Vintage Baseball Card Set of the Week: 1967 Topps

Any collector who has tried to tackle the 1967 Topps set feels like a pitcher can be excused for feeling like a fighter who’s just gone 12 rounds in a title bout.  With important rookie cards, scarce high numbers, a bucket full of Hall of Famers and a few variations for good measure, it’s a challenge…but a fun one for those who appreciate baseball history.

1967 Topps baseball packAt 609 cards, the ’67 set was Topps’ largest to date.  The cards measure the same as they had since Topps abandoned the oversize format after 1955 but the information on the back was done in a vertical style.  With black and white on a lighter color green, they were easy to read but also susceptible to showing wear.

The 1966 World Series champion Baltimore Orioles kicked off the set with Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson and Hank BRoger Maris 1967 Toppsauer featured on a card that read simply “The Champs”.  The first series also featured the final card in the career of Whitey Ford, who would retire that year because of an arm injury.  The trade of Roger Maris caught Topps a bit late in the process but they managed to show his new team, the Cardinals, on card #45.

Bob Priddy no trade statement 1967 ToppsVariations abound in this set.  Mike McCormick (#86) and Bob Priddy (#26) had been traded for each other in the off-season and after the presses began rolling, Topps added a line about the deal.  The first versions, without the ‘trade statement’ as it’s described on checklists, are harder to find.

On four other cards, #374 Mel Queen, #402 Phillies Rookies, #427 Ruben Gomez and #447 Bo Belinsky, a section of the printed statistics for each player all but disappeared from the back before the error was caught and corrected. The uncorrected versions are more expensive.

One quirk that sharp-eyed collectors will note is the absence of a facsimile autograph on the front of card #254, Milt Pappas.  All of the other individual cards in the set have one.

Mickey Mantle 1967 Topps PSA 10Rod Carew 1967 Topps #589The set is home to cards of several popular Hall of Famers and stars including Mickey Mantle (#150), Willie Mays (#200), Hank Aaron (#250), Roberto Clemente (#400) and Pete Rose (#430).  It’s the first year since 1955 not to contain a Sandy Koufax card as the Hall of Famer had retired after the ’66 season.  He does appear on League Leader cards, however.

The final series of 1967 Topps includes the two key rookie cards in the set:  #569 Rod Carew/Hank Allen and #581 Tom Seaver/Bill Denehy.  The Carew is a double print but still commands top dollar, especially in higher grades.  Seaver, who made his big league debut, is the costliest card at $900-$1200 or so for a NM/MT example.  Even an ungraded card in VG/EX condition will often cost collectors over $150.

However, there are other single-printed cards in the ‘high number’ series that are either popular or very hard to find including #600 Brooks Robinson and the final card in the series, #609 Tommy John.

Complete, near mint quality sets of 1967 Topps with key cards in high-grade, will often sell for $4,000 or more because of the Hall of Famers, rookie cards and single print high numbers. An ungraded set, described as nm/mt, sold for a best offer somewhere below the eBay seller’s $3799 asking price last week.

An average mid-grade  set can usually be found for $1,500-$2,000, depending on the condition of the more valuable cards.  “Master sets” which include variations will sell at a higher premium.

The 1967 Topps set is known for its crisp, clean photography and is considered by many to be the nicest set of the 1960s.  It’s also one of the most interesting.  See cards from the set on eBay here.