Sunday, July 25, 2021

A Year of Topps Designs: 1977

 1977 certainly seems to be a year where Topps was going for a somewhat unified look on their designs. Here are some '77s I own (all pulled from my trade boxes if anyone is interested in them).

The team name on the baseball and hockey cards looks very similar. And all three sports have the three pieces of information (team, player name, position) in a banner. This allows for a picture basically uninterrupted by design elements. As a kid in the late '80s, I always wished there were more designs like this, where the photo was in an exact rectangle. I really liked '90 Donruss for that reason. However, the disadvantage is that the photo is a bit smaller than in other designs.

I don't have any '77 basketball, but as you can see it follows the theme closely. Very similar to baseball and hockey, with a bit of a slant and the position in the photo instead of the banner. Football really stands out in '77 for having a bit of extra color in the design.

Topps produced one other sports set in '77, a soccer set that once again mimicked a recent baseball design, this time the '76 baseball set.

In non-sports, Topps lucked out in a huge way. In 1977, 20th Century Fox was trying to promote their new film Star Wars. They had sold the toy rights to Kenner, and Kenner owned the Donruss trading card company. Donruss passed on the opportunity to produce Star Wars trading cards. The studio then pitched to Topps president Arthur Shorin who also initially passed, but then changed his mind when the movie started generating some pre-release buzz. (You can read more about it here.) The result was one of the most iconic non-sports sets of all time. The blue first series is most famous, but I've been going on a bit of a yellow theme here. I wish I owned some '77 Star Wars cards . . . 

I never noticed until now, but it looks kind of like the '81 baseball set.

Topps produced one other non-sports set in '77, featuring the hit TV show Charlie's Angels. When I first saw the design, I thought it was half of a two-part puzzle card. Nope, they all have this design. Weird and kind of annoying to have a three-sided border open on the right, but it's something different, at least.


  1. 1. What an interesting story about that '77 Star Wars set!
    2. Nice observation on the yellow color across all four sports that year.
    3. Great action shot on that soccer card. Makes me want to find an old match or two on YouTube, just to see what British soccer was like back then.

  2. What a coincidence, I just posted a '77-78 hockey card. The non-sports sets might have been better than the sports sets in '77!

  3. Hey Bo... if you shoot me an email with your mailing address... I'll PWE a few 1977 Star Wars cards I have laying around.

  4. The Star Wars set was hands down the best set that year.