Jeff Walters

1976 Topps Football Trivia

 The Bicentennial year of 1976, which would be a very eventful year in the United States kicked off in January with a peanut farmer from Georgia, Jimmy Carter, winning the Iowa Caucus which was the first step in his path to President.  Just a day before, in Super Bowl X, the Pittsburg Steelers defeated the Dallas Cowboys 21-17.  The Steel Curtain defeated America's team, lead by Roger Staubach in Miami, Florida.   Did you know that a 30 second Super Bowl ad "only" cost $110,000 at the time?  Today it averages over $5 million plus about the same in production and marketing.

Times were certainly simpler, but with the last game for the 1975 football season in the books, Topps could begin to work on their 1976 set.  Walter Payton made his debut during the 1975 season as the 4th overall pick in the draft, but back then it was too late for him to be captured in the 1975 Topps series.  Thus, Payton, one of the greatest running backs in football history would have to wait until 1976 for his rookie card to be released to the hobby. 

At the time, none of the Topps sets from the mid-1970s really generated anything more than mild collector enthusiasm but as the years progressed and Payton ascended the Parthenon of football royalty, the 1976 set began to standout.  Today, unopened wax boxes of 1976 Topps football can potentially sell in the $20,000+ range.

So, how much do you remember about that impactful set?


Which is worth more:

A PSA 10 graded 1976 Topps Walter Payton (with a POP over 50) Or a PSA 9 1971 Topps Terry Bradshaw (with a POP of 20)? 


payton v bradshaw 76 trivia

A PSA 10 graded 1976 Topps Walter Payton is worth more on average than a PSA 9 graded 1971 Topps Terry Bradshaw.

Despite having a pretty large POP for a PSA 10 (over 50 in fact,) a PSA 10 1976 Walter Payton is still the highest valued rookie card from the 1976 Topps football set selling for over $74,000 on average.

While the 1971 PSA 9 Terry Bradshaw is no slouch, on average it sells for about $20,000. A 1971 PSA 10 Bradshaw on the other hand can set you back for as much as $430,000.


How many cards are in a 1976 Topps football wax pack?


1976 topps football wax pack

There were 10 cards in each 1976 Topps football wax pack. Each pack cost 15 cents and came with a stick of gum. Wax boxes held 36 packs.

What was interesting about these packs is that Topps used to use the side panels of the wrappers to advertise a free sports card storage locker, a free copy of The Sporting News, and an action poster.


How big was the 1976 Topps football set?


1976 topps football set image

The entire 1976 Topps football set consisted of 528 cards. In addition to the base cards, the set also highlighted the All-Pro squad noting those outstanding players with a label on the bottom right of the card. Other subset cards featured a textured design similar to that of the outer layer of a football. Additionally, cards numbered 1-8 feature record breakers from the 1975 season. Cards #201-206 feature statistical leaders. Cards #331-333 feature the 1975 postseason recap including Super Bowl X.  Finally, team checklist cards were included in the base set for the first time ever; these included cards #451-478. As always, there were also regular checklist cards scattered throughout the set.

How many cards are in a 1976 Topps football cello pack?


1976 cello pack

There were 18 cards in 1976 Topps football cello packs, with each pack costing 25 cents. Cello and rack packs were a bit different than wax packs, in that a kid could see the top and bottom card.  Some sophisticated kids may have noticed  a certain sequence of cards might’ve been able to make an educated guess as to which cards were hiding beneath the first one being displayed.  Generally speaking though, it was all about finding your favorite players and teams.

How many packs are in a 1976 Topps football cello box?


76FB Cello

There are 24 cello packs in every 1976 Topps Football cello box. Packs and boxes for the sport have appreciated significantly during the past couple of years, with the player on top also playing a significant contributing factor to the price. In fact, at just PSA 8, a cello pack with Walter Payton on top can sell for $3,800. Just imagine how much a PSA 10 could go for.


How many cards did a 1976 Topps football rack pack include? 


76 FB Rack


1976 Topps football rack packs included 42 cards and could be bought for 49 cents. This was by far the best value for money, and was the fastest way to complete an entire set (that is if you managed to avoid any duplicates.)  

How much is a 1976 Topps football wax box worth?


1976 topps football wax box1

1976 Topps football wax boxes are extremely rare today. They are so rare in fact that no box is currently listed for sale. The last known to be sold was a BBCE wrapped wax box which fetched a jaw-dropping price of just under $14,000 in August, 2020. So how much would a full 36 pack 1976 Topps football wax box go for in today's market? $20,000?  $30,000? Let’s look at the pack market to try and get some insight.

As of the time of writing this post, there have been 0 PSA 10s wax packs graded. The last PSA 9 to be sold was back in August of 2020 for $440. That was before the boom in 2021.  Taking a closer look at the data however, we can see that PSA 8s were actually selling for more in 2021, with the last PSA 8 wax pack being sold in September '21 for $535. With that in mind, if you could find a pristine PSA 10 1976 Topps football wax pack from a box of 36 wax packs, the potential value of a few of those could easily fuel the box price past $20,000.  Besides being scarce, the opportunity to find a $70,000 PSA 10 Walter Payton rookie certainly drives interest too.

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