Topps continued production of its hockey cards in 1972. The 1972-73 Topps Hockey set included a few rookie cards, but the set was led by the usual collection of Hall of Famers along with an All-Star subset. Here’s a closer look at the issue more than 40 years later.
The 1972-73 Topps hockey card set was fairly typical for what Topps produced in both basketball and hockey during the early 1970s. The cards did, however, have a significantly different look from the previous year.
For the 1972-73 season, player photos on the front were encapsulated in a larger rounded rectangular shape instead of the oval used in the previous year. A brown border background also replaced the white version from 1971-72. And while only team names were at the top of the card, Topps added the player’s city and team name (i.e. Boston Bruins) down the left side. Finally, instead of being relegated to the lower left corner, player names were larger, running across the bottom horizontally.
Backs included the usual statistical and biographical information. In addition, there was a small cartoon on the back related to the player in question. Also, a small advertisement was below that, informing fans they should watch the NHL on NBC.
While some rookie cards were present, the overwhelming interest in the set is surrounding the Hall of Famers and stars. The legendary Bobby Hull (No. 100) leads the way but there is a collection of others as well. Some of the bigger names of interest include Ken Dryden, Guy Lafleur, Bobby Clarke, Tony Esposito, Jacques Plante, Marcel Dionne, and Phil Esposito.
Collectors should note that while the Lafleur card is not a rookie, it is his first Topps card. Lafleur’s true rookie card is found in the 1971-72 O-Pee-Chee set, but he was not included in Topps’ issue from that season.
In addition, there is a special All-Star subset giving collectors another chance at some big names. Among the key cards here are Bobby Hull, Orr, Esposito, Dryden, Esposito (Tony), and others. One point of interest here is that Hull has an All-Star card but not a regular base issue. Interestingly enough, Hull’s brother Dennis has a base card while his more popular sibling does not.
Finally, while not a star, the checklist card is considered a key to the set since many collectors marked them while assembling a set. In high grade, the checklist will bring a premium.
The 1972-73 Topps set isn’t known for its rookie cards but there are a few here. Leading the way are all-star goaltender Gilles Meloche and Jim Rutherford. Both players went on to major post-career success with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Meloche helped the team win three Stanley Cup titles as the goaltending coach and in 2016, Rutherford guided the team to another Stanley Cup title as general manager.
A handful of other rookies are also present. including Rene Robert, Bill Plager, and Phil Myer.
1972-73 Topps Hockey Prices
Overall, the 1972-73 Topps Hockey set is reasonably-priced since it doesn’t include any big ticket items. The prize of the set is the Orr card and that can be found in solid mid-grade condition starting at around $20-$25. Most ungraded commons go for $1-3. You can see cards, lots and sets available on eBay here.