At first glance, they look like the Kellogg’s baseball and football cards that were a breakfast table staple for 13 years. It would be understandable to see the 3-D look, the size and detailed backs, along with the roster of players on the checklist and think that they must have come out of a cereal box more than 40 years ago.
The 1979 and 1980 Stop ‘n Go football card sets were actually part of a promotion by a Texas based group of convenience stores.
The 2 1/8 x 3 ¼” cards were handed out to customers who bought a “Sno Float” or fountain drink. The first set, issued in 1979, had just 18 cards but Stop ‘n Go was going again in 1980, expanding the program to 48 NFL players.
The cards were printed by Xograph, a lenticular printing company that printed the three-dimensional style cards released by Topps and Kellogg’s throughout the 1970s and early 80s.
The 1979 Stop ‘n Go set includes 15 cards, topped by Walter Payton and Roger Staubach. Neither player was part of the checklist in 1980. Staubach hard retired after the 1979 season and there were no Bears issued at all in 1980. In fact, only 14 of the 32 NFL teams had a player included in the set.
While the two sets are quite similar, the 1980 set can be identified by the two stars that are on either side of the player’s name on the front of the cards. The 1979 set is almost exclusively comprised of head and shoulders posed images while the 1980 set includes a few more in-game images, albeit taken on the sidelines.
The backs can probably be filed under TMI; too much information. The company jammed career stats into the lower left, below a college bio on the left side of the card. Below the player’s basic info at the top are “Personal Info” and “Pro Honors” sections.
While the backs are chock full of everything you’d want to know about the player, you need a magnifying glass or really good vision to read them.
Since the cards were mostly distributed at stores located in the Southwest, the 1980 set was heavy on Texas players, with 14 of the 48 cards featuring Dallas Cowboys or Houston Oilers. Earl Campbell, then a major star, wasn’t included. Campbell was famously missing on Topps cards after 1979 as well.
The Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers were well represented, though, with five cards, including Joe Greene, Franco Harris, Mel Blount, Rocky Bleier and Jack Ham. Bleier and Ham were both in the 1979 set, but quarterback Terry Bradshaw is missing in both sets.
Other notables missing in the 1980 set include quarterbacks Dan Fouts and Ken Stabler, 1979 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Ottis Anderson and receiving leader Steve Largent.
Cards that include the Doty store name on the back are tougher to find and more expensive.
The 1979 Payton is by far the most valuable card in either set, just ahead of the Staubach, with Franco Harris and Joe Greene also jumping above common prices.
Complete 1979 sets aren’t common. One seller had a batch of them that were sold off not long ago, all at less than $100, but don’t be surprised if you have to pay a bit more.
The Steelers Hall of Famers, along with fellow Canton member Bob Griese are the most valuable cards in the ’80 set, but if you’re thinking about buying those, you might as well go for the full set, which can often be had for around $50.
The cards are fairly common in high grade, with more than half of those submitted having been graded at a Mint 9 or Gem Mint 10 level.
Over 1,000 1979 cards have been graded by PSA. There are no 10s of card #1, Gregg Bingham and only one of Robert Newhouse. PSA 9 copies of the 1979 Payton can run into the low three figures, with Staubach a bit less.
Herbert Scott and Jay Saldi have proven to be the toughest 10s to obtain in the 1980 set, with just a single copy of each on the PSA Population Report.