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Building a 1970s Topps Graded Basketball Card Collection on a $250 Budget

I’m a big fan of the 1970s Topps basketball cards. They had low print runs, have a truly unique look, and are chock-full of superstars. 

In modern basketball card collecting, I see many people being priced out by $1000 Prizm and refactor cards. So my goal is to present an alternative. To put together a respectable collection, on a budget, focusing on established players from vintage 1970s Topps sets.

Here were my rules:

  1. Budget $250
  2. eBay sold prices as my cost basis
  3. PSA graded
  4. Eight card minimum
  5. Cards from at least five sets
  6. Must contain two HOF rookie cards

Ultimately, here are the eight cards I picked.

1970 Topps Calvin Murphy #137 PSA 7 (HOF) RC – $45

1970 Topps Calvin Murphy

1972 Topps NBA Assist Leaders #176 Archibald/West/Wilkens PSA 8 – $12.50

1972 Topps NBA Assist Leaders Archibald/West/Wilkens

1975 Topps Pete Maravich #75 PSA 7 – $29

1975 Topps Pete Maravich

1976 Topps Moses Malone #101 PSA 8 – $29

1976 Topps Moses Malone

1977 Topps Kareem Abdul-Jabbar #1 PSA 8 – $55

1977 Topps Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

1978 Topps Bill Walton #1 PSA 8 – $23.50

1978 Topps Bill Walton

1979 Topps Bernard King #14 PSA 9 – $20

1979 Topps Bernard King

1979 Topps Alex English #31 PSA PSA 8 (HOF) RC – $34

1979 Topps Alex English

And $2 under budget! 

There are so many other players I could have included: Wilt Chamberlain, Pat Riley, Calvin Murphy, Jo Jo White, Jerry Sloan, Bob Lanier, Rick Barry, Robert Parish, David Thompson, George Gervin, Phil Jackson, and Julius Erving…among many others. There are so many stars in these sets to pick from.

The point of this exercise was to show what a cool, varied, star-studded graded card collection can be put together for a modest sum. I focused a bit on higher grades; if I had sacrificed some grades, I could have included more cards from earlier in the decade. 

There are countless possibilities in vintage Topps basketball to put together awesome collections, and vintage is an excellent alternative to the cost of modern superstars.


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