The Sealed Report is a bi-monthly overview of the market for unopened sports packs and boxes. Long-time industry pro Leighton Sheldon of Vintage Breaks and Just Collect will provide insight on what’s hot and what’s not, highlight recent sales of unopened product and tips on participating in one of the hobby’s hottest and most popular realms.
Were you surprised by the future Hall of Famer that hit the COLD product list on the previous edition of The Sealed Report? Get ready for another shock in the wax market; I’m about to double down on a surefire HOF’er being ice cold. With both the NBA in action now and the World Series wrapping up, interest in the two sports is UP – but it’s not for the players you’ve been watching.
Vintage is where it’s at for NBA wax right now. I’ve mentioned before how current basketball wax is cold for a myriad of reasons. The 2020-21 NBA rookie class wasn’t as good as the 2019-20 class, which kept wax prices lower in comparison, and we haven’t really seen much of what the latest draft class can do yet. Rather than gambling on wax with Cade Cunningham and company yet, a hot product with collectors right now is the super rare 1969-70 Topps Basketball.
It’s the set that brought basketball cards back after a 12-season absence. There are 99 cards in this “tall boy” set. Similar to the 1965 Topps Football offering, the ’69-70 Topps basketball cards measure 2-1/2” by 4-11/16” rather than the typical standard size of 2½” x 3½.” The star power in the set is off the charts with legends like Oscar Robertson, Wilt Chamberlain, Walt Fraizer, and more. The big card, of course, is the rookie of Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). You’re looking at a small set with big stars, all of which have stats that won’t change – no gambling on rookies here.
In May of 2002, an original, 10 cent pack, set you back around $800. At that cost, a full box of 24 packs would have been around $19,200. Fast forward to March of 2021 and just one pack– with Alcindor on the back– sold for $19,200. A full box that carries 24 packs hit the auction block at Heritage in August this year and the hammer price was $276,000. In two decades, the price jumped around a quarter million! I had the pleasure of opening a sealed pack myself at the National this year; check out the video here.
1970 Topps Baseball is also on this month’s hot list. MVP frontrunners, Shoei Ohtani and Vladimir Guerrero Jr didn’t make the playoffs in the AL, and neither did possible NL MVPs with Bryce Harper and Fernando Tatis Jr. Mike Trout may never win a World Series. Collectors recently drove their purchases down the vintage road and pulled off on I-1970.
The 720-card set list includes Thurman Munson’s rookie card, and early cards of legends like Reggie Jackson, Tom Seaver, and Nolan Ryan. The set was released in seven series with the last two series (6 = cards #547-633, and 7= cards #634-720) rarer than the earlier series wax. Collectors at that point were more focused on the new football cards that were arriving. The later series holds gems, too. Series 6 is where you’d find Pete Rose and Willie Mays while Nolan Ryan and Johnny Bench are in Series 7.
Time travel back to 2003 at Leland’s and a wax box of 24 packs of Series 5, 6, and 7, was just around $11,300. In 2019, Mile High Card Company had a box of ONLY the 4th series for just over $28,800. In 2020, Heritage had a box of Series 1 and Series 2, 24 packs, reach $39,600. Single packs are available on eBay, too. Currently a PSA-graded pack is at a $1,099 asking price here. If you like cello packs, we have an article with very useful pack facts for you here.
2005 Football products. Aaron Rodgers is going to the Hall of Fame. There’s no doubt about that but some of his antics this year have rubbed a few people the wrong way. Or, maybe it’s the fact that a second Super Bowl has been elusive for the 37-year-old superstar and collectors are taking a “wait and see” approach.
Now, Rodgers could very well win a ring this season, pull a Tom Brady and go win a title for another team. However, right now a sealed wax box of 36 packs of 2005 Topps that produced his rookie card can be purchased for about $400 on average. Here is a box that sold for $429.99 earlier this month. You can pick up this jumbo box of 24 packs right now for $399.99. Not a lot of love right now for a guy that just won his third MVP award and has a shot at another deep playoff run. Maybe those boxes will turn out to be bargains but you’d think with the Packers humming along as the NFL’s hottest team there would be more interest.
NOTABLE AUCTION RESULTS
* 2003/04 Upper Deck Basketball “Exquisite Collection” Factory Sealed Unopened Hobby Case (3 Boxes) $996,300 (Goldin Auctions)
*1986-87 Fleer Basketball Unopened Box $319,800 (Goldin Auctions)
*2018 Panini National Treasures Unopened Four Box Case $51,660 (Goldin Auctions)
*1961 Topps Baseball 2nd/3rd Series Cello Pack with Tommy Davis front PSA 8 $2,075 (Memory Lane)
*1959 Topps Baseball 4th Series Cello Pack PSA 7 $1,886 (Memory Lane)
*1967 Topps Baseball 1st Series Cello Pack PSA 8 $1,417 (Memory Lane)
DID YOU KNOW?
Until three years ago, zero known sealed packs of 1948 Bowman baseball were left? Zero packs, let alone a box. In a set that includes Hall of Famer rookie cards like Yogi Berra, Stan Musial, Warren Spahn, and more, sealed wax was extinct until an incredible find of a partial box. Read about this ultra-rare sealed wax here.