incredible 27 seasons.

Ryan’s tale of skill, longevity, and sheer determination begins in 1965. The New York Mets drafted Ryan in the 12th round of the 1965 Major League Baseball draft.

He was first called up by the New York Mets in 1966 and missed much of the 1967 season due to illness, an arm injury, and service with the Army Reserve. However, Ryan returned to the major leagues, where he stayed until his retirement in 1993.

Nolan Ryan statue
Nolan Ryan Statue by Billy Bob Bain is licensed under CC BY 2.0 DEED

Despite early struggles with control, Ryan quickly emerged as a dominant force on the mound. Throughout his 27-season career, Ryan played for various teams, including the California Angels, Houston Astros, and Texas Rangers.

His ability to consistently throw a fastball exceeding triple-digit speeds made him a formidable opponent. The strikeout king, Ryan’s career total of 5,714 strikeouts remains a record in MLB history. His seven no-hitters further solidify his pitching prowess, a record that may never be beaten.

Noteworthy for his longevity, Ryan pitched well into his 40s, defying expectations for aging pitchers. His workhorse mentality and record-setting 5,386 innings pitched underline his durability.

Ryan holds 51 total MLB records, including:

  • 5,714 career strikeouts (next-most is Randy Johnson with 4,875)
  • 7 career no-hitters (next-most is Sandy Koufax with 4)
  • Lowest career batting average allowed (minimum 1,500 innings pitched): .204
  • 12 career 1-hitters, tied with Bob Feller
  • 18 career 2-hitters
  • 31 career 3-hitters
  • 15 200-strikeout seasons
  • 6 300-strikeout seasons
  • 4 career 19+ strikeout games
  • 16 career 16+ strikeout games
  • 26 career 15+ strikeout games by a right-handed pitcher
  • 36 career 14+ strikeout games by a right-handed pitcher
  • 215 career 10+ strikeout games
  • 654 career 4+ strikeout games
  • 710 career 3+ strikeout games
  • 752 career 2+ strikeouts games
  • 3 19+ strikeout games, single season (1974)
  • 3 16+ strikeout games by a right-handed pitcher, single season (1972, 1974)
  • 6 15+ strikeout games, single season (1974 – tied with Pedro Martinez)
  • 15 12+ strikeout games, single season (1973)
  • 18 11+ strikeout games by a right-handed pitcher, single season (1973)
  • 23 10+ strikeout games, single season (1973 – tied with Randy Johnson)
  • 36 6+ strikeout games, single season (1974 – tied with Sandy Koufax)
  • 6.55 hits per nine innings pitched, career, minimum 1,000 innings (next-fewest is Sandy Koufax at 6.79)
  • 5.26 single season hits per nine innings (1972)
  • 26 seasons with at least one win
Nolan Ryan Texas Rangers
Nolan Ryan warning up in the bullpen at Tiger Stadium by Chuck Andersen is licensed under CC BY 2.0 DEED

Nolan Ryan’s dominance, longevity, and impact on baseball have made him a timeless figure in the sport’s history. As a result, trading cards of “The Ryan Express” have enjoyed strong demand for decades. Several of his trading cards are the most expensive from the era.

The 1990 Donruss Set

Amongst the hundreds of junk wax era sets, the 1990 Donruss baseball card set occupies a significant place in the hearts of collectors. This is Donruss’s largest-ever set, packed with 716 cards filled with numerous stars.

Its bright red colors and action-packed player pictures made it stand out during its era. The front showcased an action shot or portrait of the player with colorful red borders accented by white/black/grey dots. Its horizontal reverse side showcases the player’s career stats, personal information, and career highlights.

Check prices of 1990 Donruss error cards of Nolan Ryan

1990 Donruss wax box

For error card collectors, this set’s notoriety also stems from its multitude of errors. The Nolan Ryan 1990 Donruss error card is one of the error cards in great demand.

Aside from the Nolan Ryan card, this set contained several other error cards that still hold ample value today. Our article on the 1990 Donruss error cards reviews all errors in the 1990 Donruss set.

Aside from the error cards, the 1990 Donruss set remains an important relic for some collectors. It evokes memories of when baseball cards were not just pieces of cardboard.

Nolan Ryan 1990 Donruss Error Card

The 1990 Donruss set has two Nolan Ryan error cards. There are three Nolan cards in the set.

  • Nolan Ryan #166
  • Nolan Ryan #659 5000K
  • Nolan Ryan #665 KING OF KINGS

Two of these cards are error cards with at least three variations. We shall consider each of them individually.

Check prices of 1990 Donruss error cards of Nolan Ryan

1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan #659 5000K

When Ryan surpassed the 5,000-career strikeout mark, several trading card companies paid tribute to such legendary achievement. The 1990 Topps baseball card paid homage to this career mark, and Donruss wasn’t to be left behind.

Shop for 1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan 5000k cards on eBay

1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan 5,000 Ks error

To mark Nolan Ryan’s 5,000th strikeout, Donruss released one of his 1990-season cards with a special notation — 5,000K’s. Card #659 features Ryan in his Rangers uniform with a yellow star next to his name at the top and “5,000 K’s” written along the bottom.

However, as stated before, this set was Donruss’s biggest set and printing was outsourced to multiple printers. Most cards in the 1990 Donruss contained errors, and this wasn’t an exception.

There are three variations of the 1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan 5000k error card;

  • 1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan 5000K’s-#665 King of Kings Back
  • 1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan 5,000 K’s – Correct Back
  • 1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan 5000K’s – King of Kings Front

1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan 5000K’s-#665 King of Kings Back

In this variation, the 1990 Donruss #659 Nolan Ryan was printed with the back intended for the #665 King of Kings card. It is the first of three different variations for this Nolan Ryan 1990 Donruss error card.

Check prices for 1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan 5000 Ks, King of Kings Back

1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan 5000k's with King of Kings back

1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan 5,000 K’s-Correct Back

While the 1990 Donruss was filled with error cards, Donruss made an effort to correct most of the errors once they were spotted. This variation of the 1990 Donruss #665 Nolan Ryan error card has its correct back.

Shop for 1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan 5,000 K’s Correct Back on eBay

1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan 5,000Ks Correct Back

1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan 5000 K’s – King of Kings Front

This is the rarest variation of this Nolan Ryan error card. Rather than the more popular wrong back, it has a wrong front. It’s printed with the King of Kings front rather than the front for the #659 card.

Value of Nolan Ryan 1990 Donruss error card #659

The number of 1990 Donruss cards printed has placed a low ceiling on just how valuable any card from the set can be. However, Nolan’s legacy as a player has ensured this card holds its value quite well.

The 1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan error card #659 with the correct back is worth between $30 – and $80, depending on its condition. The most valuable variation of this error card is the Nolan Ryan wrong back. #659 cards with the King of Kings back. It’s worth anything from $80 to over $350, depending on its condition.

However, the value of the card is on a downtrend. According to auction prices collated by the PSA, there were several sales above $200 for PSA 10 versions of this card from 2018 to 2020. However, there’s been several PSA 10 sales below $100 last year.

While $100 is still fair for an error card from a massively overprinted set like the 1990 Donruss, it is almost three times lower than it went for a few years earlier.

1990 Donruss #665 Nolan Ryan King of Kings

The 1990 Donruss #665 Nolan Ryan “King of Kings” card is Donruss’s second tribute to legendary pitcher Nolan Ryan in the 1990 Donruss baseball card set. Crafted by the famed artist Dick Perez, this card captures the essence of Nolan Ryan’s contributions to the sport, earning him the moniker “King of Kings.”

The King card was, however, not exempt from errors. There are three variations of the 1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan King of Kings card;

  • 1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan #665 KING OF KINGS – NO NUMBER
  • 1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan #665 KING OF KINGS – #659 back
  • 1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan #665 KING OF KINGS – Corrected back.

1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan #665 KING OF KINGS – #659 back

This variation of the Nolan Ryan 1990 Donruss error card #665 features the correct front and the back of the Nolan Ryan #659 5000k card.

Shop for 1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan King Of Kings card with #659 back

king of kings incorrect back

1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan #665 KING OF KINGS – Corrected back

In this version of this card, the error has been corrected. It features the correct back for the 1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan King of Kings back. The correct back features the correct card number (#665) and a write-up about Nolan Ryan.

Shop for 1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan King of Kings Corrected back on eBay

Nolan Ryan 1990 Donruss King of Kings with corrected back

1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan #665 KING OF KINGS – NO NUMBER

This version of the 1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan King of Kings card is almost identical to the correct version. It has the correct front and correct back. However, it is missing the number #665 on the back.

Collectors on several forums have reported several other variations of the Nolan Ryan King of Kings card. However, we’re only considering variations recognized by PSA.

Shop for 1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan King of Kings card with no number on eBay

1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan King of Kings No Number

Value of the Nolan Ryan 1990 Donruss error card King of Kings

Of the three variations of the Nolan Ryan King of Kings error, the wrong-back variation holds the most value. It’s valued at anything between $70 and $390, depending on its condition. Its value is similar to the corrected back version, valued at $30 to above $500, depending on its condition.

However, like the other Nolan Ryan error card in this set, the value of this card seems to be dwindling. The $550 sale and all sales above $200 occurred older than three years ago. According to the PSA, the latest PSA 10 sale is a mere $33, a far cry from its $550 heights.

Why Nolan Ryan 1990 Donruss error cards are still collectible

Nolan Ryan’s trading cards are consistently among his era’s most notable error cards. Let’s look at four reasons why this is the case.

Check prices of 1990 Donruss error cards of Nolan Ryan

Legendary career

Even fans who do not consider Nolan Ryan the greatest pitcher of all time agree he had a genuinely legendary MLB career. As one of the greatest pitchers in the history of Major League Baseball (MLB), Ryan’s accomplishments include a record-breaking 5,714 strikeouts, seven no-hitters, and a remarkable 27 seasons in the league.

His dominance on the mound and iconic moments have solidified his status as a baseball legend. These have made his card in high demand from collectors.

Iconic status

Beyond statistics, Nolan Ryan holds an iconic status in the world of sports. His nickname, “The Ryan Express,” and his memorable moments contribute to his larger-than-life persona. Collectors are drawn to owning a piece of baseball history associated with such an iconic figure.

Huge fanbase

Nolan Ryan has a massive and dedicated fanbase. The demand for his cards is fueled by seasoned collectors and fans who admire his contributions to the sport. Many of today’s sports card collectors grew up collecting Nolan Ryan cards.

Hence, his cards have a special place in their memories. Nostalgia has helped increase the allure. This broad appeal contributes to sustained and widespread demand.

Nolan Ryan signing an autograph

Investment potential

Many collectors and investors recognize the investment potential of Nolan Ryan cards. His legendary status, limited supply, and historical significance make his cards attractive for hobbyists and those looking to invest in sports memorabilia.

Bottomline of Nolan Ryan 1990 Donruss error card

Nolan Ryan is one of MLB’s most dominant pitchers, with a legendary career. Both Nolan Ryan 1990 Donruss error cards celebrate a significant milestone in his career – the 5000k and the King of Kings card.

As a result, these error cards have always had ample demand among collectors. This demand drove these cards’ value to impressive heights for an error card from the junk wax era.

However, the collecting landscape continually evolves, and recent market trends suggest a gradual decline in the perceived value of both error cards. Recent sales prices are below what they went for a few years ago.

However, that notwithstanding, these error cards are a great addition to any MLB collection. Despite recent fluctuations in market value, both Nolan Ryan 1990 Donruss error cards are significant in MLB history as they mark a milestone in a legendary career.

Even at its height, these error cards weren’t worth anything extraordinary, so collectors focused on making a profit would be better served investing elsewhere.

Check prices of 1990 Donruss error cards of Nolan Ryan

John Bassey

John Bassey

John is a freelance writer and founder of WordCraft Consult, a consultancy that provides expert writing services and enhances youth engagement in reading. With six years of writing experience and over 300 clients, He has made significant contributions as a content writer for several brands, such as Tech Triangle, KBO Bikes, Dolls Magazine, and, more recently, Cardlines.

John has a Bachelor's degree in Statistics and an enduring passion for creating content.  He is  currently dedicated to nurturing WordCraft while advancing appreciation for collectibles and literature through highly informative articles. 
When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network.

CARDLINES NEWSLETTER

Keep up on CardLines articles, and receive exclusive content with expert analysis of hobby trends.

Related »

More in Stories »

© Copyright 2024 - All rights reserved Cardlines.com / Media Techs LLC - Sports Card News, Reviews, Releases and BREAKS - #thehobby.

Important: When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network.