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Massive ’70s Find Hasn’t Dulled Appeal of 1964 Topps Giant All-Stars Set

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This is the 50th anniversary year for the 1964 Topps Giant Size All-Stars set which is the one of the most interesting sets of the modern era. Topps always 1964 Topps Giants boxtried to experiment with products of different types, some of which are now considered very rare “test sets’ such as 1961 Topps Dice Game and some of which ended up being produced in enough quantity so they gained permanent acceptance into the hobby. The Giants set turned out to be one of the latter.

The 60-card set, with cards slightly taller and skinner than a postcard, featured most of the leading stars of the day and are still available in reasonably large quantities to this day.

Unopened 1964 Topps Giants packThe 1964 Topps Giants measure 3 1/8” by 5 ¼” and have beautiful full color poses on the front.  The backs feature a newspaper-style write-up, complete with black and white photo, highlighting a moment from that player’s career.  They are numbered on the back.  Of the 60 cards, 18 players were eventually elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

They were originally sold in three card packs with a stick of gum for a nickel per pack.  There were 24 packs inside the display box, which featured Whitey Ford on the cover.  What few packs survive today are highly sought after. Baseball Card Exchange has one for $400.

Considering the quality of the cards, the quality of the checklist and their age, you would think the set would be very expensive.  However, about 40 years ago, Merv Williams, a noted West Coast dealer discovered a large hoard of ’64 Giants and ever since there has always been enough of these cards to satisfy the hobby.   One of my old dealer friends recently showed me a huge box of cards, all of which were Mickey Mantle.  They weren’t perfectly centered but the stack was astonishing. He had sent in the better condition cards for grading but still had a huge stack available. That is actually fairly typical of many dealers whose inventories go back to the 1970’s.  It’s believed the cards were found without packaging since so few wrappers and packs have survived to this day.

Willie Mays 1964 Topps Giants1964 Topps Giants Sandy Koufax PSA 9Another interesting aspect is the seven shorter printed cards. For whatever reason (and I’d love to see an uncut sheet), these seven cards are significantly more difficult and the key cards in that realm are the Sandy Koufax and Willie Mays cards. There seems to be no rhyme or reason for why those seven are more difficult.  The other five short prints are Bob Friend, Dick Stuart, Wayne Causey, Galen Cisco and Moose Skowron.

The other part to remember is because of the size of the ’64 Giants, keeping them in good condition can be a little bit more difficult. Thankfully there are plenty of top loaders and sleeves to help in that regard now and, of course, you can have your high end examples graded.

Many have survived in great shape in large part because of the huge find decades ago but centering can be an issue.  On the PSA Set Registry, eight collectors have sets listed which have a GPA of 9 (mint) or better.  One collector is fewer than ten cards from having a set that is graded entirely PSA 10.  While even most high grade stars aren’t as expensive as the regular issue Topps cards from 1964, a PSA 9 Koufax recently sold for over $1,400.

Complete, ungraded sets of good quality can usually be purchased for under $300.

On eBay, there are presently several hundred singles, both graded and ungraded, lots and sets available.  See them by clicking here.  A full checklist is below.

Do any of our readers remember opening these packs at any time or dealing with other ways of getting the 1964 Topps Giants? We’d love to hear your stories.

1 – Gary Peters

2 – Ken Johnson

3 – Sandy Koufax SP

4 – Bob Bailey

5 – Milt Pappas

6 – Ron Hunt

7 – Whitey Ford

8 – Roy McMillan

9 – Rocky Colavito

10 – Jim Bunning

1964 Topps Giants Mickey Mantle Aaron64 Spahn6411 – Roberto Clemente

12 – Al Kaline

13 – Nellie Fox

14 – Tony Gonzalez

15 – Jim Gentile

16 – Dean Chance

17 – Dick Ellsworth

18 – Jim Fregosi

19 – Dick Groat

20 – Chuck Hinton

21 – Elston Howard

22 – Dick Farrell

23 – Albie Pearson

24 – Frank Howard

25 – Mickey Mantle

26 – Joe Torre

27 –Ed Brinkman

28 – Bob Friend SP

29 – Frank Robinson

30 – Bill Freehan

31 – Warren Spahn

32 – Camilo Pascual

33 – Pete Ward

34 – Jim Maloney

35 – Dave Wickersham

36 – Johnny Callison

37 – Juan Marichal

38 – Harmon Killebrew

39 – Luis Aparicio

40 – Dick Radatz

41 – Bob Gibson

42 – Dick Stuart SP

43 – Tommy Davis

44 – Tony Oliva

45 – Wayne Causey SP

46 – Max Alvis

47 – Galen Cisco SP

48 – Carl Yastrzemski

49 – Hank Aaron

50 – Brooks Robinson

51 – Willie Mays SP

52 – Billy Williams

53 – Juan Pizarro

54 – Leon Wagner

55 – Orlando Cepeda

56 – Vada Pinson

57 – Ken Boyer

58 – Ron Santo

59 – John Romano

60 – Bill Skowron SP

About Rich Klein

Rich Klein has spent almost his entire life collecting baseball cards having begun at the tender age of seven. He has spent more than three decades in the organized hobby including editing the first 12 editions of the Beckett Almanac of Baseball Card and Collectibles. He lives in Plano, TX along with his wife Dena and their two dogs. You can reach him at [email protected].

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