MOST VALUABLE 1982 O-PEE-CHEE BASEBALL CARDS

The 1982 O-Pee-Chee baseball card set is considered one of the most iconic releases from the brand’s stellar run producing cardboard for Canadian collectors during the heyday of the hobby in the latter 20th century. While it lacks some of the truly iconic rookie cards from prior years that have achieved astronomically high values, the ‘82 OPC set still contains several key cards that any serious vintage collector seeks to this day. Let’s take an in-depth look at the five most valuable 1982 O-Pee-Chee baseball cards based on PSA 10 Gem Mint prices as of 2022.

Coming in at the #5 spot is the Cal Ripken Jr. card. While not his true rookie issue, Ripken’s eighth Topps card from 1981 famously captured him in the process of breaking Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played record. The ‘82 OPC version doesn’t carry that specific historic significance but it does reign as Ripken’s highest numbered card from his early Baltimore Orioles career before his ascension to stardom and eventual Hall of Fame induction. In Gem Mint PSA 10 condition, this Ripken averages between $850-1,000 due to his lasting popularity as one of the great iron men of baseball history.

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Taking the #4 position is another future Hall of Famer and Baltimore legend, Eddie Murray. Murray’s ‘82 OPC is his second year card produced after his truly iconic 1981 Topps rookie. Like Ripken, Murray etched out a surefire Cooperstown career primarily with the Orioles and is regarded as one of the best hitting first basemen ever. Also akin to Ripken, Murray retains a strong fanbase that gives this otherwise straightforward ‘82 OPC card a market value around $1,000-1,200 in top PSA 10 condition.

At #3 is an iconic Canadian star, pitching great Dave Stieb. As a native of Sarnia, Ontario who made his MLB debut in 1982 with the Toronto Blue Jays, Stieb’s lone OPC issue from that season understandably holds cache with collectors from north of the border. Only appearing in 39 career games over four seasons, Stieb is far from a household name. His status as one of the first notable Canadian players in Blue Jays history makes his ‘82 OPC among the most important cards for Jays aficionados. In top grade, it appreciates to $1,500-2,000 at auction.

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The runner-up in value terms is another Orioles legend, Hall of Famer Jim Palmer. Arguably the greatest right-handed pitcher of the 1970s, Palmer’s playing career was winding down by 1982 but he remained one of baseball’s biggest stars of the era. As his last OPC issue as an active player before ultimately retiring following the 1984 season, Palmer’s ‘82 card carries special significance. Even for a player of Palmer’s stature who has many valuable vintage cards across several brands and years, clean PSA 10 ‘82 OPC examples can command $2,000-2,500 on the market.

And coming in at #1 as the most prized 1982 O-Pee-Chee card is none other than the George Brett rookie. Like Palmer, Brett was already well established by 1982 after winning the 1980 AL batting title and MVP award. His 1975 Topps is widely considered one of the true Holy Grail cards of the hobby due to its scarcity, with PSA 10s selling for over $2 million in recent years. Brett’s true rookie card instead came in the 1974 OPC set – where he’s depicted in the iconic powder blue Royals road jersey. In PSA 10 condition, which is exceedingly rare for a card nearly 40 years old, Brett’s rookie consistently fetches $4,000-5,000 at auction. For dedicated OPC collectors, it reigns as the undisputed crown jewel of the entire 1982 set and one of the most essential investments any vintage baseball card portfolio.

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While the ‘82 OPC set lacks some of the true rookie cards from the brand’s earlier years in the 1970s that have achieved the ultra-high values like a Rodriguez or Murray PSA 10, it still contains several notable hall of famers and iconic players that maintain strong followings among collectors. From Ripken to Murray to Palmer to Brett, finding high quality examples of these key cards would anchor any vintage baseball collections. Though a step below its predecessors in overall card quality and classic rookies, the 1982 O-Pee-Chee release still produces some true heavy-hitters even 40 years later that maintain their relevancy among enthusiasts.

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