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Vintage Spotlight: The Best Rookie and Star 1977 Topps Baseball Cards

1977 Topps Baseball Cards

The 1970s were a wild ride and that extended to the baseball diamond.

The year 1976 saw the United States celebrate its bicentennial. Jimmy Carter was sworn in as president of the United States. The Voyager spacecraft were launched. Harvey Milk was elected mayor of San Francisco.

Elvis Presley, Bing Crosby, and Groucho Marx all passed away. On the baseball field, future Hall of Famers Eddie Murray and Andre Dawson won their league’s Rookie of the Year awards.

Topps produced some classic sets in the 1970s, with some amazing rookie cards. Less modern production and quality assurance processes, plus the ravages of time have made some of these cards challenging and valuable in top condition.

In this series, we’ll look at the top cards for each set, including key rookie cards and other valuable cards, with info on their PSA populations and recent values. Come hop in the way back machine and relive the glory that was 1970s Topps baseball.

We’ll look today at the 1977 Topps baseball cards.

The basics of 1977 Topps baseball cards

The 1977 Topps set consists of 660 cards, all released in one series.

Wax boxes contained 36 packs of 10 cards each plus one stick of gum. They sold for 15 cents. They were also available in rack packs, cello packs, and vending boxes. Rack packs contained 39 cards, with vending boxes containing 500.

PSA has graded 126,596 1977 Topps cards. Of those, there are only 7,501 PSA 10s, or roughly 5.9% of the total. Even PSA 9s are somewhat hard to find and command a premium.

1977 Topps Baseball cards – design & subsets

1977 Topps card fronts feature a clean design. A solid white border with a thin, double black lined frame around the player photo.

The top of the card contains the team name in large colorful font, the player name, and the position on a colored pennant. Cards also feature a facsimile autograph.

The card back features gray card stock, with green ink for the text and statistical information. The card back contains a cartoon with a baseball factoid.

In addition to the standard cards, 1977 Topps features several interesting subsets. These include:

  • League Leaders (#1-8)
  • Milestones (#231-234)
  • Playoff highlights (#276-277)
  • Turn Back the clock cards (#433-437)
  • World Series highlights (#411-413),
  • Rookie stars (#472-479 and #487-494)
  • Big League Brothers (#631-634)

Here at Cardlines, we love Vintage League Leader cards, and 1977 Topps has a great one in card #6, Strikeout Leaders, which features Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver.

1977 Topps Baseball Cards

Additionally, you’ll find Checklists, Team Cards (with Manager), and more. All Stars are denoted on their regular card, there is no separate All Star subset.

1977 Topps baseball cards – Condition sensitivity

In 1977, Topps used a notably thinner card stock than prior years. This thin stock makes the set more condition-sensitive than other sets of the era. Corners and edges are very susceptible to dings and fraying, and creases are often seen.

The thin stock was unfortunate (thanks, monopoly!), especially because enhancements in printing processes give 1977 Topps crisper photos and colors that pop more than prior years. But that card stock, it’s SO thin.

1977 Topps baseball cards – Key rookies

The 1977 Topps baseball card set features the rookie cards of two members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, plus another rookie from a player who often gets mentioned as a Hall of Fame candidate.

1977 Topps Bruce Sutter #140

Bruce Sutter saved 300 games in his career, participating in six All-Star games and winning a Cy Young award. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2006.

PSA has graded 2,872 copies of Bruce Sutter’s 1977 Topps card, with only 35 PSA 10s and 445 PSA 9s. In a PSA 9 slab, the card sells for between $150 and $250, with recent sales right around $200.

1977 Topps Andre Dawson #473

Andre Dawson hit 438 home runs and racked up 64.9 WAR in his career. He was a Rookie of the Year, won an MVP award, and was an 8-time All-Star and 8-time Gold Glove award winner. He was elected to Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2010.

Dawson shares his “1977 Rookie Outfielders” rookie card with three other players (Gene Richards / John Scott / Denny Walling). PSA has graded the card 5,929 times, with 58 PSA 10’s and 577 PSA 9’s. In a PSA 9 slab, the cards sell for $350-400.

1977 Topps Dale Murphy #476

Dale Murphy hit 399 home runs and accumulated 46.5 WAR in his career. Murphy was a 7-time All Star and 5-time Gold Glove winner who won back-to-back MVP awards. A steep decline after age 31 has hurt Murphy’s Hall of Fame candidacy, although he certainly has his proponents.

Murphy shares his “1977 Rookie Catchers” rookie card with three other players (Gary Alexander / Rick Cerone / Kevin Pasley). PSA has graded 4,774 times, with 66 PSA 10’s and 676 PSA 9’s. In PSA 9, recent comps have been in the $300 to $325 range.

Interestingly enough, Murphy appears on another “Rookie Catchers” multi-player card in 1978 Topps, but the 1977 Topps is his actual rookie card.

By the Numbers: 1977 Topps baseball cards – Key rookies

CardTotal PSA PopRecent Sale PopRecent Sale Price
1977 Topps Bruce Sutter #1402,872PSA 9 = 445PSA 9 = $150-250
1977 Topps Andre Dawson #4735,929PSA 9 = 577PSA 9 = $350-500
1977 Topps Dale Murphy #4764,774PSA 9 = 676PSA 9 = $300-325

1977 Topps Baseball cards – Other Key Cards

Beyond the rookie cards, there are several other desirable cards in 1977 Topps. A total of 54 cards in the set feature Hall of Famers, including the two Hall of Fame rookie cards above. Here are a few of the most valuable.

1977 Topps Reggie Jackson #10

1977 marked Jackson’s first season with the Yankees, and he was at the height of his baseball powers. He’d hit 32 of his 563 career home runs that year.

The 1977 Topps #10 Jackson card has been graded over 1,800 times, with 207 residing in PSA 9 slabs. In that grade, recent comps have been in the $275 to $400 range. There are also 16 copies that have been graded as PSA 10s.

1977 Topps Tom Seaver #150

Tom Seaver won 21 games in 1977, on his way to a 3rd place finish in the NL Cy Young voting. Seaver would go on to win 311 games, put up a 2.86 ERA, and rack up 109.9 career WAR. As one of the best pitchers of his or any other era, Seaver has long been a favorite of collectors.

Seaver’s 1977 Topps card has been graded 1,362 times by PSA, with a scant 93 PSA 9s and only 8 copies in PSA 10 slabs. In a PSA 9, these fetch $900-935. The card is reportedly one of the toughest to find in good condition in the set.

1977 Topps Thurman Munson #170

Thurman Munson was coming off an MVP year in 1976, and put up another strong season in 1977 in his age 30 season. It would turn out to be the last great season of his career, which was shortened by tragedy.

Munson’s 1977 Topps is another card difficult to find in high grade. PSA has graded 1,250 total copies of the Munson card, with only 84 PSA 9s and a scant FOUR found in a PSA 10 slab. In a PSA 9, these sell for between $900-1,100, if you can find one.

1977 Topps George Brett #580

George Brett was only 24 years in 1977, but he was already a star. He’d have an amazing career in which he racked up 3,154 hits, 317 HR, 201 SB, and 88.6 career WAR. Seriously, go look at George Brett’s career stats.

If it is possible for a 1st ballot Hall of Famer who was elected with 98.2% of votes to be underrated, Brett may fit the bill.

PSA has graded 3,185 copies of George Brett’s 1977 Topps #580. Of those, 356 are in PSA 9 slabs and 43 have been graded PSA 10. In a PSA 9, the Brett card sells for anywhere from $335 to $600.

1977 Topps Nolan Ryan #650

When you’re looking at 1970s baseball cards, there’s a good chance that Nolan Ryan’s card is the most expensive card in the set, especially among non-rookie cards. 1977 is no different.

1977 might also have been the most Nolan Ryan season of Nolan Ryan’s career. His stat line. Wow. 37 games started, 19-16 record. A 2.77 ERA, good for a 141 ERA+. 22 complete games and 299.0 innings pitched.

He led the league with 204 walks, 21 wild pitches, and 341 strikeouts. He led the league in lowest H/9, HR/9, and K/9. He was an All-Star and finished 3rd in the AL Cy Young voting.

PSA has graded 4,862 copies of Ryan’s 1977 Topps #650, second most in the set after the Dawson RC. There are 286 PSA 9s and 21 PSA 10s. Despite the higher PSA population, the card is incredibly popular. In a PSA 9 slab, these sell handily for $1,000 to $1,400.

1977 Topps Baseball Cards

By the Numbers: 1977 Topps Baseball cards – Other Key Cards

CardTotal PSA PopRecent Sale PopRecent Sale Price
1977 Topps Reggie Jackson #101,821PSA 9 = 207PSA 9 = $275-400
1977 Topps Tom Seaver #1501,362PSA 9 = 93PSA 9 = $900-935
1977 Topps Thurman Munson #1701,250PSA 9 = 84PSA 9 = $900-1,100
1977 Topps George Brett #5803,185PSA 9 = 356PSA 9 =$335-600
1977 Topps Nolan Ryan #6504,862PSA 9 = 286PSA = $1,000-1,400

Companion Offerings to 1977 Topps baseball cards

1977 O-Pee-Chee (OPC), the bilingual, Canadian version of the product, contains only 264 cards. Unfortunately, none of the Hall of Fame rookie cards from the Topps set made their way into the OPC product.

The set does feature 36 cards that picture Hall of Famers, including four league leader cards. PSA has graded only 9,248 cards from the set, with only 477 PSA 10’s.

A Team Checklist Mail-In Sheet was available via a wrapper redemption that featured versions of team checklist cards. The sheets were designed to be cut apart. These were printed on thinner, whiter stock than the standard cards.

PSA has graded 294 copies from this offering, including a total of 32 PSA 10s.

In 1977 Topps also produced a “test issue” of 73 Cloth Stickers. That includes 55 players and two different 9-piece puzzles. The puzzles feature photos of the All-Star team for the AL and NL when put together.

PSA has graded 9,308 cards from this set, with 695 PSA 10s. The highest population and key card in the set is the Nolan Ryan card (#40).

Final thoughts on the best rookie and star 1977 Topps Baseball Cards

1977 Topps is a classic vintage set with a couple of Hall of Fame rookie cards and plenty of other valuable cards. The cards are not difficult to find, but the thin stock makes them a challenge to find in top condition. There are even a few companion products well worth exploring, as well.

Overall, 1977 Topps has some fun subsets and cards. Whether you’re a builder of vintage sets or a collector of high grade Hall of Fame rookie cards, there’s something for everyone in 1977 Topps.

1977 Topps Baseball Cards

Other 1970s Topps baseball sets

Mike D.

Mike D

Mike D. has collected cards for over 35 years, since he bought his first pack of Topps at the corner store in 1987. His fandom,  collecting interests, and contributions to Cardlines center around baseball in general and the Baseball Hall of Fame specifically.

Mike's collecting focus is centered on graded cards, mostly rookie cards, of Hall of Famers and future Hall of Famers. Lately, he's been enjoying dabbling in graded minor league cards. A collector/investor with a "buy and hold" approach, Mike takes the long-term view with his collection.
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