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1977 Topps Baseball 100%

Hello all! After adding Dave Tomlin, Juan Beniquez and Chuck Hartenstein, my 1977 Topps baseball set is now complete. I will always be upgrading either within the same grade or to a higher grade as long as the card is better. Also, the OPC variations as well as the BK issues with alternate poses/uniforms are high on my priority list.

Very special thank you to: Steve Hart—the hobby’s most reliable and honest dealer, Frank Smith—the undisputed “King of 70’s cardboard”, Lewis Ervoes— one of the great guys I’ve encountered in 25 years of collecting, Mike Castaldi—mega card-geek and “Super-Collector”, Mike Baker—the best eyes on the planet , Joe Yanello—gets all the grades image,, Duncan Harvey—one of the real good guys around here, Daniel Haddock—“Mr. Christmas”, Walt & Deb at “On The Hill”, Matt Morse, Larry Helfland, Jeffrey Brewer—“Redsoxjeff” for spending oodles of cash on my dupes image, Joe Tuttle, Roger Rumsey, Michael Wentz, and there are others that must be escaping my memory momentarily. Of course, there are a select few whom I would not cross the street to pee on if they were on fire image , but I’ll focus on the good.

I have greatly enjoyed reading and responding to the many knowledgeable collectors on the multitude of sites where such things are done and have appreciated the help of all.
Here are some vital statistics on my 1977 set for anyone who is interested...

PSA GEM MINT 10: 118
PSA MINT 9 : 845
PSA NM/MT 8 : 46
PSA NM 7 : 2
PSA EX 5 : 3

I would love to share the background of my interest in the set, the era of Topps baseball, as well as some real inside information on the difficulties &/or pitfalls in building the set. I also keep a REAL updated price guide for all 660 cards in the set that I would be happy to share with anyone who is interested. The SMR is quite useless in that capacity as the market is so thinly traded such updates would actually require work. Just let me know if you would like my mushy set-building memoirs and I’d be very happy to post them...no one around my house cares...I'm sure you guys know that drill.

Thanks again to all,



  • calleochocalleocho Posts: 1,569 ✭✭

    why did you pick this set?

    what is your fav card?
    "Women should be obscene and not heard. "
    Groucho Marx
  • RobERobE Posts: 1,160 ✭✭
    Congrats Phil.
    I will reply to your PM shortly.
    Nice job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • jayhawkejayhawke Posts: 1,285 ✭✭✭

    Could you send me a PM I would love to discuss your journey to complete this set. I have started the set and could use your help.

  • WinPitcherWinPitcher Posts: 27,726 ✭✭✭
    nice job
    Good for you.
  • bobbybakerivbobbybakeriv Posts: 2,186 ✭✭✭✭
    Great job building such a set. I also like the 1977 Topps set (it is my favorite). I don't have nearly the cards you do though. Actually, for the most part, I collect graded 1977 All-Star cards. That being said, I don't even have all of the Topps All-Stars in PSA 9 or better (though I am working on it). I do have George Brett #580 in PSA 10 though. That may just be my finest graded card. Again, congrats!

    BTW - I'd be very interested in seeing the REAL price guide as you see it. thanks!
  • CON40CON40 Posts: 1,324 ✭✭✭

    Nice words for so many great guys! Reading accomplishments like this and the tremendous effort made by the collector and the help from so many in the hobby really underscores what this hobby is all about. Thanks for sharing.

    Oh, and congratulatios on a great set!
  • BugOnTheRugBugOnTheRug Posts: 1,611 ✭✭✭
    Hey Phil,
    Fantastic job! imageimageimage

    Thanks for the stats too! I still consider myself a newbie to the graded card world and registry and your words have always provided much needed insight.

    I'd love to hear all the details, the ups and downs, and your personal thoughts about this endeavor using both macro and wide angle viewing. I think you know this hobby and set building better than the vast majority of folks here and you tell it like it is, which I always enjoy.

    It'd be a treat to hear what you have to say. So I'm all ears.........whether here on the forum or privately.........please share!

    All the best, Bill
  • rvcrvc Posts: 559 ✭✭
    congrats, job well done. one of my favorite sets. which cards would you say are the most difficult? what are your values for psa 9 and psa 10 commons?
  • jaxxrjaxxr Posts: 1,258 ✭✭
    Congrats, the first set from 76 to 80 totally complete !!! I think so, at least ?

    You are certainly one of the top collectors in the era of 73 thru 80 and must be quite proud of the completion of this 660 card monster. The nines and tens involved make this a truly very fine set and regarldess of what some may feel , any year in such a grade and fully complete is quite a feat.

    As asked before, whats your favorite card (s) from this set and what might be your next goal in set collecting ???

    This aint no party,... this aint no disco,.. this aint no fooling around.
  • jackstrawjackstraw Posts: 3,748 ✭✭✭
    congrats phil!!!!i like the comments and more pictures please. i would like to know how you store/display the set?
    Collector Focus

  • Thanks a lot guys, really. While the registry is a real celebration of self and ego fulfillment, it just isn't any fun if you can't share your findings and accomplishments. By "sharing" of course, I mean brag, but it sure is a nice break from the daily grind!
    I haven't decided what to do display-wise yet. I'm always reading the posts on suggestions and have learned some pretty cool things. I just need to find some time and do it right.

    Should I add information to this thread--sort of the ultimate '77 thread or post stuff individually? I'll satrt with the background for anyone who is interested. Those who are not probably haven't read this far...


    This set is the perfect transition set from the early 70’s-- where the 60’s just couldn’t let go-- and the height of the Saturday Night Fever disco era. The Yankees were returning to prominence just as the Big Red Machine was saying goodbye and AM “hits” radio was on its way out, too. Reggie became the “straw that stirs the drink” (Card # 10), and the “Bronx Zoo” was officially open for business. The game placed an American league representative north of the border and gave Seattle its rightful shot at supporting a major-league franchise. The Dodgers, Phillies, Royals and Yankees seemed to have a permanent ticket for October baseball...

    For me, 1977 was the year I was born into baseball and collecting cards. I continue making my living in the sport today, but my feelings have changed quite a bit. In 1977 salaries had begun to-- but had not yet distanced themselves from the average American as they do now. The game offered me a real interest and introduced me to sports heroes. The sight of those boxes of wax packs in the candy aisle at Mark Drugs (the store no longer exists) made my heart race and the treasures that lurked within those wrappers are one pleasure I will take from the baseball cradle to the grave. The afternoons of shopping with my grandmother and spending my chore money ($2 bought eight packs with some pocket-change) are the greatest memories I have of a wonderful childhood that was all too short.

    When I moved into my teens I began collecting cards from 1958 and earlier. I had an appetite for historical significance particularly when that history pertained to baseball. I truly believed that when the Dodgers left Brooklyn and the Giants moved west as well, that was the beginning of the end of the ideal world I envisioned must have existed; a sort of utopia. Vintage cardboard and the players depicted on it seemed a natural progression for a baseball junkie and I jumped in with both feet. I came within three-dozen 52’s of completing as well as completing sets of 53-57. When third-party authentication became popular in the mid-late 90’s I had the key cards graded and in large part, financed my run at 1977 in high grade.

    When my first son was born, I lost my interest in collecting players I never saw play. Suddenly Steve Garvey was more important to me than Gil Hodges. Johnny Bench pushed Campanella and Berra to second and third strings respectively and the chase was on. It was 77’s or bust and anything I had to sell from earlier years was fair game. I have since had three more children and have changed the set name from “Montgomery Collection” to “Apostle Collection”. The first of many things my Monty will have to learn to share...

    What will follow is everything (actually more than any reasonable person) that anyone would want to know about collecting the 1977 topps baseball set. It has been broken down into categories that most collectors in this forum would be familiar with. The read is lengthy but a must for anyone looking to build this beast


    Critical Overview & General collecting traits: When complete, this set contains 660 cards. The set was released in one series. The packs hit the shelves of stores in January 1977 and could still be found into the early stages of the football season the next fall. Sub-sets include, “League Leaders” (cards 1-8), “Record Breakers” (cards 231-234), Postseason specials (cards 275,276, & 411-413) , “Turn Back The Clock” (cards 433-437), “Big League Brothers” (Cards 631-634), and a multitude of extremely unattractive Rookie cards featuring four microscopic images of, among others, Andre Dawson, Jack Clark, Dennis Martinez, and Dale Murphy. Jim Gantner, Bump Wills, Mike Krukow and Lee Mazzilli are among other notables who became big-league regulars. Also on the rookie card checklist for 1977 would be Gary Templeton (the first big-leaguer to achieve 100 hits from each side of the plate in the same season), Bruce Sutter, and “The Bird” Mark Fidrych. The Fidrych card is among the sets most popular and remains somewhat elusive in truly high-grade. The 1977 Topps baseball set is rich in regional stars and HOF’ers who are just getting started as well as those just hitting their collective strides; Jim Rice, Dennis Eckersley, George Brett, Dave Parker, Steve Garvey, Robin Yount, Fred Lynn, Carlton Fisk, Rich Gossage, Mike Schmidt, Thurman Munson; just to name a select few. The typical 70’s roll-call of HOF’ers resides here, too; Seaver, Jax, Catfish, Rose, Bench, Morgan, Yaz, Carlton, Palmer, etc.

    The set combines tasteful portraits with some fairly unique action shots. Willie Randolph sliding into Carlton Fisk (641) and the Reds clinching their second straight World Championship (413), and Chris Chambliss hitting his walk-off, pennant-clinching homer (275) come to mind among others. The usual mid-70’s air-brushed cards are plentiful enough to keep us chuckling and scratching our collective heads. The design is an uncluttered one with bold colors. While unopened product from this year is scarce and pricey, these remain quite plentiful in mid-grade in binders at shows and the occasional vending box can be had in the $375 neighborhood. Wax boxes were trading in the 8-900 range just eighteen months ago and are now 7-800 each.


    From the standpoint of third-party grading, there are many nuances that one should look for from both the aesthetics of the card as well as the technical aspects of the stock and production process.

    STOCK: Soft and “mushy” for the most part. For those unfamiliar with the term “mushy” or “soft” it relates to the looseness of the fibers contained within the cardboard.
    When a circular blade that cuts the card is dulled these fibers become exposed on the edges during the production process and can produce some unattractive examples. I stayed away from those cards for my set. I went for the tightest, crispest cards I could find and was fussy and patient (Thanks Frank!).

    CENTERING: Pretty straight-forward here. Tilts are fairly common to this issue so make sure you measure at the worst point if you plan to submit a tilt. The borders are fairly large side-to-side (although actual variations exist in border sizes of some cards as the photo is slightly larger/smaller. Not enough for anyone to really care or even notice, but when you measure your cards, you learn odd things) so centering issues can be deceiving. Also, top to bottom is graded stricter on these than side to side. This indicates to me that many examples are not actually measured by the grading companies but rather “eye-balled”. While cards centered a touch low exist in MINT graded holders, they are not the rule. Try to simply measure the three margins- sides and bottom. If they are the same you’re home free! Don’t worry about how much room appears to be above the team name as those plates vary a touch. On the reverse, you’d measure from where the “grass” is at the bottom corners to the edge & measure the other margins accordingly.

    CORNERS-EDGES: Because of the stock issues cited earlier, fraying at the corners on these is more common than any other issue in the decade. I’m not certain if the enamel is not tightly affixed or if the blades sucked, but chipping abounds all over the place on these! Most folks seem to notice how the bottom edges are often jagged-cut and chipped on 1977 Topps. I hear that comment quite often. That is true and those cards are, indeed, garbage. 1981 Topps is similar. If you have a fresh run of those, don’t worry as PSA will grade them MINT as long as there are no chips on the corners and cert-buyers wouldn’t know the difference. You might want to submit those through a volume dealer and piggy-back a 2000-card submission.

    SURFACES, PRINT DEFECTS AND COLOR: About the only thing Topps did well that year production-wise was decrease the number of fish-eyes from the two years prior. They should really clean the rollers, however, as extraneous and distracting roller marks and pepper abound! Man, were they ever in a hurry. The gloss is a real key to these cards. There are two distinct surfaces on 1977 topps and the glossy ones are huge! The gloss rolls on these like no other issue I’ve ever collected. 1958’s are similar this way—the colors and surface can be drab or downright electric like a tiffany. Ironically, the stock sucked that year, too! Be patient and find that crisp, glossy run as the color-strikes are usually explosive there as well. One of my higher-profile cards was a Carlton Fisk 10. The card had decent stock, but was slightly out of register and had about the worst color and gloss I’d seen on that issue. It was an eBay purchase that I later upgraded with a 9 and sold. I really don’t think PSA has ever gotten a real handle on this issue, although they have gotten better. SGC seems to notice the surfaces a bit more, but is a bit softer on centering and corners.

    1. Eye-ball the card. Centered? Corners there? Hold it at arms length, pretty? Rotate and tilt the card under bright lamp—glossy? Wrinkles? Snow or other PD?... 77’s are prone to debris that looks like spray paint that is not noticeable at first glance but under lighted scrutiny it changes the cards complexion and could get a qualifier. To date I have never received a qualifier on 1977 topps. Anything casting a shadow around those corners? Flat and crisp? Turn it over—all there? Yes?
    Okay. Let’s see if it’s a set candidate...
    Look at the team name in BLOCK letters. Is ALL the ink neatly inside the lines? Yes. Is there any tinting from the yellow ink plate above or around the players name or position flag? No. Is the ink under the position flag absolutely jet-black. Yes. Look at the photo. The photo resides in a box- within- a- box and a 1/16” margin remains. Check to see if there is any bleed or pixels wandering out into that margin. If it’s clean you’ve got a perfectly registered, crisp, colorful, sharp, attractive set candidate.

  • BugOnTheRugBugOnTheRug Posts: 1,611 ✭✭✭
    Very good read........keep them coming!

    For those who haven't looked, check out the 'owner's comments' column on this set. Looks like he's on the way to having some thoughts and history behind all 660 cards. Nice touch Phil..........I'll be reading them all.

  • Dgf,
    Just an unbelievable post!!! Thats what this message board is all about!!!! Congrats on a great set. Truely a great issue.It was a pleasure the couple times we spoke on the phone. Keep the info and stories coming.
  • jayhawkejayhawke Posts: 1,285 ✭✭✭

    Can you send me the names of good sources to acquired sharp raw '77's. I know you thanked a bunch of people, but I don't know how to contact those people. Hopefully they are also reasonably priced.

  • Best post in ages! 1977 was my big year, too. I must have put together 3 complete sets when I was 11 years old back then. The All-star cards rock. My faves are Steve Garvey and Rod Carew. All my friends lusted after those two cards.

    Thanks for bringing back the memories for me!
    1966T, 1971T, 1972T raw and in 8s
    1963T Dodgers in 8s
    Pre-war Brooklyn 5s or higher
  • rvcrvc Posts: 559 ✭✭
    frazier- i dont know you but i cant wait for your next post! great comments. where's the best place to find vending boxes? and which cards are toughest in addition to fidrych? my favorite card from that set was the pete rose. please keep the stories/hints/sharing coming. i will someday be there with another 660 card set so let me know what you decide to do as far as storing/displaying.
  • ctsoxfanctsoxfan Posts: 6,246 ✭✭
    I have said it before, and I'll say it again - Phil's set is a benchmark for late 70's set collectors like myself. Great work, awesome post, thanks for sharing your knowledge here with us!
  • DaBigHurtDaBigHurt Posts: 1,066 ✭✭
    Good stuff! image

    Nice break from the usual bashing around here to see an informative post. I hope this encourages more folks to share their expertise with their own sets.

    GO MARLINS! Home of the best fans in baseball!!
  • kobykoby Posts: 1,699 ✭✭
    The 1977 Topps set is one of my favorite sets of all time. Good job!

  • FBFB Posts: 1,684 ✭✭
    Great job DGF!!!!

    That was the last set that I collected before girls and cars - so it brings back some very fond memories!!!!

    Frank Bakka
    Sets - 1970, 1971 and 1972
    Always looking for 1972 O-PEE-CHEE Baseball in PSA 9 or 10!

    [email protected]
    outerbankyank on eBay!
  • VarghaVargha Posts: 2,392 ✭✭
    Congrats! By 1977 (age 16) I was toning down my baseball card purchases, but still bought several packs from this year. 1978 was the end for me.
  • BuccaneerBuccaneer Posts: 1,794 ✭✭

    << <i>Congrats! By 1977 (age 16) I was toning down my baseball card purchases, but still bought several packs from this year. 1978 was the end for me. >>

    That's very close to my experience. I started buying a few packs in 1970 when I was 10, peaked in 1975-1976 and when 1977 came around, I pretty much stopped buying packs and ordered a complete set via an in TSN. That certainly killed any of the excitement of opening a new pack.
  • RobbyRobby Posts: 653 ✭✭✭
    Phil.............Congrats on reaching 100% on this beautiful set you've put together ! Really enjoyed reading your commentary about how to build this set and all the info about card stock, centering, gloss, etc. ! Just got done admiring your Set on the Registry and you've truely done a outstanding job with the picture scans and collectors comments ! The scans are really sharp ! If you have the time , check out Phil's scan of card #27 - Bill Buckner Psa 9 - really great picture - his eyebrows are almost as bushy as his famous mustache - another uni-brow sighting to go along with the '64 card of Wally Moon ! Could someone post a scan of that card ,as I'm not computor savvy enough to post a picture myself ? Again , a awesome set Phil !!!!!!!!!.............Robbie
    Collect 1964 Topps Baseball
    1963 Fleer
    Lou Brock Master Set
  • mudflap02mudflap02 Posts: 2,060 ✭✭
  • 19541954 Posts: 2,866 ✭✭✭
    DGF- What a great accomplishment. I have submitted some of these straight from packs and received very few PSA 9s. It goes to show you love the set and have a very good eye at grading these. Keep up the good work.

    Shane Leonard
    Looking for high grade rookie cards and unopened boxes/cases

  • << <i>Congrats! By 1977 (age 16) I was toning down my baseball card purchases, but still bought several packs from this year. 1978 was the end for me. >>

    You were born in 51 ! Do you have any unopened packs from your birth year socked away?

    live each day like it's your last but don't count on it!
  • Great, great write up on this set. I have started putiing it together (nothing like you guys, just a nice EX set that I can handle - and afford) and it certainly seems Topps quality control was out to lunch this year. Insane number of cards seem to come "factory ruined", but I like the look of the set and it has good nostalgia value for me, so what can I do?
  • GDM67GDM67 Posts: 2,523 ✭✭✭✭
    As I've mentioned in passing, this was the first year I specifically set out to buy a lot of cards, instead of just haphazardly picking them up as impulse buys or in trades at school. It's the first set I really saw a lot of and studied, so it's still special to me. The cards for Brett, Tony Perez, Catfish Hunter and Joe Morgan are some of their best.

    How's it going on the OPC front, dgf? How about the variations in the BK Yankees set? We've talked about the Reggie card in the other forum, but the Jim Wynn one is pretty cool, as well.
  • Further proof of Phil's celebrity in the hobby:

    SMR Article - 1977 Topps Set
  • DGF - Nice review of a classic 70's set. Well done.
    Never met a Vintage card I didn't like!
  • Great Job on the SMR article and your awesome 77 Topps set! Hope all is well Phil!
  • Congrats on a great set! I recently completed my 1976 set and I know how exciting it is - and how much fun it is to share the accomplishment!
  • If anyone has a 1977 Luis Tiant PSA 9 (or 10), I'd be interested in purchasing it. Drop me a PM here on the boards or e-mail me at [email protected]

    * '72 BASEBALL #15 100%
    * T. PEREZ BASIC #4 100%
    * L. TIANT BASIC #1
    * DRYSDALE BASIC #4 100%
    * '65 DISNEYLAND #2
    * '78 ELVIS PRESLEY #6
    * '78 THREE'S COMPANY #1


  • Yankees70Yankees70 Posts: 112 ✭✭

    I just read this entire thread last night and what a great read. I collected PSA cards in the 90's and had to sell my entire collection when I got married.

    My best buddy got me back into the hobby and my main goal is collecting the hall of famers/superstars from this set in PSA 9 condition with no qualifers. If anyone has some they would like to sell please contact me. I live in Southern California and will pay via Paypal. I'm also willing to pay full market value so you won't be wasting your time.

  • SlipCSlipC Posts: 99 ✭✭✭

    Wow, a thread resurrected after 17 years! Great set, I agree.

    It's been a long, long time!
  • BozgrizBozgriz Posts: 11 ✭✭

    Classic set in my opinion. As stated in other threads, I sold my set and have started the challenge of doing it again.

  • softparadesoftparade Posts: 9,266 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 18, 2023 5:15AM

    Well the OG thread guy did mention bragging as being a part of the registry lol so I can bring up my 1978 Topps set that is complete in all PSA 9 / 10 which I worked on nearly at the same time this thread was made.
    The only difference with many of you is that i STILL OWN MY SET :)

    Man there are some old classic forum names in this thread that I haven't seen in a generation!

    ISO 1978 Topps Baseball in NM-MT High Grade Raw 3, 100, 103, 302, 347, 376, 416, 466, 481, 487, 509, 534, 540, 554, 579, 580, 622, 642, 673, 724__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ISO 1978 O-Pee-Chee in NM-MT High Grade Raw12, 21, 29, 38, 49, 65, 69, 73, 74, 81, 95, 100, 104, 110, 115, 122, 132, 133, 135, 140, 142, 151, 153, 155, 160, 161, 167, 168, 172, 179, 181, 196, 200, 204, 210, 224, 231, 240

  • Yankees70Yankees70 Posts: 112 ✭✭

    That's awesome Softparade. If you had to guess what is your 78 set worth? Meaning if you put it up for auction what price do you think you would get?

  • Yankees70Yankees70 Posts: 112 ✭✭

    What percentage of your set is PSA 10?

  • softparadesoftparade Posts: 9,266 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Yankees70 said:
    That's awesome Softparade. If you had to guess what is your 78 set worth? Meaning if you put it up for auction what price do you think you would get?

    No idea. I don't see any complete graded sets in auctions or anything. They are nearly unicorn items as a whole. Breaking it up a totally different story.

    Just 8.1% (59) of the 726 cards are 10's

    ISO 1978 Topps Baseball in NM-MT High Grade Raw 3, 100, 103, 302, 347, 376, 416, 466, 481, 487, 509, 534, 540, 554, 579, 580, 622, 642, 673, 724__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ISO 1978 O-Pee-Chee in NM-MT High Grade Raw12, 21, 29, 38, 49, 65, 69, 73, 74, 81, 95, 100, 104, 110, 115, 122, 132, 133, 135, 140, 142, 151, 153, 155, 160, 161, 167, 168, 172, 179, 181, 196, 200, 204, 210, 224, 231, 240

  • sagardsagard Posts: 1,898 ✭✭✭

    Softparade that is awesome. I'm just checking in after 10+ years away. :)

  • Stone193Stone193 Posts: 24,350 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 4, 2023 12:30PM

    @softparade said:
    Well the OG thread guy did mention bragging as being a part of the registry lol so I can bring up my 1978 Topps set that is complete in all PSA 9 / 10 which I worked on nearly at the same time this thread was made.
    The only difference with many of you is that i STILL OWN MY SET :)

    Man there are some old classic forum names in this thread that I haven't seen in a generation!

    Hiya Dan

    Just wanted to say hello.

    I sure remember you working on this set buddy.

    Glad to see you still have the set.

    Me? Haven't sold anything since the Carter administration.

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