Are 1982 Topps baseball cards your favorites of all-time?

If so, I’d wager you’re among only a handful of collectors who can make that claim.

Maybe that’s the consequence of weighty expectations.

After a so-so set in 1981, the first year of renewed competition on the heels25 years of monopoly, Topps needed a home run to make sure  Fleer and Donruss stayed at arm’s length, and none of the 1982 sets blew anyone away.

Still, as the years have passed, the nuances of the 1982 Topps set — crisp photos, lots of action shots, even the double-hockey-stick design — have set it apart from its long-ago competitors.

And, coming as it did right before the true hobby boom and led by a Hall of Fame rookie card, 1982 Topps is no Junk Wax pablum.

In fact, big-name cards from the set in nice grades can bring top dollar in today’s market.

Here is a quick rundown of those most valuable 1982 Topps baseball cards, based on recent sales and presented in numerical order.

(Check out our other posts about baseball card values here.)

1982 Topps Cal Ripken Jr. Rookie Card (#21)

1982 Topps Cal Ripken Jr Rookie Card

Cal Ripken, Jr., came on the baseball scene with a lot of hype as the son of a Major League coach and a big second-round shortstop out of high school who only seemed to get better as he climbed the minor league ladder.

The Iron Man lived up to his billing right away and never really stopped: 1982 American League Rookie of the Year, 1983 AL Most Valuable Player award, 1991 AL MVP, The Streak, a plaque in Cooperstown.

Along the way, Ripken lifted his cardboard into hobby stardom, too, beginning with his 1982 Topps base rookie card that he shared with Bobby Bonner and Jeff Schneider.

Once the absolute hottest card in the hobby, this classic RC often sells for under $10 in decent raw condition today but reaches $50 or more in PSA 9 and well into three figures — often more than $500 — for PSA 10 copies.

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1982 Topps Tom Seaver (#30)

1982 topps tom seaver

Tom Seaver was once a phenom, too, and he also lived up to the hype — among Seaver’s hardware were the 1967 NL Rookie of the Year award and Cy Youngs in 1969, 1973, and 1975.

That first CYA helped the awful New York Mets turn into the Amazin’ Mets who won the 1969 World Series, and Seaver’s second Cy Young season helped the Mets get to the 1973 Series.

A 300-game winner who also pitched with the Cincinnati Reds (and a handful of other teams at the end of his career), Tom Terrific is an all-time great whose cards remain popular all these decades later.

His 1982 card sells for around a buck ungraded but can fetch as much as $10 in PSA 9.

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1982 Topps Nolan Ryan (#90)

1982 topps nolan ryan

By 1982, most fans thought Nolan Ryan was heading ’round the bend of his baseball career at age 35 … little did we know all the thrills the big Texan had left in his holster.

More strikeouts … more no-hitters … more wins … more punches to Robin Ventura‘s head.

All of it was still to come, and Ryan’s exploits well into the 1990s would drag his cards to the top of the hobby mountain.

This 1982 Topps card, featuring the Astros rainbow, comes in under $5 raw, but PSA 9s and 10s can stretch toward $20 and $150, respectively.

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1982 Topps Ozzie Smith (#95)

1982 topps Ozzie Smith

The Wizard of Oz spent the first four seasons of his career patrolling shortstop for the San Diego Padres, where he developed a reputation as an acrobatic gloveman with a weak bat.

That all changed when the Pads dealt Smith with Steve Mura and Al Olmstead to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Luis DeLeon, Sixto Lezcano, and shortstop (!) Garry Templeton in December 1981.

It was a challenge traded (SS-for-SS) the Cardinals won hands-down as Ozzie reeled off a string of 12 (more) Gold Gloves, helped St. Louis become perennial contenders who won the 1982 World Series, beefed up his offensive prowess, and made it all the way to Cooperstown.

His last Topps Padres card is a $1-2 item ungraded but can bring $25 or more in PSA 9 and north of $250 in perfect “10” condition.

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1982 Topps Mike Schmidt (#100)

1982 topps Mike Schmidt

Mike Schmidt was just the greatest third baseman of all-time, and many folks had already come to that conclusion by the time his 1982 Topps card hit collectors’ hands.

Two NL MVP awards, a string of Gold Gloves, plenty of postseason glory, and scads of monstrous home runs tend to elevate your profile, after all.

Schmitty’s cards went right up the ladder with him, and today this portrait shot can bring well over $100 in PSA 10, though even PSA 9s are under $10, and raw copies come in around $1.

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1982 Topps Reggie Jackson (#300)

1982 topps Reggie Jackson

For years, Reggie was the straw that stirred the drink, first for the Oakland A’s and then for the New York Yankees.

He was Mr. October, for gosh sake, and the World Series seemed to follow him from town to town.

Heck, the man even had his own candy bar!

In January of 1982, though, Reggie was turning the corner into the stretch run of his career, and he signed as a free agent with the California Angels. Though Reggie and the Halos would taste some success over the next several seasons, it was never quite as resounding as his historic runs with the A’s and the Yanks.

And he never made another New York cardboard appearance — this last Yankees card is a $1-2 buy that can climb into the $10 range for PSA 9 copies.

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1982 Topps Johnny Bench (#400)

1982 topps Rickey Henderson

This list seems to have its share of “best-ever” position players, and Johnny Bench certainly fits that bill at catcher.

From the 1968 NL ROY to NL MVP awards in 1970 and 1972 to being the field general for the Big Red Machine, Bench is a bona fide baseball legend with unmatched pedigree behind the plate.

No surprise, then, that his cards remain popular even today, 35 years after his retirement.

This 1982 closeup, where Bench may be channeling a future version of Peyton Manning, goes for a couple bucks ungraded and $10-15 in PSA 9.

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1982 Topps Rickey Henderson (#610)

1982 topps Rickey Henderson

In the spring of 1982, when this third-year Rickey Henderson card was issued, The Man of Steal was not quite yet The Man of Steal.

Sure, he had swiped 100 bases in 1980, before the 1981 strike sapped everyone’s numbers, but 1982 was the year he’d break Lou Brock‘s single-season record by stealing 130.

From there, it was a 20-year sprint to the Hall of Fame for the man many consider the best leadoff hitter of all-time — no one combined Henderson’s speed, patience, power, and hot-dogness with such aplomb.

This 1982 Topps card  comes in at a few dollars raw and $10-15 in PSA 9.

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1982 Topps Carl Yastrzemski (650)

1982 topps Carl Yastrzemski

For awhile, it seemed as if Carl Yastrzemski might play forever.

That didn’t quite turn out to be the case, of course, and this 1982 card ended up being the second-to-last Topps issue of Yaz’s long and storied career.

The 1967 AL MVP and Triple Crown winner will forever be a fan and hobby favorite, and this particular card trades at about $25 in PSA 9 and can reach heights of $200+ in PSA 10. Ungraded copies remain affordable at around $1.

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1982 Topps Pete Rose (#780)

1982 topps Pete Rose

Love him or hate him, there is no denying that Pete Rose was a vital part of the baseball landscape during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

By the time this 1982 Topps card found its way to collectors, Rose was well into his tenure with the Philadelphia Phillies after a storied run with his hometown Cincinnati Reds, and Charlie Hustle had built a huge fan base all across the country.

Many of his supporters remain convinced today that the all-time Hit King belongs in the Hall of Fame, and that support — along with the controversy that continues to follow Pete — keeps his cards near the top of hobby price lists.

This 1982 issue, featuring a crouching Rose at first base, runs from about a dollar ungraded up to $100+ in PSA 10.

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(Check out our other posts about baseball card values here.)


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