O-Pee-Chee produced its own card sets starting in the 1930s. But, they really started having commercial success after signing a licensing agreement with Topps in 1958, after which they promoted baseball, football, and hockey card sets. And during that run, 1984 was the only year OPC issued baseball cards in rack packs, though they did issue wax pack racks in 1980.
The 1984 OPC baseball rack packs contain three 17-card individually cello-wrapped packs (grocery style). The header card is bilingual with no MSRP designation.
The rack wrappers were the same ones OPC used for their hockey rack packs that they released in 1982, which is why you see that date next to the copyright on the header. You see, OPC changed the card count in rack packs to 51 cards in 1982 from 57 the prior year.
One theory about why OPC made baseball racks in 1984 is that the set was highly produced, and they had to push out an abundance of cards to customers, so the baseball racks were a sort of test that never took off.
Today, 1984 OPC baseball rack packs are much scarcer than their Topps counterparts, and the outer box looks slightly different from the Topps version. I believe the 1984 OPC baseball rack box is also identical to the 1984 OPC hockey rack box.
For a long time, collectors weren’t sure if OPC ever released the 51-card baseball racks to the public. Over 20 years ago, a collector had talked to Mark Murphy, the top unopened specialist at the time, and he didn’t know anything about these.
However, another collector recently shared a photo of what had been his white whale, a 1984 OPC baseball rack case.
He wrote that a few years ago, he was lucky to find an empty 1984 OPC baseball box and struck up a friendship with the original owner, but the owner wasn’t willing to part with the case at the time. That original owner shared that he had purchased the case, still sealed, at a Canadian card show and kept it sealed until about seven years ago. The new case owner shared that two rack boxes and about a third of his rack packs came from that case.
One of the photos showed a mailing label on top for “Towers” of High Park in Toronto from another “Towers” department store in Mississauga, Ontario. So it seems OPC sold them publicly.
If you’re patient, you can pick up a 396-card set of 1984 OPC baseball cards for around $65. And 1984 OPC baseball wax boxes sell for ~$300 these days, which include 36 12-card packs, or 432 cards.
But unopened prices rarely correlate strongly to the value of the cards in the packs. And that is even more evident by the prices these 1984 OPC baseball rack packs go for.
Again, these rack packs have 51-cards, and the minimum price I have seen any go for is around $100.
Another exciting thing about 1984 OPC packs is that because the set only has 396 cards, compared to the 792 in the Topps set, but contained most of the stars and rookies (including Don Mattingly), you are more likely to find one with a star or rookie showing.
This pack with Cal Ripken and Eddie Murray on the back has been listed on eBay for around $250.
And this pack with Cal Ripken on top has been listed for $299.
I also recently saw a 1984 OPC baseball rack with Don Mattingly on the back listed for $600 (it’s in the photo above that has two racks in it). You can find bundles of 1984 OPC baseball racks put together by BBCE; usually, there won’t be any stars showing, but you can pick 12 up for around $1200.
I’ve always been a fan of vintage unopened products, as evidenced by the Unopened Archive here on the site, but only recently did I learn about the uniqueness of the 1984 OPC baseball rack packs. If you have any other information about the product, please leave a note in the comments, and happy collecting!