After having the baseball card market all to themselves nearly every year since 1956, Topps enjoyed one last year as the solo option for collectors as the 1980s dawned. The world would change forever in 1981 when Fleer and Donruss came aboard.
This week’s edition of Vintage Pack Facts focuses on the 1980 Topps packaging–and there was plenty of it.
- The first thing collectors noticed about wax boxes and packs in the winter of 1980 was the size…and the price. There were still 36 cards per box, but the price had jumped from 20 cents to 25 cents. There was a consolation prize, though. Instead of 12-card packs in 1979, Topps put 15 of them in each wax pack, along with the usual piece of gum. It meant that if you could be lucky enough to have decent collation, two boxes would put you pretty close to a complete set, with doubles (and with double printed cards on the production sheet, there were plenty of duplicates).
- Unopened, authenticated wax boxes have risen greatly in price in recent years, with the going rate now generally between $1,800 and $2,000 a box.
- There were again three-pack “trays” sold primarily at retail and grocery stores, typically for a few cents less than the combined cost of three individual packs.
- Rack packs held 42 cards in 1980 but the price was now 69 cents. Rack packs came 24 to a box.
- 1980 Topps cello packs were back with 25 cards for 39 cents, but there was a new type of cello aimed at those who really loved the gum. This pack held 28 cards and cost 59 cents but included an actual pack of gum that was more flavorful and chunky instead of the traditional thin stick of bubble gum that lost its flavor after about 15 seconds. Boxes of each type held 24 packs.
- More “Pack Facts” after the gallery…
- Topps also partnered with Squirt soda and K-Mart for a promotion that offered three-card cello packs with a special advertising header card free with a purchase. There were plenty left over and today, those boxes and packs are relatively plentiful online.
- As usual, Topps produced vending cases that held 24 500-count boxes that were sold to dealers and those in the vending business.
- While the 1980 set doesn’t have a large number of great rookie cards, it is home to one of the most popular rookie cards of the post-War era. Rickey Henderson’s presence is what helps drive the value of any unopened packs and boxes as high grade examples bring strong prices.
- You can check out authenticated 1980 Topps boxes and packs on BBCE here on eBay here.