There was a lot happening in pro basketball as the 1970s played out and by the middle of the decade it was clear the ABA wasn’t going away on its own. As negotiations between the NBA and ABA toward a potential merger, Topps upped its game by producing its largest basketball set ever. Their 1975-76 set isn’t loaded with great rookies (Moses Malone, Jamaal Wilkes, Bobby Jones and Maurice Lucas were the notables) but has numerous Hall of Famers from the era including Julius Erving, Pete Maravich, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, etc.
- Collectors were a little stunned to see a Topps basketball card box that was the size of baseball and football products. The company was now putting 36 packs in a box instead of 24. For the second straight year, wax packs were priced at 15 cents. Packs still contained 10 cards and a stick of gum.
- Topps actually touted the checklist on the front of boxes with the phrase “Biggest Series Ever.”
- Collectors did find some cards that were far more prevalent than others as one of the three production sheets used to fill packs contained 22 double prints.
- Topps didn’t produce rack or cello packs for most years it was doing basketball cards and ’75-76 was no exception. The company did create “tray packs” with three wax packs overwrapped in cello and sitting in a thin cardboard tray. Merchants typically priced those at around 40 cents. Surviving examples are rare today as they weren’t widely distributed.
- Wrappers contained ads featuring a team checklist sheet offer as was common throughout the mid-70s to early 80s; a sports card locker, membership in Topps’ Sports Club and wrist/head bands that were popular with kids (and some athletic adults) during the era.
- As usual, vending boxes were produced with 500 cards in each that were sold to dealers and vending companies. One such box sold through Collect Auctions for $1,510. The company has sold about a dozen boxes over the past decade as part of an arrangement with long-time dealer Larry Fritsch Cards.
- Collect also recently offered a couple of three card cello packs but how they were originally distributed is unknown to us.
- Vintage Breaks is currently offering a pack break of ’75-76 Topps.
You can learn more about participating in vintage pack breaks—or just watch—by visiting VintageBreaks.com.