1983 Topps Baseball CardsBrand: Topps Baseball
Having lost their stranglehold on the baseball card market two years earlier, it was clear to Topps management that the new competition was not going away anytime soon. As a result, Topps began refocusing their efforts on building the best product on the market by using new layouts and designs, and exceptional photography. The 1983 Topps Baseball set is a great improvement over releases from preceding years. Often referred to as the circular portrait set, the layout includes two photos on the card front: an action shot that dominates most of the card landscape and a small head shot that sits in a circle in the lower left corner.
1983 Topps Baseball was produced just before the hobby's dreaded Junk Wax Era. While certainly not in short supply, the set hasn't suffered from massive over production. Distributed in wax, cello, and rack packs, as well as vending boxes, Topps also issued a factory set of the product available exclusively through the JC Penny catalog.
The 792-card 1983 Topps Baseball set has several key rookie cards, including those of future Hall of Fame inductees Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs, and Ryne Sandberg. Other notable rookie cards include Willie McGee and Frank Viola. Topps missed a golden opportunity to include late-season Yankees call-up, Don Mattingly. Despite playing seven games in 1982 and making the spring training roster as a highly touted prospect, the omission meant collectors had to wait another year.
With regards to the big three rookies of the set, Sandberg (#83), Gwynn (#482), and Boggs (#498), all have had thousands of cards submitted for grading. According to the 1983 Topps Baseball PSA population report, Gwynn has had more cards graded than both Sandberg and Boggs combined. Most of the graded cards rank PSA 7 and above.
Despite the many Gwynn cards submitted, less than 1.5% have received the coveted Gem Mint status. Compare this to 2.7% for Sandberg and 1.7% for Boggs and you can see that Gwynn is the toughest card to find in top condition. It's also why his card carries the highest premium and most value on the secondary market among 1983 Topps Baseball cards.