(Check out our other posts about card values here.)

The baseball card hobby changed forever in 1981 when both Fleer and Donruss began producing little swatches of cardboard with athletes on the front, finally putting a stop to Topps’ monopoly.

So the 1980 Topps set is historic because it was the last issue of Topps’ (original) monopoly. They’re worth owning for that fact alone.

But which 1980 Topps baseball cards are most valuable?

That’s what we’re here to find out, with the help of the PSA Sports Market Report (SMR) Price Guide.

What follows, then, is a list of the 10 most valuable 1980 Topps baseball cards in PSA 8 NM-MT condition, according to SMR.

Why PSA 8? It’s a nice, solid condition that’s not impossible to come by, and generally affordable. So it’s a judgment call.

Another judgment call comes in the case of ties — there are a bunch of $5 cards in this set. In those cases, the cards that make the cut here are the ones I deem most historically significant, or just the prettiest.

Let’s dig in …

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1980 Topps Rickey Henderson Rookie Card (#482)

1980 Topps Rickey Henderson

Rickey Henderson burst onto the scene with 34 stolen bases in just 89 games for the Oakland A’s in 1979 and never really stopped running. When he finally retired from Major League Baseball in 2003 after a quarter century in the game, Henderson had shattered the all-time record for steals, finishing with a mind-blowing 1406. He also holds the mark for runs scored at 2295 and slammed nearly 300 home runs among his more than 3000 hits.

Rickey redefined the leadoff role and was a first ballot Hall of Famer — and an all-time hot dog. No wonder his rookie card has led the way for the 1980 Topps set in terms of value for more than 30 years. (SMR PSA 8: $50)

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1980 Topps Nolan Ryan (#480)

1980-topps-nolan-ryan

By the time this card found its way into collectors’ hands, Ryan was gearing up for his run with the Houston Astros, thanks to a landmark contract.

In case you forgot, Ryan signed a four-year, $4.5 million deal with the Astros in November 1979, and the baseball world was aghast at the thought of the first million-dollar-per-year player.

A decade or so later, salaries had escalated considerably, and Ryan had turned into a bona fide legend as he headed across the Lone Star state to the Texas Rangers. That move, along with his seven no-hitters, 300+ wins, and 5000+ strikeouts sent Ryan’s cards into the stratosphere.

His cardboard has resided near the top of the price list for just about every set he appears in for nearly three decades now, so it’s not surprising that he checks in at $12 here.

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1980 Topps Dave Stieb Rookie Card (#77)

1980 Topps Dave Stieb

 

OK, this is going to be just a bit geeky, but …

Can you guess which pitcher recorded the most Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in the 1980s?

Well, considering that you’re in the “Dave Stieb” section of this post, you can bet your sweet bippy the answer is Dave Stieb.

In fact, Stieb’s 45.2 WAR in the 80s is more than 10 points better than second-placer Bob Welch (35.1).

In case you’re wondering, “Hall of Famer” Jack Morris comes in at 27.9. Yeah.

Stieb doesn’t get much love these days, but the fact remains that he was one of the very best pitchers of this era, and collectors haven’t forgotten about him completely.

He does have a $7 rookie card, after all!

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1980 Topps Pete Rose (#540)

1980-Topps-Pete-Rose

Whether you think he got a raw deal or is just a mess of a person — not necessarily mutually exclusive viewpoints — there is no denying that Pete Rose lit up the baseball diamond like few others for the better part of 30 years.

His pursuit of Ty Cobb’s all-time hit record was the first big chase with national focus after baseball cards entered their boom era. By the time Rose passed the Georgia Peach on September 11, 1985, his cards were the hottest in the hobby, and they’ve stayed near the top of every set since.

Through the good times and bad, Rose cardboard remains Hall of Fame stuff, and PSA has his 1980 Topps issue at $6, good enough for fourth on this list.

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1980 Topps Jim Palmer (#590)

1980 Topps Jim Palmer

Jim Palmer must have been pretty hard to take if you were almost any other Major League pitcher in the 1970s.

It wasn’t just that Palmer won 20 games eight times in nine seasons from 1970 through 1978 …

Or that he won three Cy Young awards and finished in the top 3 three other times …

Or that he and his Baltimore Orioles were, like, always in or winning the World Series.

No, on top of all that, Palmer had to look like a movie star and model underwear, for gosh sake.

I think I’d have a problem with a guy like that, but maybe I’m just small.

Anyway, Palmer continues his goodness well into retirement, checking in at $6 here.

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1980 Topps Rich Gossage (#140)

1980 Topps Rich Gossage

By 1980, Goose Gossage had already been one of the most dominant closers in the game for nearly a decade. His star only got brighter once he landed with the New York Yankees in 1978, and he steamrolled right on through the 1980s and into the 1990s as a fearsome competitor and fan favorite.

Still one of the few relievers to make it to Cooperstown, Gossage is a five-buck card in this set.

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1980 Topps Brock and Yaz 1979 Highlights – 3000 Hits (#1)

1980 Topps Brock and Yaz 1979 Highlights

No wonder this gem sits pretty on our list of most valuable 1980 Topps baseball cards.

I mean, how often do you see two players reach the 3000-hit plateau in the same season? Hardly ever, right?

Well, actually …

So it’s not rare at all, as 12 of the 32 players to reach 3000 hits had to share their milestone to some degree. But you don’t usually see the two guys on the same card, right?

Right … so it’s understandable why PSA has this Yaz & Brock combo at $5.

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1980 Topps Johnny Bench (#100)

1980 Topps Johnny Bench

The 1980 Topps set was absolutely loaded with great catcher cards, and most of them showed the tools of ignorance to great effect. From stabbing a ball in the air with a catcher’s mitt to gunning down a would-be base stealer to staring down an unseen umpire or willful pitcher, Topps caught it all in this set.

But they went for a tremendous batting shot when it came time to showcase the greatest catcher who has ever played the game.

Any Johnny Bench card is worth owning, and this beauty checks in at $5 in the SMR.

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1980 Topps Ozzie Smith (#393)

1980 Topps Ozzie Smith

Ozzie Smith owns the best rookie card in the 1979 Topps set and has for nearly 40 years now.

So is it any shock that his second-year card makes it to our list of the of the most valuable from the 1980 Topps set?

Like many others here, Ozzie is part of the $5 club.

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1980 Topps Willie Stargell (#610)

1980 Topps Willie Stargell

Willie Stargell was 103 years old (or something like that) when the “We Are Family” Pittsburgh Pirates shocked the earth to win the 1979 World Series.

Stargell’s 1980 Topps card makes this list because 1) PSA has it at $5 and 2) we get to see Pops as he looked during his 1979 MVP season.

It’s a no-brainer, even if Willie doesn’t seem all that thrilled by it.

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(Check out our other posts about card values here.)