Not that it was a major concern for the youngsters who collected them at the time, but Topps’ decision to use black borders for its 1962 football set has caused plenty of headaches for collectors of high-grade cards. To this day, PSA has yet to grade even a single card as a 10. Only a little over one percent of the more than 29,000 cards submitted there to date have even been rated 9.
One sure way to have a shot at nailing down a high-grade is to open up a wax pack…or is it? The ’62 set has another issue common to most vintage cards: centering. Watch a recent break below and you’ll see what we mean.
It’s still a memorable set, with some key rookie cards and a unique design that definitely stands out. This week’s edition of Vintage Pack Facts from VintageBreaks.com takes a look at the world of 1962 Topps football.
- Topps’ annual pro football set dropped from 198 cards in 1961 to 176 in ’62, thanks to Fleer taking over sole possession of the AFL trading card market. It meant a few more cards for each NFL team, which was good news for those who didn’t care about the young, whippersnapper league. The set was numbered alphabetically by city, meaning the Baltimore Colts led off and the Washington Redskins were the caboose (the last card in the set is a checklist, however). The cards were produced with a horizontal design. The smaller black-and-white photos on the cards were recycled on the paper “albums” that held the perforated cardboard “stamps” in Topps’ 1969 football card release.
- The 1962 Topps football set includes some key rookie cards, including Mike Ditka, Fran Tarkenton, Billy Kilmer, Roman Gabriel and the lone card of Ernie Davis, the Syracuse college star who was tragically struck down by leukemia before his career began. It’s also full of single prints. A PSA 9 Ditka sold for over $72,000 in 2017 and mint copies of the tougher cards in the set often sell for $3,000 and up.
- Traditional Topps wax boxes held 24 packs, with five cards in each pack along with a “Football Buck” insert. The Bucks were touted in a side panel of the box. Penny packs were made but are rare today.
- The competitive nature of the football card contracts was highlighted on the wrapper, which stated that “only Topps has the National Professional Football League stars.”
- It’s believed cello packs were created since Topps made them in 1961 and ’63 but none appear on PSA’s pack population report. Topps may have also made rack packs, but again, their status would be listed under “unicorn” in the current market.’
- PSA has graded only 19 1962 football packs but some are also in GAI holders from encapsulation many years ago.
- A box containing 20 of 24 packs was part of the great find of vintage boxes that entered the market through Mile High Card Company in 2016 and ’17. The box sold for $44,698.
- Depending on condition, 1962 Topps football packs usually sell for $500-$2,000 each.
- Topps used 1962 wrappers in the creation of a grocery-style rack pack in 1963.
- You can see singles, lots, complete sets of cards and Bucks, wrappers, etc., on eBay here.
You can learn more about participating in vintage pack breaks—or just watch—by visiting VintageBreaks.com.