Saturday, August 29, 2009

Wrigley Wax's 1980's Wax

Today we’ll look at 11 more wax packs, this time from 1980 – 1990. I have no real nostalgic feelings for these packs because I never bought any of them. I spent the early part of the ‘80’s in college and the rest of the decade starting a family and a career. My wax busting days were over. I still got the Topps complete set each year, but that was the extent of my baseball card collecting.

When you see all eleven years lined up, several things become obvious. First, the design remained virtually unchanged. The only real design changes took place in 1981.

1980 is on the left, 1981 is on the right

First, they changed the font of the word baseball. The next two changes were due to the introduction of competition, since 1981 was the first years for Fleer and Donruss. To make sure no one would get confused, the new Topps logo was placed at the top of the pack in very large letters. The Topps name was much more visible on these packs than on the 1980 and earlier packs. The third design change was the addition of the slogan “The Real One.” Topps wasn’t being very subtle, were they.

In 1982, the yellow stripe with the year was added, taken out in 1983, and added again up through 1990. The only major difference each year was the wrapper color, and even that had a pattern to it. Starting in 1980, the colors were on a three year cycle of blue, green, red.

I’m sure their reasoning for the consistent design was so buyers would know exactly what to look for. If you want Topps cards, “The Real Ones” you just find the big baseball on the wrapper.

Though the wrappers were the same, the prices were changing. For most of the decade, packs came with 15 cards. But the cost was going up, from 25¢ in 1980, to 30¢ from ’81-85, to 35¢ in ’85-86, to 40¢ in 1987 (though you got 17 cards), 40¢ again in 1988, but back to 15 cards in the pack, 45¢ in 1989, and 50¢ in 1990 for 16 cards.

The price per card went from 1.67¢ in 1980 to 3.13¢ in 1990, which is an 87% increase over the 11 years. I wonder what that was compared to inflation over the same time?


  1. I wasn't aware of when or why Topps changed its logo. Good to know.

  2. Pretty cool that you can see Dave Kingman through the wrapper of the 1981 pack. That was always an advantage that year since you could always see what player was on top of the waxes.