1972 Topps Red Sox Rookie Stars Garman, Cooper, Fisk #79
1972 Topps Red Sox Rookie Stars Garman, Cooper, Fisk #79

The 1970s sportscards have really become the talk of the hobby right now, as more and more collectors are battling for supremacy in the PSA Set Registry. This week, we are going to take a brief look at two of the hot sets trading from the decade of disco -- 1972 and 1975 Topps baseball. Both sets are colorful, have plenty of stars and provide a wonderful challenge. Let's take a look.

1972 Topps Baseball - A 1970s Monster!

The 1972 Topps baseball set is simply enormous. With 787 cards in the set, this set ranks as one of the largest ever produced. This wonderful set is also considered as, perhaps, the most visually appealing set produced during the 1970s. Many of the Topps issues manufactured during that decade exhibit a lack of eye-appeal, whether it be from the absence of strong color or the lackluster design. The 1972 Topps issue offers great color and a design that certainly stands out amongst the other sets produced by Topps during the decade.

As far as rookie cards are concerned, this set does not have the strongest representation of star rookies, but it does offer one major key. The Carlton Fisk rookie card, #79 in the set, is definitely a key to the set. This Hall of Fame catcher is a true fan favorite and many of us can remember Fisk waving his arms, desperately trying to will his long drive fair in 6th game of the 1975 World Series. The drive would of course strike the foul pole for a home run and the Red Sox would win the game. In regards to the card, centering is a condition obstacle that collectors need to contend with, especially with those narrow white borders.

Stars fill the set across the board with the likes of Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Willie Mays, Pete Rose and Nolan Ryan leading the way. The Ryan card, #595, has long been viewed as the most valuable in the set in NM-MT 8 condition, but other cards, like the Aaron, have been tougher to locate in strict Mint 9 condition. Early cards of stars like Johnny Bench, Reggie Jackson, Rod Carew and Steve Garvey have always been popular as well.

In addition to the regular star cards, In Action cards were produced for some of the star players of the day. In fact, many of these In Action cards appear to be tougher to find in high-grade than the regular cards, which is most likely due to centering and print defects. Other special cards like the high-number Traded series and cards depicting players as youngsters are also included. The high-number Traded series includes a few major stars like Steve Carlton, Joe Morgan and Frank Robinson and these are also considered tough for the issue. In general, all the cards in the high-number series (657-787) are considered tough for the issue.

Overall, this set has so much going for it. It's loaded with Hall of Famers and stars, is very visually appealing and, due to its large size, it provides a great challenge for the collector. In fact, this particular set has been extra hot over the last few months with high-grade commons selling for strong prices across the board.

1975 Topps Baseball - These Colorful Beauties are Red Hot!

The 1975 Topps set is one of the best sets of the 1970s. Great rookie cards, specials and condition problems make this one a keeper. The cards were standard, measuring 2 ½ by 3 ½, and the set contained a total of 660 cards. Hank Aaron, the all-time home run king, was used to "bookend" the set. His highlight card is at the beginning and his regular issue is at the end. Not a bad choice by Topps. There are a few other interesting aspects to this set so let's break it down.

First, the 1975 Topps cards are fairly tough for an issue that is not considered that old by collector standards. The multicolored borders, with the top half differing from the bottom half, is the first obstacle. Many of the cards have dark colored borders that surround the entire card. The slightest fray and chip will be immediately apparent to the viewer. In fact, the colored borders can make the edges look even worse than they really are, so look at these closely.

The next obstacle is the centering. The centering on these cards is absolutely all over the place. Many of the cards are found with significant tilts that can really hurt the eye-appeal due to the design of the cards. These cards have a frame around the picture that can help collectors determine centering.

The last major obstacle is print defects. Because of the array of colors used on these cards, print tends to show up on the face of many of the examples. You also see the typical black print spots from time to time and when you have many cards with yellow borders, the print really jumps out at you. Print defects can really take away the visual appeal of the cards, so watch out.

Second, the 1975 Topps set has a great assortment of quality rookie cards. You have individual cards for rookies Robin Yount and George Brett, both Hall of Famers. Then you have a few other rookie cards, which contain four players on each card and contain potential Hall of Famers. Gary Carter should be inducted fairly soon after the induction of Carlton Fisk. Carter's numbers match up well with Fisk's. Then you have Jim Rice. One of the best sluggers of his era, Rice is a borderline case but stands a decent chance at induction somewhere down the line. Fred Lynn and Keith Hernandez rookie cards also appear in this set and while neither one will likely ever make the Hall, they were both very solid, popular players. As you can see, there are some great rookies in this set.

Finally, the overall selection makes this set popular. Beside the rookie cards, you have a few early cards of players such as Mike Schmidt and Dave Winfield. There are some older superstars like Brooks Robinson, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Harmon Killebrew, and Lou Brock who were soon to be retired. The MVP Special cards are also fairly popular and picture vintage Topps cards of players like Mickey Mantle and Roberto Clemente.

The 1975 Topps set has a lot of great qualities and because the set is from the 1970s, the cards offer an affordable alternative to the older examples that are pre-1969. This really is a fun set so keep your eyes open on this one; it may be a diamond in the rough!

1975 Topps Mini Nolan Ryan #500
1975 Topps Mini Nolan Ryan #500
1972 Topps Rod Carew #695
1972 Topps Rod Carew #695

Joe Orlando has been an advanced collector of sportscards and memorabilia for over 30 years. Orlando attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California where he studied communications and was the starting catcher for the baseball team. After a brief stint in the minor leagues, Orlando obtained a Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School in Southern California in the spring of 1999. During the last sixteen years, Orlando has authored several collecting guides and dozens of articles for Collectors Universe, Inc. Orlando has also authored two books for Collectors Universe. Orlando's first book, The Top 200 Sportscards in the Hobby, was released in the summer of 2002. His second book, Collecting Sports Legends, was released in the summer of 2008. Orlando has appeared on numerous radio and television programs as a hobby expert including ESPN's award-winning program Outside the Lines, HBO's Real Sports and the Fox Business Network, as the featured guest. Currently, Orlando is the President of PSA and PSA/DNA, the largest trading card and sports memorabilia authentication services in the hobby. He is also Editor of the company's nationally distributed Sports Market Report, which under Orlando's direction has developed into a leading resource in the market. Orlando also contributed the foreword and last chapter to The T206 Collection: The Players and Their Stories, a 2010 release, and to The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players, a 2013 release. Recently, Orlando helped put together a new hobby book entitled The 100 Greatest Baseball Autographs, which was released in the summer of 2016.