Collectors have been complaining for several years that Topps' white borders were getting a little monotonous. They seem to have addressed that with the 2015 issue, but they're still not as splashy as what emerged from packs 39 years ago.
It cost a little more to buy baseball card packs in 1975. Topps raised the price by a nickel—all the way to 15 cents. It probably didn’t make youngsters happy but the new design probably turned some heads. After two years of white bordered cards that came across rather plain, Topps brought out every color in the rainbow for ’75. The two-color borders were a one-year wonder as Topps returned to white for 12 more years.
Our Vintage Set of the Week turned out to be one of the best issues for rookie cards ever made. George Brett and Robin Yount had cards all to themselves while the Red Sox dynamic duo of Jim Rice and Fred Lynn, Montreal catcher Gary Carter and Cardinals’ first baseman Keith Hernandez were part of four player rookie cards. Today, Brett and Yount are two of the most valuable rookie cards of the entire decade.
Topps again went with a 660-card set, all issued in one series. The set began with seven season highlight cards. Card #1 commemorated Hank Aaron’s new career home run mark that had been set in April of 1974. Aaron had been traded to Milwaukee at the end of the 1974 season, enabling him to serve as a designated hitter in the city where his career began two decades earlier. Aaron bookends the set, with his regular issue Topps card inserted as card #660.
On its 36-pack wax boxes, Topps touted a special MVP subset, depicting players who had won the award in both leagues from 1951-1974 and the Topps cards they appeared on in that season. Playoff and World Series cards offering a look back at the ’74 playoffs are included as well as cards for each team.
In addition to those mentioned above, the set includes numerous Hall of Famers including early issues of Mike Schmidt and Dave Winfield. It also contains the last card for slugger Harmon Killebrew.
The set suffers from some built-in condition issues because of poor cuts from the printing process, print dots and the natural wear that comes with the colored borders. Despite relatively strong availability, mint graded 1975 Topps cards often bring a premium. NM/MT sets sell for $600-1,000 with graded sets bringing much more.
About 30 years ago, there was a find of dozens of rack pack cases by Alan ‘Mr. Mint’ Rosen, who bought them and then brought them to market, selling rack packs and opening boxes to put together high quality sets he sold to collectors. Late last year, an unopened cello case sold for $66,000 via Collect Auctions.
NM/MT graded examples of Brett’s rookie card typically sell for around $400 with 9’s selling for $1,500-$1,700 and prices have been on the rise for cards graded at the highest levels. A PSA Gem Mint 10 #228 Brett sold for $20,315 earlier this year.
The Vintage Baseball Card Set of the Week will go inside a pre-1981 issue with facts and insight. The series is sponsored by Sean Bassik Cards, one of the country’s top buyers of vintage baseball and sports cards. If you’d like to sell your old cards, contact them via their website or by phone at (844) 227-4001.
For vintage set breaks featuring hundreds of cards for sale each week on eBay, click here.