The 1967 Philadelphia football set was the company’s final season of featuring players from the NFL. In 1964, the Philadelphia Gum Company had wrested rights from Topps to print and sell cards with NFL players. Topps would be relegated to the upstart AFL
until 1968, when it regained the NFL rights and began issuing cards of players from both leagues.
1967 Philadelphia Football Basics
The ’67 Philly set was more distinctive than the first three years the product was issued. The main factor was the yellow border that framed the front of the card. The other three sets were way too similar. The 1967 cards came in six-card packs that sold for a nickel. There also were also 10-cent cello packs.
However, the 1967 set followed the same numbering pattern that had been in place since 1964. There are 198 cards in the set, with players grouped alphabetically by city and also by the player’s last name. Each team is represented by 10 players, a team photograph and a team logo card. Rounding out the set are two checklists, a card with referee signs (card No. 196, just like in 1966) and three play cards.
The only exception to the team photo is the expansion New Orleans Saints, who joined the NFL in 1967. Because there was no team photo available in time for Philadelphia’s printing deadlines, Philadelphia used a Saints helmet on the first (card No. 121) and last (No. 132) cards of the team. The backs of both cards list the names of players the Saints chose in the expansion draft. The back of card No. 132 is mistakenly numbered No. 121; the way to tell the difference is that card No. 121 has a larger Saints helmet.
The design of the 1967 set is relatively simple, with either a posed action shot, or a closer shot of the player (most of them are helmetless), although a few are shown wearing helmets; Johnny Unitas (card No. 23) is a key example. The player’s name, team and position appear in a solid-colored box across the bottom of the card. The distinctive NFL shield is featured in a top corner of the card.
Card backs use a brown-and-white color scheme. The left-hand part of the card features a scratch-off question about the player; on the right-hand side features the player’s name, vital statistics, his team and playing position, along with playing stats.
There are a few errors in this set, in addition to the Saints helmet cards. Card No. 14 is listed as Raymond Berry, but the photograph was that of Bob Boyd. Also, card No. 26 of Bears quarterback Rudy Bukich reads “Buckich” on the card back.
Key cards in the set include those of Bears linebacker Dick Butkus (No. 28) and teammate Gale Sayers (No. 35). Quarterbacks Unitas, Bart Starr, Don Meredith and Fran Tarkenton also are valuable parts of the set, along with tight end Mike Ditka.
Key rookies include current Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson (No. 8), when he played for the Atlanta Falcons. Others are Tommy Nobis (No. 7), Leroy Kelly (No. 43), Lee Roy Jordan (No. 54), Dan Reeves (No. 58), and Jackie Smith (No. 165).
The colored borders, card stock and inconsistent centering make collecting high-grade sets of ’67 Philly a real challenge. Ungraded sets in reasonably good condition can approach $1,000 but high-end sets can run into the thousands.
Of the 21,624 cards submitted to PSA for grading, only 58 have come back as gem mint. There are no PSA 10s of Sayers and only 37 that have been graded PSA 9. Unitas has two graded PSA 9 but none higher. Butkus also has no gem mint graded cards and just two PSA 9s. Finding higher graded Ditka cards are even tougher, as the highest submitted card comes in at PSA 8. There are only 38 of those.
You can see 1967 Philadelphia Football on eBay here.