Our 10 Best 1987 Topps Baseball Cards

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1987 Topps Baseball sets are fondly remembered by many collectors thanks to the iconic woodgrain borders and a substantial selection of players to look out for.

The majority may be almost worthless today, but a handful of hits are precious compared to the average late ‘80s release.

Check eBay Price on 1987 Topps Baseball Cards Complete Set (Sealed)

10 Greatest 1987 Topps Baseball Cards

Here’s a rundown of ten of the best 1987 Topps Baseball cards from an investment perspective. 

 

10. 1987 Topps Tiffany Rickey Henderson #500

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Rickey Henderson takes the 10th spot on this list. His longevity is legendary, with two World Series wins and an endless stream of records, and almost unmatched achievements.

Issued separately as a premium factory set, the 1987 Topps Baseball Tiffany release is often favored compared to base versions. (They can be seen as parallels of the standard card, released on the better stock with a glossy finish.) We’d stick with Henderson’s 1987 Topps Tiffany, which features an action shot of the player mid-swing.

 

9. 1987 Topps Tiffany Don Mattingly #500

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1987 TOPPS TIFFANY 500 Don Mattingly

Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly is the only Yankee to have his number retired without winning a World Series with the team. He was on the Hall of Fame ballot from 2001 to 2015, although he never received more than 145 votes (28.2%).

Gem mint copies from the Tiffany subset still garner a reasonable amount of attention, showing the legend in a batting pose, with the familiar wood-effect border wrapped around the sides. 

 

8. 1987 Topps Baseball Card Tiffany Barry Larkin RC #648

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Another Tiffany card to look out for is Barry Larkin’s RC. He won it all over a storied career, picking up a World Series win in 1990, along with nine Silver Slugger awards, three Gold Glove awards, and the 1995 NL MVP Award.

Depicted in an action shot, it’s a more casual image than the cards discussed above. There’s a large drop-off when looking at PSA 9 copies and below.

 

7. 1987 Topps Baseball Card Tiffany Jose Canseco RC #620

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1987 Jose Canseco Tiffany Topps Baseball Card

Jose Canseco played 17 years in the MLB and amassed a mind-boggling 462 home runs, although his admission of steroid use often overshadows his stats.

It’s no real surprise that he ended with 1.1% of the ballots in 2007, ending his chances of entering the Hall of Fame via traditional means. His Tiffany card from the ‘87 set features a shot of the player as he sits on the bench.

 

6. 1987 Topps Baseball Card Tiffany Nolan Ryan RC #757

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1987 Topps Baseball Card Tiffany Nolan Ryan

Nolan Ryan is another huge name from the era. During his stellar 27-year MLB career, he struck out 5,714 batters which still ranks 1st for most career strikeouts of all time. 1987 is a long time since his RC year (1968), which is reflected in the overall price tag for the newer card.  However, both are surrounded by the familiar wood-effect border. 

 

5. 1987 Topps Traded Tiffany Fred McGriff RC #74T

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Excluding players associated with alleged steroid use and those not yet eligible, Fred McGriff has the most career home runs of any player not in the Hall of Fame. Unlike the cards we’ve mentioned so far, the McGriff RC isn’t available in the base 1987 Topps Baseball set.

Regardless, the Topps Traded Tiffany collection was also released in 1987. The set consisted of 132 cards, including McGriff’s Rookie Cards. It centers on an image of him gesturing with a mitt in hand. 

 

4. 1987 Topps Tiffany Future Stars Bo Jackson RC #170

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A Bo Jackson RC narrowly misses the spot in the top three. If not for injuries, Jackson may have been one of the best two-way players of all time, but for a severe hip injury in 1991 against the Cincinnati Bengals, ending his football and baseball aspirations.

The ‘Future Stars’ subset is where you’ll find his ‘87 baseball RC. Six cards of upcoming prospects were noted with the term “Future Stars” across the bottom, just above the player name.

 

3. 1987 Topps Traded Tiffany Greg Maddux RC #70T

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greg maddux 1987 topps

Greg Maddux won the 1995 World Series with the Atlanta Braves and was an eight-time All-Star over three decades (1988-2000). 

Related: Best Greg Maddux Rookie Cards

His RC can be found in the ‘87 Topps Traded set, easily denoted thanks to the ‘T’ on the card number.  It’s always been popular with collectors, while a PSA Gem Mint 10 #70T Maddux sold for $865 in 2021. The price would have been unheard of just a few years ago, especially for a set that is cheaper than most. Not just one of the best from the set, or even the year, it’s a great pick across the entire decade. 

 

2. 1987 Topps Baseball Tiffany Mark McGwire RC #366

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Best known for breaking the Roger Maris single-season home run record in 1998, Mark McGwire was dogged by allegations of steroid abuse due to the numbers he put up over the years. 

That hasn’t stopped his RC prices from rocketing in recent years. McGwire is featured in a simple profile shot as he steps up to the plate in his ‘87 Topps Tiffany card. We consider the 1987 Topps Tiffany, 1987 Leaf, and 1985 Topps Tiffany to be great long-term investments with low risk. All three should have a similar ROI in the long term.

 

1. 1987 Topps Baseball Tiffany Barry Bonds RC #320

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A player that needs no introduction, Barry Bonds was the home run king; he’s the all-time leader in walks and owns a career 1.051 OPS.

Related: Best Barry Bonds Rookie Cards

As with McGwire and Canseco, many of his cards were disregarded in the past due to suspicions of foul play. Time heals all wounds, and it’s true if you’ve been holding onto PSA 10 copies of his 1987 Topps Tiffany RC for a great length of time. If Barry Bonds makes the Hall of Fame, his rookie cards would be a goldmine. 

 

Most Valuable 1987 Topps Baseball Cards

If you’re solely interested in the most valuable cards, here are our current picks from the set. We’ve also included a couple of Topps Traded Tiffany cards that were too good to pass on.

Remember, for overproduced sets like 1987 Topps Baseball, PSA 10 copies are the only ones likely to retain any real value in the long term. 

  1. 1987 Barry Bonds Topps Tiffany RC #320
  2. 1987 Mark McGwire Topps Tiffany #366
  3. 1987 Greg Maddux Topps Tiffany RC #70T
  4. 1987 Fred McGriff Topps Tiffany RC #74T
  5. 1987 Bo Jackson Topps Future Stars RC #170

If we had to choose one over all others, it’s likely to be a contest between the Bonds RC and the Maddux RC for the top spot. The former still has a chance to explode in price, and it’s already worth four times more than 2019 prices.

The latter is a Hall of Fame pitcher who won more games during the 1990s than any other and is the only pitcher to record more than 300 wins, more than 3,000 strikeouts, and fewer than 1,000 walks.

 

Error Cards 

1987 Topps Baseball Error cards can often be some of the more exciting options overall, especially if they’re recognized as such by collectors and grading companies. The Trading Card Database lists common ‘87 Topps errors and variations, with 10 in total. 

Urbano Lugo and Dwight Gooden are on the list to join Don Mattingly. However, none appear to be worth any significant amount compared to the heavy hitters mentioned above.

However, it’s not a comprehensive list, which makes sense as 1987 Topps Baseball has a massive 792-card checklist (related: 2019 Topps Update Series 1 Checklist).

Subsets included; All-Stars Checklists, Future Stars, Manager Cards, Record Breakers, Team Leaders, Topps All-Star Rookies, and Turn Back The Clock. 

  • Urbano Lugo #92a ERR: No trademark on the front next to the Angels logo
  • Urbano Lugo #92b COR: Trademark on the front next to Angels logo 
  • Joe Niekro #344a VAR: Copyright inside right-hand border on back 
  • Joe Niekro #344b VAR: Copyright outside right-hand border on back 
  • Dwight Gooden #603a ERR: No trademark on NL logo on front
  • Dwight Gooden #603b COR: Trademark on NL logo on front 
  • Don Mattingly #606a ERR: No trademark on AL logo on front
  • Don Mattingly #606b: Trademark on AL logo on front 
  • Ray Soff #671a ERR: No D* before copyright line
  • Ray Soff #671b COR: D* before copyright line

Given the age of the sets, it’s not uncommon to find error cards, which often come in the form of misprinted versions that were laid incorrectly. 

For example, we found a graded 1987 Topps Barry Bonds #320 double error card on eBay, missing the lower part of the “3” and the top of the “0” on the reverse.

 

Investment Analysis and Advice

The 1987 Topps set is fondly remembered thanks to solid design choices and an extensive checklist of 792 cards.  It’s undoubtedly an iconic set, even if they were overproduced along with many others during the late 1980s.

As for the cards themselves, it’s clear that PSA 10 copies are the way to go if you’re hoping to maximize ROI in the long term. There are too many; supply outweighs demand, and the drop-off for nine grades is significant.

Unfortunately, they were also released during the start of ‘the steroids era’, which tainted many heavy hitters from the late ’80s to the late 2000s.

Attitudes have begun to soften ever so slightly, while their names will remain in the record books, even if there’s still an element of doubt compared to modern stars and old pros. 

It’s not the worst investment by any means, and they’re a little underpriced, considering the quality of the rookie class. 

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