Vintage Pack Facts: 1978 Topps… – Sports Collectors Daily

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As the sun began to shine a little more and spring training camps began to open in 1978, collectors were hit with another cold slap in the face.  

The price of a pack was up again and you’d need to buy more cards to complete a set.

Just a five years earlier, wax packs were a dime each.  Even in ’74, you could still snare one for that price, although there weren’t as many cards as there were inside the new 15-cent versions.

There were other options, though.  In the latest edition of Vintage Pack Facts, we look back at 1978 Topps baseball.

  • It was obvious from the start that Topps’ newest set was bigger.  Instead of 660 cards in 1977, there were 726 in ’78. Double prints meant you wound up with a lot of Bill Faheys and Larry Milbournes en route to finding every card.
  • The bad news about the price increase was met with some good news, too.  Instead of 10 cards per pack, you got 14 for your 20 cents.  A full box of 36 packs with gum at full retail cost $7.20.  Today, thanks to the sizzling interest in vintage unopened, you’ll pay close to $2,000 for a box.  
  • Wrappers were red with an artistic rendering of a catcher.  Topps’ advertising on the side panel included offers for an uncut tri-fold set of team checklists, a sports card locker and an add for their Smooth & Juicy bubble gum.
  • Check out more Vintage Pack Facts after the gallery…
  • Topps also produced 21-card cello packs for .30 per pack, up a nickel from the year before but with three more cards inside.  Packed in a red, white and blue box, cello packs also came with a stick of gum. 
  • Cases of wax and cello packs are extremely rare today but rack pack cases do come up for auction on occasion.  Rack packs were no longer a great deal for collectors.  In fact, you paid 10 cents more for the same number of cards in a rack pack compared to 1977.  The ’78 packs carried 39 cards for 59 cents.  Three boxes of 24 packs were in each rack pack case.  Memory Lane currently has a rack case up for sale in their Late Summer Auction.
  • As usual, Topps also made vending cases with 24 500-count boxes in each.  Dealers who broke complete sets from vending typically sold them for around $10 per set.  A vending case sold for nearly $29,000 through Heritage Auctions in April 2019.

About Rich Mueller

Rich is the editor and founder of Sports Collectors Daily. A broadcaster and writer for more than 30 years and a collector for even longer than that, he’s usually typing something somewhere. Type him back at [email protected]