The 1979 Topps baseball card set is a beloved issue among collectors due to its memorable rookie cards and stars of the late 1970s. Understanding the prices and demand for different 1979 Topps cards can help collectors complete their set or discover valuable sleepers. Let’s take a deeper look at the 1979 Topps baseball cards price guide and valuation trends over the past few decades.

The 1979 Topps set includes 792 total cards (660 regular issue cards and 132 insert/special cards). Some of the notable rookies that debuted in the 1979 set include Don Mattingly, Dave Righetti, Pete Vuckovich, and Gary Ward. Top stars featured on cards include Nolan Ryan, Robin Yount, Rod Carew, Pete Rose, Steve Garvey, George Brett, and Reggie Jackson.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, 1979 Topps cards had relatively low values as the 1979 set was one of the most highly produced issues of the 1970s. Common star and rookie cards could usually be acquired for a few cents to a quarter in good condition. The glut of supply kept prices stable even as the collecting hobby boomed.


It wasn’t until the early/mid-1990s that values for the 1979 Topps set started appreciating more significantly. This was partly fueled by collectors who grew up in the late 1970s/early 1980s now having increased disposable income as adults. Robust bidding wars emerged for the most coveted rookie cards like Mattingly (#374), Righetti (#663), and Vuckovich (#686). Near-mint copies of these rookie gems started commanding $5-10.

In the late 1990s, with the sports card market at a fever pitch, values skyrocketed. The Mattingly, Righetti, and Vuckovich rookies exploded to $25-50 in top-graded gem mint (MT-10) condition. Icon star cards like Ryan (#280), Yount (#492), Carew (#73), Brett (#569), Rose (#455) also jumped above $10-15. The 1979 set started to be viewed as a classic vintage issue from the hobby’s early years.


After the sports card speculative bubble burst in the early-mid 2000s, 1979 Topps prices stabilized at slightly lower levels than late 1990s peaks. The Mattingly, Righetti, Vuckovich “big three” settled in the $15-30 range graded gem mint. Star cards held steady around $5-10. The 1979 set maintained its collector popularity and demand floor.

Since the 2010s, values have appreciated steadily once again as the 1979 issue enjoys 40+ years of nostalgia and collecting interest. The cream of the crop rookie gems now command $40-75 in top-graded MT-10 condition on the open market. Star cards have doubled in price ranges compared to late 2000s levels. Even mid-level stars crack $15-25 graded mint.

The 1979 Topps set is superbly represented on the major third-party grading services like PSA and BGS as well. Higher official PSA/BGS population reports preserve value. Specimen graded copies are prized by aficionados for each player.


Here are some price points collectors can expect to find for 1979 Topps cards on the secondary market today:

Mattingly, Righetti, Vuckovich rookies PSA 10 – $40-75
Other top rookie PSA 8/9 – $15-30
Nolan Ryan PSA 8 – $15-25
George Brett PSA 9 – $20-30
Reggie Jackson PSA 8 – $10-15
Steve Garvey PSA 9 – $7-12
Pete Rose PSA 8 – $10-15
Robin Yount PSA 9 – $15-25
Rod Carew PSA 8 – $8-12
Common stars PSA 8 – $5-10
Common players PSA 8 – $2-5

Understanding the increasing values, larger populations, and rich history of star power within the 1979 Topps issue can help any collector shape a smart long-term vintage baseball card portfolio. This classic 1970s flagship set still has plenty of room for appreciation in the decades ahead.

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