1982 KMART BASEBALL CARDS PSA

The 1982 Kmart baseball card set was unique for a few key reasons. It was one of the few major supermarket/retailer exclusive card sets released during the heyday of the 1980s baseball card boom. Most kids who collected cards in the early 80s remember the ubiquitous packs available at places like Kmart, Walmart, and other big box stores. The offerings were usually just the standard Topps, Donruss, or Fleer sets.

Kmart took the initiative in 1982 to produce their very own 198 card baseball card set exclusively for customers to find in their stores. The design was a basic white border with team logo in the upper left. The photography and production quality was on par with the big three trading card manufacturers of the time. Each pack contained 5 cards and retailed for just 49 cents.

While the set had no major stars on the cover, it did include rookie cards for future stars like Wade Boggs, Will Clark, and Oddibe McDowell. The CHECKLIST card was number 198 and listed all players included in the set. Ranging from superstars like Mike Schmidt and Nolan Ryan all the way down to obscure minor leaguers, the Kmart set aimed to be as inclusive as possible.

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In the decades since, the 1982 Kmart issue has taken on cult status with vintage baseball card collectors. While production numbers were high considering it was sold exclusively through Kmart’s vast stores, the scrapbook nature of 80s kids means many of the cards were lost, damaged or just forgotten about over time. Grading giant PSA has certified thousands of the cards over the years in their quest to accurately document and preserve the set. Here are a few key things to know about 1982 Kmart baseball cards graded by PSA:

Rookie cards for future stars like Wade Boggs, Will Clark and Oddibe McDowell are among the most popular submissions from the set. Clark and Boggs rookies in PSA 10 gem mint can fetch $500-1000 raw.

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Common stars of the era like Mike Schmidt, Nolan Ryan, and Eddie Murray can still earn mid-double digit raw prices in PSA 10 condition due to the set’s scarcity and cult status.

Key reverse variations exist, most notably #25 Buddy Bell has a Kansas City Royals team logo variation that is much rarer. A PSA 10 of this reverse variation sold in early 2021 for $2750 raw on eBay.

Due to the pack- pulled nature of most 1982 Kmart cards, high grades above PSA 8 are difficult to obtain. The overall population report shows just 193 PSA 10s out of nearly 10,000 gradeable examples submitted over the last 20+ years.

Lower numbered cards seem to grade slightly better on average, likely because they were closer to the front of the packs. #1 Wade Boggs has 4 PSA 10s population while #176 Jerry Don Gleaton has none.

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Error cards also pop up infrequently like #84 Greg Minton missing the Brewers logo box that has brought over $1000 raw in PSA 10 condition.

The shiny 1980s Topps/Donruss photography tends to show signs of wear quicker than other brands. As a result, pristine PSA/BGS/SGC gem mint 10s from Kmart are a real find due to the set’s distribution method.

The 1982 Kmart issue paved the way for future exclusive retailer/grocery store sets of the bubble era. While the mass production hurts gem mint chances, high grade examples of stars, rookies and errors continue to excite collectors three decades later. Getting cards graded at PSA helps authenticate and document this unique release for years of enjoyment and posterity. With an underrated design and plentiful rookie content, 1982 Kmart cards have gained a loyal cult following among vintage card aficionados.

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