Topps increased the size of its regular set in 1970, pushing out an unprecedented 720 cards. They also went big with a brand new set that was definitely different. The 1970 Topps Super baseball cards were just that–super sized in both dimension and thickness. The cards measured a whopping 3 1/8″ x 5 1/4″ and it took some pressure to crease these cardboard collectibles.
1970 Topps Supers came 24 packs to a box with two cards and a stick of gum in each pack. Considering the thickness of the cards, that’s about the best Topps could do. You’d have to put about six regular Topps cards in a stack to match the weight and feel of the Supers.
Your dime didn’t get you a huge bounty with this product but you had pretty good odds of landing at least one future Hall of Famer if you plunked down enough for a couple of packs. The set had most of the stars of the era. In fact, 17 of the 42 cards feature players who are enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame today. Mickey Mantle had retired but the set included Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, Bob Gibson, a young Johnny Bench and an aging but still dangerous Frank Robinson.
The cards are attractive, especially in higher grades. Despite the odd size and thickness, the colors are bold and striking. Topps tested a “Super” product in 1969, with borderless cards of a thicker weight but the cards were smaller in size than what Topps rolled out nationwide in 1970.
Putting a set of Supers together was a far less difficult task than completing the flagship set–and you didn’t have to wait for the next series to come out. With the odd size of the printers sheet, some players were short-printed and are more difficult to find today. Tops on that list is #38, Boog Powell, which sometimes sells for about three times the cost of the other seven single prints (Osteen #1, Bando #2, Seaver #5, Ollie Brown #36, Robinson #37, Willie Davis #39 and Billy Williams #40). Even a NM Powell, however, isn’t usually more than $30.
The size of the cards makes finding high-grade examples a challenge at times but seven members of PSA’s Set Registry have managed to complete sets with an overall rating of 9 or better. However, only 59 1970 Topps Supers have ever been rated 10. Only seven Osteen cards have been graded 9 with a few of the cards including Billy Williams and Luis Aparicio having mint quantities of fewer than 15.
Scuffing is a significant problem with the Super cards from 1970 and ’71 in both baseball and football and is responsible for many of the lower grades that are assigned.
Single commons can still be acquired for just a dollar or two with stars available at very reasonable cost unless they’re encapsulated in high-grade.
Complete, ungraded sets can be found for $150-$300 in EX or better condition. High-grade Hall of Famers can bring $100 and up. A PSA 9-rated Clemente sold at auction for $326 earlier this year.
You can see what’s available on eBay here.