Mark and Donna Rubin, the long time owners of American Legends, a hobby shop in Scarsdale, NY, have been fortunate enough to uncover some great finds over the decades. Their latest discovery will melt the hearts of anyone who remembers the unique style of Topps cello packs in the early 1970s–or appreciates rare vintage material.
It’s a virtually untouched, complete box of 24 1971 Topps football 25-cent cellos from Series 1. While there are some unopened packs, I can’t recall ever seeing another. If others do exist, you can probably count them on a few fingers unless someone has quite a secret.
The unique style was only used by Topps for its baseball and football products in the early 70s. The cello-wrapped pack is encased by an outer box made of thin cardboard, creating ready-made storage for young collectors at the time.
American Legends bought the box from a non-collector who had it on a shelf in his warehouse, apparently since the time of issue. Beyond that, Mark Rubin told us the seller wanted to keep the details close to the vest, but the box obviously hasn’t done a lot of moving around. Both the display box and the packs inside appear virtually pristine with only a few scuff marks on the top of the outer box.
Even better? On the top of the packs are cards of Hall of Famers Johnny Unitas, Dick Butkus, Larry Csonka, Fran Tarkenton, Willie Lanier and Buck Buchanan.
A single graded 1971 football cello pack sold on eBay last year for $1,330 and others have sold for over $1,800.
Don’t reach for the phone, though. The market for vintage unopened continues to sizzle and Rubin says planning to hang onto the box –at least for the foreseeable future.
TriStar Productions has signed newly-minted Baseball Hall of Famer Larry Walker to an autograph deal. They’ll have a private autograph session with him in April and are taking mail-ins.
Hendrick Motorsports is changing the paint scheme of its number 24 car for this weekend’s NASCAR race to Lakers purple and gold in honor of Kobe Bryant. Some diecast cars have also been created and will be sold, with proceeds to benefit a charity close to the late superstar’s heart.
This weekend at Auto Club Speedway near Los Angeles, Axalta will remember the nine victims of the tragic Jan. 26 helicopter accident with the special one-race-only look on William Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE.
Collectible die-cast replicas of the car are available for pre-order at LionelRacing.com. In honor of all of the victims, Axalta will make a donation to After-School All-Stars, a non-profit organization where Bryant served as a National Ambassador.
— Axalta Racing (@AxaltaRacing) February 25, 2020
“We continue to pray for all of the families,” Byron said. “It’s humbling to be able to run such a special car, especially in the Los Angeles area. I’m a huge sports fan and followed Kobe’s career really closely like so many other people. He left a legacy that goes beyond basketball and has reached across all of the sports world and into many different communities where he gave back.”
The race will take place on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. EST on FOX.