The Sports Cards That Every 80’s Kid Had to Have

by Todd Neikirk

012323A-1024x536 The Sports Cards That Every 80's Kid Had to HaveSports Card collecting exploded in the 1980s. They were no longer things that your Mom threw in the trash or that you put on the spokes of your bicycle. Here are some cards that readily appeared in Beckett each month.

1988 Topps Bo Jackson Football 

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During the 80s and 90s, there were multiple successful two-sport athletes, including stars like Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan. No player, though, quite starred in two sports like Bo Jackson. Jackson was constantly going viral in the days before the internet, whether he was climbing outfield walls or breaking 90-yard runs.

As a result of his breathtaking plays, Jackson’s baseball and football cards became quite collectible. One of the most sought-after issues was his 1988 Topps football rookie. The card is rare in PSA 10 condition, with less than 600 copies on PSA’s pop report. The card normally sells for between $1,000 and $1,500.

1986 Donruss Jose Canseco 

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Image via PWCC

There were few things more fun than the 1980’s Oakland Athletics. With power hitters like Dave Parker and Mark McGwire, speedsters like Rickey Henderson and pitchers like Dave Stewart and Dennis Eckersley, the American League team won with both talent and swagger. And the leader of this confident bunch was outfielder Jose Canseco, McGwire’s fellow Bash Brother.

Canseco had his best season early in his career when he went 40-40 in 1988, becoming the first player to ever do so. As a result, the outfielder’s rookie cards went through the roof. His 1986 Donruss card is still popular among collectors. A PSA 9 goes for $100 and PSA 10 sells for around $400.

1980 Topps Larry Bird/Magic Johnson Rookie Card 

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Image via PWCC

Their rivalry began in college and throughout much of the 80’s, Johnson’s Lakers matched up against Bird’s Celtics. During the fierce rivalry, Johnson won championship rings and Bird took home . It is only natural that the two share the same rookie card.

There were a few cards in the set that featured Bird or Magic, but their dual card that also features Julius Erving is the favorite. The Topps issue was also perforated, which means many collectors damaged their original cards. Today, the Bird Magic rookie is quite expensive with a PSA 8 selling for around $3,000.

1985 O-Pee-Chee Mario Lemieux 

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Image via PSA

Wayne Gretzky was certainly the player who owned hockey in the 1980s. But even in the 80s, his rookie card was out of the price range of many collectors. So many hockey fans instead opted for a Mario Lemieux rookie card. Lemieux was an impossibly skilled Center for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

For decades, hockey cards were dual published by O-Pee-Chee (in Canada) and Topps (in the United States). The Canadian cards are more scare, and as a result, sell for more. An O-Pee-Chee rookie card of Lemieux sells for around $700 in a PSA 8 and $2,250 in a PSA 9.

1989 Topps Gregg Jefferies 

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The Mets of the 1980s were an incredibly talented team that won the 1986 World Series and played with an attitude and swagger that made you either love them or hate them. It seemed unfair when Mets phenom Gregg Jefferies became the best prospect in the sport.

In 1987, at the age of 19, Jefferies hit .367 in AA ball, showing extreme power and patience. Fans were quick to gobble up his rookie cards thinking one day they would finance their children’s college education. It was not to be, though, and while Jefferies had a nice career, he never lived up to what was fully expected of him. As a result, his 1989 Topps Rookie can be had in a PSA 10 for around $50.00.

Upgrade2_Footer The Sports Cards That Every 80's Kid Had to Have*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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