As the sports world plowed through the decade of the 1970s, little had changed on the trading card landscape. Topps still held monopolies on the production of baseball, football, basketball and hockey trading cards. In many cases, kids still considered the gum to be an equally attractive component of each pack.
The 1974-75 Topps packs were different in a couple of ways, though and while it’s not jammed with great rookie cards, there are some great names from the game’s history. The latest edition of Vintage Breaks’ Vintage Pack Facts takes us back to what, in many ways, is an underrated year for basketball cards.
- The 1974-75 Topps basketball set marked the last year of a run of 264-card sets. In keeping with Topps’ new strategy, there was only one series. Buy a couple of boxes and you probably had a set–or close to it…but it cost more this year.
- Kids hoping that the price increase they saw on 1974 football wax packs was just temporary were disappointed. 15 cent packs were now the norm in a decade where you heard the word “inflation” a lot.
- The set included ABA and NBA players and the logos of each league’s players association were on the box.
- The set includes rookie cards of Bill Walton, George Gervin, George Karl and Doug Colllins. A PSA 10 Gervin sold for $9,000 at auction last year, a PSA 10 Maravich (pop 3) went for $9,100 in 2016 while a PSA 10 Wilt Chamberlain (pop 5) sold for $2,651 last year. Nice ungraded cards from this set are cheap, however, with complete sets usually available on eBay for under $300.
- Each wax pack held ten cards plus a scratch-off game card that would keep you busy for a few minutes after the pack was opened. At retail, each 24-count box would cost $3.60. In 2016, a full wax box sold for $4,468 through SCP Auctions.
- Topps’ one-year experiment with rack packs in basketball was over. There were no rack packs and no cello packs for 1974-75 Topps basketball. Topps did make tray packs, but unopened survivors are very scarce today. There were, as usual, vending boxes of 500 cards. In recent years, several have sold at auction, usually for between $2,000 and $2,500 each.
- While packs are tough to find these days, wrappers are plentiful on eBay at $4-$6 each.
- Vintage Breaks has opened several packs of 1974-75 Topps basketball in the last couple of years. You can watch one of those breaks below. Spots in a current pack break are being offered for $42.50.
You can learn more about participating in vintage pack breaks—or just watch—by visiting VintageBreaks.com.