Thursday, February 9, 2012

54 Is A Whole Lot More

In 1970, after injuring myself in a playground accident, I had to stay home a few weeks from school and was left with some time on my hands.  My father, feeling bad for me, would bring me home a rak pack of 1970 baseball cards every other day or so and in no time I amassed a large collection of these gray bordered pasteboards.

1970 was the year Topps changed their sales strategy in many ways and one of the biggest was upping the count in their baseball rak paks from 36 to 54 cards while increasing the price from 29 cents to 39 cents.  If you're adding that up, it meant that each card that used to cost .8 of a cent now retailed for .72 of a cent.  Plus you got a whole bunch more cards!

The 1970 rak header card retained the general look from 1969 but of course reflected the changes in count and price:

You will note the header, which after being redesigned for 1968-69 and had been red was now yellow.  The other change was that the older raks contained three 12 card cello packs within each pocket while the new ones had 18 loose cards in each. As it was in 1968-69, the header is also in its own cell.

What I recall most about these paks was that approximately one half of the run in the first cell would usually reappear in the third cell (sometimes upside down in relation to the other cards).  Random cards that also appeared elsewhere in the rak would also reappear upside down, usually on the front or back of a pocket.  So maybe 20% of each rak contained duplicate cards.  Well, you needed extras to trade, right?

As for football, Topps did make raks but noted unopened pack collector and Friend o'the Archive John Moran wrote three or four years ago he has seen only two.  Topps was also pushing a 25 cent cello pack starting this year (in a nice box--more about these sometime soon) so maybe the focus was more on them.  I cannot find any details about a hockey rack and the basketball cards from 1970 would have been too large to effectively sell in raks.

If anyone has scans of the 1970 football or hockey raks (if they were even made), send 'em along!

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