With its “burlap” borders, it may not be flashy but the 1968 Topps baseball set actually has a lot going for it. Nolan Ryan and Johnny Bench rookie cards. Mantle. Mays. Clemente. Cards of that legendary Detroit Tigers team. Bob Gibson of the 1.12 ERA. The return of All-Star cards.
All of them–and a new set of cards you could use to play a game–took the edge off a tumultuous year in real life.
Here’s this week’s edition of Vintage Pack Facts from VintageBreaks.com:
- Topps wax pack boxes still held 24 five-packs in 1968. No player was identified on the box design but it’s clearly Mickey Mantle taking a cut at the plate. There are variations in the front panel with Topps using one version to tout their game cards that were found one per pack (two if you were really lucky). They called them “playing cards” and they really were designed to play a baseball game on your kitchen table or living room floor.
- Second and third series packs, because of the potential for Ryan (2nd) and Bench or Mantle (3rd) are by far the most expensive packs today and don’t often come to market.
- Full boxes of 1968 Topps baseball are pretty rare today. A first series box sold for $12,865 in 2017.
- Wrappers contained ads for a camera, a ball and strike counter for aspiring young umpires…and one promoting the game cards.
- Cello pack wrappers contained no text on the front. Packs were ten cents and contained 12 cards along with the game card insert. Today, cello packs from Series 4 and 5 seem to be most prevalent but they have been seen for other series as well. A cello pack with a Johnny Bench rookie card on the front and graded PSA 9 sold for over $2,600 in 2017.
- Rack packs held three ten-cent cellos and at 36 cards for 29 cents, provided the best deal for youngsters with a little extra change.
- A rare vending box of 500 cards from the 7th series sold for $8,755 in 2015.
- You can watch some 1968 Topps pack breaks on YouTube here.
You can learn more about participating in vintage pack breaks—or just watch—by visiting VintageBreaks.com.