If you are one of the 400 million people who have a box of 1987 Topps baseball cards in your basement, you’re probably wondering what they are worth. I have some good news and some bad news for you.
The good news is, there are a few cards that could be lurking in your ’87 Topps that might bring some joy and could be worth a few bucks. The bad news is a box of ’87 Topps “commons” will bring you pain, agony, and sadness as you realize there’s more value in the box than the cards themselves.
I write this from personal experience, as I have recently flipped through an old box of 1987 Topps baseball cards that haven’t been touched in 30 years. Afterward, as I placed the box back in the closet, I thought, “well, there’s ten minutes of my life I’ll never get back.”
1980s Topps Baseball Cards
There were some really great 1980s Topps baseball cards, and I mean great. Some of my favorites were the early 80s, of course. The ’84 Don Mattingly rookie, the ’80 Rickey Henderson rookie, and the ’82 Cal Ripken future stars card. Early 1980s Topps baseball cards were not over-produced and included the rookie years of many Hall-of-Famers.
Then there were the late 1980’s Topps cards. My estimate is over one trillion of these cards were produced. A kid in 1989 could hardly turn around without knocking over a stack of late 80’s Topps baseball cards. They were everywhere.
Baseball card collectors love to speculate on the production numbers of 1987 Topps cards. I’ve heard estimates of anywhere from one million prints of each card all the way up to over seven million copies of each card printed.
From what I’ve read, the card producers of the 1980s did not release production numbers. This leads me to my next obvious question. Why didn’t they ever release production amounts? It’s because nobody was counting. The printers were running at full speed. Maybe they were printing too fast to count.
Kids wanted to buy them and Topps was sure to print enough for anyone and everyone to have plenty of late 80s cards. No tracking of production necessary.
If nobody counted the actual production of the 1980s and 1990s baseball cards, it might be because they didn’t think anyone would ever ask how many were actually made. Maybe, the baseball card producers never thought the production amounts would ever interest anyone. This might give a little insight into the mindset at the time. Produce as many baseball cards as possible; nobody would ever stop to ask how many were actually created.
Topps Baseball Cards Value
If every man, woman, and child in America owns at least one box of 1987 Topps baseball cards, what’s the value of each box? Of course, it depends. From personal experience, I can say it’s possible to flip through an entire box of ’87 Topps cards and not recognize one single name.
If it’s possible for something to have negative value, these unrecognizable faces on the 1987 Topps cards qualify. A negative value would be something that costs you more to own than it’s actually worth. The space the object occupies in the universe costs more than the value the object delivers. That’s the 1987 Topps baseball “common” card.
It might sound harsh, but start flipping through a box of picked over, cleaned-out, common cards from the 1987 Topps set, and you will most likely agree. To make my point crystal clear, I tried to give away a box of ’87 Topps baseball cards to my nephew, and he wanted ten bucks to go with them, just to take them off my hands.
But there are 1987 Topps baseball cards with some value. Especially if you have Topps Traded or Tiffany cards, these limited edition cards were produced in much lower production numbers, making them hard to find and valuable.
Topps 1987 Complete Set Values
The complete set in the photo below features the ‘collectors edition’ tiffany cards along with the limited edition Topps ‘traded’ cards, 1-T through 132-T. This was recently sold on eBay for $1,500. From the photos, the boxes look to be in excellent condition.
Topps ‘Tiffany’ and ‘Traded’ Cards
Topps offered different versions of their cards from 1984 to 1991. If you flip the card over, you can easily tell the difference by the white backs on the Tiffany cards. They will also appear glossy on the front.
There are also Topps Traded cards, which look very similar to the Tiffany cards from 1987. Values for the Tiffany cards are much higher than the regular Topps cards because only 30,000 cards were produced.
The 1987 Topps “Tiffany” cards are currently reselling on eBay with impressive price gains over the last few months. You can search eBay and view all the recent sales in order of dollar value, date of sale, or even closest sale to your location. It’s a great way to see month-over-month price changes for certain cards.
1987 Topps Barry Bonds
1987 Topps Bo Jackson
1987 Topps Roger Clemens
Barry Larkin Rookie Cards
1987 Topps Jose Canseco
1987 Topps Nolan Ryan
1987 Topps Mark McGwire
1987 Topps Rafael Palmeiro
1987 Topps Pete Rose
1987 Topps Tony Gwynn
1987 Topps Bobby Bonilla
The 1987 Topps baseball card set is still an affordable collectible. You can find complete sets selling on eBay for almost nothing. When you consider the list of great players from the 1987 season, buying a complete set might make sense. I’m not sure if this is a typo – but a factory set just sold recently for Twenty Dollars!
More Baseball Legends of the 1987 Topps Set
Consider this for a minute, the entire sealed 1987 Topps set for 20 bucks. Here’s a list of amazing players included in the set, in addition to the players featured above. There are Hall of Fame pitchers, World Series Champions, and hitters famous for some of the most iconic home runs of the 1980s and 90s included in this set. If you remember the 1987 Topps baseball cards, chances are your favorite player was on this list.
And if the entire Topps set doesn’t excite you, maybe you would be interested in a box 1987 sealed packs. Each box contains 36 wax packs, with 17 cards per pack. Inside each pack is the possibility of several subsets.
1987 Topps Wax Packs
Record Breakers, All-Star Selections, Team Leaders, and Turn Back the Clock cards are included in the 87′ set. Some of the first Topps cards you can remember opening as a kid were these very same wax packs.
While the 1987 Topps baseball cards get a bad rap, the front of the card was a pretty remarkable design. The last of a plain cardboard era, before Upper Deck, and others began printing premium cards.
And although the most valuable card isn’t included in the ’87 Topps, a great find is always around the corner. Whether it’s the higher quality card fronts from the Topps Tiffany set, or just a few notable rookies, the junk wax era will forever be remembered by all who experienced it.