Friday, September 15, 2023

Free Stuff Friday / Completing a 1990s Donruss run

I'll have to postpone the second half of my 1956 Topps set build yet again, because I have not had enough time to scan the cards. Maybe next week I'll be less busy... hopefully..

Also, thanks to some idiot at the office, I am really in the mood to talk hockey. So here's a look at the five flagship hockey card sets produced by Donruss in the 1990s - and my potential for completing the run. 


The 1993-94 Donruss hockey set is the largest and looks exactly like the 1994 Donruss baseball set. I have 39 of the 510 cards. We'll come back to this one.

The 1994-95 Donruss set is comprised of 330 cards and is even less legible than is predecessor (at least in hand).

It's time to play Name That Goalie!

If I hadn't already completed the set when it was new I would not start now. This is my least favorite of the five Donruss hockey sets you'll see here. For comparison,
1995 Donruss baseball has tough-to-read names in silver foil - but without that giant seal in the corner.

My favorite of these five sets is the other one I didn't complete - 1995-96 Donruss.

Mrs. Collector had about 40% of this set, which is too much to carry in my 'assorted hockey cards' box, so I decided to try and complete it. Thanks to TCDB, Sportlots, and a couple packs I purchased on eBay, I've more than doubled the size of our set build. I still need 70 singles out of 390, plus a couple of the checklist inserts. 

This design does not resemble Donruss baseball or football sets from that same year. The '96 set was the first flagship football set released by the brand, and presages the 1996-97 Donruss hockey set.

I found a cheap box of 1996-97 Donruss hockey in an outlet mall a couple years after its release. The compact 240-card set was easy to complete from one box.

Finally we have 1997-98 Donruss, one of six hockey card sets released under the Donruss banner that year.
(I do want to spend some time discussing Donruss Preferred but we'll focus on flagship for now.)

Weight, I'm on this card, too.


This is the smallest set at just 230 cards. I've completed this one as well. Which leads me to this question: should I attempt to assemble the first Donruss hockey card set and complete the run? I do have some space in my binders - though I'd need some extra pages.

A box of the 'main' set (cards 1-400) is within my price range. But I'd either have to buy an Update box or try to acquire them through trades and Sportlots purchases. Seems like a lot of work/money for a run-of-the-mill set -- though the chance of pulling an Elite insert is certainly enticing.

What would you do? Buy an already completed 510 card set? Buy a main set box and piece together the Update portion through other means? Buy both boxes? Neither? Your advice is appreciated. 


Since I've barely had time to read/write any blog posts this month
(birthdays, school starting, soccer practice, concert, etc...) I'm inviting everyone who has commented on one of my last four posts to select up to 12 cards on the Free Cards! tab. 

Dennis, Nachos Grande, Johnny, Bo, Night Owl, Jon, Jafronius, Tom, Matt K., Gregory, Fuji, A.J., Brett, Capt. Kirk, and Trevor... come on down!

I replenished my stock with some goodies from the ShopRite vending machine :)

Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!







  1. Hockey from the hockeydude! I kind of like each design a bit, and I always thought it was interesting comparing them to the other sports' versions since they weren't always the same, of course.

    Thank you for the free cards offer too! May I please request Page 5, Card 3 (Gerald Ford) and Page 8, Card 9 (Diaz)?

  2. Cards claimed on the free cards page. Thanks again! Hope others find stuff they'll enjoy too (i.e. hope I didn't hog too much).

  3. Looks like the Jays are playing themselves out of the playoffs so I've got hockey to look forward to. Woo! Go Habs! At least I don't have to get my hopes up that they'll make it to the playoffs

  4. I'd go for it if that's the only set you need and it doesn't break your bank. Maybe just buy the whole thing at once? I'll also claim on the Free Cards page, thank you sir!

  5. The completionist in me would finish off the run (I have done so myself). Not the best of the run, but being the largest makes it representative of the times and transition sets went under (large to small base size). But I do still like the design.

  6. If it were me I wouldn't buy anymore, I do not like mid-1990s Donruss anything. But if it was a run I was really interested in, yeah, I'd try to complete it.

  7. I'm all about taking the easier and often more affordable route of buying a completed set. That being said... I did buy some starter sets today at the flea market... so I've been known to build a set every now and then.

    By the way... I opened up a few packs of each of these Donruss products back in the 90's. I think the only one I completed was 1996-97. But that was likely sold when I dumped the bulk of my collection back in the early 2000's.

  8. It doesn't sound like you are very enthusiastic about any of these. I don't think anybody ever gets really excited about Donruss in general.

    The thing about buying a set whole, as I have found, is that you don't feel like you've gotten to "know" the set like when you get it a few cards at a time.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    1. I like 1995-96 Donruss, I just didn't buy it myself.

  9. I say go for the inaugural set by opening packs, making trades and putting it together that way. Seems like it would be a cool feather to have in your cap, especially being that you've already completed some of the other Donruss hockey sets from the era.

  10. It seems like it would be more fun to build the set via a box (and maybe a few trades/Sportlots later if need be), so if you have the money, and want to spend it on cards of course, I would vote for going the box route. My only concern, were I in your place, would be bricking. I don't know if that set is prone to that, but so many others are from that era, so I don't know if I'd be willing to risk it or not.

    Thanks for including me on your list. Obviously I'm considerably later than all of the other late folks, and the two cards I would've chose are long gone. But that's okay though, maybe if there's a next time I'll be a bit earlier.