This is the Most Expensive Baseball Card from the 80s (and it’s not close)

Ryan Barone
(@ballcardgenius on TikTok, Card Expert) is a lifelong member of the hobby. He has been quoted in PSA Magazine, and his content has regularly been mentioned in “Quick Rips” (the Topps RIPPED Newsletter) and across other hobby publications. Join his 8,600 followers on TikTok! hello@ballcardgenius.com; Last Time Ago LLC dba Ballcard Genius.

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The most expensive baseball card from the 1980s is the 1980 Rickey Henderson Topps Rookie Card #482 PSA 10. The card is a POP 26, and last sold in November of 2023 for $162,000 through Heritage Auctions. It sold for as high as $180.1K in February of 2021 (through PWCC).

Read More: Most Valuable Rickey Henderson Cards

From all of the 1980s cards in the Market Movers catalog that have been sold over the last year, the next most valuable card was also the 1980 Topps Henderson, but as an SGC 10—it sold for $130K less than the PSA version.

Here are the 20 most valuable baseball cards from the 1980s:

  1. Rickey Henderson 1980 Topps #482 Base PSA 10, $162000
  2. Rickey Henderson 1980 Topps #482 Base SGC 10, $31800
  3. Barry Bonds 1987 O-Pee-Chee #320 Base PSA 10, $19200
  4. Barry Bonds 1986 Topps Traded Tiffany #11T Base BGS 10 Pristine, $13331
  5. Cal Ripken Jr. 1982 Topps Traded #98T Base PSA 10, $12000
  6. Ken Griffey Jr. 1989 Bowman Tiffany #220 Base PSA 10, $9600
  7. Bo Jackson 1986 Topps Traded Tiffany #50T Base PSA 10, $9000
  8. Roger Clemens 1985 Topps Tiffany #181 Base PSA 10, $8700
  9. Willie Stargell 1980 Topps #610 Base PSA 10, $7990.12
  10. Barry Bonds 1986 Fleer Update #U-14 Base BGS 10 Pristine, $7800
  11. Barry Bonds 1986 Donruss #11 The Rookies BGS 10 Pristine, $7500
  12. Barry Bonds 1986 Topps Traded Tiffany #11T Base PSA 10, $7200
  13. Ken Griffey Jr. 1989 Upper Deck #1 Base BGS 10 Pristine, $7000
  14. Barry Bonds 1987 Topps Tiffany #320 Base BGS 10 Pristine, $6600
  15. Kirby Puckett 1985 Topps Tiffany #536 Base PSA 10, $6155
  16. Barry Bonds 1986 Topps Traded Tiffany #11T Base SGC 10, $6000
  17. Nolan Ryan 1981 Topps #240 Base PSA 10, $5355
  18. Ken Griffey Jr. 1989 Fleer Glossy #548 Base PSA 10, $4920
  19. Don Mattingly 1984 Donruss #248 Base PSA 10, $4500
  20. Rickey Henderson 1980 Topps #482 Base PSA 9, $4440

As you might imagine, pretty much every card on the list is a rookie card. The two (odd) exceptions are the 1981 Topps Nolan Ryan and the 1980 Topps Willie Stargell PSA 10 that sold for nearly $8,000. (Looking deeper, the Stargell has a POP 12, so I guess it could have been ripe for a bidding war. The only other PSA 10 was sold in 2019 – and for less than $1K – so really tough to know if the $8K sale was legit or not.)

Also worth pointing out is the number of premium variations that are on the list. Meaning, #3 isn’t the 1987 Topps, but one of the most valuable O-Pee-Chee baseball cards ever, the 1987 O-Pee-Chee Barry Bonds. Likewise, #4 on the list isn’t simply the 1986 Topps Traded Bonds, but the Tiffany version.

In fact, there are 8 Tiffany cards on the list, and the only reason there aren’t more is because the first year of Topps Tiffany was 1984. (I mean, could you imagine a 1980 Topps Tiffany Rickey Henderson?)

All in all, the junk wax era does not apply to any of these cardboard beauties—each of which stands out one of the decade’s finest, but none finer than the 1980 Topps Rickey Henderson.

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