30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Isn't It Iconic, Don't Ya Think?

Back in college, I hung out with a guy who owned a 1982 Topps Traded set.  He wasn't a card collector, but even he knew what he had.  At the time, card #98T was really gaining in popularity because the guy featured on the card front was closing in on Lou Gehrig's consecutive games played streak.

1982 Topps Traded #98T

Although it's technically not his rookie card, the Cal Ripken Jr. from this set is hands down one of his most desirable cards.  In fact it's one of the most iconic cards from that decade.

Sadly the card was way out of my price range for years.  I remember back in the 90's, there was a time when this card fetched around $200 (maybe more).  It got to the point where I assumed I'd never own a copy.  In fact much like the Hank Aaron autograph I wrote about on Tuesday, I just stopped looking.

Then last year one of my buddies picked up the complete set for around $100, which caught my attention and put the card back on my radar.  I decided to target a graded copy to avoid any counterfeit issues and should have bought one earlier in the year when the prices were a little softer.

Prices have pretty much settled over the past few months on PSA 8 copies.  If you're patient and lucky, you can grab them for around $65.  However most copies sell in the $70 to $80 range.

I purchased my copy for $77 (+ $3 shipping).  Although it wasn't exactly a steal, I was glad to finally add Iron Man to my collection after wanting one for three decades.  I decided to chase down this particular card, because it seemed really clean.  There's a slight centering issue, but it's not significant enough to take away from the card.

Now that I have secured this card, I'd like to own the rest of the set.  I'm also interested in seeing what the future has in store for this card.

I don't envision this card ever commanding the money it once did at its peak in the mid 90's.  On the other hand, it's hard to imagine seeing this card in NM-MT condition drop below $50 either.  I'm thinking this card has leveled out for now, but only time will tell.

Well there ya go.  That's my final big purchase of 2017.

Okay... it's your turn.

When you think of iconic cards from the 80's, which cards do you think of first?

Here's a song to get you in the mood...

I look forward to reading your responses.  Happy Thursday and sayonara!


  1. 1986 Donruss Canseco or 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. or the 1989 Fleer FF Billy Ripken error card.

  2. I like Alanis. I guess I always think of the 1983 rookies, Ryne Sandberg, Tony Gwynn and Wade Boggs. At one time they were up there in price too. I'll bet you can find a price guide that listed Sandberg at $70.00. Congrats on adding Cal to your collection.

  3. Awesome. I've been trying to collect all the base and Traded sets for Topps in the 1980s and am close to completing. But the 82 Traded set is kind of hard to stomach when I look at the prices. Have considered by Ripken's card and the rest of the set separately as plenty of them are for sale without the Ripken... Sweet addition to you collection: thank you for sharing.

  4. One of the smartest things I did as a 17-year-old was order the 1982 Topps traded set through the mail. I've owned that Ripken rookie since '82 and for years it was the most valuable card in my collection.

    Iconic '80s card: 1980 Rickey Henderson. End of story. Don't give me that Bo Jackson stuff.

  5. Nice! I totally need one of those myself and won't feel like a true Ripken collector until I have one.

    When I think of iconic (but not ironic) 80s cards I think of:
    -RCs of Rickey ('80), Ripken ('82), Boggs and Gwynn ('85)
    -The '85 McGwire
    -Griffey's '89 UD
    -Billy Ripken '89 Fleer FF

  6. 1986 Donruss Jose Canseco, 1984 Donruss Don Mattingly, 1984 Fleer Update Roger Clemens, 1984 Fleer Update Kirby Puckett, 1988 Donruss Gregg Jefferies.

  7. '84 Donruss Mattingly, '89 Upper Deck Griffey Jr. and the '85 Topps Mark McGwire. All were chased after in the eighties and still are today to some extent.

  8. Lemieux 85-86 O-Pee-Chee, Bourque RC, Yzerman RC.. Patrick Roy, (oh were you guys talking baseball?)

  9. That card (well a couple dozen copies) and about an equal amount of his regular rookie card paid for a year of college in 1989. It's a long story (I told it here) but the bottom line is it was the only significant card sale I ever made.

    I'd nominate the flagship Ripken rookie and the '89 UD Griffey as the two iconic 80s cards. But I wouldn't argue with the ones mentioned above.

  10. 89 Griffey and any Bob Walk card :)

  11. Cal definitely has some iconic cards, but the one from the '80s that has always stood out to me is actually his brother's '89 Fleer "F*** Face" issue.

  12. The first card I think of from the 80s is Kirby Puckett's first Topps card. But that's just my personal bias. Also the 87 Bo Jackson Future Stars card, the 89 Griffey UD (and his Donruss rookie tbh), and the 1980 Rickey rookie.

  13. Thanks for sharing such a fun video! Congrats on the solid pickup

  14. If it's all sports hands down the 86 fleer mj rookie card,the 89 david robinson hoops rc...89 barry sanders score..and of course baseball for me the 89 UD Griffey..85 Topps USA McGwire..86 donruss canseco

  15. Hackenbush - I do too. Well... at least that one album with Ironic that I own.

    Peter K Steinberg - I'm doing the same thing as you, except I'm only targeting the Traded sets. I have a bunch of them already displayed in a binder. I'm hoping to find a 82 set w/o the Ripken for a good price.

    Nick - Solid pick.

    night owl - That's awesome. I was flipping through some Becketts that Dennis sent me and the Ripken once booked for $350 (November 1995). I know that most collectors could care less about Beckett value, but I was surprised by that number.

    Dennis - Best of luck. You shouldn't have too much trouble. If condition isn't an issue, you can find graded copies for under $40.

    Laurens - I'm targeting the 84FU Clemens this year.

    Bulldog - Agree. Great selections.

    Anonymous - Dave?

    Commishbob - I vaguely remember that post. Which reminds me... I need to go watch Diminished Capacity. Never opened my copy.

    Matthew Scott - But which Walk is the most iconic?

    Nick - Nice call. I can't believe that graded copies of that card compete with the 82TT card.

    Brian - No love for the 84FU Puckett?

    JayP - No problem. I'm a big fan of Corden.

    Chris P - Yeah, the Jordan is about as iconic as it gets. You could also say the 79/80 OPC Gretzky too.

  16. Final tally:

    1st Place: 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr.
    2nd Place: 1985 Topps Mark McGwire
    3rd Place: 1980 Topps Rickey Henderson

    80T Rickey Henderson x3
    82 Cal Ripken Jr. x2
    83 Ryne Sandberg
    83 Tony Gwynn x2
    83 Wade Boggs x2
    84D Don Mattingly x2
    84FU Roger Clemens
    84FU Kirby Puckett
    85T Kirby Puckett
    85T Mark McGwire x4
    86D Jose Canseco x2
    87T Bo Jackson
    88D Gregg Jefferies
    89D Ken Griffey Jr.
    89F Billy Ripken FF x2
    89UD Ken Griffey Jr. x6

    Other Sports:

    Basketball: 86/87 Fleer Michael Jordan, 89/90 Hoops David Robinson

    Football: 1989 Score Barry Sanders

    Hockey: 80/81 OPC Ray Bourque, 84/85 OPC Steve Yzerman, 86/87 OPC Patrick Roy, and anything from he 85/86 OPC set