1970 Topps Basketball Set: The End of the Tall Boys

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  • September 25, 2015


If you are a regular follower of our company and our website, you’ve probably heard a lot about the Niagara Falls Collection that we acquired this past June and the numerous cards and sets we purchased as part of this fantastic collection. One of those sets from this exquisite collection is the 1970-71 Topps basketball set, which featured the extra tall cards that Topps produced that were known referred to as “Tall Boys.”  In 1976, Topps printed the last of the oversized cards. In this set, which for some on the East coast could bring them back to a happier of times as the New York Knicks were coming off winning the NBA Finals after a seven-game battle with the Los Angeles Lakers, and the final card of the series is the “Knicks Win It” card. But for others, some of the key cards for this set that many tend to focus on and look to collect are two cards that bring value to it in Pete Maravich and Pat Riley’s rookie cards. 1970 Topps Pete Maravich Rookie

The 1970-71 Topps set came in two series, with the first one consisting of cards 1-110 and then the second series having cards 111-175. There are also some solid rookie cards and Hall of Famers you can find in this set, including Wilt Chamberlain, Don Cheaney, Calvin Murphy, Jerry Sloan and Jo Jo White to name a few.  Lew Alcindor, who eventually changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, is also in the set. But if any collector wanted to invest their time in starting this set and wanted good “building block” for the set, the Maravich card would be just that.




At the time of his rookie card coming out, Maravich was a 23-year-old who was fresh off a having historic college career at LSU and then taken as the 3 rd overall pick in the NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks.  “Pistol Pete,” as he was nicknamed, then went on to have a solid 11-year career with the Hawks, New Orleans Jazz and Boston Celtics.  Pete was also named by ESPN in 2005, as the greatest college player ever and in 1996, was named one of the 50 Greatest NBA Players ever by NBA historians, which is a big reason why his rookie card’s value tend to be extremely high.  A PSA 10 GEM, which sold in 2007, sold for $18,000 and would probably be exponentially higher if offered today. The PSA 9 MINT version of the “Pistol,” which is slightly more easier to find, has consistently sold in the $2000-3000 range, but has been gaining momentum with the latest one being sold in an auction this past June for $3,660. Before he was known as the Hall of Fame head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and now, the current basketball executive of the Miami Heat, Riley got his career going in 1967 with the San Diego Rockets, but then was selected in the 1970 NBA Expansion Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers, which is who he is featured with on his rookie card, however, he never played a single game for Portland, as he was traded to the Lakers, a team he helped win a championship for as a player (1972) before helping them win as their head coach,  four times, to be exact. A PSA 9 for the Riley card, typically sells for a little under $1000, the last one to be sold was by Memory Lane Auctions for $903 in 2013. A PSA 10 card for that particular Riley card has yet to be offered. The Niagara Falls Collection has much more to yield, so please, as basketball season is ready to tip off, stick with us as we put on a full court press to give you the details of some of our other great items from this and other recent purchases. Just Collect, Inc. is always looking to purchase vintage and modern card collections, both large and small, from all sports and non-sport products.  Please visit our eBay store to browse our current offerings or to purchase cards from the Nation’s largest buyer of vintage cards.  If you have any cards that you’re interested in selling, please contact us through our website.


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