30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Early 80's Basketball + eBay = One Happy Collector

A couple of weekends ago, I picked up a bunch of vintage baseball, basketball, and football cards. It was one of my coolest purchases... and it led me to search for more older cards.

I headed over to eBay and found a set of 1981/82 Topps basketball. I've been a fan of this set since the early 90's, because it's older yet affordable.

How affordable you ask? Well I picked a complete 198 card set for $13.15 (+ $7.95 shipping). Yep... that's the complete 66 card base set, along with the East, West, and MidWest sets.

If you're not sure what I'm talking about. Topps released this product regionally (East, West, & MidWest). Cards numbered 1 through 66 were inserted into packs of all three regions. In addition to those 66 cards, Topps produced 44 additional cards for each region. In other words... 132 extra cards.

The most expensive card in the set is the Kevin McHale rookie card which was only available in the East packs. It currently books in Beckett for $20. The set includes early 80's cards of other superstars like: Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Julius Erving. And if you're a Detroit Pistons fan... it also contains rookie cards of Rick Mahorn, Vinnie Johnson & Bill Laimbeer.

But I've left out the best part... I won the auction for $21.10 (including shipping), but that's not what I paid. I had $10.02 in eBay Bucks to spend... so my final price for this sweet early 80's basketball set was $11.08.

I know that people have their share of eBay horror stories... but right now I have nothing but positive things to share.

Today's question of the day:

What's are some of your favorite older (say early 80's or earlier), yet affordable sports card sets?

If you're looking for a baseball set and love the 70's, I encourage you to hunt down a 1976 SSPC set. It has 2nd year cards of Robin Yount and George Brett, along with a bunch of HOFers. You can check out the review I did a few months back here.

You can pick up complete sets of this 35 year old product for under $50 on eBay. It may not have the flashiest design, but if you appreciate old school photos of baseball players from a different generation... this is a sweet set at a great price.

I look forward to hearing what older sets you think are great bargains. Happy Tuesday everyone... Sayonara!


  1. Man, that's a nice pickup! I should probably just grab that set at some point. I've got a good handful of the cards (and no idea how I got 'em), but I'm nowhere near complete. Had no idea those were as affordable as they are.

  2. That's a sweet deal man! Sweeter that half of it was covered by EBay Bucks! I really like the 88-89 Fleer Set, it's not too bad and you have Kareem's last regular base card, MJ Bird, Magic, rookies of Rodman, Reggie, Stockton and of course Pippen.

  3. When I dabbled in vintage bball a couple years ago, I bought that set (and then resold it last year to buy Hochevar cards). Someday I'll have to track another set down. Great cards and congrats on picking them up on the cheap.

  4. I do love the sspc cards of the 70s, very underappreciated.

    I just finished 74 baseball, but my favorite vintage set is 71 baseball with the black borders

  5. The SSPC set is great and if not mistaken modeled after '53 B owman color. Some of the 70's to early '80's oop cards can be had at great prices.

  6. Wow. I just picked up a McHale in great shape for $7 and thought I got a great deal, but you definitely have me beat. Great addition to the collection.

  7. Great pick up Fuji (1981-82 topps bsk set),I remember buying it at the time it came out ,having to send away for the east /midwest parts of the set .

  8. Scott Crawford - Thanks... yeah, it's well worth the money IMHO.

    Chris P - I love the 88-89 set! I have most of the key cards... but none of the commons. The only problem with that set is so many of the cards were off-centered.

    Eric L - Thanks! It's cheap enough and plentiful enough that you can pick one up anytime for the price of a tank of gas.

    Markz - Wow... I can only dream of one day building a pre 1975 Topps set. My favorite is the 1972 Topps... but those high numbers would bankrupt me.

    Mike - Yeah one of the reasons I love that set is because they resemble 53 Bowman... I'm looking to buy either a 1978 or 1979 Topps set next.

    Offy - Nice pick up... my McHale is pretty off-centered... but overall the set was really nice. There were about 5 to 7 cards that had wax stains on the front of the cards, so I might eventually replace them. Looks like the guy built this set from busting packs, so the corners are pretty nice.

    sg488 - Thanks for the nice comment... Did Topps have a send-away program or did you mean that you picked up the East/MidWest cards through mail order? Just curious.

  9. Nice find, those basketball cards are sweet.

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