1970 Topps Pete Maravich Rookie Card: The Ultimate Collector’s Guide
The 1970 Topps Pete Maravich rookie card is one of the most recognizable rookie cards in the hobby.
And it's also one of the most valuable...
"Pistol Pete" left a legacy like no other as perhaps the game's most creative player of all-time.
His ball handling and passing skills mixed with uncanny court awareness allowed Maravich to become a human highlight reel on the hardwood.
Maravich's popularity and legacy have led to his rookie card being one of the most highly sought after in the hobby.
And in this guide, I cover everything you need to know about this iconic card.
Let's jump right in!
Pete Maravich Rookie Card Value
The first thing most collectors ask is: how much is a Pete Maravich rookie card worth?
It really depends on its condition...
In rough shape it can be worth around $100 or less.
And in mint condition they can be worth thousands of dollars.
But to be in mint condition they have to be in almost flawless, pack fresh condition with great centering, sharp corners, and no surface damage.
One way to know your card's condition for sure is to have it graded by a third party grading company like Professional Sports Authenticators (PSA).
They are usually thought to be the benchmark in the industry when it comes to vintage cards like Maravich's rookie.
According to PSA, current market values in top condition are approximately:
PSA 9 MINT: $5,500
PSA 8 NM-MT: $750
PSA 7 NM: $275
Just know that third party grading companies like PSA are very strict in how they assess a card's condition.
Distinction: This is Pistol Pete's only recognized rookie card.
And in a set loaded with Hall of Famers like Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and many more, Maravich's rookie is by far the most valuable of them all.
Number: This is card #123 out of 175 total cards in the set.
Design: The design of the 1970 Topps basketball card set is instantly recognizable with its oversized dimensions.
Many collectors have mixed opinions on this "tall boy" design but I personally like it.
And I really like Maravich's card in particular: the rich green background really help his image stand out.
You can almost sense the anxiousness in his eyes as he looks poised to spring onto the court and work his magic.
The large basketball in the lower right with his name, position and team affiliation adds a unique design element.
Reverse Side: The reverse side of the card is printed with a horizontal layout and features his personal information and stats from his college days at LSU.
Topps featured a great write-up about just how outstanding he was at LSU as he lit up the scoreboard game after game.
A few things stand out to me:
- it's amazing how consistent he was year after year hovering around 44 points per game
- his freshman year statistics didn't actually count because of NCCA rules at the time
- he is still by far the all-time leading scorer and did so in only three years of play...and no three point line to help him
I also enjoy the little cartoon in the corner about him asking his father if he can borrow the car for a night.
Although, I understand Pistol and his dad had kind of a rough relationship due to how hard his father pushed him...
Condition Issues: Although the design of this card is unique, those tall boy dimensions leave it even more susceptible to wear because of its larger, clunky size.
So, be careful as these can chip and get dinged more easily than standard-sized cards.
Centering is also usually an obstacle for collectors looking for a copy in high grade.
Pete Maravich’s Legacy
Pete Maravich was one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball.
And arguably, he was the most exciting to watch...you never really knew what to expect when he had the ball.
He used his incredible ball handling skills and court awareness to slice and dice through defenses with ease to either score or set up a teammate to do so.
Maravich is probably best known for his college success but he did have a productive NBA career as well.
Over 11 seasons as a pro, he would achieve the following:
- 5x All-Star
- 4x All-NBA
- 1970-71 All-Rookie Team
- 1976-77 Scoring Champ (31.1ppg)
Those are just some of the amazing accomplishments that he'd put up over his legendary career.
Just watch some video of Pistol Pete on the court and you'll instantly understand what made him such a unique player.