1988 Topps was one of the most over-supplied and under-demanded sets ever. Beckett says you can probably buy a complete set of it for as low as $6. At the 1988 price of 40¢ a pack and 36 packs in a wax box, a wax box should be at least $15 each. However, I bought mine for under $10 after shipping costs. This set has actually devalued over 20 years.
Here’s what it says on the box:
1988 Topps Baseball. The Real One! Bubble Gum Cards.
Gum ingredients: dextrose, corn syrup, gum base, softeners, natural & artificial flavors, artificial colors, & BHT (to maintain freshness)
SAVE THIS BOX!
Attention Retailer: There are 4 of a Limited Edition of 16 exclusive Baseball Cards printed on the bottom of this box (inside & out). Stock Topps Baseball Cards and collect the full Set; or save them for your customers who collect Limited Edition Sets.
Set #1: A. Don Baylor B. Steve Bedrosian C. Juan Beniquez D. Bob Boone
Set #2: E. Darrell Evans F. Tony Gwynn G. John Kruk H. Marvell Wynne
Set #3: I. Joe Carter J. Eric Davis K. Howard Johnson L. Darryl Strawberry
Set #4: M. Rickey Henderson N. Nolan Ryan O. Mike Schmidt P. Kent Tekulve
EXCLUSIVE CARDS ON BOX BOTTOM!
The gum ingredients are surprisingly simple. Dextrose, corn syrup, and gum base seem harmless enough. “Softeners” sounds kind of scary. “artificial flavors” means it’s made from something that’s normally not considered food. Given that the gum is pink and it contains “artificial flavors”, I wonder if it has any cochineal in it (it’s a common red food coloring made of ground up bugs)? Then finally, 80′s Topps gum has BHT, a chemical associated with causing hyperactivity in children. Yum.
Like many other 1980′s Topps wax boxes, the bottom has four limited edition baseball cards that you can cut out. Honestly, I’m not aware of anyone who collects these.
As for the cards themselves, 1988 topps is chock full of error cards. The most popular ones are Mark McGwire, Eddie Murray, Al Leiter, and Keith Comstock. Key rookies include Matt Williams, Ken Caminiti, and Tom Glavine. Some other key cards in this set include Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Nolan Ryan, Greg Maddux, and Mark McGwire.