I’m a huge fan of 1970s basketball cards, and I’ve written about them a few times before on this blog:
- Bill Walton’s 1977 Topps Card
- 1974 Topps Unopened Material
- Building a 1970s Topps Collection on a $250 Budget
- 5 Underrated Basketball cards
1970s Topps basketball cards had low print runs, a unique look, and are full of superstars. Plus, high-grade variants are pretty tough to find for iconic players. In 1996, when the Top 50 Players were chosen to celebrate the NBA’s 50th anniversary, nine of those players’ rookie cards were from 1970s Topps sets, and here they all are by year.
1970 Topps #123 Pete Maravich
One of the great rookie cards from any sport. The most recent PSA 8 of this card sold for over $6k. I haven’t seen any sales reported for higher grades.
1971 Topps #29 Nate Archibald
The last PSA 9 sold for $676. And PSA didn’t have a sales record for any Gem Mt cards.
1971 Topps #47 Dave Cowens
Dave Cowen’s rookie is a bit more reasonable, with the last PSA 9 selling for $425. But like the Archibald, I couldn’t find a sales record for a Gem Mt 10.
1971 Topps #170 Rick Barry
Are you ready? In September 2020, a PSA 10 Rick Barry rookie card sold for a whopping $6,655.
1972 Topps #195 Julius Erving
PSA 9 copies of Dr. J’s rookie are starting to push $30k.
1974 Topps #39 Bill Walton
He might not be my favorite color commentator, but his early years in the NBA were dominant. His rookie card in perfect condition will undoubtedly run you 5-figures today.
1974 Topps #196 George Gervin
One of my favorite basketball players of all-time and the last Gem Mt Gervin rookie sold for almost $10k in late 2019.
1975 Topps #254 Moses Malone
One of my favorite basketball rookie cards can be yours in a PSA 10 slab for around $9k.
1977 Topps #111 Robert Parish
Is Robert Parish still playing? It feels like he was in the league for 40 years. And it may take me that long to save the $6k it would take to buy a PSA 10 of his rookie.
Gem Mint copies of 1970s Topps NBA legends are out of reach for most of us collectors. Luckily lower-grade authentic copies are still pretty reasonable, and I’ve written about buying the card, not the holder before. Are you a vintage basketball collector? If you are, show me some of your favorite cards over on Twitter