The price of a pack remained the same, but any kids looking to put together a complete set of 1961 Topps baseball cards needed a lot of pennies, nickels, dimes and any other currency they could scrape up. By the time the Yankees and Reds finished the ’61 World Series, a total of 587 cards had been produced.
Today, it takes commitment to piece together a set, but it can be done with a few trips to eBay, a good sized show or your favorite online dealer. Collecting original unopened material from 60 years ago? Not quite as easy. In fact, 1961 Topps Baseball stands as one of the toughest of the era for collectors to locate.
Topps apparently produced enough to satisfy collectors but stores that carried the products didn’t have much of anything left so “finds” of untouched boxes and packs are almost unheard of.
This edition of Vintage Pack Facts, sponsored by Vintage Breaks, offers an overview of one of the hobby’s unopened white whales. See a gallery of packs and wrappers below.
- Topps continued to produce 1-cent and 5-cent wax packs in 1961, but the penny packs were on the home stretch. By 1966, they had disappeared. Penny packs holding one card and a stick of bubble gum came in 120-count boxes while nickel packs contained five cards with the pink treat and came 24 to a box.
- Complete unopened boxes of 1961 Topps Baseball packs are almost non-existent today with a very small number believed to reside in private collections.
- PSA has graded 32 wax packs in all–mostly 1st and 2nd series. A PSA 9 1965 Topps wax pack sold for $4,680 in 2019 via Heritage Auctions.
- Tray packs–with three wax packs packaged together–are very scarce. One authenticated by BBCE sold in 2018 for $14,760.
- Wrappers contained ads for the Topps Stamps and Rub-Offs that were inserts in packs as well as ads for Bazooka gum. There were two styles of wrappers for the penny packs.
- Cello packs containing 12 cards, offered a slightly better value for those who could scrape together a dime, but they held no gum. Today, cello packs seem to be the most common type of ’61 pack. PSA has graded 175 of them with most rating NM 7 or better. One is listed on eBay now. Most surviving cello packs are from Series 1. You can watch two 1961 cello pack breaks below, one conducted by a collector who purchased a group of them several years ago from a family that had owned a candy store that’s long since closed, and the other from a 2019 Vintage Breaks event.
- Rack packs holding three individual cello-wrapped stacks were the best deal but you’d need 29 cents to snare one. They held 36 cards and are also extremely rare today.
- As usual, Topps did produce vending boxes with 500 cards.
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.
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