The “COMEBACK EDITION!”. That’s what it was labeled. After Topps acquired Bowman during the mid 1950’s, the Bowman line of cards disappeared faster than a government discovered UFO. From 1956 to 1988, you won’t find any Bowman branded cards. But in 1989, Topps decided to bring Bowman back.
Thirty-some years is a long time to go without a Bowman set. When it returned, the set resembled 1953 Bowman Color. Right down to the slightly larger card size. That’s probably why this product didn’t perform well. Trying to find top loaders, album pages, and boxes to store these cards was a real hassle.
This Bowman set looks nothing like the prospect/rookie filled product we see now. It consists of (484) cards. Only (46) of them are rookies. The most notable rookie would be of Ken Griffey, Jr. But guys like Gary Sheffield, Tino Martinez, and John Smoltz have rookies in here too. Given that 1989 Bowman was released during the height of overproduction, not many of these cards are worth much of anything. So many of them exist today. That even goes for the rookies. On a good day, you might get $5.00 for the Ken Griffey, Jr.
Topps released this product around the All-Star break that year because it allowed them to include rookies that had been called up, and picture veterans in their new uniforms if they had been traded. One of the hottest cards to pull at the time that wasn’t a rookie, was the card that pictured Nolan Ryan in his Texas Rangers uniform. Nolan Ryan left the Astros over a contract dispute, and found his way to Texas. This was one of the first mass produced cards to have him in a Rangers uniform. All the other sets had him with Houston.
Outside of the base set, you’ll find (1) type of insert. This 11-card set features reprints of famous vintage Bowman cards. On the back of each insert are rules for a contest in which you could win an original version of the card pictured on the front. The grand prize was a complete set of 1953 Bowman Color.
Very few sets from this time period hold any type of value. Wax boxes of 1989 Bowman can easily be bought for $10.00. What does hold value to this day is the 1989 Bowman Tiffany set. Topps made 6,000 copies of the Tiffany set. These were only available in factory set form at select hobby shops. It resembles the regular 1989 Bowman set when it comes to design. The main difference is the higher quality card stock. A 1989 Bowman Tiffany set will set you back over $400.00 if brand new.