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1968 Topps Football Cards

1968 Topps Football Cards

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The 1968 Topps Football card set was the first release in seven years to include players from both the AFL and NFL. It would be the first of 21 consecutive years in which Topps was the exclusive licensee for professional football cards. To accommodate the additional players, the set was expanded to 219 cards, each measuring the standard 2-1/2 by 3-1/2 inches. The set checklist is dominated by Hall of Fame players, including Bart Starr (#1), Paul Warfield (#49), Joe Namath (#65), Gale Sayers (#75), Johnny Unitas (#100), Dick Butkus (#127), George Blanda (#142), Fran Tarkenton (#161), Mike Ditka (#162), and Len Dawson (#171). Key rookie cards in the set include Bob Greise (#196), Jim Hart (#60), Craig Morton (#155), Floyd Little (#173) and Jim Nance (#72). The 1968 Topps Football card set also saw the debut of players from the Cincinnati Bengals.


The front of the cards, for all but two of the teams, feature a posed player photograph with the team logo in an upper corner. Beneath the player is a design element that resembles a capsule and is divided into two sections. One part contains the player's name and team, while the other, his position. Color schemes of this portion of the card are team specific. A thin blue line runs up from each side of this section to frame the picture, and a white border surrounds the entire card. The card backs are oriented in a vertical layout. The card number resides in the upper left corner, with the player's name stretching across the top. Position, team, vital stats, year/life statistics (if necessary) and a short biography are displayed in a box below that. A football-shaped icon has a cartoon that highlights an event in that player's career. On some cards, a coin is needed to rub away the surface to see that cartoon.

There are a couple of exceptions to the basic card format. All players from the Packers and Raiders, the Super Bowl participants from the previous year, feature horizontal-oriented card and a yellow background with a cartoon of generic game action. Some cards feature puzzle backs that form pictures of Bart Starr and Len Dawson.

Printing and Distribution

The 1968 Topps Football card set was printed in two series. The first series includes cards #1-131, while the second series is comprised of cards #132-219. The aforementioned puzzle backs were all printed in the second series. The well-used practice of grouping players on the checklist by team was abandoned. Cards from the second series are slightly more difficult to find and star players often command a premium. The cards from the 1968 Topps Football card set were also distributed in two separate series and came in traditional packaging consisting of wax and rack packs, as well as cellos. In addition to the cards and gum, 5c wax packs included an insert set. The first series was distributed with mini-posters. These 4-color inserts measure 5 by 7 inches and include stars like Gayle Sayers, Bart Starr and Johnny Unitas to name a few of the 16 different players available. In the second series, each pack contained one of 22 different Topps Stand-ups. The player image was perforated and an indented line running horizontally towards the bottom, allowed the player to be punched out and the card folded to create a base so that the player literally stands up. The base also serves as the nameplate of the card and displays the players name, team and position against a red background.

Errors and Variations

While no noteworthy errors have been documented within the 1968 Topps Football Card set, two variations have been identified. The final card in each series is a checklist that can be found with different ink colors. Series One backs are printed in green ink, while Series Two backs are printed in blue.

Condition Issue and Test Products

Experienced vintage collectors commonly complain about the horrendous centering that is common to the 1968 Topps Football card set. The red base of the Stand-Up inserts is also very susceptible to chipping and edge wear. These cards in general, because of their nature to be agressively handled, can be very difficult to find in high grade.

That same year, Topps also released, with limited distribution, a product call Team Patches. The set includes a total of 44 patches, one for each of the 26 NFL and AFL, plus 18 patches of various letters and numbers designed so that kids could create their own jerseys. Also included in each pack of patches was a black and white team card of an NFL or AFL team. Because of their limited availability, they are considered a test issue.

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Key Cards

Key 1968 Topps Football Cards

Bob Greise RC #196

1968 Topps Football Cards 1

Joe Namath #65

1968 Topps Football Cards 2

Jack Kemp #149

1968 Topps Football Cards 3

Gayle Sayers #75

1968 Topps Football Cards 4

Bart Starr #1

1968 Topps Football Cards 5

1968 Topps Football Cards 6

Set Checklist

1968 Topps Football Set Checklist

Base Set Checklist

Featuring 219 cards

1 Bart Starr
2 Dick Bass
3 Grady Alderman
4 Obert Logan
5 Ernie Koy RC
6 Don Hultz
7 Earl Gros
8 Jim Bakken
9 George Mira
10 Carl Kammerer
11 Willie Frazier
12 Kent McCloughan UER
13 George Sauer Jr.
14 Jack Clancy
15 Jim Tyrer
16 Bobby Maples
17 Bo Hickey
18 Frank Buncom
19 Keith Lincoln
20 Jim Whalen
21 Junior Coffey
22 Billy Ray Smith
23 Johnny Morris
24 Ernie Green
25 Don Meredith
26 Wayne Walker
27 Carroll Dale
28 Bernie Casey
29 Dave Osborn RC
30 Ray Poage
31 Homer Jones
32 Sam Baker
33 Bill Saul
34 Ken Willard
35 Bobby Mitchell
36 Gary Garrison RC
37 Billy Cannon
38 Ralph Baker
39 Howard Twilley RC
40 Wendell Hayes
41 Jim Norton
42 Tom Beer
43 Chris Burford
44 Stew Barber
45 Leroy Mitchell UER
46 Dan Grimm
47 Jerry Logan
48 Andy Livingston
49 Paul Warfield
50 Don Perkins
51 Ron Kramer
52 Bob Jeter RC
53 Les Josephson RC
54 Bobby Walden
55 Checklist
56 Walter Roberts
57 Henry Carr
58 Gary Ballman
59 J.R. Wilburn
60 Jim Hart RC
61 Jim Johnson
62 Chris Hanburger
63 John Hadl
64 Hewritt Dixon
65 Joe Namath
66 Jim Warren
67 Curtis McClinton
68 Bob Talamini
69 Steve Tensi
70 Dick Van Raaphorst UER
71 Art Powell
72 Jim Nance RC
73 Bob Riggle
74 John Mackey
75 Gale Sayers
76 Gene Hickerson
77 Dan Reeves
78 Tom Nowatzke
79 Elijah Pitts
80 Lamar Lundy
81 Paul Flatley
82 Dave Whitsell
83 Spider Lockhart
84 Dave Lloyd
85 Roy Jefferson
86 Jackie Smith
87 John David Crow
88 Sonny Jurgensen
89 Ron Mix
90 Clem Daniels
91 Cornell Gordon
92 Tom Goode
93 Bobby Bell
94 Walt Suggs
95 Eric Crabtree
96 Sherrill Headrick
97 Wray Carlton
98 Gino Cappelletti
99 Tommy McDonald
100 Johnny Unitas
101 Richie Petitbon
102 Erich Barnes
103 Bob Hayes
104 Milt Plum
105 Boyd Dowler
106 Ed Meador
107 Fred Cox
108 Steve Stonebreaker RC
109 Aaron Thomas
110 Norm Snead
111 Paul Martha RC
112 Jerry Stovall
113 Kay McFarland
114 Pat Richter
115 Rick Redman
116 Tom Keating
117 Matt Snell
118 Dick Westmoreland
119 Jerry Mays
120 Sid Blanks
121 Al Denson
122 Bobby Hunt
123 Mike Mercer
124 Nick Buoniconti
125 Ron Vanderkelen RC
126 Ordell Braase
127 Dick Butkus
128 Gary Collins
129 Mel Renfro
130 Alex Karras
131 Herb Adderley
132 Roman Gabriel
133 Bill Brown
134 Kent Kramer
135 Tucker Frederickson
136 Nate Ramsey
137 Marv Woodson
138 Ken Gray
139 John Brodie
140 Jerry Smith
141 Brad Hubbert
142 George Blanda
143 Pete Lammons RC
144 Doug Moreau
145 E.J. Holub
146 Ode Burrell
147 Bob Scarpitto
148 Andre White
149 Jack Kemp
150 Art Graham
151 Tommy Nobis
152 Willie Richardson RC
153 Jack Concannon
154 Bill Glass
155 Craig Morton RC
156 Pat Studstill
157 Ray Nitschke
158 Roger Brown
159 Joe Kapp RC
160 Jim Taylor
161 Fran Tarkenton
162 Mike Ditka
163 Andy Russell RC
164 Larry Wilson
165 Tommy Davis
166 Paul Krause
167 Speedy Duncan
168 Fred Biletnikoff
169 Don Maynard
170 Frank Emanuel
171 Len Dawson
172 Miller Farr
173 Floyd Little RC
174 Lonnie Wright
175 Paul Costa
176 Don Trull
177 Jerry Simmons
178 Tom Matte
179 Bennie McRae
180 Jim Kanicki
181 Bob Lilly
182 Tom Watkins
183 Jim Grabowski RC
184 Jack Snow RC
185 Gary Cuozzo RC
186 Billy Kilmer
187 Jim Katcavage
188 Floyd Peters
189 Bill Nelsen
190 Bobby Joe Conrad
191 Kermit Alexander
192 Charley Taylor UER
193 Lance Alworth
194 Daryle Lamonica
195 Al Atkinson
196 Bob Griese RC
197 Buck Buchanan
198 Pete Beathard
199 Nemiah Wilson
200 Ernie Wright
201 George Saimes
202 John Charles
203 Randy Johnson
204 Tony Lorick
205 Dick Evey
206 Leroy Kelly
207 Lee Roy Jordan
208 Jim Gibbons
209 Donny Anderson RC
210 Maxie Baughan
211 Joe Morrison
212 Jim Snowden
213 Lenny Lyles
214 Bobby Joe Green
215 Frank Ryan
216 Cornell Green
217 Karl Sweetan
218 Dave Williams
219a Checklist
219b Checklist

Posters Set Checklist

Featuring 16 cards

1 Johnny Unitas
2 Leroy Kelly
3 Bob Hayes
4 Bart Starr
5 Charley Taylor
6 Fran Tarkenton
7 Jim Bakken
8 Gale Sayers
9 Gary Cuozzo
10 Les Josephson
11 Jim Nance
12 Brad Hubbert
13 Keith Lincoln
14 Don Maynard
15 Len Dawson
16 Jack Clancy

Stand-Ups Set Checklist

Featuring 22 cards

1 Sid Blanks
2 John Brodie
3 Jack Concannon
4 Roman Gabriel
5 Art Graham
6 Jim Grabowski
7 John Hadl
8 Jim Hart
9 Homer Jones
10 Sonny Jurgensen
11 Alex Karras
12 Billy Kilmer
13 Daryle Lamonica
14 Floyd Little
15 Curtis McClinton
16 Don Meredith
17 Joe Namath
18 Bill Nelsen
19 Dave Osborn
20 Willie Richardson
21 Frank Ryan
22 Norm Snead

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Chris is an avid vintage sports card collector who is The Cardboard Connection's resident expert of all things vintage.

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