Category Archives: 1975 Card Universe

2015 Topps Mini Parallel Set Celebrates 40th Anniversary of 1975 Minis

2015 Topps Mini with 1975

I’ve been wondering how Topps was going to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1975 mini release. This past week we got the answer: a complete mini set of the 2015 Series 1 & 2 cards. But the icing on the cake is 11 parallels and 10 cards with a 1975 design.

I’m a 1975 collector. I’ll get into modern cards if they have players from the 1975 set on a 1975 style card. But the anniversary of the minis and my getting back into collecting this last year means this set’s my Christmas gift.

I don’t know how the parallel split will work out. Based on the description, Topps will put a total of 700 gold, 3500 red, and 7000 black parallels in the packs (11,200 cards). There are “Less than 1,000 boxes available” so I don’t know if there are really 700 boxes and everyone gets a gold or if there’s a random split where one person gets all reds and another gets multiple golds. I’d rather get a guaranteed gold, but I guess that’s part of the gamble.

This is one of Topps’ online exclusives at $100 for the box. At first I thought they might sell out quickly, but noticed that the Topps Legacy parallel (also $100) was still around so figured it could take a while. And almost a week later this mini set is still available today.

I got curious about the dynamics of how these sets show up on the resale market because I thought about selling the base cards as team sets (though I’m still undecided). I’m most interested in the 1975 cards and didn’t want to get into bidding wars or pay a lot for 10 cards. Plus I’ve never opened a pack with parallels, so that’s a bonus experience and they may be interesting to keep.

But a truth I’ve discovered with card collecting is that if you have an idea, it’s almost certain a bunch of other people do too. The box breakers are already out in full force.

The angles to reselling these are: full base set without the subset or parallels, team sets, individual inserts, and select base rookies. No surprisingly, there’s a lot more eBay resale action with the minis than Legacy, which doesn’t have the parallels or subset. So maybe the minis will sell out faster on the Topps site.

I’m not one of those people obsessed about card values. And that’ll make it interesting to see the process of the cards finding their value without having any angst about it. I haven’t paid attention to this before.

On that note, what do the eBay tea leaves tell us today?

  • A base set without the inserts have sold for $49
  • Team sets sold from $3 (for the Reds) to $25 (for the Dodgers)
  • Mike Trout and Kris Bryant 1975 subset cards are the most popular (Trout has a wide range from $6 to one that’s bidding for $20, which is part of it finding its value)
  • The blacks (x/10) and reds (x/5) have sold in the teens to the $20’s and the golds for $30+
  • The 1975 subset of 10 cards have sold for $30 to $50
  • If you’re buying the set to get a Kris Bryant Gold, it’s gone (with an attempt to sell it for $999)

I can’t wait to see what parallels I get…

Mail Call: 75s in the 90s

I like seeing how players from the 1975 Topps set show up in other years. And that’s what you’ll find in this post.

I need to start with a classic Bill Buckner card. In Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, Mookie Wilson hit a ball that slipped past Buckner’s legs. The Red Sox eventually lost the series and he was blamed (but nobody really knows the outcome even if he made the play). The whole thing was over in 40 seconds. But four years later, Upper Deck didn’t forget and they poked fun of it in the 1990 set.

Even today the first thing a search for Bill Buckner World Series pops up is a YouTube video of the event. As time passed and the Red Sox won multiple World Series, most everyone including Bill got over it. He even appeared in a 2011 Curb Your Enthusiasm episode that joked about the incident.

So yeah, the card’s an oddball equivalent of a stand-up joke, but it also reminds me of perseverance and that’s why I like it. Winning is great but dealing with adversity really tests a person. How many people could’ve dealt with making a similar public mistake?

Cards and baseball are sometimes about more than just cards and baseball.

1990 UD 252  1975 244
Buckner’s oddball vs. the real Buckner in 1975

There are other Upper Deck oddballs. Some are a bit mysterious. Why are those footballs there, Jim? What’s Frank doing with the Laundry detergent bucket?

1989 UD 331b  1989 UD 391

Some players don’t make it past a year in the majors. And 15 years is impressive for any line of work, let alone playing in the majors. Players from 1975 with the stamina to play into the 90s (like Buckner) quickly dwindle. In 1988, only 35 were still playing and 3 years later there were less than half – Dave Winfield was one of those still in the game:

1975 61 1992 UD 222

I like how these cards contrast

A lot of junk wax era cards are just junk. I didn’t collect back then and missed most of it so Bru’s cards were an eye opener. Many of these Upper Deck cards are examples of when photography and design are both excellent. The results can be spectacular even if the cards were overproduced. They include great action shots:

1990 UD 777b

Fans are much closer to the action

But just because you can take stop-action photos doesn’t mean you should use them all. Like bad family photos, we just don’t need to see 1989 Upper Deck Charlie Hough’s weird facial expression. I had to pull 1975 Topps Charlie to make it better…

1989 UD 437  1975 071

I haven’t owned a single DonRuss card and wasn’t seeking them out. Bru sent some and I won’t turn down any card with 1975 players. The photos in the 1990 DonRuss set are mostly mediocre. But I really like this Griffey – the photo’s good and the color fits in with his uniform. Even the cheesy paint speckles seem to work. So this is my favorite DonRuss card so far:

1990 DR 469

Mail Call: Astros Uniforms 75 vs. 89

I’m always interested in any cards with players from the 1975 Topps set, and Bru from Remember the Astrodome delivered with a stack of cards. That motivated me to organize my cards and find some Astros he could use. It took a while (in between other projects), which explains the month long hiatus here.

I’ll break this mail call into two posts, starting with Astros uniforms. I really liked them growing up. They fit right in with clothes we wore those days (like Ocean Pacific t-shirts). Even today their iconic outfits from the mid-70s and 80s takes me back to those days.

The Astros had tame-looking uniforms in the 75 Topps cards:

1975 541

They didn’t match my reality of what the Astros wore. It’d take another year to highlight their new threads on cardboard. 1976 SSPC Roger Metzger and 1976 Topps Joe Niekro look like they’re still getting used to their new outfits:

1976 sspc 0571976 273

What started me on this path was one of the cards Bru sent. Buddy Bell was an Astro for a year but he was wearing a different outfit than I remembered. After digging into it, turns out there were four incarnations of what are dubbed Tequila Sunrise uniforms. These lasted until 1993 and the 89 Upper Deck card shows him in the third version:

1989 UD 112  1989 UD 112b

The 1975 Buddy I knew played for the Indians (so he’ll always seem out of place in an Astros uniform):

1975 038

There’s also a cool page I found on mlb.com with a slideshow of Astros uniforms throughout the years (starting with them as the Colts in 1962). I wasn’t planning a post about uniforms, so thanks for the inspiration and for sending the cards Bru!

What’s an unopened 1975 pack worth?

An eBay auction for 24 unopened 1975 Topps baseball card packs ended tonight with a winning bid over $7200.

So for that person, it’s worth $300.50 per pack (and $30 per card).

1975 Unopened Packs

If these contain a Gem Mint 10 of a Yount, Brett, Ryan or Aaron, the buyer’s a winner.

But what’s odd is single unopened packs have sold on eBay for $50 to $80. So something doesn’t add up. Or the bidders just lost control.

1982 Kmart Baseball Cards

One of the cool things about collecting cards is finding something shiny that leads you down a new path. I was scanning eBay listings and saw a glitch in my matrix, a Fred Lynn card that was unlike any other I’d seen:

1982 Kmart 027

It wasn’t the #622 Fred Lynn rookie card photo I was used to (which just looks wrong):

1975 622

It shouldn’t have shown up in my search, but it was mislabeled (lucky me). It was part of the 1982 Kmart 20th Anniversary AL & NL MVP’s Baseball Picture Cards Bubble Gum Collector’s Series.

1982 Kmart Box Front
Kmart box front

This set was co-branded with Topps – marked as a limited edition. Limited is ironic, I found hundreds plus a lot of unopened packs.  Turns out the set was a precursor to the mass overproduction of the 90s. Awesome! Time for a vintage pack break that I could afford.

What I like about this set:

  • an actual complete rookie card photo of Fred Lynn that fixes a flaw in 1975 card history – and even future reprints don’t have this view
  • includes one of (if not) the first 1975 tribute cards
  • it’s cheap… you can get a set for less than 5 bucks including shipping – there’s your blue light special
  • the experience of opening a pack of 44 “vintage” cards (complete with a stale stick of gum)

1982 Kmart Checklist

Back of box checklist

The 1975 Topps set is my favorite, but I’m not a fan of the shared four player rookie cards. The three rookies per card format in 1973 was pretty good, and then for some reason Topps started cramming in four tiny faces on a card in 1974. So this Lynn card rights that wrong and on its own made it worth getting the set. The only other ’75 reprint in the set is Joe Morgan:

1982 Kmart 028

Update: After I wrote this I found another blog post about this card from a while back

1975 Stamped BuyBacks

In the middle of completing a 1975 Topps Baseball set, I found some 75s with foil stamps on eBay that caught my attention.

There were 3 stamps used in 2014 and 2015 and for whatever reason, it feels like having a card with each stamp completes my ’75 collection. So this is what I got:

1975 bb 3831975 bb 4571975 bb 639

The backstory is that Topps bought vintage cards (including ones from 1975), stamped them with silver foil and inserted them into new 2014 and 2015 packs as “buyback” cards.

The 2014 stamped buybacks have a “Topps 75th” logo in two sizes. As far as I know, the smaller logo is from Series 1 and the larger one is from Series 2. The logo represents their 75th anniversary (which technically was in 2013). I think there were two cards per Hobby Box, but if anyone knows for sure let me know.

1975 bb 2014-2   1975 bb 2014

2014 Foil Stamps (series 1 on the left)

This year, Topps stamped buyback cards with a “Topps Original 2015” foil stamp and inserted two in each Series 1 Hobby Box (36 packs per box, 50 cards per pack). This continues in the Series 2 Hobby boxes (I’ve seen some Series 2 buybacks hit eBay with the same stamps – so 2015 has just one type of stamp).

2015 1975 bb
2015 Foil Stamp

Most of the cards I’ve seen so far have been commons and in exmt or lesser shape – the exception was a Schmidt. Most of these carry a premium when sold as singles (and the Schmidt was an exponential $36 on eBay).

While writing this, I was looking for more info about the 2014 logos and found Night Owl’s recent post. He’s trying to collect as complete a set as possible.