Nearly 38 Years In The Making: A Complete Set Of 1975 Topps Football

I’ve never been so excited to see a Dallas Cowboy.
1975 Topps Football Cliff Harris
I recently picked up this 1975 Cliff Harris card, and when I got it home and slipped it into the appropriate binder sheet, I had officially finished a football set that I’d started collecting through wax packs back in 1975.

Just a little side note: The images that accompany this post are some of the cards I’ve picked up over the past few years to complete the set.
1975 Topps Football Fran Tarkenton
In 1975, I went nuts for card collecting. If it came in a wax wrapper, I was spending my allowance on it. I completed the Topps baseball set that year, bought a lot of Wacky Packs – admittedly, everybody in my elementary school bought Wacky Packs – and bought a bunch of Fleer “Pioneers of Baseball” (which is one of the few sets I still can’t put a finger on).

1975 Topps Football Larry Brown

I also bought a lot of Topps football back in 1975, more football than I’d ever bought before or since. For whatever reason, I didn’t get into 1976 football quite the same way, and after that my post-baseball pack buying switched over to hockey. I still enjoyed the football cards I had, but I didn’t bother going any further with it.
1975 Topps Football Darryl Stingley

Over the years, I gave some thoughts to working on the set again, but I kept coming up against the same obstacle: the Dan Fouts rookie.  I don’t know what “book” is on this, but I’d seen the card selling for $20-30, and that was much more than it was worth to me.
1975 Topps Football Dan Fouts

About five years ago I decided to make an effort to complete the set… but with limits on both spending and condition. I decided to put a $10 limit of how much I’d spend on any given card in the set (I think I ended up getting this Fouts for $7), and I also decided not to get anything that was nicer than VG/EX. As a kid, I took better care of my cards than most other kids did, but that still meant dinged corners and the occasional minor crease. I wasn’t going to upgrade the cards I’ve had all these years, so there’s no point in getting mint cards when 75% of the set was VG/EX at best and would stay that way.

1975 Topps Football Jake Scott

For a couple of years, “working on the set” meant keeping one eye out looking for affordable, lesser condition stars that I needed. Once I got the Fouts and a couple of other key cards out of the way, I ramped up my efforts.

It finally came down to two rookies named Cliff. I got Cliff Branch on COMC…
1975 Topps Football Cliff Branch
…but for some reason I had an issue finding a Cliff Harris rookie that was selling within my price range… until the show I’d mentioned up top.

And now, a long-term, on-and-off goal has finally been accomplished!  And I’ve got a big, ol’ grin on my face.

1975 Topps Football Drew Pearson

Now that I’m finished with this set, I’m tempted to resume another non-baseball set from my younger days, but I’m not sure what that would be. My kneejerk reaction is to complete the 1979/80 Hockey set, one I’ve always loved…
1979-80 Topps Carol Vadnais
…But the main obstacle for that one can be summed up in two words:



Ain’t no way in hell that card’s fitting in my budget, even if it were crumpled and torn up and taped back together like this little beauty.
1973 All Time HR Leaders_0001

Of course, I could always make my goal to collect everything in that set except for the Gretzky rookie, and I can just leave the spot blank or buy a reprint or something.

…Or maybe I should stop taking on “just one more set” and focus on my main priorities.

But where’s the fun in that?


12 thoughts on “Nearly 38 Years In The Making: A Complete Set Of 1975 Topps Football

  1. For some reason, I never saw ’75 football as a kid (I remember a stray a ’74 or ’73 football card in someone’s collection here and there). The first football cards I collected were from ’76 and only a pack or two.

    If I were to complete a non-baseball set from that period it would definitely be 1977 football. I bought a fair amount that year and absolutely love that set (I also don’t know where those cards went).

  2. Completing that set must have really been satisfying after all those years. That was a long journey.

    On a side note of my own I played football with Cliff Branch’s brother. Let’s just say that Cliff got all the available speed in that family tree.

    • “Satisfying” is an excellent way of putting it. I thought I’d be ecstatic about it, but it was more a sense of extreme satisfaction. Either way, it felt good. Real good.

      I always love to hear about people who have connections to athletes, even if it’s a remote connection. The best I can do is I used to work with a guy whose friend had a cup of coffee in the Majors (although I worked with the guy pre-coffee)

  3. Do you have the fold out team checklists . They came as a mail in . It has all 26 individual team checklist cards on 1 sheet.

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