The set was small but the cards were huge. Topps’ 1969-70 basketball release carries the rookie cards of a small army of Hall of Famers.
In this edition of Vintage Pack Facts, sponsored by Vintage Breaks, we take a look at boxes and packs from Topps’ first basketball card product in a dozen years.
- The cost of a pack of Topps sports cards had risen from a nickel to a dime by the time football cards rolled off the presses in the late summer of ’69, so naturally it was no surprise that the newest entry into the Topps realm was also ten cents.
- If you were a youngster, the price was big–but so were the cards. In a nod toward the height of the average NBA player, Topps dipped back to 1965 and created the latest “tall boy” cards, measuring 2½” by 4 11/16.”
- They doubled down on the concept with the “Ruler” insert–a thin paper foldout carrying a cartoon image of some of the league’s top stars. The wax wrapper called them “Super Star Pin Ups.”
- Boxes contained 24 packs and a stick of gum, with each pack containing ten cards–10.1 percent of the entire set. It was much tougher to collect a complete set of the ruler inserts.
- More Vintage Pack Facts after the gallery….
- The box carried an ad for Bazooka gum on the side.
- Unlike the company’s other sports products, ’69-70 basketball didn’t come in cello packs or any other type of packaging.
- Wrappers contained the typical Topps ads for things like an exploding battleship, camera and whale’s tooth.
- Unopened boxes are extremely scarce today. Last summer, Heritage Auctions sold the only box seen in the open market in many years. With each pack authenticated and graded, the box sold for $276,000. Empty display box prices vary based on condition, but you can expect to pay over $1,000 for a decent one.
- Single packs aren’t easy to find, but do pop up at auction occasionally. One with Jerry West and John Havlicek cards visible through the white wrapper sold for $20,400 through Goldin last year.
- Vintage Breaks opened a pack of ’69-70 Topps Basketball at last year’s National Sports Collectors Convention. The lucky pack included a Wilt Chamberlain (later graded PSA NM 7) and an Oscar Robertson.
te in a pack, box, or set break anytime at VintageBreaks.com which offers a variety of options across all years and sports.