The Green Bay Packers had won their second straight NFL championship and then enjoy 27 picks in the draft. Jim Brown would rush for 1,863 yards in 14 games and Y.A. Tittle would toss 36 touchdown passes. The 1963 NFL season also brought some of the most colorful football cards in history.
This week’s edition of Vintage Pack Facts takes us back to the fall of ’63.
- The 1963 Topps football set included 170 cards, again organized by teams. There was only one series but short prints would abound.
- Topps again produced two types of wax packs: one containing a single card and piece of bubble gum for a penny and the more common 5-cent packs that held five cards. The 1-cent packs came packed in a display box that held 120 packs. The nickel packs contained 24 packs. Both were similar in design.
- In 2018, a display box of 1-cent packs sold for $896 at auction.
- Nickel display boxes can usually be found for $300-$400.
- Mark Murphy, a former dealer/collector and author of the “World’s Best Unopened Pack, Wrapper & Display Box Guide (1996), indicated that cello packs and six-pack trays were made but if so, none have come to market in recent years. Murphy’s book contains a photo of a 1963 tray pack he says was produced using 1962 Topps wrappers.
- 1963 Topps football cards included a “Mystery Quiz” on the back. Packs included a piece of red cellophane that could be placed over the back of the card to reveal the answer. The “Mystery Quiz” feature was touted on the front of each pack and display box.
- Display boxes included a message on the back telling youngsters that “Only Topps has National Football League Stars,” a reference to the trading card wars it was facing with Fleer, the company that had rights to the AFL’s trading card sets from 1960-’63. Fleer also produced an NFL set in ’61.
- Prices of unopened 1963 Topps packs have skyrocketed in this decade. In 2012, a single pack sold for $836. In 2015, two packs sold for $1,118 and $1,460 but last spring, a graded pack (PSA 8) sold at Robert Edward Auctions for $3,000. Mid-grade packs now typically sell for $600 and up.
- Unopened boxes of 1963 Topps football are very scarce. One BBCE-authenticated survivor sold in 2014 via Robert Edward Auctions for over $32,000, a price that would easily be surpassed today.