How To Spot A Fake Rickey Henderson 1980 Topps #482 Rookie Card

The 1980 Topps Baseball set comes in at a whopping (726) cards.  Its a fairly memorable set too considering in 1981 Fleer and Donruss joined the licensed baseball card party.  Out of those (726) cards, one rises above them all.  I’m talking about #482.  The Rickey Henderson rookie card.

Rickey Henderson is a hot dog, base stealing legend, who made it into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.  He made his major league debut with the Oakland Athletics in 1979, and wrapped-up his playing career in 2003 in a Dodgers uniform.  Its absolutely amazing how long his career lasted.

Rickey Henderson was a fast runner, and stole a ton of bases.  But his 1980 Topps #482 rookie card couldn’t outrun the counterfeiters.  As Rickey’s star began to rise, his rookie card increased in value.  That price increase attracted lots of counterfeits to enter the market.

A large number of counterfeit Rickey Henderson 1980 Topps #482 rookie cards have these qualities:

  • Rickey Henderson’s name on the front will feature many small dots in the print pattern.  On authentic examples, the name should be in solid black.  No dots.
  • Counterfeits have been known to have a green and white dot pattern in the background of the A’s logo on the front.  The background should be solid green.
  • The circle around the copyright logo © on the back tends to be broken and incomplete on counterfeit copies.
  • Bright vibrant colors on the yellow and green, perfect centering, and the card’s thickness can all be giveaways of a counterfeit.  If possible, try to compare it to another Oakland A’s card from the 1980 Topps set.

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Product Highlight: 1980 Topps Pepsi

You could be the most die-hard Coca-Cola fan in the world, but if you came across one of these cards while rummaging through a dollar box you’d be excited.  Selling baseball cards with food and beverage products has been a standard since this industry began.  In 1980, this was far from a new practice.  At one point in 1980 Pepsi obviously wanted to use a set of baseball cards for a promotion.  They approached Topps who happily designed a 22-card set for them.  The complete checklist includes:

  • Ron Guidry
  • Ted Simmons
  • Rod Carew
  • George Foster
  • Rich Gossage
  • Dave Parker
  • Paul Molitor
  • Bruce Sutter
  • Gary Templeton
  • Dave Lopes
  • Mike Schmidt
  • Jim Sundberg
  • Ken Landreaux
  • J.R. Richard
  • Robin Yount
  • Steve Carlton
  • George Brett
  • Fred Lynn
  • Reggie Jackson
  • Dave Winfield
  • Keith Hernandez
  • Jim Palmer

Now if everything went as planned this set probably wouldn’t get a second look today.  But the deal fell through.  What few cards were printed up for Pepsi never made it out in the traditional manner they were meant for.  Supposedly three years later in 1983 an uncut sheet popped-up.  The cards were cutup and sold through an ad in Sports Collectors Digest.

Not much more was heard of these cards until 2005.  That’s when The Topps Vault sold a set.  In 2011 Topps auctioned off a uncut sheet during the National Sports Collectors Convention.

Only three sheets of cards were originally printed.  All of which have found their way out and into the hands of collectors.  Single cards are extremely rare.  A Paul Molitor #2 recently sold for $1,500.  Test Proofs were also sold through The Topps Vault.

Its too bad Rickey Henderson wasn’t included in this unused promotion.  That would’ve made for quite the rare rookie card.

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