To say that 1988 Topps baseball cards had a lot to live up to may be the understatement of the entire Junk Wax Era.

After all, not only was the 1987 Topps set jam-packed with more rookie cards than the next ten Bowman monster boxes combined, but the woodgrain design is also a stone-cold classic — love them or hate them, you’ll never forget them.

So, yeah, the 1988s had a hard row to hoe.

They came out of the gate strong, though, with a clean, classic design that combined elements of the 1957, 1966, and 1967 Topps issues, as well as arguably the best photography of the decade up to that point (OK, 1983 Topps and 1988 Score, and maybe some others could take up that argument, too).

But it quickly became clear that the 1988 set was lacking in impact rookie cards, at least compared to the ’87s.

And it didn’t take too long for something else to emerge — these things were everywhere, even if Topps’ everywhere was somewhat less expansive than Donruss’ own everywhere.

Still, there were plenty of superstars and future Hall of Famers in the 792-card checklist, and there were also some surprises and add-ons — more on that later.

And, as often happens, some young players eventually emerged to make this set look a bit better than it appeared to be for awhile there.

There was plenty of variety, too — subsets, packaging options, parallels … read all the gory details in our 1988 Topps Ultimate Guide.

What we’re left with, then, is a 30-plus-year-old set that looks great and is affordable in most grades, but that can pop some decent prices when slabbed in “perfect” condition.

So …

What follows is a list of the most valuable 1988 Topps baseball cards, based on actual selling prices for PSA 10 copies, as listed in the PSA Auction Prices Realized tool.

And, while we won’t talk about them explicitly below, you should know there is a super-glossy “Tiffany” version of almost every card on this list. Generally speaking, you can expect those more limited cards (about 25,000 of each were produced) to sell for 8-10 times their matte counterparts (again, in PSA 10).

Now, lets dig in — starting with the least valuable card and working up — and see where the little white triangle ends up (you’ll understand later).

Can YOU guess which card tops our list?

(Note: The following sections contains affiliate links to listings for the cards being discussed.)

25) 1988 Topps Ken Caminiti (#64)

1988 Topps Ken Caminiti

Caminiti is sort of forgotten in the modern baseball landscape, and he’s usually not remembered all that fondly when he DOES come to mind. One of the first guys to wear the PED taint, his story spiraled to a tragic ending after he hung up his spikes.

But the fact remains that the 1996 National League MVP was one of the game’s best hitters in the mid-1990s, just before the full-on power explosion of 1998 and beyond.

While his cards may not have tons of upward potential on their own, they are likely to maintain decent value relative to the lesser stars and “commons” of his era.

His 1988 Topps rookie card shows him with the Astros, several years before he hit his peak with the Padres.

Value: $30-35

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

24) 1988 Topps Roger Clemens (#395)

1988 Topps Roger Clemens

When this card was issued, Clemens was coming off two straight Cy Young awards, and, amazingly, had five more left in the tank.

Of course, it’s HOW he kept that tank full and his motor running that have left him as something of a pariah and on the outside of the Hall of Fame looking in.

Considering he stands as one of the greatest pitchers of all time, at least statistically, that could still change. And even if it doesn’t, this is a gorgeous early-career card that can usually be yours for a relatively modest sum.

Value: $30-35

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

23) 1988 Topps Wade Boggs (#200)

1988 Topps Wade Boggs

Entering 1988, Boggs was right in the middle of his prime, a five-year run during which he recorded 8+ WAR each summer and won four of his five batting titles.

Though he slowed down to a significant degree after his fifth crown in ’88, Boggs finished his incredible career with a ridiculous .328 batting average and 3010 hits. One of the top five or so third basemen of all time, he looms as a popular hobby figure even decades after his retirement.

Like others on this list, the 1988 Topps Boggs card is great looking at a reasonable price.

Value: $30-35

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

22) 1988 Topps Fred McGriff (#463)

1988 Topps Fred McGriff

If McGriff had smacked just seven more home runs, would he have already been elected to the Hall of Fame?

That’s about as rhetorical a baseball question as you’re likely to find, given that seven dingers would have left Crime Dog with an even 500 for his career. For all but members of the PED crowd — from which most observers exclude McGriff — that’s an automatic in.

When and if McGriff ever does make it to Cooperstown, his first base Topps card — this one, that is — seems like a good bet to jump up in price.

Value: $30-35

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

21) 1988 Topps Ryne Sandberg (#10)

1988 Topps Ryne Sandberg

There’s nothing especially historically significant about this Sandberg card, given that the Cubs and their second baseman were in a sort of holding pattern between division titles in 1984 and 1989.

It’s just that Ryno’s holding pattern included a continued string of Gold Gloves and All-Star appearances as he built his reputation as one of the greatest keystone men ever.

When he cranked up his power in ’89 and (especially) 1990 with a league-leading 40 home runs, Sandberg’s cards surged to new levels, and they’ve been hobby stalwarts ever since.

And this one features the fabled Cubbie pinstripes, always a popular look.

Value: $30-45

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

20) 1988 Topps Kirby Puckett (#120)

1988 Topps Kirby Puckett

If the world wasn’t paying attention to Kirby Puckett before 1987, the Minnesota Twins sparkplug made us all sit up and take notice with his breakout campaign that helped the Twinkies to their first World Series title that fall.

This card captures Puck in the midst of that magical season, and he’d follow it up with even better numbers in 1988.

Puckett was here to stay — at least until his body broke down — and so were his cards.

Value: $35-40

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

19) 1988 Topps Don Mattingly (#386)

1988 Topps Don Mattingly

By 1988, pretty much any Mattingly card you came across was pure hobby gold – that’s what happens when a guy comes out of “nowhere” to win a batting title and then quickly establishes himself as the next Yankees superstar.

In this case, the “gold” takes on yet another meaning, thanks to the blinding yellow background on The Hit Man’s popular All-Star card.

Value: $35-40

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

18) 1988 Topps Dwight Gooden (#480)

1988 Topps Dwight Gooden

Gooden posted his first “down” year in 1987, managing a 15-7 record with a 3.21 ERA — amazing numbers for a mere human, but something of a letdown for Dr. K. after the dominance of his first three seasons.

He rebounded with 18 Ws in 1988, though, which made this card, like Mattingly’s, a winner right out of the pack.

Of course, we know now that Doc would be more down than up over the rest of his career, but his early cards – like this one – still carry some hobby swagger.

Value: $40-45

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

17) 1988 Topps Matt Williams (#372)

1988 Topps Matt Williams

If not for the 1994 strike, Matt Williams might well have taken aim at Roger Maris’ single-season home run record. And if the Giants’ young slugger had pulled THAT off, the entire history of Major League Baseball might have been altered.

Would we have seen – or needed – the home run chase of 1998?

Would steroids have exploded to the same degree they did?

Would Williams have put together a Hall of Fame career?

As things actually played out, Carson Crusher ended up shy of 50 WAR and 400 home runs, but with a Topps rookie card that still carries some weight with collectors.

Value: $40-45

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

16) 1988 Topps Tom Glavine (#779)

1988 Topps Tom Glavine

Glavine wowed the world with a 3-4, 5.54 ERA showing in his first cup of coffee at the end of 1987, then followed that up with a major-league-leading 17 losses in 1988.

Boy, howdy! Beginnings don’t get much more auspicious than that, huh?

Glavine, of course, managed to turn things around pretty nicely in the 1990s, helping the Braves to a string of division titles that may never be matched.

And, with 305 wins and two Cy Young Awards to his name, Glavine did a pretty good job of turning around the fortunes of his 1988 Topps rookie card, too.

Value: $45-50

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

15) 1988 Topps Tony Gwynn (#360)

1988 Topps Tony Gwynn

After blistering baseballs to the tune of .351 to win his first batting title in 1984, Gwynn slid back below .330 in 1985 and 1986 – still great but not jaw-dropping.

Well, Mr. Padre decided to unhinge some faces again in 1987, leading the majors with a .370 batting average and solidifying his status as one of the game’s great hitters.

This 1988 Topps card shows a primetime Gwynn in his “office,” doing what he did better than almost anyone ever.

Value: $45-50

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

14) 1988 Topps George Brett (#700)

1988 Topps George Brett

After batting .290 in both 1986 and 1987, Brett seemed to be entering the home stretch of his career … until he reversed course to hit .306 in 1988, also topping 20 homers and 100 RBI for the last time.

The fireworks weren’t quite over, though, as Brett won his third batting title in 1990 and collected his 3000th hit in 1992 before retiring a lead-pipe Hall of Fame lock after the 1993 season.

Along the way, Mullet’s cards rose to the upper echelon of hobby royalty, and they haven’t slid much from that peak in the years since.

Value: $45-50

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

13) 1988 Topps Nolan Ryan Turn Back the Clock (#661)

1988 Topps Nolan Ryan Turn Back the Clock

Take a hunk of cardboard, add some Nolan Ryan, and wrap a swath of wax paper around it, and you have yourself a pasteboard destined to appear on any number of “most valuable” lists.

And, when you’re in the heart of the Junk Wax Era, like we are now, it doesn’t even take a base card for Ryan to crack the lineup.

To o wit …

Here we have a TBTC celebration of Ryan passing Walter Johnson’s strikeout record, a feat also accomplished by Steve Carlton and Gaylord Perry back in 1983.

Value: $45-60

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

12) 1988 Topps Wade Boggs All-Star (#388)

1988 Topps Wade Boggs All-Star

The 1988 Topps All-Star cards were a throwback to the bright colors and geometric shapes of issues from the past – 1963 Fleer, 1958 All-Stars, even 1986 All-Stars.

Throw any superstar into the mix, and he’ll stand out on a dealer’s case, making it hard for collectors to resist.

Case in point, Chicken Man, bathed in All-Star red, white, blue … and yellow.

Value: $55-60

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

11) 1988 Topps Mike Schmidt (#600)

1988 Topps Mike Schmidt

Schmidt hit 30 home runs (actually, 35) for the last time in 1987, and Topps chose to celebrate by putting his hair on backwards.

Still, this is a late-career card of the greatest third baseman of all time, so it’s going to have it’s supporters … and buyers.

Value: $55-60

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

10) 1988 Topps Greg Maddux (#361)

1988 Topps Greg Maddux

Greg Maddux entered the 1988 season with a career record of 8-18 with a 5.59 ERA. With rookie cards in the loaded 1987 Donruss set and the hobby-only 1987 Topps Traded and Fleer Update sets, Mad Dog was more of a messy puppy on the mound and in the hobby.

Then came 1988, and a complete reversal of course – 18-8, 3.18 and a first base Topps card.

It was off to the races from there for The Professor, a trek that ended with a Hall of Fame plaque and icon status in the game and the hobby.

Value: $55-65

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

9) 1988 Topps Mark McGwire (#580)

1988 Topps Mark McGwire

During the homer-happy summer of 1987, Mark McGwire was the guy who generated more smiles than any other slugger … a harbinger of things to come when he and Sammy Sosa took aim at Roger Maris eleven years later.

McGwire’s 49 homers in ‘87 stood as the rookie record until Aaron Judge and Pete Alonso came along and sent collectors scrambling to dig his 1985 Topps Team USA card out of the (near) commons bin. His prodigious power also made his 1987 cards instant classics.

By comparison, then, Big Mac’s 1988 Topps issue was anticlimactic, but it still looked/looks great, showing the young Bash Brother with his weapon of choice. That golden Topps All-Star Rookie trophy completes the tableau.

Value: $55-65

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

8) 1988 Topps Don Mattingly (#300)

1988 Topps Don Mattingly

By 1988, Don Mattingly had already cemented his status as a Yankees legend, which is really saying something.

More importantly for us here, Mattingly and his 1984 Donruss rookie card had changed our hobby forever. While RCs had already gained a stronghold by the mid-1980s, the Mattingly rookie changed our perception of what was possible – pricewise – for a brand new card.

And just about every Donnie Baseball that slid out of a pack through the rest of the decade was a gem to behold, and a definite score.

Mattingly may still be outside looking in when it comes to the Hall of Fame, and 1988 Topps may fit the definition of Junk Wax to a “T,” but this card still has plenty of fans even today.

Value: $60-70

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

7) 1988 Topps Jose Canseco (#370)

1988 Topps Jose Canseco

After setting the world – and hobby – on fire in 1986, Canseco took a backseat to Mark McGwire during the power-fueled summer of 1987. The rookie outslugged the second-year star, 49 to 31, after all, and Canseco’s overall numbers were just good.

Not superstar-next-Babe-Ruth good.

Jose was having none of that out-of-the-limelight stuff, though, and set his sights on something that hadn’t been done before – 40 homers and 40 stolen bases in the same season.

By the end of 1988, Canseco had, indeed, become the inaugural member of the 40-40 club, copping AL MVP honors and leading the A’s to the World Series in the process.

Along the way, he reignited his cards, and some of that swagger still lingers today, even though Jose fell short of the Hall of Fame.

Value: $65-70

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

6) 1988 Topps Nolan Ryan Record Breaker (#6)

1988 Topps Nolan Ryan Record Breaker

In 1987, Nolan Ryan set a record. Shocker, right?

This particular mark was for most 200-strikeout seasons – eleven for The Express … though, of course, he’d finish up with 15 such campaigns before it was all said and done.

Regardless of what still lay ahead, Topps celebrated the moment in 1988 with a Record Breaker card that feels very 1958, and one that’s a hobby hit even today.

Value: $60-80

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

5) 1988 Topps Cal Ripken Jr. (#650)

1988 Topps Cal Ripken Jr.

The 1987 Orioles played like your basic jar of bird spit, and the ‘88 club took that down a notch or two.

At least fans could still count on Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken, Jr., though Iron Cal’s production slipped in both seasons. Even at that early stage, it was enough for some to suggest he should take a day or two off every once in a while.

Nah.

And it’s sort of a good thing he didn’t because we needed all the good vibes we could get when baseball came back from the 1994-95 strike, and Ripken’s chase of Lou Gehrig’s consecutive-games-played streak made us all warm and fuzzy.

For that, and for so much more, even mundane Rip cards like this one, from the dark reaches of his career, carry a special appeal.

Value: $70-90

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

4) 1988 Topps Barry Bonds (#450)

1988 Topps Barry Bonds

As 1988 dawned, Barry Bonds was all about tools and potential – scouts raved about what he might do on the diamond, even if his numbers weren’t all that exciting.

Sure, he went 20-20 in 1987, but that .261 batting average didn’t look so great.

And, in a world full of mashers, 25 dingers was an afterthought – even Wade Boggs hit 24 that summer!

Of course, Barry would soon prove the talent evaluators right, winning two MVP awards and leading the Pirates into October way before most observers even knew what “PED” meant.

For all his warts, Bonds was one of the greatest hitters of all time, and he’s still likely to end up in Cooperstown someday, all of which keeps his cards – including this rare smiling shot – on lists like this one.

Value: $80-85

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

3) 1988 Topps Bo Jackson (#750)

1988 Topps Bo Jackson

Bo Jackson was undoubtedly one of the most talented players to ever set foot on a baseball diamond OR a football field, and it was devastating to fans everywhere when a hip injury ended his gridiron career and curtailed his ascension to harball royalty.

Still, Bo gave us plenty of special memories and one of the most beautiful cards of the entire 1980s (this 1988 Topps dandy) before he hung up his spikes in 1994.

Value: $75-100

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

2) 1988 Topps Nolan Ryan (#250)

1988 Topps Nolan Ryan

Although the won-loss record (8-16) didn’t show it, Ryan turned in a stellar season with the Astros in 1987, winning the National League ERA (2.76) and strikeouts (270) crowns.

He followed that up with another strikeout title in 1988, at the same time Topps was gracing collectors with this rainbow sighting.

The next year, of course, Ryan moved on to the Texas Rangers, where he solidified his standing as a bona fide legend and drove ALL his cards to the top of the hobby. They’ve hardly budged since.

Value: $90-125

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

1) 1988 Topps Rickey Henderson (#60)

1988 Topps Rickey Henderson

Was there ever a more exciting player than Rickey Henderson?

I mean, aside from Buddy Biancalana in his prime?

I’ll bet Rickey himself would say no one topped him on the excitement meter, and he backed all the bluster and fireworks with plenty of meat: 3000+ hits, nearly 300 home runs, 1406 stolen bases, 2295 runs.

The SB and runs totals are all-time records, and Henderson also owns the single-season steals mark with 130 in 1982.

He also won the 1990 AL MVP award and pretty much played forever.

And, if you like your stats with a more sabermetrics bent, Henderson’s 111.2 WAR currently ranks 14th among all position players EVER.

Little wonder, then, that the Man of Steal still lights up the hobby, or that his 1988 Topps Yankees card remains pretty darn popular.

Value: $100-150

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

Honorable Mention

So, those are the most valuable 1988 Topps cards, but only among the base issue and only when you don’t consider any special circumstances.

And, in the case of this set, “special” mean “errors and variations” more often than not.

Yep, after several years of pretty much flawless execution, or at least without much in the way of corrections issued, Topps fueled the E & V fire in 1988 with a handful of doozies.

And there just may be one other, even more super-duper special entry among our honorable mentions below.

Behold …

7) 1988 Topps Mark McGwire Record Breaker Corrected No White Triangle (#3)

1988 Topps Mark McGwire Record Breaker Corrected No White Triangle

This is your standard, run-of-the-mill 1988 Topps Mark McGwire record breaker. It celebrates his rookie home runs but lags behind another. Read on to learn more about that “other” a few slots higher on our list.

Value: $30-35

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

6) 1988 Topps Al Leiter Error (#18)

1988 Topps Al Leiter Error

Al Leiter was once a hotshot prospect for the New York Yankees, a left-hander they drafted in the second round in 1984.

By 1987, he was knocking on the door of the majors, and by 1988, he had his first Topps card.

That’s where Leiter ran into problems, because Topps thought Steve George was him.

Steve George was not Al Leiter.

Steve George was a 15th-round pick in 1982, though he was a fellow lefthander in the Yankees system.

And, Steve George appeared as Al Leiter on the first version of Leiter’s Topps rookie card.

Eventually, Topps caught on to their gaffe (or collectors did) and corrected course.

Then, Al Leiter was Al Leiter again, and Steve George was … well, never to be seen on an MLB card again.

(Pictured is the error card, featuring George.)

Value: $30-35

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

5) 1988 Topps Al Leiter Corrected (#18)

1988 Topps Al Leiter Corrected

This is the real Al Leiter, a face you might recognize from your baseball cards AND his work on MLB Network.

Value: $30-35

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

4) 1988 Topps Eddie Murray Record Breaker No Caption on Front (#4)

1988 Topps Eddie Murray Record Breaker No Caption on Front

Ho hum, just a card showing the great Eddie Murray coming at you from both sides of the plate.

What’s going on here, and why is this one an “honorable mention”?

Well … keep reading!

Value: $50-60

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

3) 1988 Topps Eddie Murray Caption in Box on Card Front (#4)

1988 Topps Eddie Murray Caption in Box on Card Front

Murray was one of the most consistent run-producers in the game, and he could do it from both sides of the plate!

Topps gave a nod to that fact in 1988 with a Record Breaker card celebrating Murray’s two consecutive games going deep from both sides in 1987.

Trouble was, The Old Gum Company had some trouble landing on a format, resulting in two versions of this card: with a caption box on the card front detailing Murray’s feat (more scarce), and without the box.

Both are great, sort of like the two sides of Murray’s batting approach.

Value: $75-85

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

2) 1988 Topps Mark McGwire Record Breaker Error White Triangle (#3)

1988 Topps Mark McGwire Record Breaker Error White Triangle

McGwire’s 49 home runs in 1987 were a rookie record, which prompted Topps to make a “Record Breaker” card to honor the achievement in 1988.

Then they threw us a curveball by issuing two versions of the card – one with a “white triangle” near Big Mac’s left foot (to our right), and one without the triangle.

While the “white triangle” card is considered to be an error and seems to exist in fewer quantities, if you hold your head just right, you might be convinced it’s all just part of McGwire’s shoe.

If that’s the case, the “corrected” version (no triangle) is actually the error.

Confusing, yes, but only truly important if you want both versions, and because the triangle version generally sells for a premium.

Value: $75-150

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

1) 1988 Topps Don Mattingly World of Baseball (#300)

1988 Topps Don Mattingly World of Baseball

This one is generally viewed as a promo card, likely used by Topps to drum up interest in a set that it would eventually release in the United Kingdom … even though those cards featured a different design entirely.

Pretty smart move by Topps, right?

After all, if you were going to use ONE player in the 1980s to promote baseball cards, you couldn’t have done any better than Don Mattingly.

The downside for us is that there aren’t many of these out there, so this will almost surely be the most expensive “1988 Topps” card you have to buy if you’re bent on completing a super-duper master all-inclusive set.

Value: $300-600

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

1988 Topps Traded

Thanks to base cards and even pre-rookie cards for most of the guys who broke out during the 1987 season, the various Traded and Updates sets issued that fall were pretty lackluster when it came to player selection.

So the hobby was a bit uncertain about how the 1988 Topps Traded set would fare, at least until we saw the checklist.

Bolstered with some emerging names who had not yet made their Topps debuts and then infused with the stars of the 1988 USA Olympic baseball team, Topps Traded was a hit right out of the gate … er, cardboard rectangular prism.

And, while the popularity of various cards have ebbed and flowed over the decades, the set still delivers a hobby punch all these years later.

Here are the best of the best.

5) 1988 Topps Traded Robin Ventura (#124T)

1988 Topps Traded Robin Ventura

An Olympic star alongside Jim Abbott and Tino Martinez, Ventura developed into one of the best defensive third basemen of his generation and put together a career that wouldn’t look totally out of place in Cooperstown.

As it stands, Ventura is mostly a “Hall of Very Good” type player who is remembered for his, um, fight (if you can call it that) with Nolan Ryan.

It all adds up to enough limelight trickle to keep his cards warm among collectors.

Value: $20-25

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

4) 1988 Topps Traded Tino Martinez (#66T)

1988 Topps Traded Tino Martinez

Tino Martinez was Robin Ventura, and Robin Ventura was Tino Martinez.

Both born in 1967.

Both college and Olympic stars.

Both played 16 seasons in the majors.

Both hit around 300 home runs with 1200 (or 1300) or so RBI.

Both played for the Yankees.

Overall, Ventura put up better WAR numbers, Martinez better counting numbers.

And Tino won four World Series during his time in the Bronx, so he probably has a higher profile overall.

But Ventura was a (much) better fielder.

I still can’t tell their careers apart, though, and their 1988 Topps Traded cards are both in that mildly-desirable bucket that keeps prices trending upwards with the overall market.

Value: $20-25

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

3) 1988 Topps Traded Mark Grace (#42T)

1988 Topps Traded Mark Grace

In a set full of Olympians and really young prospects, Grace sort of looked like a grizzled veteran heading into his age-24 season.

He wore that experience well, too, riding three years of minor league seasoning to a .296 debut season with the Cubs that landed him in second place in National League Rookie of the Year balloting in 1988.

He only got better from there, developing into one of the best high-average guys in the game and a Gold Glove first baseman en route to a borderline HOF resume … and a solid standing in the hobby.

Value: $25-35

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

2) 1988 Topps Traded Jim Abbott (#1T)

1988 Topps Traded Jim Abbott

Abbott was an amazing story, first for his triumph in making it to the Olympics and the pros despite being born with just one hand, and then for turning into a Cy Young contender for the California Angels.

Not many pitchers can ever say that, and the ones that can, tend to stick around in hobby circles to some degree.

And so it is with Abbott and his nifty 1988 Topps Team USA card.

Value: $40-45

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

1) 1988 Topps Traded Roberto Alomar (#4T)

1988 Topps Traded Roberto Alomar

For all the promise and hype represented by this little 132-card box set, Alomar is the only Hall of Fame rookie card in the bunch all these years later.

And, even then, Donruss beat Topps to the punch by issuing an Alomar RC in their base set.

Still, this is a classic card that’s drawn plenty of interest over the decades.

Value: $40-50

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

Want to see a video version of this article?