Ripping A Pack Of 1980 Topps MLB Superstar Photo Cards

I pulled this unopened pack that had been waiting patiently for me for 35 years from a quarter box at the recent Atlanta area card show. I had never opened a pack of these 5x7 photo cards and after doing a little research on the product it is no surprise why. 

These cards were created by Topps as a test issue to check the interest level of over-sized photo cards of some of the best players in the majors. As you can see from the checklist for the set from the opposite side of the packaging there are 60 cards in the set with about 50% of the players actually qualifying as a "superstar."

I picked out this pack in particular because of the card on the back. No matter what else is in the pack getting a Nolan Ryan as one of the five cards makes it a winner.

You begin to understand that these might not have been a completed product when you take a look at the reverse side of each card. I imagine that a full statistical breakdown from each player would have been included on the back of each card once the set was completed. 

The next two cards feature Jack Clark and Darryl Porter who both have interesting facial hair...Clark with his near Wally Moon quality unibrow and Porter with his muttonchops and impressive mustache. 

Reading up on the set it seems that a handful of cards were printed far more often than other and Steve Garvey's card was one of those. The other more frequently printed cards include some of the key cards on the checklist including Mike Schmidt, Reggie Jackson, Rod Carew, George Brett, and Dave Parker. 

But as I mentioned at the beginning, the highlight of the pack is Nolan Ryan's card with what seems to be a slightly oversized Houston Astros cap that is sitting oddly on his head. Getting the old price guide out it also seems that Ryan's card is the most valuable in the set with a book value of about $4.00.


night owl said…
These were 100 percent awesome back when they came out. Glossy was all the rage, and I bought quite a few of these.

Sold them in a garage sale several years ago. Sorry I did. Had the Nolan Ryan and everything.
Anonymous said…
I'm a sucker for oversized cards and like Night Owl, I loved these when they came out. I still love them and recently kicked off an effort to complete my set.

Nolan Ryan's cap looks odd because it's airbrushed; Ryan had signed with the Astros in November, 1979.

I think that these airbrushings got done in the actual size of the card, and with a larger canvas to work with the artists were able to do a far better job than we're accustomed to.