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Thread: Happy 30th birthday 1987 Topps

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    Senior Member BBCgalaxee's Avatar
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    Happy 30th birthday 1987 Topps

    Not only is this my favorite product ever, but 1987 was the year that I totally exploded as a collector (well, for a teen that is) and this was THE product which started it. This will probably be a long post, certainly my longest in a long long time, but theres just so many memories.

    Despite only being a year apart, the difference between 1986 and 1987 for me were huge as a collector. I went from stuffing multiple copies of the same card in a single 9 pocket slot (like 5 in one pocket) to filling multiple pages with the same card, just like the dealers did at shows.

    The 1986 Topps product did nothing for me except the Pete Rose Specials (in my mind they were going to be worth the same as the Hank Aaron specials from 1974) and the Vince Coleman rc. I never liked the design and the RC selection was horrible.

    But when the 1987 Topps set came out, WOW, what a difference (yeah I stole that line from Blockbuster).

    I LOVED the design, so similar to 1962 but there was more, much more.

    Because of the time, it was possible and accepted that players could basically have two rookie cards over two years as long as they were in a traded type set and listed as an XRC in Beckett.

    So that meant that the totally awesome RC class in the update sets from 1986 were ALSO rookies in the 1987 sets added to the brand new RC from that year.
    Barry Bonds, Wally Joyner, Will Clark, Bo Jackson, Pete Incaviglia, Bobby Bonilla met the newcomers BJ Surhoff, Devon White, Mike Greenwell, Rafael Palmeiro, Greg Swindell, Dave Magadan etc.

    But wait there is more! Cory Snyder, Kal Daniels, Jose Canseco, Danny Tartabull, Todd Worrell and Mark McGwire were also "kind of like" rookie cards.

    But it was not only the rookies which drove the product, the stars played a part as well.

    Being a kid in the Bronx during this time, guess which three NY stars were the hottest? Mattingly, Gooden and Strawberry were blazing hot, especially the Mattingly which I remember booking in CCP (Current Card Prices) for a whopping $4

    I was totally obsessed with the Donnie card and at one point probably had more than 50 of them with most, if not all, coming from packs (more on that later).

    I always loved error cards, still do, and boy was I excited when I found out that BOTH Mattingly and Gooden had corrected error cards in the set (missing the TM on their all star cards).

    As I mentioned before, there was a huge jump for me as a collector from the previous year. I used to keep multiple years of cards in the same binder totally not sorted. But in 1987, just the Topps cards alone from that year took up two albums (and it was only the best stars and rookies) neatly sorted with 9 pocket pages holding the same player multiplied out by several pages.

    In other words, I basically kept Topps in business because I bought everything.....EVERYTHING.
    Wax? Oh for sure.
    Cello? Sure but not before I searched for stars on the front and back of each.
    Raks? Absolutely, ditto looking for stars showing.
    Jumbos? When I went shopping at the supermarket Id pick up a couple of those 100 card packs.
    And I also bought the occasional full boxes too.

    It got to the point where I started to notice that Topps uses a sequence sorting the cards in the packs (and I believe they still do).
    So for instance, if you see a Ken Landreux showing on a Rak, odds are theres a Bo RC as the next card.
    Tim Leary? Donnie Baseball is next and so on.

    I wound up memorizing nearly every important pattern with like 3-5 cards before and after the key card which is how I managed to get so many key cards in quantity. I also used it for my amusement as I would pick out cello and rak paks and tell my friends which key cards were in each BEFORE opening them (I didnt tell them how though).

    And then I figured out that I could "finger" (clear your dirty mind people) the cards inside each Rak Pak and literally see every name in the pack without opening it. I would go through every Rak in the store using this method and while most store clerks didnt care, I do remember getting kicked out of a store by the owner who thought I was doing something wrong.

    I also remember sitting on the floor at a Caldor's going through all their Raks which were dumped in a big plastic tub buying only the packs I wanted and knew had key cards inside or showing.

    But perhaps the best two "stars showing" memory I have both involve Mattingly.
    At a pharmacy near my Mom's work, I found a Rak Pak with BOTH Donnie and Joyner showing. That was a big pack thirty years ago.

    The second one involves my friend at a local pharmacy we always bought from and were totally cool with us two annoying kids going through their boxes of packs.
    As we opened the lid to yet another cello box, we both we both noticed a pack with Mattingly on top and at the same time we both reached for it. It was like slow motion for both of us and even my friend still remembers that moment when he scored it.

    To this day, I still dont like making sets and back then it was no different. But I do remember making two sets of 87 Topps, one back then (I recall needing a Jim Leyland) and one while watching the pre game to the 1989 world series, right when the earth quake hit. I disliked making sets so much that I decided to put it together by teams instead of numbers.

    Today, like nearly every mid 80s Baseball card issue, this classic set is worth nearly nothing due to the massive print run which coincided with the huge hobby boom.

    And while I do have a hand set (sorted by teams of course) and numerous packs with stars showing, I would also like to have something no one else has, a complete set WITH A WAX STAIN on each card. Yeah I know, sounds crazy and honestly, I know Ill never even come close because you cant exactly find people selling wax stained 1987 Topps cards anywhere.

    And while wax boxes are cheap, even if you open a case of 20 boxes, you would not be able to make a set even if every wax stained card is different.

    So happy birthday 1987 Topps.

    Love
    Mike

  2. #2
    Senior Member Brewer Andy's Avatar
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    I'm willing to bet 60% of us had a similar coming out party with '87 Topps. Fleer and Donruss could not be found within 50 miles of where I grew up (maybe why in my head those two are still more "desirable"). Made the 45 minute bike ride into town so many times that summer for a couple of .25 packs. Took forever to get an Andy Hawkins to complete my set


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    Senior Member RStadlerASU22's Avatar
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    Love the set as well. Share a lot of same memories as you.

    Ryan

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    ALWAYS LOOKING FOR ODDBALL, REGIONAL, TEAM ISSUED, VARIATIONS, AND TOUGH CARDS OF WILL CLARK AND MIKE BROWN



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    You described my life. Its cool to know someone did the same things I did during those years. I do like 86 though with those dark black borders. I had stacks with them sorted by team. I never worried about completing sets, only the big stars to put in binders. I put by player, year and brand. Topps Donruss Fleer in that order and any oddballs after. What a grand time.

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    Senior Member JEBJJA's Avatar
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    Perfectly stated. I was the same. I had 27 Mattingly's from that year and still remember if you see Mike Laga ahead of Donnie you will pull one. Me and my dad would buy boxes at the candy distributor for a slight discount off regular prices for $15 a box! I can still go through and name every guy in the set just by the picture when you cover the guys name. Nate Snell was the worst card to get lol. I found Fleer and Donruss and got my share as well but I had the most fun with Topps! A big difference from '87 to the worst set ever which was '88 Topps imo!

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    Senior Member tramers's Avatar
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    I made 10 plus sets of 1987 . Had over 10,000 extras

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    Senior Member dano7's Avatar
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    87 was a great year to collect! I really loved the layout of the set and the player selection was excellent, with veterans and rookies. I actually sold cards TO a dealer then!!!
    DANNY
    Collector of Autographs, TTM autographs, Vintage, Yankees and Mantle
    Sets completed 1955-1965, 1967, 1969, 1951 Topps Red & Blue Back, 1951 Bowman, 1955 Bowman, 1963 Fleer, 1965 Topps Embossed, 1961 Topps Stamps, 1962 Topps Stamps & 1968 Topps Game.
    Yankee needs:Two 1962 Topps stamp pairs. Need T209 Contentnea Roanoke players.dano 7 by Danny Secrist, on Flickr

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    Senior Member WaxPax's Avatar
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    I still have a rack-pack case in a closet ...LOL

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    its been 30 years since i graduated? oh man now im sad... lol
    I collect Ken Griffey Jr, Ryan Howard, Steve Carlton and the rest of the Phillies.
    My Site:
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Great thread. Besides the 100s of 87 Topps Clark's I have collected, [MENTION=7453]mouschi[/MENTION] created this custom wood card for me. Thanks again, Tanner!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_0972.jpg  

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    Senior Member fordman's Avatar
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    I made a lot of money off selling wax boxes of '87 Topps. People really didnt buy them by the case then except for dealers. They were sold through candy/gum/cigarette distributors in the 80's. I bought all mine through White-Louden dist. in Georgetown, Ohio. The owner couldnt believe how many cases I bought from him. He could get Donruss, Fleer, Sportsflics and some Star stuff too. Midway through the selling season, he did start to jack the prices on me though as he saw the card collecting boom start.

    '87 Topps is a set that has stood the test of time.




    In honer of the '87 set, here is a '87 Topps Photoshop Template. Make one of your own and post your results:
    1987 Topps Photoshop Template
    ***** When unzipping, use the password: freedomcardboard *****. I had to do this because my templates were showing up on eBay for sale.

    I've also added the template to this thread: Custom Card Template Free For All

    Enjoy All!

    Fordman
    Last edited by fordman; 12-31-2016 at 10:52 AM.

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    wow, 30 years since buying a pair of wax boxes of 1987 Topps from Price Club! I remember getting into the car at the Price Club parking lot and starting to rip the packs open on the 25 min ride home.

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    Senior Member BBCgalaxee's Avatar
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    Its also the 30th birthday of 1987 Fleer and Donruss and here are few memories.

    Fleer was totally, completely impossible to find at retail so every pack I bought came from a card store or show. I remember going to a show and asking Mr. Mint if he had a Fleer factory set while my friend rolled his eyes because he knew Mr. Mint didnt deal in modern stuff.

    I did manage to buy a bunch of this issue and filled out several pages in my album with the likes of Terry Steinbach, Cory Snyder, Kevin Elster, Donnie Baseball etc. I assume I had a Will Clark and sold it when it blew up to like $40 or so.

    1987 Fleer was like 2002 Bowman Draft where it seemed like each and every year, a new hot rookie emerged.

    Sure, a 1987 Topps Ruben Sierra had a value of a couple bucks but his Fleer topped out at about $12 or so. Now just multiple that by all the other hot rookies and you can see why this issue was so hot for so many years. Now imagine if McGwire and Maddux were in the base set.

    1987 Donruss was THE product initially because the previous three Donruss issues were hard to find and hot. But Donruss amped up production that year and started showing up in retail places which put it behind Fleer in terms of secondary values.

    One night, my family and I went to see a movie in New Jersey which had a Toys R Us near it and I remember being floored when I walked into it and seeing a WALL full of Donruss Rak Paks at retail prices. I lost track of time and my Mom came in a yelled at me in the store.

    Before 1987, you couldnt find Donruss at retail stores, at least not in my area so imagine how I felt when I walked into one of my candy stores and found packs at retail price. The problem? Well, I was punished and wasn't allowed to buy any cards.

    You know that "Angel" and "devil" on your shoulders gag with one telling you to do the right thing and not buy any while the other is telling you to buy it because they are impossible to find at retail prices.

    Well I bought packs and had to smuggle them home by hiding them in my jacket when I got home. I assume I obeyed my parents and didnt buy any Topps for that period but how could I refuse Donruss?

    I also recall buying a box of 1987 Donruss from two kids at a show and splitting it with a friend. On the way home, after the show ended, we opened the box and realized it was resealed with all the Rated Rookies and stars taken out. I think the only "good" card left in was a Kevin Mitchell because he didnt have his breakout year yet.

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    Senior Member olerud363's Avatar
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    Two of my fondest memories around '87 Topps are actually from 1990, since that's around when I started collecting. I recall bringing an 800-count box of 1990 Donruss dupes to a shop to sell. The owner offered me $8.50 in store credit so I looked through his singles and picked a 1987 Topps Bo Jackson Future Stars card, which had a price tag of exactly $8.50. Later that summer at a flea market I traded a seller an '87 Topps Will Clark straight up for a '90 Upper Deck John Olerud. Both were selling locally for about $5 apiece.

    Good times!

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    Featured Contributor
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    I *JUST* posted this on the Happy New Year thread, but thought it was applicable here too


    Tanner Jones, Author of Confessions of a Baseball Card Addict - Now Available on Amazon!
    For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23 - Questions about this? PM ME!

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