If you were a collector just before the hobby boom in the 1980s, the mere sight of 1984 Topps baseball cards probably makes your tummy flip and your ticker twitch.

Back then, our foreheads were just damp with the first bit of moisture that would develop into Rookie Card Fever, and we had also yet to see a Fleer or Donruss set that could really compare with any Topps issue.

All of that would change in a flash thanks to Darryl Strawberry and Don Mattingly rookie cards in all three 1984 sets, and especially thanks to the scarcity and beauty of 1984 Donruss.

But, whenever the crush of our frenzied hobby go to much, we could always retreat to the comfort of Topps.

To help us bring back just a touch of those hallowed days, here is a quick rundown of the 25 most valuable cards from the 1984 Topps baseball set, by measure of recent sales in PSA 9 condition.

(Note: The following sections contain affiliate links to Amazon and eBay listings for the cards discussed.)

25) 1984 Topps Andy Van Slyke Rookie Card (#206)

1984 Topps Andy Van Slyke Rookie Card

Van Slyke doesn’t get much play these days when talking about the top names of the 80s and 90s, but he was the Gold Glove centerfield glue that held together the vaunted Pittsburgh Pirates outfields of the early 1990s.

And, when he wasn’t teaming with Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla to help the Bucs win a division title with his glove, he more than held his own at the plate.

Slick will almost certainly never make the Hall of Fame, but his play – and his rookie card – are vital to understanding baseball, and baseball cards, as we inched ever closer to a new millennium.

Value: $15-25

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24) 1984 Topps Cal Ripken Jr. (#490)

1984 Topps Cal Ripken Jr.

In 1982, Cal Ripken, Jr., won the American League Rookie of the Year award.

In 1983, he won the AL MVP award and helped the Baltimore Orioles to a World Series victory over the Phillies.

So, yeah, Cal was a hot commodity when this card came out.

Another MVP award, 3000+ hits, 400+ home runs, and The Streak did nothing to cool him down.

This third-year Cal card features a classic shot of the young shortstop still at the beginning stages of his legendary journey through MLB.

Value: $20-25

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23) 1984 Topps Mike Schmidt (#700)

1984 Topps Mike Schmidt

Mike Schmidt is simply the greatest third baseman of all-time and one of a couple handful who are in the discussion for top 10 or 12 (or whatever your number) overall.

In 1984, Schmidt was three years removed from what most expected would be his last NL MVP season, but the old man had plenty more gas left in the tank.

When all was said and done, Schmidt had added the 1986 NL MVP to his trophy case and retired in 1989 with 548 dingers.

Schmidt’s cards remain solid across the board, and his 1984 Topps is no exception.

Value: $20-25

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22) 1984 Topps Andre Dawson (#200)

1984 Topps Andre Dawson

By 1984, Andre Dawson was well established as a five-tool player and regularly in the discussion for the unofficial title as “best player in the game.”

Pulling a Hawk card from wax packs back in those days was magical, and his 1984 Topps issue, replete with that long-lost Expos uniform, still feels special today.

Value: $20-25

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21) 1984 Topps Eddie Murray (#240)

1984 Topps Eddie Murray

Murray was well into his Steady Eddie routine by 1984, having reeled off 30+ home runs and 100+ RBI in three of the preceding four seasons.

And in the fourth?

He led the American League in both categories during the strike-ripped 1981 season.

Like the man himself, Murray’s 1984 Topps issue may not have been the flashiest card in the pack, but it was – and remains – one of the very best.

Value: $20-25

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20) 1984 Topps Dale Murphy (#150)

1984 Topps Dale Murphy

Undoubtedly, the 1984 Topps Dale Murphy card was one of the most popular hunks of new cardboard to hit store shelves and collector hands during that Olympic year.

And why not?!

After all, the man was coming off two consecutive National League MVP awards and was generally acknowledged as one of the greatest players in the game.

Home run titles in ‘84 and ‘85 did little to change that perception as Murphy further solidified himself as a fan and collector favorite.

It’s hard to believe all these years later, then, that the man still stands outside the Hall of Fame, but late career slides like his can be brutal.

Still, Murphy’s hobby star has never really faded, and he still has a great chance at Cooperstown thanks to the Modern Baseball incarnation of the Veterans Committee.

Value: $20-25

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19) 1984 Topps Lou Whitaker (#695)

1984 Topps Lou Whitaker

Lou Whitaker was one of the top second basemen in baseball for the better part of two decades, and he retired as one of the top 10 keystone men by most statistical measures.

Along the way, he also helped the Tigers win a championship and formed part of their fabled core of young talent that kept them competitive for a decade or more.

Someday, Sweet Lou will take his rightful place alongside teammates Alan Trammell and Jack Morris (and manager Sparky Anderson) in Cooperstown.

And, when he does, classic cards like this one from that amazing summer of 1984 will garner even stronger collector support than they already do.

Value: $20-25

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18) 1984 Topps Dave Winfield (#460)

1984 Topps Dave Winfield

Winfield emerged as a surprise batting title combatant during the summer of 1984, embarking on a summer-long chase of .350+ with upstart teammate Don Mattingly.

And, while big Dave lost out to Donnie Baseball right at the end of the season, their breathtaking battle elevated both men in hobby, and there is still something very special about Winfield’s Topps card from that summer for those of us who followed the blow-by-blow.

Value: $20-25

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17) 1984 Topps 1983 Highlight – Bench, Perry, Yastrzemski Retire (#6)

1984 Topps 1983 Highlight - Bench, Perry, Yastrzemski Retire

It’s not every year that three living legends retire at the same time, but that was the case in 1983, the final season for Johnny Bench, Gaylord Perry, and Carl Yastrzemski.

And, while Topps wouldn’t budge from their tacit policy of not creating career-capper cards for guys they knew wouldn’t be playing in a given year, they did deign to give us a nice tribute of the three gray gents (Bench was actually only in his mid-30s).

These aren’t the greatest pics ever, but it sure was good to get one last look at these future Hall of Famers on soft brown Topps cardboard.

Value: $20-30

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16) 1984 Topps Cal Ripken Jr. All-Star (#400)

1984 Topps Cal Ripken Jr. All-Star

Even though he played a full season in 1982 and won the American League Rookie of the Year award, it took a few months for the baseball cognoscenti to catch on to Cal Ripken Jr. and his greatness.

Consequently, he didn’t make his first All-Star Game cut until 1983.

And then, the next spring, he made his first All-Star card, courtesy of Topps.

Yeah, that’s this beauty right here, and it’s still a collector favorite.

Value: $20-30

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15) 1984 Topps George Brett (#500)

1984 Topps George Brett

Brett found himself in something of a lull in the early-to-mid 1980s, settling in as “merely” a .300 hitter with power. No longer was he a .400 threat (though he really was), and no longer was he a perennial MVP candidate, thanks to a couple of second-place finishes for the Royals.

But then, the infamous “Pine Tar Game” thrust him back into the spotlight in 1983, and his Royals started winning division titles again in 1984.

Brett slipped to .284 that summer but roared back with one of his very best campaigns in 1985 to help K.C. win their first World Series title.

Finishing with more than 3000 hits and an easy path to the Hall of Fame, Brett never really relinquished his hold on collectors, not even during the relatively lean years represented by this classic action shot.

Value: $20-30

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14) 1984 Topps Wade Boggs (#30)

1984 Topps Wade Boggs

Unless you were a Red Sox diehard or a minor league aficionado, Wade Boggs’ emergence in 1983 probably caught you flat-footed.

Surely that .361 batting average was a fluke!

Well, sort of … but then again, not really at all.

Boggs topped that mark on three occasions on the way to five batting crowns, 3000+ hits, and a Hall of Fame plaque.

And, naturally, his baseball cards have been hobby burners since that magical summer of ‘83 when he served notice that he was the game’s next best hope to see a .400 average.

Value: $20-30

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13) 1984 Topps Rickey Henderson (#230)

1984 Topps Rickey Henderson

By 1984, Rickey Henderson had begun to shake his status as just a speedster as we were all realizing just how special and complete he was.

That summer would also be his last in Oakland (Version 1), and his move to the New York Yankees would help raise Rickey’s profile in the game and the hobby.

Then, as he closed in on the all-time stolen base record in 1991, he pulled all his card up, up, and away.

This “sneaking Rickey” card is a great snapshot of his early career days and maintains plenty of love in the hobby.

Value: $25-30

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12) 1984 Topps Stolen Base Leaders – Rickey Henderson and Tim Raines (#134)

1984 Topps Stolen Base Leaders - Rickey Henderson and Tim Raines

Ho hum, another season, another stolen base title for Rickey Henderson.

And for Tim Raines.

Yes, for the third of four years in a row, the speedsters led their respective leagues in thefts in 1983.

This was their last cardboard rodeo together, though, as Topps skipped the league leaders bit after 1984.

Value: $25-30

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11) 1984 Topps Reggie Jackson (#100)

1984 Topps Reggie Jackson

After winning his fourth (and final) home run crown in 1982, Reggie Jackson tailed off to just 14 dingers in 116 games in 1983.

He still had some power left in that bat, and in that aging body, though, as evidenced by the 52 long balls he’d hit in 1984 and 1985 combined.

And, as evidenced by the mighty cut on his 1984 Topps baseball card.

Value: $25-30

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10) 1984 Topps Rod Carew (#600)

1984 Topps Rod Carew

Carew mustered one last big batting average for the Angels in 1983, hitting .339 to finish 22 points behind Wade Boggs for the AL crown.

Sort of ironic, then, that Topps chose to feature the seven-time title-holder in the field than in the batter’s box on his 1984 card.

Either way, collectors are still happy to get whatever glimpse of the Hall of Famer that we can.

Value: $25-30

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9) 1984 Topps Tom Seaver (#740)

1984 Topps Tom Seaver

Seaver was one of the few great late-career pitchers who *didn’t* break Walter Johnson’s all-time record for strikeouts in 1983, but he was maybe the best of the best from his era when all was said and done.

Besides, Tom Terrific did eventually surpass the Big Train on the all-time K list, anyway.

Oh … and this 1984 Topps card is Seaver’s first base issue showing him back with the Mets after a mid-career detour with the Reds.

Yeah, it’s a classic.

Value: $25-30

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8) 1984 Topps Pete Rose (#300)

1984 Topps Pete Rose

Just about every list like this of most valuable baseball cards from the 1960, 1970s, or 1980s is going to include Pete Rose.

That’s because, no matter what you think of the man, the fact remains that he is baseball’s all-time hits leader and he helped light the hobby on fire as he ran toward (and past) Ty Cobb.

This 1984 Topps card, Pete’s last with the Philadelphia Phillies, is an affordable way to grab onto a hunk of hobby — and baseball — history.

Value: $25-35

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7) 1984 Topps Ryne Sandberg (#596)

1984 Topps Ryne Sandberg

Sandberg suffered an apparent blow, from a baseball standpoint, when the winning Phillies traded him to the lowly Cubs before the 1982 season.

Two years later, though, Ryno became a superstar on the northside and helped carry Chicago to their first-ever division title.

Along the way, he put together a stellar, well-rounded season that snagged him NL MVP honors and made all his cards – including this ‘84 Topps dandy – instant hobby classics.

Value: $25-35

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6) 1984 Topps Darryl Strawberry Rookie Card (#182)

1984 Topps Darryl Strawberry Rookie Card

Entering the 1984 season, there was nothing hotter in the hobby than this Topps Darryl Strawberry rookie card — not everyone could get their hands on Straw’s 1983 Topps Traded card, after all.

After torching National League pitching during his Rookie-of-the-Year campaign in 1983, Strawberry looked destined for greatness.

And he achieved that lofty goal, for awhile at least.

Things never seemed quite the same for this superstar after he helped the New York Mets win the 1986 World Series, but he still put together a star-level career and remains popular in the hobby, especially with us oldsters.

Strawberry’s first base Topps card isn’t the retirement fund many envisioned, collectors still love it.

Value: $25-40

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5) 1984 Topps Nolan Ryan (#470)

1984 Topps Nolan Ryan

Like Rose, Nolan Ryan usually sits toward the top of just about any set he’s in — see the Astros Leader card above.

This particular pasteboard shows The Ryan Express reared back and ready to slam home a pitch for the Houston Astros.

Assuming the photo was snapped in 1983, that’s the same season that he, Perry, and Steve Carlton passed Walter Johnson‘s all-time strikeout record. At the time, it was iffy who would land on top for good, and many thought the K title would ultimately reside with Carlton.

Um … no.

This card, which turned out to be more mid-career than twilight for Ryan, rose the ranks with the rest of the flameballer’s pasteboards during the early 1990s — and remains there today.

Value: $30-35

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4) 1984 Topps 1983 Highlight – Ryan, Carlton, Perry Strikeout Record (#4)

1984 Topps 1983 Highlight - Ryan, Carlton, Perry Strikeout Record

In late April of 1983, Nolan Ryan passed Walter Johnson for the all-time lead in strikeouts, mowing down the 3509th batter of his career.

Less than a month later, Steve Carlton also took down the Big Train.

And then in August, with less than two months left in his big league career, Gaylord Perry topped the old mark, too.

The next spring, Topps captured the trio who made life tough for Johnson on a single card that still resonates with collectors today.

Value: $30-35

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3) 1984 Topps Tony Gwynn (#251)

1984 Topps Tony Gwynn

Gwynn didn’t cause too much of a ruckus during his first two seasons with the San Diego Padres, though he did show the ability to hit for a high(ish) average.

By midseason of 1984, though, the sweet-swinging lefty had the baseball world talking, streaking toward his first hitting crown and leading the Frias to first place in the old National League west.

Mr. Padre also sent collectors scrambling to find his 1983 rookie cards among our commons bins, and completely changed the complexion of our 1984 wax packs, where this card was still available live and in person.

Eight batting titles, 3000+ hits, and a Hall of Fame plaque later, and our love affair with Gwynn has never subsided.

Value: $30-35

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2) 1984 Topps Alan Trammell (#510)

1984 Topps Alan Trammell

Trammell hit double-digit home runs (14) for the first time in 1983 while winning his third Gold Glove.

He was a star-level player, though relatively underappreciated outside Detroit.

The Tigers’ shortstop would offer up a near identical showing in 1984, but by the end of October, every baseball fan had his name on their lips.

The difference?

Yeah, it was that dominant season the Tigers reeled off en route to a championship, with Trammell copping World Series MVP honors.

Suddenly, he was a “name” not just in the game, but in the hobby, too.

From there, Trammell leaned into his peak years and headed toward Cooperstown.

His cards – especially ones from that special summer – maintain a special hobby glow today.

Value: $30-40

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1) 1984 Topps Don Mattingly Rookie Card (#8)

1984 Topps Don Mattingly Rookie Card

I’ve already written about Don Mattingly a fair piece, but that’s only because he is maybe the single most important player — with the single most important rookie card — in terms of shaping the modern hobby to ever grace a slab of cardboard.

While this Topps RC never quite lived up to Mattingly’s monstrous 1984 Donruss rookie, it was and is a hobby favorite.

These days, the 1984 Topps Mattingly can be yours for less than some other hobby icons … but it remains, um, iconic.

Value: $85-90

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Honorable Mention

That’s a big swath of cherry cards right there, with some “specials” thrown in to the mix on their own merit.

But the 1984 Topps set is so jampacked with multiplayer standouts that we can’t stop ourselves.

Here, then, are five more awesome cards from this set — these don’t quite rise to the level of those above, value-wise, but they’re not all that far off.

And you’d be hard-pressed to find more talent, history, and nostalgia crammed into a 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ rectangle.

5) 1984 Topps (#132)

1984 Topps

Mike Schmidt and Jim Rice staged a tandem resurgence of sorts in 1983.

After all, hardly anyone expected the 30-year-old Rice to win an American League home run crown, not after a handful of seasons with declining power.

And, after copping two MVP awards in 1980 and 1981, Schmidt lost his home run crown to Dave Kingman in 1982, and also finished behind Dale Murphy.

At 33, did Schmitty have anything left in the tank?

All you have to do to see how these sluggers answered their doubters is look at this card – 39 dingers for Jim Ed in 1983, 40 for Michael Jack to lead their leagues in 1983.

Value: $8-12

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4) 1984 Topps (#426)

1984 Topps

Value: $10-15

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3) 1984 Topps NL Active Career Hits Leaders (#702)

1984 Topps NL Active Career Hits Leaders

Even though we were right on the brink of Rookie Card Fever in 1984, the game was stuffed to the gills with all-time greats climbing their way toward historic achievements.

To capitalize on this trend, Topps cranked out a subset of “Career Leaders” that featured the top 3 guys in various batting and pitching categories in each league.

These were awesome cards, even if they weren’t all that popular at the time. As the years have passed, though, we all seem to have grown an appreciation for any “vintage” cards of our childhood heroes, and these cardboard rectangles have gained some steam.

I could have picked just about any of the subset for inclusion here, but the NL Active Career Hits Leaders features Pete Rose in the middle, flanked by Rusty Staub and Tony Perez. Lots of fodder for a Cincinnati Reds homer like me, and … who doesn’t love Le Grand Orange?

This underrated classic sells at relatively cheap prices most of the time.

Value: $10-15

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2) 1984 Topps (#707)

1984 Topps

After both men broke Walter Johnson’s all-time strikeout record in the spring, Steve Carlton chased down Nolan Ryan during the summer of 1983 to enter 1984 as the title-holder.

We all know now that The Express didn’t take that slight lying down.

And, sort of forgotten in all the hullabaloo that came with those two gents – and Gaylord Perry – topping the Big Train, was maybe the greatest pitcher of his generation sitting there in third place on the NL strikeout chart for then-active hurlers.

Topps didn’t forget, though, and graced us with this classic Ryan-Carlton-Seaver number in their 1984 set.

Value: $10-15

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1) 1984 Topps Astros Leaders – Nolan Ryan and Jose Cruz (#66)

1984 Topps Astros Leaders - Nolan Ryan and Jose Cruz

Back in the 1980s, Topps’ team leader cards were always disappointing pulls. You wanted solo cards of your favorite players, not duos featuring Atlee Hammaker and Jeff Leonard.

But every once in awhile, you pulled a leader card like this one showing Nolan Ryan and Jose Cruz and wondered … should I add this to my Nolan Ryan collection (Pete Rose for me, but then this Ryan wouldn’t really fit in my Charlie Hustle stash, would it?)?

All these years later, when Ryan rules many of the sets in which he appeared, most collectors seem to have answered that question with a big old, “Yes!”.

Anyway, this colorful combo stays in the hobby limelight thanks to Mr. Express himself.

Value: $15-20

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1984 Topps Traded

For the fourth year in a row, Topps graced collectors with an end-of-year Traded set late in 1984.

And, with an all-time rookie phenom and a man on the verge of history among their ranks, there hasn’t been a day in the last four decades or so when these cards were NOT hobby royalty.

5) 1984 Topps Traded Bret Saberhagen Rookie Card (#104T)

1984 Topps Traded Bret Saberhagen Rookie Card

Saberhagen was an unknown to just about everyone outside of Kansas City when the 1984 Topps Traded set hit the hobby that fall.

Fast forward a year, though, and Sabes was the American League Cy Young winner and darling of the newly-crowned champion Royals.

And, suddenly, Gooden had a running mate in sending this set to the top of hobby hot lists.

Value: $15-20

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4) 1984 Topps Traded Dave Parker (#90T)

1984 Topps Traded Dave Parker

Parker may have fallen on hard times, and even out of favor, with the Pirates in the early 1980s.

But his reemergence in his hometown of Cincinnati in 1984 re-established him as a star and bred a whole new generation of fans to add to his legion (this writer included).

For Reds faithful hungry to see power and winning return to the Riverfront, this was one of the most anticipated baseball cards of all time.

Value: $20-25

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3) 1984 Topps Traded Tom Seaver (#108T)

1984 Topps Traded Tom Seaver

Mets fans were pretty tickled when Seaver came back to Flushing for the 1983 season.

Less so when GM Frank Cashen left him exposed the next winter, when the White Sox selected him as a free agent compensation pick.

This completed the sad tableau after a summer spent ogling one more round of cardboard showing Seaver with the Mets, even though he didn’t toss one pitch for them in 1984.

Value: $25-30

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2) 1984 Topps Traded Pete Rose (#103T)

1984 Topps Traded Pete Rose

Pete Rose with the Montreal Expos?

That was the almost unimaginable fate that awaited fans and collectors as the 1984 season dawned, thanks to the paucity of teams in the market for a mid-40s hitter … even one taking aim at one of baseball’s hallowed records.

Of course, sometime after hit number 4000 but before Rose turned the corner and lowered his shoulder toward Ty Cobb’s chin (and hits record), The ‘Spos traded Charlie Hustle back home to the Reds.

And so, the various cards showing Rose with Montreal – including this 1984 Topps Traded version – were outdated by the time they saw the light of day.

Still, this red, white, and blue oddball (for Phils and Reds fans, at least), is a popular reminder of bygone era in baseball history.

Value: $30-35

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1) 1984 Topps Traded Dwight Gooden Rookie Card (#42T)

1984 Topps Traded Dwight Gooden Rookie Card

Has there ever been a more mythical rookie performance than Dwight Gooden’s in the summer of 1984?

After all …

In an era before the internet … before the ubiquitous availability of cable TV … before new baseball cards were released every week or so, pretty much all we knew about the Mets phenom was that he was tearing up National League batters every time he took the mound.

As a teenager.

And lifting the woeful Mets into contention along the way.

And yet … many fans couldn’t even get a glimpse of the amazing young man.

It was a magical mix that had collectors frothing at the mouth to get our first look at Gooden cardboard and made his 1984 Topps Traded issue maybe the most anticipated new card of all time up to that point.

Even with the troubles that befell young Dwight on his way to immortality, this card still makes collector hearts go pitter-patter all these years later.

Value: $50-75

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