PSA Set Registry Starter Kit: Wade Boggs4 min read


In this series, we focus on sets from across sports and non-sports that are easy to build and won’t necessarily break the bank to acquire. Set Registry Starter Kit features sets that can appeal to seasoned hobbyists looking to expand their collections or novice collectors getting their feet wet.

Collecting 35-year-old baseball cards might seem like a daunting task, but it’s not. And you know it. There are plenty of ways to find the cards, whether you’re looking on eBay, visiting hobby shops or perusing dealer tables at industry trade shows. Furthermore, when you narrow your search to a single player’s collection of rookie cards, the pursuit takes on even more meaning. In this case, let’s focus on one of the American League’s most consistent batters in history: Wade Boggs.

A longtime starting third baseman for the Boston Red Sox (1982 to ’92), Boggs claimed five batting titles during his time wearing red socks in Beantown before jumping ship to spend five seasons with the arch rival Bronx Bombers. A career .328 batter, Boggs closed out his big-league days with two seasons in Tampa Bay playing for the then-Devil Rays (now they’re just the “Rays”) during which time he became the 23rd player in history to reach the 3,000-hit plateau. In fact, he is the first member of the elite club to launch a home run for hit No. 3,000. The superstitious hitter who seemingly dined on chicken every night was inducted into Cooperstown in 2005.

Let’s take a gander at the sweet-swinging, left-handed hitter’s trio of rookie cards.

1983 Topps #498 Wade Boggs

  • PSA Population: 2,344 Mint 9 | 327 Gem Mint 10
  • Average Cost for PSA Gem Mint 10: $450
  • Average Cost for PSA Mint 9: $40

See summary prices by grade.

The first Topps issue featuring Boston’s bat-man appeared in the card manufacturer’s 792-card 1983 set. Gracing card #498, Boggs would quickly become a fixture in the Red Sox’s lineup and the issue soon became his most sought-after rookie release. Some of its popularity can be attributed to the card’s superior design when compared to its Fleer and Donruss counterparts as the Topps’ effort features an in-action pose of the player accompanied by a small head-and-shoulders portrait in the bottom right corner. Boggs is shown on the base paths as well as up-close-and-personal, brandishing his weapon of choice. Another draw is its relative scarcity (327) in PSA Gem Mint 10 condition.















1983 Fleer #179 Wade Boggs

  • PSA Population: 2,418 Mint 9 | 557 Gem Mint 10
  • Average Cost for PSA Gem Mint 10: $40
  • Average Cost for PSA Mint 9: $10

See summary prices by grade.

The 1983 Fleer rookie card of Boggs shows him in the customary bat-resting-on-shoulder pose sporting a nice smile with a thick mustache. While it’s a clean design covering all the basics (player name, position and team logo), it’s easily one of the more affordable RCs from this era at just $40 in PSA Gem Mint 10 condition with 557 copies recorded in the PSA Population Report so far. Its vivid, light borders are somewhat forgiving when it comes to chipping. The 660-card 1983 Fleer Baseball release is anchored by the rookie cards of future Hall of Famers Tony Gwynn (#360), Ryne Sandberg (#507) and, of course, Boggs (#179). In fact, Boggs and Sandberg were inducted into Cooperstown together in 2005, followed two years later by the late Gwynn.








1983 Donruss #586 Wade Boggs

  • PSA Population: 2,030 Mint 9 | 1,028 Gem Mint 10
  • Average Cost for PSA Gem Mint 10: $40
  • Average Cost for PSA Mint 9: $10

See summary prices by grade.

If scarcity drives value, the 1983 Donruss #586 Wade Boggs rookie card will not be high on the list. That’s because more than 1,000 of the cards (1,028 to be exact) have already been graded in PSA Gem Mint 10 condition and so it remains the most affordable of all three Boggs RCs. Its design is unique as it has the Red Sox batter following through on a swing at the plate at Fenway Park with a cool bat-and-glove feature at the bottom of the card front. Its white borders keep your eyes on the prize and, naturally, it remains one of the top four rookie cards in the set alongside Sandberg (#277), Gwynn (#598) and Julio Franco (#525). Still, since so many highly graded copies of the Donruss rookie card exist, it just can’t compare to its corresponding Topps peer.

Combine the overall purchase price of all three of Boggs’ rookie cards in PSA Gem Mint 10 condition and your total comes to $530, with the front-running Topps issue accounting for almost 85% of the pie. And to take it a step further on the affordability scale, if you ponied up for all three rookie cards in PSA Mint 9 condition, your total spend would be just $60! That’s what I call a very reasonable buy-in for a first-ballot Hall of Famer who treated the Fenway Faithful to some of the greatest hitting exploits since Teddy Ballgame!

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Posted by Terry Melia

Terry Melia is a hobby veteran who has served in various PR, marketing and content roles for industry movers and shakers including The Upper Deck Company and SCP Auctions and is currently working as PSA's Public Relations and Content Specialist.

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