1983 Topps Baseball Cards – Top 10 Cards, Values, and Investment Advice

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The 1983 Topps Baseball set is one of the more well-regarded hardball releases of the decade. Hobbyists laud the set’s unique design, which combined player headshots and action shots within a single landscape. (Strong Buy: 1983 Topps Baseball Complete Set)

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1983 Tony Gwyn Topps RC #482
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1983 Nolan Ryan Topps #360
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An impressive stable of rookie cards is also a credit to the 1983 Topps Baseball set. As one of the last sets released before the dawn of the Junk Wax Era, this set sits on the right side of baseball card collecting’s history.

Top 1983 Topps Baseball Cards

A plethora of future Hall of Famers make appearances in this set, with names like Sandberg and Gwynn piquing the interest of MLB enthusiast-collectors. We’ve selected 10 of the most iconic cards from the 792-card base set.


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1983 Tony Gwynn Topps RC #482 

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Number of PSA 10 copies: 685

Number of PSA 9 copies: 4,603

Mr. Padre’s 1983 Topps rookie card is the valedictorian of this set. It features the left-hander departing the box, rump resplendent from a back-facing camera angle.

The white Padres uniform takes the viewer back to 1983, with brown-orange-yellow-red uniform trim reminiscent of the Astros throwback threads.

Gwynn’s headshot is in the bottom left corner. His glorious afro conforms to a yellow-brown “SD” cap as the ever-smiling Gwynn gives his best serious face.

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Most cards in this set featured interior borders that match the player’s team colors—not the case here, as a partial green border makes an inexplicable appearance.

Mind-boggling statistics best capture Tony Gwynn’s legendary career—only 434 strikeouts in 20 seasons, a .394 average in his 1994 season, 19 straight seasons hitting above .300, the list goes on.

As far as relics of that career go, though, you can hardly do better than this 1983 Topps rookie card.

 

1983 Wade Boggs Topps RC #498 

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Number of PSA 10 copies: 366

Number of PSA 9 copies: 2,850

Wade Boggs led the league in batting average five times in his career. When it comes to the best cards in the 1983 Topps baseball set, he’ll have to settle for second.

The lanky Boggs, a rookie member of the Red Sox, leans over with his hands resting on his knees. Boggs’  circular headshot shows off his toothy grin as his bat rests over his left shoulder.

The combination blue-red border meets at Boggs’ headshot. The color scheme on Boggs’ card is better coordinated than on Gwynn’s, and the red-blue combination works well.

The red, upper portion of the sub-border transforms into a “Topps” logo in the upper-right corner. This is a subtle touch that shows Topps’ thoughtfulness when it came to this set’s design.

A rookie card featuring a future Hall of Fame third baseman, this is among the best cards in this iconic set.

 

1983 Ryne Sandberg Topps RC #83

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Number of PSA 10 copies: 649

Number of PSA 9 copies: 5,183

It’s not by chance that the first three cards on our list are rookie cards. Hall of Famer + Rookie Card = Value.

Ryne Sandberg’s 1983 Topps RC #83 shows the legendary Cubs infielder at the plate. He wears the Cubbie whites and pinstripes, pants hiked nearly to his kneecaps and hair hanging over his ears in true 80s fashion.

Sandberg’s headshot shows his gazing into the distance, eyes away from the camera lens.

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The card’s bi-colored interior border, rounded headshot, and general layout match the two previously featured cards. Like Gwynn’s card, the color of the lower sub-border border on this one is a bit random—purple, in this case.

Though it’s clearly third in the pecking order, this card does not fall far behind Boggs’ rookie card in terms of price.

 

1983 Rickey Henderson Topps  All-Star #391 

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Number of PSA 10 copies: 8

Number of PSA 9 copies: 92

One of several Rickey Henderson cards in this set, the 1983 Henderson Topps All-Star #391 is the most in-demand of the bunch.

This card shows the “Man of Steal” as an Oakland Athletic, grinning wide in warmup gear as his Jheri curl (another anachronism of the 1980s) shines beneath a crooked A’s cap.

A star-shaped “All Star” emblem sits in the image’s bottom-right corner, the touchpoint for a yellow nameplate, red interior border, and royal blue portion.

A limited number of PSA 9 and PSA 10 copies solidifies the card’s purchase price. Rickey Henderson’s unbreakable base-stealing record makes him a collector’s best friend.

 

1983 Nolan Ryan Topps #360 

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Number of PSA 10 copies: 322

Number of PSA 9 copies: 1,165 

As one of the most intimidating and effective pitchers to ever grace the mound, Nolan Ryan’s cards will always catch collectors’ attention.

This one shows the fireballer as an Astro, signaling “fastball” to the bullpen catcher. Well into his career at this point, Ryan wears the iconic navy blue uniform with tri-colored trim.

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It’s not exactly a high-octane action shot, but buyers don’t seem to mind too much. The blue-yellow interior border matches Houston’s team colors, and Ryan’s headshot perfectly captures the pitcher’s Texan brand of cool.

The 1983 Nolan Ryan Topps #360 is a step below the rookie cards we’ve listed in terms of price. However—being a Nolan Ryan card in a valued set—this one has strong value.

 

1983 Cal Ripken, Jr. Topps #163 

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Number of PSA 10 copies: 409

Number of PSA 9 copies: 1,976

Cal Ripken, Jr. is baseball royalty, and his 1983 Topps #163 card misses the rookie card designation by only a year.

The well-rounded Oriole legend swats the ball to the opposite field, wearing the timeless orange Orioles throwbacks that signaled a bygone era of greatness in Baltimore. This is undeniably one of the better player images on the list.

Topps threw another off-colored border into this card, with a maroon lower border framing Ripken’s headshot. As a whole, the design is subtle and effective.

Because this is neither a rookie card nor an especially rare Ripken, you’re looking at a very reasonable purchase price for this one.

 

1983 Keith Hernandez Topps #700

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Number of PSA 10 copies: 52

Number of PSA 9 copies: 57

Keith Hernandez, of Seinfeld fame, makes an appearance on this list as a Cardinal. The 11-time Gold Glove winner known as “Mex” somehow failed to make the Hall of Fame, but collectors still give him his shine.

Mex’s mustache steals the show, taking center stage as Mex observes a just-departed hit in his blue Cardinals uni.

The card’s design matches the rest of the base set. Hernandez’s headshot is fittingly Hollywood-like, as he gazes into the skyline in movie star fashion.

With arguably the best action shot-headshot combo of any card on this list, this entry is as cool as…Keith Hernandez. A comparatively limited pool of PSA 9 and PSA 10s helps the value of this card.

 

1983 Tim Raines Topps #595

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Number of PSA 10 copies: 60

Number of PSA 9 copies: 69

As the 1B to Rickey Henderson’s 1A, Tim Raines is one of the speediest men in baseball history—as a well-rounded player, though, “Rock” Raines was much more than just speed.

His 1983 Topps card shows the springy Expo in the iconic red, white, and blue uniforms of the now-defunct Canadian franchise.

The headshot features a hyper-alert Raines, lips pursed and jaw clinched with eyes intensely focused over his right shoulder. If you know Raines’ history, the look makes sense.

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Every collector needs at least one Montreal Expos card in your collection, so why not this one?

Tim Raines’ Hall of Fame selection in 2017 did wonders for the value of his trading cards, including this one.

 

1983 George Brett Topps #600

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Number of PSA 10 copies: 299

Number of PSA 9 copies: 618 

The 1983 George Brett Topps #600 features the fiery Hall of Famer low-fiving a teammate with a mondo-sized dip in his cheek. The dual-border design continues with this card, in this instance featuring a purple top border and a baby blue lower border.

Brett’s headshot also features a headlining appearance from tobacco with a contributing performance by Brett’s sunburnt nose. Both shots perfectly capture the brash, off-colored personality that George Brett fans know and love.

This card has shown above-average price stability. It’s not just a strong card featuring a Hall of Famer—the card has just the right amount of character and quirkiness.

George Brett is one of the few Kansas City Royals that collectors will give the time of day. If you’re looking for a Brett card at a reasonable price, consider this one.

 

1983 Johnny Bench Topps #60

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Number of PSA 10 copies: 207

Number of PSA 9 copies: 414

Johnny Bench departed the Major League ranks in 1983, which makes this card a historical one.

The legendary Reds catcher takes a gloveless cut at an incoming pitch. The flapless Reds batting helmet indicates Bench’s appreciation for the old school.

The headshot shows a player who looks more like a coach. Topps went totally off the reservation with the color scheme here, choosing a combination of pink and yellow (not, you know, red) interior borders.

As one of the greatest catches of all time, Johnny Bench will always be a factor in collecting circles. As a non-rookie card, though, this card’s price point is significantly lower than the rookie cards on this list.

 

1983 Topps Baseball: Investment Outlook

Gwynn, Boggs, and Sandberg compose a clear top-tier for this set. The remainder of the cards on this list fall in a similar price range, though we’ve listed them in descending order.

There are no cards in this set that will make you rich. However, an abundance of Hall of Famers and a few notable rookie cards make the set worth considering.

More likely, you’ll gravitate towards this set because of its iconic status. A clean design and strong slate of player names and images should put the 1983 Topps Baseball set on your radar.

He is a freelance journalist with experience as a sports card market analyst and researcher in the fields of disruptive technology, law, and sports retail. He is known for writing work that brings value to industry professionals and the generally curious.

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