There were two new NHL teams as a new decade dawned but the size of the 1970-71 Topps hockey set remained the same. Buffalo and Vancouver were the new teams but the established stars remained the focus.
Despite its relatively small size, the 132-card set includes plenty of interesting cards including several Hall of Famers and a couple of key rookie cards.
While Topps created oversized basketball cards in 1970-71, their hockey cards remained the traditional 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ size. Fronts featured a specific player along with a solid color background and background “spotlights.”
Player names and positions were displayed along the bottom just above team name, which were printed in large colored letters.
Backs were printed in blank ink against a green and white background. The reverse included background information on the player, their statistics, and a brief biography to go along with the card number and an image of a generic hockey player.
Topps printed cards of the league’s biggest stars within the 132-card set. None were bigger than the trio of Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, and Bobby Orr, so it’s no surprise that those three are among the key cards in the release.
However, plenty of other big name players are there as well. Also included were Phil Esposito, Stan Mikita, Jean Beliveau, Tim Horton, Bernie Parent, Johnny Bucyk, Gump Worsley, Rod Gilbert, Gerry Cheevers, and a host of others. Cheevers’ card can be particularly difficult to find in high-grade condition as it was the first in the entire set. That is evidenced by the PSA Population Report, which shows a total of only five PSA 9s and zero PSA 10s graded. No other card in the set has as few such issues with the exception of No. 128 Reg Fleming. Fleming also has only five graded PSA 9 examples and is without a single PSA 10.
Finally, while not a player, a key card in the set is No. 132, the checklist card. And as is the case with most vintage checklist cards, these can be harder to find in good condition and unmarked. Just as the Cheevers card is hard to find in high-grade condition, the checklist is practically as difficult to secure. According to that PSA Population Report, they have graded only six total PSA 9 and PSA 10 checklist cards.
Despite having only 132 cards, the 1970-71 Topps hockey card set includes a few key rookie cards. The two biggest are Hall of Famers Gil Perreault and Brad Park, but a few others exist as well. Also there is All-Star Wayne Cashman and Garnet Bailey, who won a pair of Stanley Cup titles and worked as a scout before he was later tragically killed in the September 11 attacks back in 2001.
1970-71 Topps Hockey Prices
1970-71 Topps cards aren’t too expensive as a whole.
The most expensive card in the set is that of Orr, the Hall of Famer. His vary depending upon condition, but nice mid-grade copies have sold for under $50 on eBay. NM/MT graded examples remain well under $200. The Gordie Howe (#29) is usually available for under $100, even in high grade while nicer unmarked checklists (#132) can sometimes provide a challenge.
Complete sets are available as well without too much trouble. They are available starting at around $250.
As you might expect, unopened product from the 1970-71 Topps hockey set is not easy to find. It does, however, occasionally surface. A few months ago, a single wax pack brought more than $350 at auction.
You can see 1970-71 Topps hockey cards on eBay by clicking here.