Topps football card sets had a long-running symmetry during much of the 1970s and early 80s: 528 cards, all in one series with leader cards, checklists and team checklists. The 1977 set was no different and collectors were still enjoying the ability to plunk down a dollar and get six packs and some change back from the store clerk.
This week’s edition of Vintage Pack Facts from Vintage Breaks takes a look the packaging of ’77 Topps football, including a rare box version you may not know existed.
- The 1977 Topps football set isn’t heavy on big-time rookie cards but several Hall of Famers did appear for the first time including Steve Largent, Mike Hayes, Lee Roy Selmon, Dave Casper and Mike Webster. The big pull from a pack, though, is the second year card of Walter Payton. Jack Lambert’s second card is also here and a tough one to find centered with no corner wear.
- Wax boxes again contained 36 15-cent packs. Each pack held ten cards. That would change in 1978 when the price jumped to 20 cents along with packs from other sports. The company did produce a box that contained 20-cent packs, perhaps as sort of a trial run. Those boxes are rare today with one selling last summer for $4,140 through Heritage Auctions. Standard Topps boxes typically bring $3,000-$3,500 today.
- Wax packs touted “Game Action Shots” on the front. Wrappers carried ads for the long-running Topps “sports card locker” along with an action poster and a team checklist sheet offer.
- As it did off and on for several years in all three sports, Topps produced “tray packs” with three wax packs in an overwrap, which were usually sold for a few cents below the standard 45-cent cost of three single packs.
- 1977 Topps football cello packs contained 18 cards for 25 cents with 24 packs per box.
- Rack packs contained 39 cards for 59 cents with a header card at the top.
- As usual, vending boxes and cases were produced with cards sold to dealers who created sets and sold single cards and to vending companies for placement in their machines. An unopened case sold through Collect Auctions in April 2018 for over $38,000.
- Topps also experimented with the distribution of a special Mexican edition of its set with two and four-card packs containing a stick of gum sold in certain areas of that country. The cards carry Spanish text. A quantity of those boxes made its way into the hobby in the 1990s.
- Vintage Breaks is currently offering wax and rack pack break spots of 1977 Topps football on its website.
- You can watch a 1977 Topps rack pack break below.
You can learn more about participating in vintage pack breaks—or just watch—by visiting VintageBreaks.com.