The 1983 Topps set lists at $100 and the trade at $40. The base set usually costs about $60 and the traded $25. The base set has dropped after the recent retirements of the three main players in the set (see above). The rare Topps issued factory set brings around $175 and the traded whether taped or not brings the same amount. The 1984 Topps lists at $60 (Tiffany at $175) and the Topps Traded at $40 (Tiffany $70). These could be bought for $35 and $20. The Tiffany sets are quite rare and are sealed, therefore both the base set and the traded set command about 75% list price.
The 1985 Topps set lists at $100 and in factory set form $250 (Tiffany $750) and the traded set $10 (Tiffany $60). The hand made '85 brings about $70 (factory form $175-full list price) and the traded about $5. The Tiffany still brings about $600 but the traded Tiffany just $25. Hard to imagine just a short time back the hand made set was bringing $400 and the Tiffany $1600 (thanks Mac…lots of people will never get their money back out of those now).
Some advice to younger collectors, stay clear of the factory sets and Tiffany sets. They're the same cards as the regular ones, just fancier. Try accumulating the factory sets first, then the main sets. Just keep in mind, don't pay factory set prices for the traded sets if they have already been opened.
Also, if you are buying an '82 Topps Traded, have the dealer let you open the set there, to make sure the Ripken has not been pulled. If you open it after you leave the store and it is missing, no dealer will replace it because they are not sure you are being honest. And if you buy a taped one off Ebay, check the seller's feedback. If it is not in the set, you have no way of proving it.
Topps also began making several oddball sets around this time. A few that are very cheap and fun to collect are the Topps Stickers set (made all five years and beyond), which can be purchased for about $10 each. The Glossy Send-Ins (1983-85 and beyond) and Glossy All-Stars (1984-85 and beyond); each costing between $5 and $10. And a personal favorite, the 1981 Topps Scratchoffs. You could scratch out the dots and under it would be a baseball play (single, home run, etc…). You can still pick these up for about $5, if you can find them.
Keep in mind; the prices given above are for near mint or better sets. A 1982 Topps Traded set in EX-MT condition would only sell for $75-100. If some prices are too high in near mint condition, try the EX-MT sets. They only cost 50-60% of the near mint ones. Remember to examine the key cards in the sets you purchase. If the key cards are damaged, the price of the set drops dramatically.
And in closing I would like to cast my ballet for the upcoming Hall of Fame voting. First allow me to list the players I have considered "enshrine-worthy" for the past several years. I will begin with pitchers, preceded by hitters.
Two relievers should have already been in Cooperstown, Goose Gossage (310 saves, 9th year on ballot) and Lee Smith (478 saves, 6th). Two starters should be as well, Tommy John (288 wins, 4710 innings pitched, 14th) and Bert Blyleven (287 wins, 4970 innings, 3701 strikeouts, 11th). And two sluggers are extremely overdue, Andre Dawson (2774 hits, 438 HR's, 1591 RBI's, .279 average, 7th) and Jim Rice (2452 hits, 382 HR's, 1451 RBI's, .298 average, 14th ).
Strong consideration should be given to Dave Concepcion, who is in his last year of eligibility. He was not a power hitter; shortstops of his day were designed for defensive prowess and base stealing abilities. The other seven holdovers (Harold Baines, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Alan Trammell, Jack Morris, and McGwire) should receive enough votes to remain on the ballet for 2009.
Of the newcomers (11) only Tim Raines is a lock to be a holdover (garnishing enough votes to remain on the ballet-5% overall-but not enshrined). The other ten will most likely not receive the 5% needed to remain eligible.
My picks this year are as follows: Concepcion, John, Blyleven, Dawson, and Gossage (baseball writers are allowed up to ten nominees, I will attempt to keep mine to just five). Oh…did I forget McGwire? Yes I did, I meant to.