As the 1970s unfolded, Topps settled into a pattern of consistency with its annual basketball card releases. Standard sized cards with 264 in a set between ABA and NBA players, leaders and post-season highlights. The only thing collectors had to wonder about was the design. And of course, if you were a kid, you were hoping the price of a pack wouldn’t change.
The 1973-74 Topps basketball set was again broken into two sections: the first 176 cards were focused on the NBA while #177-264 covered the ABA. Topps designated All-Stars not with a second card of the player, but a red-shaded area at the bottom of a player’s regular issue card. There were plenty of future Hall of Famers on the court during the ’73-74 season. Rookie cards included Bob McAdoo, Fred Brown, Jim Chones, Paul Westphal and a few other notables.
Inside each wax pack was a sticker card with logos and team names. Their inclusion was advertised on the front of each box and wax pack wrapper.
Below a photo gallery of packaging are some more facts about 1973-74 Topps basketball packs:
- Wax packs contained ten cards and the sticker for a dime.
- Two different wax boxes were offered: the more common 24-count style and a 36-count box. One of the latter recently sold for $10,800 via Heritage Auctions.
- Rack packs contained a whopping 54 cards for just 39 cents. Buy one that had no duplicates and you quickly owned just over 20% of the entire set.
- Topps also made a very limited number of three-pack wax trays, which generally retailed for 25-29 cents. While a few have come to auction over the last dozen years or so, they are scarce today.
- Vending boxes, as usual, contained 500 cards. A vending box sold at auction this past summer for $1,662.
- Vintage Breaks is offering a rack pack break on its website now with spots priced at $40.
- A PSA 10 McAdoo rookie card sold for $3,850 in 2018. PSA 10 examples of Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Pete Maravich and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are all valued at over $1,000.
You can watch a wax pack break of ’73-74 Topps basketball below.
You can learn more about participating in vintage pack breaks—or just watch—by visiting VintageBreaks.com.