The recent sale of a 1948 Bowman basketball wax pack proved again how difficult it is to find such improbable relics and how much demand there is when they do come on the market. It stands to reason, of course, that not all that many packs from the pre-1970s era are still out there in unopened form. All it takes is a check of YouTube to see that collectors are ripping more of them by the day.
Collectors are buying them from reputable online sources like Baseball Card Exchange and hanging onto them, too. It's one area of the hobby where demand almost always outstrips supply.
A search of eBay reveals over 3000 listings for 'unopened packs' but precious that could be described as hard to find. Recent sales have included a 1960 Topps cello pack with Roberto Clemente showing, graded 7 by GAI, that brought $800 on August 15. Beyond that, only onea couple of other 1950s packs were sold; a 1959 unopened cello, also graded GAI 7, that sold for a relatively tame $418 and a 1959 Topps penny pack that brought $306. A 1967 Topps baseball wax pack brought $398 with an 8.5 grade.
1986-87 Fleer basketball packs are among the most popular--and pricey--online. If you were willing to go high grade, a GAI 10 pack sold for $455 recently, while a '9' brought $345. In fact, 1980s packs from issues that hold the decade's top rookie cards are among the most active in the market.
A 1981 Topps football cello box (Joe Montana rookie year) sold for $399 this month, an '81 cello box went for $361 and a 1984 Topps football (Elway, Marino, Dickerson) ended at $365.
Among the most expensive packs offered? A 1959-60 Parkhurst hockey ($4999) and a 1955 Topps baseball one-cent pack ($1999).