It was the year of the American bicentennial and everything was red, white and blue…including the lettering on the top of Topps baseball card wax pack boxes. While the number of cards needed for a complete set wasn’t changing just yet, there were quite a few ways to attack that 660-card collection.
This week’s Pack Facts from Vintage Breaks takes us back to the patriotic summer of ’76.
- While the 1975 Topps set is loaded with great rookie cards, the 1976 set is cheaper in large part because of a pretty thin rookie roster. Dennis Eckersley heads up the class that also includes Ron Guidry and Willie Randolph. The Traded cards were back after a one-year hiatus so the set actually includes 704 cards.
- For some reason, Topps created two different wax packs. The standard 15-cent packs included ten cards while 10-cent versions generally held only seven cards. While the pack price is listed on the 36-count box, if the packs are removed, there’s really no definitive way to tell whether you’ve got a seven or ten card pack without weighing them (or having one of each in your hand). The ten-cent boxes included an insert from Topps, informing the retailer of the lower price and promising the packs would “sell faster.”
- There wrapper design was virtually identical to the red one Topps had used in 1974 that featured a baseball design on the center. One version touted the “1976 Series” on the front and the other was a repeat of that ’74 wrapper with “All 660 cards in One Series” on the front.
- Topps also created wax trays in ’76 with three 15 or 10-cent packs in each.
- Cell0 packs contained 18 cards for 25 cents with 24 packs per box.
- Rack packs were again the best deal with 42 cards for 49 cents (and retailers often discounted those by another 2-4 cents).
- As usual, Topps created vending boxes of 500 cards with 24 boxes in a case that were sold to dealers and distributors.
- Prices for all vintage unopened material have pushed upward in recent years but 1976 ranks as one of the less pricey options. Still, expect to pay well over $6,000 for a wax box, if you can find one. Vending boxes have sold at auction in the $2200-$3,500 range over the past couple of years.
- Vintage Breaks is currently offering spots in a 10-card pack break at $45 each.
You can learn more about participating in vintage pack breaks—or just watch—by visiting VintageBreaks.com.