It probably took all spring for youngsters to realize it, but the days of going to the candy or drug store with a penny and buying a pack of baseball cards were over in 1965. Nickel packs had been the standard for a long time, but Topps had still produced a smaller amount of 1-cent packs each year. It’s likely rising production costs were a factor and it’s also possible the penny packs just weren’t selling, considering the size of a complete set had risen to nearly 600 cards by the mid-1960s.
This week’s Vintage Pack Facts from VintageBreaks.com chronicles the packaging of a season capped by the World Series heroics of Sandy Koufax, who cemented his place in Cooperstown by shutting down the Minnesota Twins to bring the World Series title back to Los Angeles.
- Topps planned a seven series roll out of its 1965 set–the largest to date at 598 cards. The first series opened with 12 League Leader cards and also includes Joe Morgan’s rookie card. Unlike some other vintage sets, the 1965 Topps high numbers (7th series) are relatively plentiful.
- The 1-cent and 5-cent wax packs were accompanied by cello packs in the sixth series. Both the penny packs and cello packs are hard to find today. Penny packs contained one card; wax packs held five cards and cellos were the best deal with 12 cards for a dime. While full boxes are virtually unheard of today, a partial box of 11 packs sold for $7,200 at Robert Edward Auctions in 2016.
- Topps utilized two insert sets in 1965: a transfer/decal and what they termed “Golden Embossed All-Stars.” Each was a 72-card set, issued one per pack. Not every series included an insert, though.
- Display boxes featured Koufax, Mickey Mantle and Harmon Killebrew. Even the outer case, which held 24 wax boxes, pictured illustrations of the three players.
- When the Transfers and Embossed cards were included, Topps promoted them on the front of each wax box and pack wrapper.
- The 7th series boxes included a long, horizontal sticker on the front panel indicating “Final Series.”
- Wrappers contained a variety of ads aimed at kids including an invitation to join “Bazooka Joe’s Magic Circle Club”, and offers for an “Exploding Battleship” and “Cowboy Boot Ring & Lariat.” Both penny and nickel wrappers are usually available on eBay.
- An empty display case of 1965 Topps sold for $1,140 in 2017
- A 1-cent display box sold for a whopping $3,555 back in 2009. Nickel display boxes can usually be had for under $250.
- Vintage Breaks opened a 1965 Topps sixth series pack in the video below.
You can learn more about participating in vintage pack breaks—or just watch—by visiting VintageBreaks.com.