With challenges to is long-held monopoly now underway, Topps opted to do some branding with the design of its final baseball card set of the 1970s. For the first time in a regular issue set, they put their logo on the front of each card. Not much else had changed from the year before, but there was one other difference kids noticed right away.
This week’s edition of Vintage Pack Facts from VintageBreaks.com focuses on the many faces of packaging from the set that hit the market 40 years ago.
- The price of a wax pack remained at 20 cents but Topps dropped the count per pack from 14 to 12 cards. There were 36 packs per box and 16 boxes per case. Today, those wax boxes that once retailed for $7.20 usually sell for around $1,300.
- The complete 1979 Topps baseball set again consisted of 726 cards with those pesky double prints again getting in the way of putting complete sets together. It’s not blessed with a boatload of great rookie cards like the ’78 set but it does have Ozzie Smith’s first card, one that’s often found off-center, keeping high-grade examples to a minimum and prices on the high side for graded 9s or 10s.
- Topps again produced “tray packs” which consisted of three wax packs overwrapped and housed in a cardboard tray. These were typically sold at a slight discount–usually around .50-.57 each. They are among the more common tray packs today and were distributed both in cases of 48 (one of which sold for $7,014 in April) and in giant retail display cases consisting of 192 trays. Commonly found in grocery stores, some collectors call the tray packs “grocery racks” although you could also find them in retail outlets like K-Mart.
- There were regular cello packs which held 18 cards and sold for 30 cents and Super cello packs which held three packages of Bazooka gum and 28 cards. These retailed for 49 cents. The Super cellos are quite scarce today.
- Standard hangar-style rack packs held 39 cards and sold for 59 cents.
- As usual, 24-count vending cases were sold to dealers who built sets and distributors who stocked vending machines. An unopened case sold last week through Heritage Auctions for $19,200.
- Vintage Breaks is currently offering breaks of both 1979 wax and rack packs at $7.50 per spot. You can watch a rack pack break from last summer’s National Sports Collectors Convention below.
You can learn more about participating in vintage pack breaks—or just watch—by visiting VintageBreaks.com.