Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Griffey Goes To The Desert

The second card is the 1991 Topps Desert Shield Ken Griffey Jr #790. Griffey also has another card in this set, the All-Star card #392. I expect to pick up that card too but right now this card was my priority because I liked the look of the card.

The Desert Shield cards are based on the 792-card 1991 Topps baseball release but have the Desert Shield logo embossed on the front of the card, usually in the upper right corner.

Originally the seller had this at $60 BIN but eventually ended that auction and posted it back up as a regular auction at $0.99 starting price, I ended paying $51 with free shipping. I was leery about spending that but I stuck with it because of PSA 8 grade.

This is another card I planned to leave encased because these cards were counterfeited in the mid-late 1990s so I prefer it to remain encased, not that I intend to sell it.

Both of my brothers was in the military (Navy and Army) in 1991 but were based in the U.S. at the time so they did not receive any of the packs.

A short history lesson today about this set.

In August 1990 George Bush sent American troops to Saudi Arabia with the intent of forcing Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. On January 29, 1991 the Iraqi forces moved in to Saudi Arabia before being pushed back by Saudi Arabian forces and by February it was obvious Saddam Hussein was not going to play nice and the U.S. forces entered Kuwait. The “Liberation of Kuwait” was completed on February 27, 1991 and the wheels began turning for the future of the region.

Topps, working in conjunction with the U.S. Government, printed out special cards from the 1991 Topps set to be handed out to troops who were stationed in Saudi Arabia, the cards included a foil embossed “Desert Shield” logo which was usually located in the upper right hand corner.

There were roughly 6,500 total set printed and they were all supposed to be sent to American troops in Saudi Arabia. The packaging materials, box and packs, looked exactly like 1991 Topps baseball. Because they were sent to soldiers in a combat zone many of the cards never even made it back to the U.S. after being used for things that most collectors would never consider like book marks, writing notes, drawing pictures, given to locals and various games so higher graded versions are a premium.

There is actually a rumor that a large portion of those boxes were stolen while they were being stored at an Air Force base in South Caroline before being shipped out.

Because this is such a huge set you can find plenty of the cards for a very reasonable price (under $10) with the big cards to get besides the two Griffey cards are Chipper Jones (RC), Greg Maddux, Nolan Ryan and Tony Gwynn.

Sadly this is one of the most counterfeited sets of the 1990s, even packs have been opened and resealed with fake cards. There is a way to check for counterfeits though, here are some of the more common counterfeit errors:

-Some counterfeits have a pointed shield, it should be rounded with a flat bottom

-A palm leave touches any of the borders, usually it is the bottom leave (on the left) touching the “Operation Desert Shield” logo. None of the leaves should touch any of the borders

- The stars on the U.S. flag should appear as 4 distinct rows of 4 stars, 3 stars, 4 stars and 3 stars (top to bottom). This may require a jeweler’s loop and obviously can only be done when the card is in hand.


  1. Well done! Even I don't have this one yet. I've had opportunities, but I'm still waiting for the right price.

    Congrats, man! That's a legendary Griffey!

  2. Wow. That's a card even non Griffey collectors wouldn't mind adding to their collections. Sweet card.