Visual History to Topps Vintage Football Wrappers: 1950 -1980

Visual History to Topps Vintage Football Wrappers: 1950 -1980

The whimsical nature of graphics adorning vintage Topps football wax wrappers through the years, has resulted in a collectible which can go above and beyond the cardboard treasures contained within. Set collectors often include a wrapper sample to bring completeness or closure to the overall set presentation. For many current and former collectors, the process of opening a pack of cards brings back childhood memories. From the slippery feel of the pack, the careful nature of cracking the glue seal, the anticipation as the wrapper is unfolded, to the instantaneous blast of bubble gum given off by the sweet confectionery treat, this seemingly routine event is a moment in time that accounts for a super-sensory experience on many different levels.

More than a mere carrying case or delivery system, the wax packs themselves served to advertise the product as it sat on candy and dime store counters and shelves. The enticing promise of gum and cards for just a nickel proved to be a destination source for many childhood allowances through the years. Long before websites, social media, blasters, sell sheets, dedicated card shops and conventions, the corner store was the gathering place to acquire cardboard images of one's favorite players. The only means of marketing the product at the store level was the display box and the actual wrappers. As a result, Topps experimented with different box designs and color schemes for their product's packaging.

A large number of wrappers were obviously discarded, forever condemned to life in a landfill. The rare samples that were preserved by astute collectors can command hefty sums on the secondary market. The hobby has evolved to the point where wrappers are now a gradable commodity, as well as the even rarer, unopened wax packs. Many football card sets were produced with multiple versions based on the number of the series and the number of cards per pack. Some years also offered multiple designs in similar styles for test marketing and to give the illusion that the contents within might be different. Advertising on the edges of the pack were often changed, creating variants that are often pursued by pack collectors and has become a bonafide niche itself.

Topps Football Wrappers Gallery: 1950 -1980

The gallery below features a single wrapper example for each year between 1950 and 1980.

Click on each wrapper to display a larger image. The year of the pack is visible when you mouse over each image.

Which one do you like the best? Post in the comments below.

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Vintage Lot of 5 1978 Topps Football Card Unopened Wax Packs
$9.99
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VINTAGE-FOOTBALL CARDS-PACKS-SET-SUBSET-SCORE-PROSET-SUPER BOWL-CARDS-LOT-TOPPS
$9.99
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*RARE* 1968 TOPPS FOOTBALL UNOPENED WAX PACK EX MT! VERY TOUGH VINTAGE PACK!
$325.00
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VINTAGE 1989 TOPPS FOOTBALL CELLO PACK LOT OF 4 FACTORY SEALED PACKS FREE SHIP
$8.95
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VINTAGE 1984 TOPPS UNOPENED FOOTBALL WAX BOX 36 PACKS BBCE SEALED
$799.00
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VINTAGE 1982 TOPPS UNOPENED FOOTBALL WAX BOX 36 PACKS BBCE SEALED
$389.00
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Lot 12 Vintage 1971 Topps NFL Football Cards Packs Pin-Up Poster Inserts BONUS!!
$29.99
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1981 TOPPS FOOTBALL ALBUM STICKERS LOT OF 4 VINTAGE SEALED 15 CENT PACKS MINT
$9.45
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1976 '77 ' 78 '79 Topps Football Cello Wax Packs * Vintage * Walter Payton RC
$5,125.00
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Topps Football cards vintage full 48 sealed packs box 1989
$60.00
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1988 Topps Football WAX BOX 36 SEALED Vintage Packs BO JACKSON Rookie YR Montana
$39.95
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VTG 1983 Topps NFL Football Rack Pack Walter Payton #36 Showing HOF SEALED! Rare
$45.50
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VINTAGE 1987 TOPPS UNOPENED FOOTBALL WAX BOX 36 PACKS TIGHT SEALS ROLLERS
$89.00
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Topps Football NFL 1988 Yearbook Stickers Opened Box 48 Packs Vintage New WOW
$24.95
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VTG NFL Football Cards New Mint In Package +Topps=Upper Deck-Score 90+91 3 Packs
$10.00
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1981 Topps Football STICKERS Lot of ( 19 ) VINTAGE 15 CENT PACKS SEALED FreeShip
$17.95
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Rob Bertrand

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Rob Bertrand is an avid collector with over 20 years of active experience in the hobby. He is one of the site's most accomplished writers, as well as the co-host of Cardboard Connection Radio. You can follow him on Twitter @VOTC.

User Comments

  1. could you tell me how many cards are in a 1976 football wax pack.thanks mazz

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