After producing several issues that included only a few dozen cards, Topps made a major push in the 1970s to increase the size of its hockey sets. Here’s a closer look at the 1974-75 Topps hockey issue that continued that model of growth.
1974-75 Topps Hockey Overview
At the start of the decade, Topps’ hockey sets consisted of 132 cards. That was double the size of what they’d been doing in the 1950s and early 60s. However, the 1970s saw the company continue to include more and more cards in their releases as the NHL expanded and the sport continued to gain in popularity in the United States. The ’74-75 set included cards for players on the newly-formed Washington Capitals and Kansas City Scouts (who later became the New Jersey Devils).
1972-73 saw the first jump to 176 cards and the set grew again the following year to 198. The 1974-75 Topps hockey set was the largest Topps release to date with a whopping 264 cards. Wax packs jumped from a dime to 15 cents each.
The design was clean and very modest. Measuring 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″, the card featured a color player image on the fronts with his name and team at the bottom. The left side of the card included a cartoon picture of a hockey stick and a simple team logo beneath it. One slight change from past years is that the player’s position was not included on the front.
The vertically-designed backs included the typical biographical and statistical information as well as the ever-popular Topps cartoon.
Subsets, Subsets, Subsets
Topps increased its set by more than 30% in 1974-75. To do that with a limited number of teams in the league, they needed to get creative. The biggest change was the inclusion of subsets.
A six-card League Leaders subset was the first thing in the issue and a Team Leaders subset was also scattered throughout the release. Next, seven cards were created as a recap of the playoffs (eight if you include the Stanley Cup Champions card). In addition, there was an 11-card subset featuring trophy and award winners and the popular All-Star subset with 12 cards was included.
Finally, Topps brought back cards of coaches. That addtion provided us with rookie cards of several memorable names, including the legendary Scotty Bowman (himself a noted collector of cards) and the colorful Don Cherry.
The set isn’t chock full of high-dollar cards but there are some important ones here. As he often did, Bobby Orr’s base card leads the way in the set. There aren’t any major rookie cards but those of Hall of Famers Denis Potvin, Lanny McDonald, and Börje Salming are key to the issue.
Orr’s All-Star, League Leaders and Norris Trophy cards also carry relatively strong interest as do some of the other stars, such as Ken Dryden. Finally, you’ve also got those aforementioned coaching cards featuring Bowman and Cherry.
1974-75 Topps Hockey Prices
The 1974-75 Topps hockey set isn’t flashy neither is its price. The most expensive card is generally Orr’s No. 100 base issue with ungraded, very respectable examples usually available for under $30. Other stars and rookies, such as those listed above are in the same ballpark of about $15-$20, depending on condition.
Complete sets aren’t plentiful but not too hard to find and $200 will buy a pretty solid one.
You can see 1974-75 Topps hockey singles, lots and sets on eBay by clicking here.