Project Prism: The Quest For `The Elite Series’ Set

(UPDATED 9/11/12)

Ever since I was a youngster, I’ve been fascinated with the flashiest insert set known to mankind:  The Elite Series.

When I was 13, I was fortunate enough to pull one of these seemingly impossible hits from a pack of Donruss at my local Target.

I remember picking three packs and handing them to my mother. After the cashier rang them up, I grabbed them back from her and started  ripping into them as my mother completed her transaction.

Seconds later, the neon lights struck the prismatic foil border of an Eddie Murray Elite card and the greatest sensation of a 13-year-old card collector came over me.  I yelled an expletive, one that caused multiple people to look at me.  I didn’t care. I was on top of the collecting world.

It may not be the best looking card in the set — actually, it might be the ugliest — but it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen to this point that didn’t have long hair, two legs and two … well, you get the point.

The Murray stayed with me for about a month or so.  I was offered $75 for it at a card show a week later but the deal never came to fruition.  I think the prospective buyer was reluctant to give me the cash.  I later traded it for a bunch of other nonsense.  Worst decision ever.

In recent years, I have my it my collecting goal — as if I really needed another — to acquire the 1992 and 1993 Elite Series sets.  I may chase the other years later.

If you’ve yet to see the most recent Beckett Sports Card Monthly (Pages 22-24 — that’s me!), you’ll notice that I listed this insert set as my favorite from the ’90s.  And while it goes against common knowledge to hype a set (which could drive up interest and prices) that I am still working on, it’d be a great disservice to everyone to forget the greatness of The Elite Series.

It is here that I will document my progress.  I’ve already acquired about two dozen from this legendary set.  And here they are. Remember, these rare inserts were limited to 10,000 copies of each. Way over-produced by today’s standards; super rare by those standards of the early 1990s.


1991 Donruss Elite Series Rickey Henderson #7

1991 Donruss Elite Series George Brett #2

1991 Donruss Elite Legends Series L1


1992 Donruss Elite Series Ken Griffey Jr.

1992 Donruss Elite Series Frank Thomas

1992 Donruss Elite Series Kirby Puckett

1992 Donruss Elite Series Tony Gwynn

1992 Donruss Elite Series Will Clark

1992 Donruss Elite Series Dwight Gooden

1992 Donruss Elite Series Howard Johnson


1993 Donruss Elite Series Ryne Sandberg #20

1993 Donruss Elite Series Eddie Murray #21

1993 Donruss Elite Series Paul Molitor #22

1993 Donruss Elite Series Barry Larkin #23

1993 Donruss Elite Series Don Mattingly #24

1993 Donruss Elite Series Dennis Eckersley #25

1993 Donruss Elite Series Roberto Alomar #26

1993 Donruss Elite Series Edgar Martinez #27

1993 Donruss Elite Series Darren Daulton #29

1993 Donruss Elite Series Larry Walker #30

1993 Elite Series Barry Bonds #31

1993 Donruss Elite Series Mark McGwire #33

1993 Donruss Elite Series Cecil Fielder #34

1993 Donruss Elite Series Dave Winfield #35

1993 Donruss Elite Series Juan Gonzalez #36

1993 Donruss Elite Series Legends Robin Yount L3

2 Responses to “Project Prism: The Quest For `The Elite Series’ Set”

  1. The Diamond King Says:

    Really cool! I also pulled one at a show back in 92, the Rickey Henderson. I traded it straight across for a Dr. J RC. Great trade, eh!?!?

    I will look and see if I have any of the 92’s or 93’s for you this weekend!

  2. Wow, what a great post.I don’t know how I stumbled across this but I couldn’t agree more! The Elite Series was the absolute height of rare inserts before they started producing shiny one off cards in every pack like they do today. 1 insert set that’s near impossible to pull, standard release versions of core sets. That’s how it should be. Now there are so many versions of RC’s that even collecting them gets boring. Pulling an Edgar Martinez Elite Series back when I was 8 years old was the highlight of my collecting. I’ve never received that kind of thrill collecting anything whether it was coins, plush, diecast, or girls phone #’s. It’s still probably my favorite card even compared to some of the mint rookies I have from the 60’s.

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