Pro football was exploding in the mid-1970s, with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders putting their marks on the game as two of the most popular franchises of all-time. In the NFC, Tom Landry’s Dallas Cowboys were virtually impossible to beat. If it had been produced today, the 1975 Topps football set might have included Walter Payton’s rookie card, but we’d have to wait until the following summer to see the first trading card of the young Chicago Bears’ rushing sensation.
This week, our Vintage Pack Break of the Week from Just Collect is a 1975 Topps Cello. Valued at around $100, it includes rookie cards of some of the players on those great teams as well as a few other Hall of Famers. The Lynn Swann rookie is one of the big prizes as well as the Dan Fouts rookie. In fact, there’s a PSA 10 Fouts on eBay now with bids exploding through the roof.
Mel Blount, Rocky Bleier, Cliff Harris and others also make their debut in the 1975 Topps football set. In addition, there are League Leaders, All Pros, Record Breakers, Highlights and cards commemorating the 1974-75 post-season games.
Thus far, it hasn’t been a popular set among graded card collectors, which offers some opportunities. There are several cards with a PSA 9 population of five or less and several where only one or two examples have reached mint status. Among them: Greg Landry, Julius Adams, Solomon Freelon and Richard Caster. Other condition sensitive cards include Rockne Freitas, Willie Alexander, Jim Braxton, John Schmitt and Bruce Barnes.
The complete set again includes 528 cards. By virtue of its ongoing NFL monopoly on trading cards and unable to use team logos or trademarks, the 1975 Topps football set will not wind up in the trading card Hall of Fame. There’s some bad airbrushing on many of the photos, but picture Topps trying to put this set together without being able to use insignias on helmets or logos of any kind on team uniforms or sideline shots. Maybe it’s easier today with advanced technology and creativity with ‘relics’ but back then, it was a chore.
Let’s get to the rip: