Non-collectors may see “1986 Topps Football” and think “worthless”. We all know better, now don’t we? Not only is the ’86 football set the home of some important rookie and star cards, it’s one of the most condition-sensitive sets since the 1970’s. Mint cards are tough to find…unless you can get your hands on some unopened rack packs.
Racks often house some cards worthy of grading. Whether they were printed after Topps dispatched with the printing flaws of the first run or whether the packaging just lends itself to better quality examples even 30 or 40 years after they were made is still up for debate. Fans of unopened packs just know it’s generally pretty true.
Those green borders are unforgiving to collectors looking for high grade cards. The slightest touch can reveal wear. The proof is in the numbers. PSA has graded nearly 46,000 1986 Topps football cards over the years, but just 2619 of them have come away with a ’10’ grade.
By 1986, Topps was phasing out what we came to know as rack packs–thin clear cellophane covering three distinct rows of cards. Racks are still around today but the look is decidedly different.
The 1986 Topps football set includes the first-ever card of Jerry Rice, one of the most iconic post-War rookie cards thanks to his record-setting career. Steve Young and Reggie White had a 1984 Topps USFL card but both make their NFL trading card debut in this series. Bruce Smith and Andre Reed rookies were in ’86 and the trio of 1980’s quarterback sensations, Dan Marino, John Elway and Joe Montana are sought after as well, not to mention Walter Payton, who was coming off a Super Bowl victory.
This week, our Just Collect Inc. Vintage Pack Break of the Week features a 1986 Topps Football Rack Pack. Watch the video to see how they did.