Innovative, interesting, often beautiful, Donruss Studio was a welcome new entry in 1991, a card set that relied on the personalities of the players.
Though I enjoyed Studio, I only have two complete sets. I had no idea how long lived the Studio concept was. It was a true survivor of the junk era, issued from 1991-98, then again from 2001-05, and once again from 2014-16.
I’m not going to go too deeply into this, only enough to show all the designs. When they’re great, they’re great. When they’re not, they’re interesting. That can’t be said for many other base sets that ran for so long.
1991 – 264 cards
1992 – 264 cards
The first set I completed.
1993 – 220 cards
1994 – 220 cards
1995 – 200 cards
Flashback to the 1980’s credit card sets.
1996 – 150 cards
Indicative of the card boom and bust, in five years the set was halved.
1997 – 165 cards
1998 – 220 cards
Last year of the first run, and a sizeable increase in the base set. Once of the offshoots was a 36 card set of 8 X 10s. I bought a box of those.
2001 – 200 cards
Back from hiatus, more border, less picture.
2002 – 275 cards
2003 – 211 cards
This set is absolutely beautiful.
2004 – 270 cards
2005 – 300 cards
Back to the original set length, and a farewell to the Donruss’ MLB license.
By 2014, Donruss was a throwback name, not even a real issue, and the Studio sets were small subset, 10-20 cards per year. In some ways the lack of license doesn’t hurt the core mission of Studio, to capture the faces of the game. Still, these look like hell.
There are many inserts over the years, some quite good, like the Heritage subset than ran from 1991-94. (Here’s Straw from 1992)
Writing this is making me want more of these sets. You too? See you at eBay.