The football world was changing 50 years ago. The AFL and NFL were getting ready to merge into one big league and the New York Jets were about to emphatically state that there was little difference in the quality of play between the two. The Lombardi era was ending and a new generation was about to take over.
Youngsters who spotted the new edition of Topps football cards on the counter during the late summer noticed a couple of things right away. too.
This week’s edition of Vintage Pack Facts takes us back to 1969 Topps football.
- Kids were in for a shock. The boxes of packs seemed HUGE. There were still 24 packs but inside each pack were 12 (!) cards. Last year there had been only five sitting below that stick of pink bubble gum. There was an insert inside, too. That was the good news. The bad news? Packs were now a dime and you had to open more of them to complete a set because instead of 219 cards spread across two series, there were now 263.
- The first series of 1969 Topps football held cards #1-132. The second series had #133-263 and a new white border that wasn’t present in Series 1.
- Kids knew the new series had been released because Topps added a sticker to the top of the box that stated, simply “New Series.”
- More Vintage Pack Facts after the gallery…
- Boxes included an ad for the new team “mini albums” that held individual cards from what we now know as the “Four In One” stickers. Kids were told to moisten the back, tear them off the outer card and put them in the album. Plenty of them never were torn out, though, and are collected in full panel form today.
- There were four different ads on the side panel of 1969 Topps football pack wrappers. One hyped the new stamp album insert promotion, while others touted mail-in offers for rings, “exploding” battleships and an old Topps standby, the camera.
- There were rack packs, too. Each rack held 36 cards and cost 29 cents…not much of a bargain compared to wax packs, but at least you could see six of the cards you’d be getting. The racks held three cello-wrapped stacks. It doesn’t appear that Topps created any standalone cello packs in 1969.
- A group of 24 rack packs (essentially a full box) sold for $28,538 in a 2012 Mile High Card Company auction. Compared to recent prices for racks, that was a bargain. Earlier this year, a single rack pack sold through Robert Edward Auctions for $2,700.