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1984 was an eventful year, Macintosh computers first hit the market, Space Shuttle Discovery made its maiden flight, the Summer Olympic Games were held in Los Angeles, and a promising new star was making his MLB debut, Don Mattingly.


When people think of 1980’s baseball they mostly think of Griffey Jr and Cal Ripken rookies there is a lot more that gets forgotten at the beginning of the Junk Wax era.

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1984 Topps is one of those iconic sets that to this day brings back a lot of nostalgia and memories for people. Topps has gone on to utilize this design for modern throwback cards and reprints.

Best Cards

While most of the set is essentially worth nothing unless, in pristine high-grade condition, there are a few cards that hold some serious value despite a severe lack of Hall-of-Fame rookies.

Like most other cards in this era, there does exist a much rarer “Tiffany” variation on both the base and traded sets for this year. Since these “Tiffany” variations are where the real money lies in most 80s sets for the purpose of this list we will use those.

“Tiffany” variations can be distinguished with a white back as opposed to the normal cardboard-looking back that is found on the base set.

#10. 1984 Wade Boggs Topps Tiffany #30


The first entry on our list is Hall of Famer Wade Boggs (See: Best Wade Boggs Rookie Cards). Wade is one of the greatest hitters and players of this era.

Throughout his career, Wade would go on to be a 12x All-Star and 8x Silver Slugger. In 1996 Boggs finally won the one and only World Series Championship of his career.

This is a great action shot of Wade’s post-swing likely getting one of his 3,010 career hits. A smaller portrait of Boggs is found in the bottom left. Wade Boggs Challenge, anyone?


#9. 1984 Astros Batting & Pitching Leaders Topps Tiffany #66


This card is so valuable for one reason, Nolan Ryan. 1984 was nothing notable for neither Ryan nor the Astros. In fact, 1984 was one of the worst years of Ryan’s career.

Despite being one of the worst years of Nolan Ryan’s career and he still managed to carry a 3.0 ERA and ~200 Strikeouts through only 183.2 innings.

Jose Cruz, the other man featured on the card had an 18-year career and played for three different teams over that span. A career .287 hitter. The more you know.


#8. 1984 Ryne Sandberg Topps Tiffany #596


The next installment on our list, Ryne “The Rhino” Sandberg. This Hall of Famer is Chicago Cubs royalty and accomplished quite a bit in his long 16-year career in which he spent 15 of those with the Cubs.

This is Sandberg’s third-year card. 1984 was good to Sandberg as this would be the year in which he won his first MVP Award, first Silver Slugger, second Gold Glove, and made his first All-Star Game appearance. Making this card a necessity for any Sandberg collector.

Ryne Sandberg’s career achievements include 282 HRs, 10 All-Star appearances, nine Gold Gloves, and seven Silver Slugger awards.


#7. 1984 Rickey Henderson Topps Tiffany #230


Rickey Henderson needs no introduction. No doubt he is one of the greatest players of all time and has a resume that could rival that of any of the game’s greats.

The 80s were some of the greatest years in Hendersons illustrious 25-year career. However, 1984 was not one of those years. It was a relatively down year by Rickey standards. But this card will surely be on the list of any Rickey Henderson fan.

Henderson’s 1982 season where he had 130 stolen bases is still one of the greatest single-season feats in baseball history. His 1406 career stolen base total is still the record, and may never be touched.


#6. 1984 Tony Gwynn Topps Tiffany #251


One of the best hitters all time, Tony Gwynn is shown here stepping up to the plate. 1984 was not Gwynn’s rookie year but it was his first full season in the major leagues where he started most of the games. It was also a year in which he had a batting average of .351.

Tony Gwynn would finish his career with a whopping batting average of .338. This card will no doubt be an important card for any Gwynn fan seeing the significance of it being his first full starting season.

Throughout his 20 year MLB life, Gwynn would make 15 All-Star appearances, eight Batting Titles, and five Gold Gloves.


#5. 1984 Cal Ripken Jr Topps Tiffany #490


By 1984, Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr was already well on his way to becoming one of Baseball’s all-time greats. After winning Rookie of the Year in 1982 Ripken become an overnight sensation and continued the historic run of legendary Orioles third-basemen.

Easily one of the most popular players of the 80s and 90s Ripken has a soft spot in a lot of collectors’ hearts. On top of being popular, he is easily one of the most collected players in Baseball card history.

Ripken’s historic feat of 2,632 consecutive games is one of Baseball’s most unbreakable and amazing records.


#4. 1984 Darryl Strawberry RC Topps Tiffany #182


This is Darryl Strawberry’s second-year card. In 1984 Darryl was coming off of a Rookie of the Year and was a part of a very fun Mets team that featured other standout rookie performers.

While Strawberry may not be a Hall of Famer his rookie card is still desirable for Mets fans who remember him and the greatest Mets team in history that Strawberry would be a key component of. Strawberry would go on to win three total World Series and make eight All Star appearances.


#3. 1984 Nolan Ryan Topps Tiffany #470


As is par for the course Nolan Ryan base cards always carry lots of value in high condition and this is no exception. As mentioned above this year was pretty forgettable for Ryan and was in the middle of his long stint in Houston.

Despite being one of the best pitchers of all time and having one of the best statistical résumés of any player in history, Nolan Ryan does not have a Cy Young Award to his name. Seems weird considering Nolan is the career strikeout leader with almost 1,000 more than the next closest (not counting players that played before 1887).


#2. 1984 Dwight Gooden RC Topps Traded Tiffany #42T


This is Dwight “The Doc” Gooden’s rookie card and it comes in as the second-best card of 1984 Topps and is the best card in the Traded set. Gooden represents the greatest times in Met history and even reminds fans of a time when the Mets were competing for World Series titles.

If you were alive in the 80s you would have heard of Doc Fever. Gooden had one of the best rookie seasons of all time at just 19 years of age netting him a Rookie of the Year award. What followed that amazing 1984 season was arguably Gooden’s best year of his career in 1985 where he won the Cy Young and came in fourth in MVP voting. Talk about a way to start your career.

While The Doc is not in the Hall of Fame he certainly is remembered fondly by a lot of collectors and fans pushing this card’s values to very high levels even for the non-Tiffany base card. This card is tough to find in the Tiffany variant.


#1. 1984 Don Mattingly RC Topps Tiffany #8


Finally the card I’m sure you all have been waiting for, Don Mattingly’s 1984 rookie card. This card has reached iconic status in the hobby and is still to this day one of the most desirable cards from the Junk Wax Era.

Despite not being in the Hall of Fame this card is still widely popular. It features Mattingly ready to field a ball at first in his Yankees uniform. Even though Don is one of the best fielding first basemen in history, winning nine Gold Gloves, he never really amassed the counting stats to reach the Hall.

As a lifelong Yankee, Mattingly will always have a large and loyal fanbase who need to have this card in their collection. Don also is still in the game of baseball to this day as manager of the Miami Marlins.

Most Valuable 1984 Topps Baseball Cards

For 1984 Topps it often is easy to forget all except Don Mattingly in this set. However, there are some great options. Here are our top picks:

There are only a few valuable rookies in here but the set is littered with Hall of Famers to pick up as well. If you’re a longtime Mets fan this is definitely a set you want to look into with two franchise legends having important cards in here with Strawberry and Gooden.

Easily the most valuable and one of the most desirable Junk Wax Era cards is the Don Mattingly rookie. This card’s value has held up well and will continue to do so in the future.


Investment Outlook 

While many of the 1980s Topps sets have become forgettable, this set has enough going for it to have some staying power in the hobby for a while to come.

High grade tiffany variants have potential as a long term investment due to the nature of thier limited production.

First, the design is absolutely iconic and is one of the favorites of all time amongst fans for both nostalgia and collecting purposes. This 84 design will be reused at some point again in the future which keeps this collection relevant.

Second, while most sets in the era don’t have enough in their large checklists to anchor it, this set has three desirable rookies of popular players. Not to mention Mattingly’s high status in the hobby.

If we had to choose one card from this set to pick up as an investment it would have to be a high-grade Don Mattingly. This card will hold its value over time and even can provide some opportunity for good ROI in the future.

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