In addition to their base set and partnership with Burger King in 1978, Topps offered a full sheet of team checklists as a wrapper redemption. The cards share the same design as the team checklists distributed as part of the base set, with just a few card stock differences. Topps designed the cards for collectors to cut out individually, so uncut sheets are pretty tough to come by – individual cards aren’t that common, either! In this article, I’ll give a basic overview of the 1978 Topps Team Checklists, discuss the wrapper redemption offer, share a few surviving uncut sheets and compare them to the base set’s uncut sheets, and finish by sharing individual card details.
1978 Topps Team Checklists Overview
Topps offered collectors another way to keep track of all their 1978 baseball cards, tell at a glance which cards to trade, and learn about players’ positions and team line-ups. They did this by offering kids an uncut sheet of the 26 team checklist cards. The sheet also had another offer, a collectors card box, printed on it to fill out a 3×9 grid. From a design perspective, the cards on the sheet were the same as the team checklists that Topps distributed as part of the base set.
1978 Topps Team Checklist Wrapper Offer and Distribution Details
Here’s a centered image of the specific offer.
You can see in the image that for 50 cents and a wrapper, Topps would send back a tri-folded sheet of all 26 team checklist cards. The picture indicates that Topps intended that fans cut the cards out.
The redemption ran for quite a long time, ending in December 1978. So perhaps this helped Topps sell more base cards later in the year, motivating collectors to complete the set.
1978 Topps Team Checklist Uncut Sheet and Printing Details
As I said, the uncut sheet was tri-folded and included all 26 baseball team checklists. The cards were identical to the base set, but Topps printed them on a thinner stock, making them easier to cut. The card stock on the back also appears super white, which is the obvious way to identify the handout cut cards from those distributed in the base set.
Unlike the base set team checklists, each team was only single-printed. For the base set, 24 team checklists were printed on sheet F.
But the Expos and Blue Jays team cards were double-printed on sheet D.
As I shared in the deep dive of the 1978 Topps base set, each card’s back has the sheet it was printed on listed on the back. That’s no different for the redemption team checklists; they have the same sheet numbers on the back despite being printed on the same wrapper redemption sheet.
I’ve only been able to track down a single sale of an uncut sheet panel, and Heritage sold it in June 2019 for $44. However, it’s a weird one, and the misprint of colors doesn’t align with the team checklist cards. The sheet measures 10 1/2″ by 22 1/2″.
1978 Topps Team Checklist Sheet Hand-Cut Cards
Each team in MLB had a checklist card. First, here’s an example of a hand-cut card for the Phillies.
And here is a Phillies’ example from the base set,
And here are the two Phillies card backs for comparison.
You can see the white background of the card that Topps distributed as part of the wrapper redemption. I’m sure, in hand, you can also see obvious signs of cutting/trimming that aren’t apparent on factory sheet cut cards.
Next, here’s a Kansas City Royals hand-cut example; notice the Sheet F designation on the back.
I found a Blue Jays hand-cut example, and it’s a little tough to make out, but you can see the D next to the copyright information along the right-hand side, just like on the base Blue Jays card.
Compared to how many individual team checklists PSA has graded from the base set, there are relatively few sheet hand-cut graded examples, just 338 in total, including one advertising card! The population distribution is pretty varied, with 59 PSA 10s, 69 PSA 9s, and 52 PSA 8s as the most common grades. The most graded specific cards are the Angeles (33), Royals (30), Reds (28), Yankees (26), and Phillies (24).
Here are some recent individual card sales data:
- 1978 Topps #328 Brewers Team – Team Checklist Sheet Handcut PSA 10: $79 in May 2023, and another for $99.99 that same month
- 1978 Topps #214 Angels Team – Team Checklist Sheet Handcut PSA 10: $48 in July 2021
- 1978 Topps #626 Blue Jays Team – Team Checklist Sheet Handcut PSA 9: $179.99 In August 2021
- 1978 Topps #96 Orioles Team – Team Checklist Sheet Handcut PSA 4: $35 in October 2020
- 1978 Topps #282 Yankees Team – Team Checklist Sheet Handcut PSA 8: $55 in July 2020. A PSA 10 Yankees example sold for $109 in October 2018
- 1978 Topps #724 Royals Team – Team Checklist Sheet Handcut PSA 9: $56 in February 2017
- 1978 Topps #381 Phillies Team – Team Checklist Sheet Handcut PSA 9: $27 in February 2017, a PSA 10 graded Phillies Team Checklist sold for $97.99 in February 2021
Conclusion and Related Items
The 1978 Topps baseball team checklist mail-in redemption was a cost-effective way for kids who couldn’t afford to rip a ton of 20-cent packs to get a bunch of their favorite teams’ cards for just 50 cents. It also made a great display piece and probably motivated a lot of collectors to buy more packs to complete their sets. But these checklists and the Burger King cards weren’t the only promotions Topps ran; I have two more articles to share in the coming weeks highlighting the 1978 Topps Zest Soap set and the six-card panels Topps included in a specific release of Scholastic’s Dynamite Magazine.
- By the way, this wasn’t the first or only time Topps offered uncut sheets of team checklists, so it must have been a successful promotion. I wrote about one of the scarcer ones, the 1975 Topps football team checklists, in May 2022.
- And, if you’re into checklists, I have a page, Checklist Central, dedicated to sharing variations and my library of checklist-related articles.
- I also highlight checklists, and other niche historical hobby promotions, in the Post War Cards Newsletter.