1958 Topps Football Cello Packs

Value (2005) | $3,000 Auction$6,000 Auction

GUEST:
My father had a small grocery store and one year at Christmas decided to sell toys for kids. And he had a collection of football cards, Lionel trains and just a lot of different toys. And when he passed away, my mother put these away for future grandchildren.

APPRAISER:
So what we're talking about here are unopened packs of 1958 Topps football cards.

GUEST:
I believe so.

APPRAISER:
And now, I know I'm the type of kid, when I have an unopened pack-- at least when I did-- I'd have to open it. I couldn't keep it. So the fact that these survived is pretty interesting.

GUEST:
My mom had them, like, in a shoebox, and then when we acquired them, we put them in a safe deposit box, because we didn't want to open them.

APPRAISER:
Well, these are what is known as cello packs, because they're wrapped in cellophane. They had more cards in them than the regular wax packs that kids would buy for a penny or a nickel. These had more cards in them, and subsequently, they were more expensive. Today, finding unopened anything from the 1950s is exceedingly rare.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
Now, I see we have some condition issues on a couple of these. Sometimes the cellophane, over the years, is cracked and opened, and that happens. But there are others that are just...

GUEST:
Pristine.

APPRAISER:
Yeah, they're pristine. And that again is amazing that they've somehow survived all this time. When people collect unopened packs, they look for a number of things. Condition, of course, is paramount. But also, who's on the pack, because when you're dealing with a cello pack, you can see who's on top and who's on the bottom. In this sampling here, we have Johnny Unitas.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
You know, you don't get much better than that guy. And then you have Bart Starr, another star. So pieces like that have a premium.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
Now, how many of these do you have?

GUEST:
We have 312 packs.

APPRAISER:
312 packs.

GUEST:
Correct.

APPRAISER:
Well, I would say that constitutes a find. In sports collecting terms, that's like a Holy Grail type thing. Football cards are very, very collectible, especially 1958. There's all these great stars in the set. If I were to estimate one single pack at auction... okay, I would estimate it between $500 and $1,000 for one pack.

GUEST:
Oh, my.

APPRAISER:
So what we have here on the table is at least $3,000 to $6,000.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
Now, 1958 had Jim Brown's rookie card in it. If you have one with Jim Brown in it, that could go for several thousand dollars.

GUEST:
Oh, my.

APPRAISER:
So we're talking about a heck of a find.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And I know all the card collectors out there who are watching this are salivating, you know. This is a dream come true. Thanks for coming today.

GUEST:
Thank you so much. You're kidding.

APPRAISER:
I'm not kidding.

GUEST (chuckling): Oh, my goodness. Wow. I didn't know what I had.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Paddle8
New York, NY
Appraised value (2005)
$3,000 Auction$6,000 Auction
Event
Houston, TX (July 16, 2005)
Form
Football
Material
Paper

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