After a decade’s worth of competition for players and dollars, the NFL and AFL had buried the hatchet and begun the process of becoming one united pro football league as boxes of 1970 Topps football cards began hitting shelves in late summer.
Topps continued to enjoy a monopoly, having won back the NFL license from Philadelphia Gum a few years earlier. The company dutifully cranked out another 263-card, two series set that included what was once one of the sport’s most iconic rookie cards (the good vibe around O.J. would be long gone 25 years later).
This week’s Vintage Pack Facts from VintageBreaks.com looks at the issue that kicked off a new decade—and a new era.
- For the second straight year, Topps used the two series, 263-card format for its set. The second series cards seem to be a little harder to find than the first.
- While there aren’t a lot of household name rookie cards beyond O.J., the set does have some others, notably Alan Page, Harold Jackson, Bubba Smith, Larry Brown and Lem Barney.
- About one in every five or six cards in the set is a Hall of Famer.
- Cards were sold in wax packs (10 cards for a dime); cello packs (30 cards for a quarter) and rack packs, which always provided the best deal (if you could afford one) at 54 cards for 39 cents with the option to see at least six of the cards you would be buying. Wax and cello boxes included 24 packs.
- As part of a three-year experiment by Topps, the company put its football and baseball cello packs inside a cardboard outer box with a ‘window’ to show you the player on the front.
Second series wax packs included one of the best-looking insert sets ever made: the ‘Super Glossy’ issue Topps had tested with an extremely limited baseball run in 1969. The ’70 football was bolder, more colorful and included numerous Hall of Famers. First series wax packs included a much less desirable poster set that wasn’t based on photos but crude artwork of a generic sort.
- Vintage Breaks is currently offering a 1970 Topps football 2nd series cello break at $65 per spot.
You can watch a 1st Series Topps 1970 football cello break from a September airing of the Vintage Breaks/PSA show below: