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10 Most Valuable 1982 Topps Baseball Cards | Old Sports Cards

10 Most Valuable 1982 Topps Baseball Cards

Most Valuable 1982 Topps Baseball Cards

While it may not be one of the most popular sets of the era, the 1982 Topps baseball card set packed plenty of star power and two key Hall of Fame rookie cards.

And its dual hockey stick border design is instantly recognizable...

But, you'll remember that by 1982, Topps was no longer the only major company producing baseball cards as both Donruss and Fleer had joined the scene the year prior.

As a result, Topps created this monster 792-card checklist and loaded it with subsets to try and keep collector interest...and collector eyeballs...away from Donruss and Fleer.

While this set may be slightly overlooked in the history of the hobby, it still delivers a great checklist.

And in this guide, I'll run through the ten most valuable.

Let's jump right in!

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1982 Topps #452 Lee Smith Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $800

Lee Smith was one of the greatest relief pitchers to ever step on the mound and is currently a distant number three on the all-time saves list with 478 behind Mariano Rivera (652) and Trevor Hoffman (601).

For the longest time it seemed like Smith would not quite garner enough votes to earn a trip to the Hall of Fame.

However, on December 9, 2018 he and Harold Baines were voted in by the Today's Game Era Committe.

Immediately afterward, the price of his 1982 Topps rookie card in PSA 10 condition shot through the roof.

For example, in November, 2018 you could find one in PSA 10 grade for around $100 but after he was voted into the Hall they started selling for north of $600 and continue to climb today.

That just shows you what kind of effect being a Hall of Famer can have on baseball card prices.

1982 Topps #452 Lee Smith Rookie Card

1982 Topps #21 Cal Ripken Jr. Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $650

Unlike Smith, Cal Ripken's chances at the Hall of Fame were never in doubt.

The 2-time MVP, 19-time All-Star and record holder for most consecutive games played easily goes down in history as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, shortstops to play the game.

From the 1983 season on, he was selected to the All-Star game every year until he retired after the 2001 season.

And, if you look back at his stats for his rookie campaign in the 1982 season, there really was no reason he shouldn't have made the All-Star team that year, too.

At least he was voted Rookie of the Year.

On his 1982 Topps card, Ripken is sandwiched between Bob Bonner and Jeff Schneider as part of the "Future Stars" subset with the Baltimore Orioles.

While this is considered one of his rookie cards, it doesn't command quite the price premium as his 1982 Topps Traded rookie card which can sell for north of $1,000 in top condition.

1982 Topps #21 Cal Ripken Jr. Rookie Card

1982 Topps #300 Reggie Jackson

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $600

Reggie Jackson was one of the game's greatest power hitters and was known for taking huge rips at the ball on his way to racking up 563 career home runs.

Many times, though, he'd fail to connect on those swings and would up earning himself a spot as the career leader in strikeouts with 2,597.

But, hey, that's the kind of excitement that he brought to the game: you never knew if he were going to bury one over the fence or get sent right back to the dugout.

Pictured as a member of the New York Yankees, Jackson was actually traded to the California Angels for the 1982 season where he'd play for five seasons before heading back to Oakland for one final season.

This card is super tough to find in high grade, hence the huge price tag that might shock you.

1982 Topps #300 Reggie Jackson Baseball Card

1982 Topps #551 Reggie Jackson All-Star

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $600

Like his base card, his All-Star card is just as tough to find in PSA 10 condition and also carries a large price tag.

I love both of these cards not so much because it's Reggie Jackson we're talking about, but because of all the 1980's awesomeness on display.

The wrist band, the glasses....and that awesome stache...

You just don't see that kind of stuff in today's game so this card perfectly captures the style of the era and that's the great thing about baseball cards in general.

1982 Topps #551 Reggie Jackson All-Star Baseball Card

1982 Topps #650 Carl Yastrzemski

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $350

For a guy who had his rookie card debut in the 1960 Topps set, it's impressive that Yaz played long enough to be featured in this set as well.

Even more impressive, his 1982 Topps issue wasn't his last card as he also made it into the 1983 Topps set.

Although his best days were clearly behind him, he still played well enough to earn a trip to the 1982 All-Star game.

Here we see Yaz staring off into the distance almost as if he's thinking back on his career...or maybe he's just watching a teammate take batting practice.

1982 Topps #650 Carl Yastrzemski Baseball Card

1982 Topps #90 Nolan Ryan

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $250

This Nolan Ryan card is another fantastic example of Topps capturing the style and vibe of the 1980s.

Just look at that awesome retro Astros jersey in all its striped glory!

Let's be honest, it didn't matter what jersey Ryan wore or what style it was, he was going throw major heat regardless.

Because of his career accomplishments and his overpowering style, Ryan remains one of the game's most popular players to ever play and you'll see his name in just about every set's log of key cards.

1982 Topps #90 Nolan Ryan Baseball Card

1982 Topps #95 Ozzie Smith

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $200

The Padres also had some great retro jerseys during the 1980s but Ozzie really topped things off with those sideburns.

Ozzie was always one of my favorite players to watch as a kid as his acrobatic defensive play left fans in awe time after time as he went on to collect 13 Gold Glove awards.

But, for the 1982 season, Smith would never actually suit up for the Padres as he was traded to St. Louis for another highly-regarded shortstop in Garry Templeton.

At the time, everyone thought the Padres were getting the better end of the deal as Templeton was a much better hitter.

He was even the first player to collect 100 hits from both sides of the plate.

However, once he was in San Diego, Templeton's hitting declined drastically and he'd never bat over .300 again.

On the other hand, Ozzie's bat did nothing but improve and combined with the amazing glove he already had, he'd deliver Hall of Fame-caliber play for years in St. Louis.

1982 Topps #95 Ozzie Smith Baseball Card

1982 Topps #30 Tom Seaver

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $200

During the first part of his career, Tom Seaver was absolutely dominant on the mound as he racked up 20-win seasons, Cy Young Awards, ERA Titles and Strikeout Titles like it was nothing.

And he was still very much a respectable pitcher during his time in Cincinnati from 1977 to 1982 as he'd win around 15 games regularly, made two All-Star teams and even finished second in the Cy Young vote for the 1981 season.

It would have been nice to see an action shot of Seaver on his 1982 Topps card but this is still a good-looking card overall.

And the reason it's worth so much in PSA 10 condition?

There are only 5 copies of this card in circulation at the time of this writing that have achieved that grade...so they're very scarce.

1982 Topps #30 Tom Seaver Baseball Card

1982 Topps #101 Mike Schmidt In Action

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $200

Mike Schmidt was arguably the best third baseman in baseball history and will always be remembered for both his power and his glove.

The three-time MVP would smash 548 home runs over his career as he led the league in that category an amazing 8 times.

You'd think a third baseman with that kind of power wouldn't have had the best defensive skills but no, Schmidt was amazing on defense as well as he'd go on to win 10 Gold Gloves.

The guy was incredible.

His base card in this set is also one of the keys but his "In Action" card has only been graded in PSA 10 condition seven times at the time of this writing so there's a huge premium for it at that level.

1982 Topps #101 Mike Schmidt In Action Baseball Card

1982 Topps #610 Rickey Henderson

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $150

And finally, we're down to none other than Rickey Henderson, one of the greatest baseball icons of the 1980s and the game's greatest speedster to ever play.

I absolutely love this card as it captures Rickey about to do what he did best: steal a base.

You can almost feel the tension in this card as he's poised and just waiting for the perfect moment to break for second.

The 1982 season saw Henderson set a single-season best for stolen bases as he swiped a ridiculous 130 bases in total.

I know the game is played differently these days but even if it weren't, I'd be stunned if anyone in the future ever meets or bests his 130 stolen bases in a season.

1982 Topps #610 Rickey Henderson Baseball Card

1982 Topps Baseball Cards In Review

While the 1982 Topps baseball card set may not ever be known as the company's best-looking in terms of design, it did pack a lot of star power and two Hall of Fame rookie cards.

It was also the first Topps set to feature a monster 792-card checklist.​

You can't help but think Topps was trying to produce as many cards as possible to keep collectors interested and to try and keep Donruss and Fleer, who had joined the scene in 1981, at bay.

Overall, it's a decent set.

Within it, there were also several different subsets, including:

  • 1981 Highlights
  • League Leaders
  • Team Leaders
  • All-Stars
  • Future Stars
  • In Action

For those collectors on the lookout for great Hall of Famers of the era or just a large checklist to complete, this set has it all.

Ross Uitts
 

Ross is the founder of Old Sports Cards and has been collecting sports cards for over 30 years. He also loves to write about the hobby and has written for Beckett, Topps, SABR and of course, this website. Need help buying or selling cards or have a general question about the hobby? Contact him at ross@oldsportscards.com

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