10 Most Valuable 1988 Topps Baseball Cards

Unopened Box of 1988 Topps Baseball CardsI always loved the look and feel of 1988 Topps baseball cards…

They had a classic and straightforward design while featuring a lot of great action photography.

Team name across the top. Player name in the banner on the bottom right.

These cards got straight to the point.

The set contained 792 cards in total so trying to build an entire set could be quite a challenge and required ripping pack after pack.

You can find all the stars of the day as well as rookie cards of Hall of Famers Tom Glavine and Roberto Alomar.

And in this guide, I will cover the 10 most valuable 1989 Topps baseball cards that are still worth a decent amount.

Let’s jump right in…

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Brief disclaimer: most of the cards on this list will generally not be worth anything...

The only way they can have much value is by either being the Tiffany version (Topps' premium factory set) and/or being graded by PSA to be in perfect, gem mint condition (PSA 10).

That means the card needs to be basically flawless.

Now that we got that out of the way, let's take a look at the top ten:

1988 Topps #779 Tom Glavine Rookie Card

Tiffany Estimated PSA 10 Value: $335

I remember watching Tom Glavine and the rest of the Atlanta Braves starting rotation dominate year after year during the 1990's.

And because his stuff wasn't overpowering, he out-dueled batters with extreme control and smarts.

Only a few lefties in the history of the game posted more wins than Glavine's career total of 305.

His Hall of Fame career is why his is one of the key rookie cards in this set.

1988 Topps Tiffany #779 Tom Glavine Rookie Card

1988 Topps Traded #4T Roberto Alomar Rookie Card

Tiffany Estimated PSA 10 Value: $225

Roberto Alomar was another Hall of Famer who I loved watching during the 1990's and early 2000's because he was consistently great.

His solid defensive skills, disciplined hitting, and terrific base running ability were a combination that you just don't see too often out of a second baseman.

Alomar played with seven different teams over his career but I mostly remember him at his very best during his time with Toronto, Baltimore and Cleveland.

Pictured as a member of the San Diego Padres, Alomar's is another key rookie card in the 1988 Topps set.

1988 Topps Tiffany Traded #4T Roberto Alomar Rookie Card

1988 Topps Traded #42T Mark Grace Rookie Card

Tiffany Estimated PSA 10 Value: $75

Growing up in Indiana, I remember Mark Grace being one of the most popular players in the area since there were a lot of Cubs fans where I lived.

He wasn't overpowering at the plate but it seemed like you could always depend on him for about 85 runs and 85 RBI every year.

His rookie cards were extremely popular back then and have still held up well over time.

Because he didn't achieve Hall of Fame status like Glavine or Alomar, his 1988 Topps rookie card isn't nearly as valuable but it still can go for around $75 in the Tiffany version.

1988 Topps Traded #42T Mark Grace Rookie Card

1988 Topps #650 Cal Ripken Jr.

Tiffany Estimated PSA 10 Value: $50

Cal Ripken Jr. is one of those guys whose cards are among the keys to pretty much any set from the 1980's.

His legendary career with the Baltimore Orioles propelled him to Hall of Fame status and he remains one of the most popular players of his era.

His 1988 Topps card shows a great image of him standing ready at the plate ready to do what made him standout so much: hit for power as a shortstop.

The Tiffany version of this card still holds up well in terms of value.

1988 Topps #650 Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball Card

1988 Topps #600 Mike Schmidt

Tiffany Estimated PSA 10 Value: $45

This card may look a bit boring because of the image but Mike Schmidt was anything but that during his career.

The three-time MVP terrorized opposing pitchers with his ability to hit for power as he led the league in homers eight times over his career.

Schmidt is shown during warming up for batting practice wearing a jacket taking a big cut.

Because he's an all-time great, his card can still go for decent money if its the Tiffany version and graded in PSA 10 condition.

1988 Topps #600 Mike Schmidt Baseball Card

1988 Topps #250 Nolan Ryan

Tiffany Estimated PSA 10 Value: $35

Like Ripken, Nolan Ryan was one of the game's biggest stars during his era and his cards will always be among those in the highest demand in any set.

1988 would be Ryan's last year with the Astros so this was one of the last time's we'd see him in that awesome uniform on a baseball card.

The legendary fireballer is pictured ready to mow down yet another batter with his blazing speed.

1988 Topps Tiffany #250 Nolan Ryan Baseball Card

1988 Topps #750 Bo Jackson

Tiffany Estimated PSA 10 Value: $35

During the late 1980's, Bo Jackson was one of the most popular athletes in the world.

Famous for playing both football and baseball, he was a hero to many kids during those days and beloved by fans as well.

Pictured in that awesome Royals jersey, Jackson is pictured following through on a big cut.

His popularity among young kids of the day who collected then and are now re-entering the hobby today in their 30's and 40's is a big reason why his cards still hold decent value.

1988 Topps #750 Bo Jackson Baseball Card

1988 Topps #450 Barry Bonds

Tiffany Estimated PSA 10 Value: $30

Despite the controversy that will always hang over his career, Bonds was no doubt one of the game's most talented players.

Barry Bonds rookie cards can still be worth a lot of money and even his 1988 Topps card has decent value in its Tiffany form.

A young Bonds is pictured on a bright day in his pirates uniform with a huge smile on his face which really makes the card pop.

1988 Topps #450 Barry Bonds Baseball Card

1988 Topps #70 Roger Clemens

Tiffany Estimated PSA 10 Value: $30

Like Bonds, Roger Clemens' career will forever carry with it a huge amount of controversy but his popularity among collectors helps his cards to still hold some value.

Clemens was one of the game's most dominant power pitchers so it's fitting that Topps displayed him in that form.

The seven-time Cy Young winner brought nothing but fear to opposing hitters as no one really wanted to face him.

I always thought it was interesting that he ranks third on the all-time strikeout list despite never having thrown over 300 strikeouts in a single season.

He did get close during the 1988 season, however, after he'd go on to strike out 291 batters that year.

1988 Topps #70 Roger Clemens Baseball Card

1988 Topps #580 Mark McGwire

Tiffany Estimated PSA 10 Value: $30

Everyone wanted this card during the 1980's.

McGwire was one of the game's most exciting players of the era as his amazing power helped him burst onto the scene hitting 49 bombs during his 1987 debut.

Many collectors still like to own Mark McGwire rookie cards but this card in its Tiffany version still holds some good value as well.

It's a great-looking card design overall showing a young McGwire in his A's uniform with the "Topps All-Star Rookie" trophy in the bottom right corner.

1988 Topps #580 Mark McGwire Baseball Card

1988 Topps Baseball Cards In Review

So there you have it, the ten most valuable 1988 Topps cards.

As you can see, it will take them being professionally graded in gem mint condition in their Tiffany form to be worth much.

It's a great set overall and features rookie cards of a couple of great Hall of Famers and many other base cards of stars of the day.

Within the set were also several different subsets, including:

  • All-Stars
  • Checklists
  • Manager Cards
  • Record Breakers
  • Turn Back The Clock

While many of the cards in this set are basically worthless in today's market, it really is a pretty decent set overall.

And for those of us who grew up collecting these as kids, they'll always have a huge nostalgic factor to them despite not having the most monetary value.

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 [email protected]

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