When teams reported to spring training in the late winter of 1977, the world of baseball cards was pretty much as it had always been. Collectors anxiously awaited the traditional wax packs with that stick of pink bubble gum.
Another 660-card set was there to be pieced together.
It was the 1970s so there would be no super premium issues. No autographs in the packs (unless you count the facsimile sig on the front) and no relic cards. Once you had a set, you spent your hobby time chasing down cards from years gone by and waited for the Hostess and Kellogg’s cards. That’s how the year went.
It was the final season in which you didn’t need two dimes or more to buy a pack at the drug store, grocery store, convenience store or five and dime.
There are a few solid rookie cards in the 1977 Topps baseball set: Andre Dawson, Bruce Sutter, Dale Murphy, Mark Fidrych and a few others had their debuts that season. A few young stars began to make a big splash too.
In partnership with Vintage Breaks, the latest edition of Vintage Pack Facts takes us back to a time when Jimmy Carter was the newly-elected president, disco was hot and New York was about to christen Mr. October.
- There were ten cards per wax pack for a price of 15 cents. In 1978, the price of a pack would jump to 20 cents but including 14 cards. As usual, 1977 Topps wax boxes held 36 packs. Cases held 20 wax boxes.
- There were four different wrapper variations: the ever-present sports card locker and team checklist offers, an ad for Bazooka gum and a baseball card t-shirt offer (wonder if anyone still has theirs?)
- Cello boxes held 24 packs with 18 cards in each.
- Rack packs had 39 cards for 49 cents.
- “I have seen the best cards come out of rack packs and wax,” says Vintage Breaks’ Leighton Sheldon, whose company has opened more than a few over the last several years. “They’re tough to find centered.”
- There were also “tray packs”–a Topps marketing ploy that was in use for several years around that time. Typically found in department stores, the trays held three wax packs. “The toughest unopened to find from ’77 baseball is definitely the tray pack,” says Sheldon.
- Vending cases held 24 500-count boxes. Few survive today, with one bringing $48,000 at Robert Edward Auctions in 2018–a price that would have to be considered a bargain considering today’s market.
- In the current market, 1977 Topps baseball wax boxes are selling for around $5,500, with the much tougher cello boxes at about $8,000.
- Cello pack prices depend on who’s on the front of the pack, but a common player pack graded by PSA runs about $350-$375. Wax packs can be had for $200-$300.
- Numerous vending boxes, most originating from the Fritsch Cards vault, have been sold in auctions over the last few years. Expect to pay several thousand dollars if you see one.
- You can watch some pack breaks here, including a visit with Murphy, whose rookie card was in the 1977 set.
You can participate in a pack, box, or set break anytime at VintageBreaks.com which offers a variety of options across all years and sports.