The Montreal Canadiens were still dominant. Cleveland had a franchise. The Colorado Rockies (no, not the baseball team) were a team (and made the playoffs). The 1977-78 NHL season had a lot going on but American kids collecting hockey cards found a kind of comfort food in the form of Topps hockey cards, which still came with gum and plenty of cards.
This week’s edition of Vintage Pack Facts from Vintage Breaks has a look back at the year on cardboard.
- Topps’ plan for ’77-78 remained largely unchanged. There was a 264-card set to collect, all in one series. Each wax pack contained ten cards plus a round-bordered glossy insert card at a price of 15 cents. The price was unchanged from the year before, but it would be the last time you could buy a Topps pack for that price.
- The set includes 23 rookie cards but unless you’re an avid hockey fan, you might not remember most of them. Mike Milbury, Mike Palmateer and Don Edwards are three notables. There’s a good-sized roster of Hall of Famers including Bobby Orr, who actually sat out the season in an effort to help heal his sore knee but it would be Orr’s last appearance on a Topps card during his playing days.
- Each box of 1977-78 Topps hockey contained 36 packs so you could buy a box at retail for around five bucks if the store owner would cut you a little break (most did).
- The side of wax pack wrappers included Topps offers for a sports card locker, NHL nylon team jersey and cartoon patches.
- Wax cases held 16 boxes. Like the wax packs, they featured the generic image of a goalie.
- Topps may have run out of wrappers at some point as you can find boxes of 1977-78 hockey cards wrapped in 1976-77 packaging.
- As it sometimes did in the 1970s and 80s, Topps produced heavily discounted ‘cut card cases’ that held around 8,000 loose cards. Not many were produced and most wound in the hands of major dealers. A group of seven sold in a Lelands auction in 2002.
- Today, unopened boxes typically sell for $650-$750.
- Vintage Breaks is currently offering pack breaks for $6 per single card spot.
You can learn more about participating in vintage pack breaks—or just watch—by visiting VintageBreaks.com.