The 1970 Topps baseball card set is a sneaky son of a gun.

At first glance, it looks pretty boring — gray borders, small font, just about zero design elements.

*yawn*

But then … you really start to look at the things and you notice the photography is pretty darn good.

And the set is huge at 720 cards.

And those blue, yellow, white card backs with the incredible cartoons!

1970 Topps Reggie Jackson (back)

Throw in all the usual Hall of Famers and some solid rookie cards, and you have a winner — even all these years later.

So it’s really no surprise that this set has a strong following AND that it contains plenty of valuable cards within its walls.

What follows is a list of the ten most valuable cards from the 1970 Topps baseball card set, as listed by the PSA SMR Price Guide for PSA 7 specimens.

(I picked “7s” because, while they may not be affordable for the average collector, they are reasonably plentiful enough that we might at least run into them some time in our lives.)

Let’s dig in …

(The listings below contain affiliate links to eBay and Amazon.)

Nolan Ryan (#712)

1970 topps Nolan Ryan (#712)

A third year Nolan Ryan card showing him as he looked during the New York Mets Amazin’ run to the 1969 World Series title, and a high-numbered card to boot?

Yeah, that’s a pretty strong recipe for a popular card and a corresponding high price tag.

How high?

More than $150 in PSA 7 with steps up to $300+ and $1500+ as you move into 8 and 9 territory.

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Thurman Munson Rookie Card (#189)

1970 Topps Thurman Munson Rookie Card (#189)

Sure, Munson shares his rookie card here with the inimitable Dave McDonald, but at least the New York Yankees captain gets top billing.

And, well, dude is a bona fide legend and has been since his death 40 years ago.

With a strong contingent of folks who think Munson belongs in the Hall of Fame, you might never find his RC under its current $80+ level again.

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Johnny Bench (#660)

1970 topps Johnny Bench (#660)

In 1970, Johnny Bench had a truly monstrous season, smacking 45 home runs and driving in 148 runs to lead the Cincinnati Reds to a National League West title.

For his trouble, he was awarded the first of two MVP awards (the other coming in 1972). And, arriving just in time to accompany Bench’s breakout was this beautiful 1970 Topps card that’s still a classic nearly 50 years on.

Little wonder it fetches $75 or more in PSA 7 condition.

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Pete Rose (#580)

1970 Topps Pete Rose (#580)

Meanwhile, Bench’s hustling teammate, Pete Rose, saw his batting average plummet all the way to .316 in 1970. That meager output put an end to his streak of NL batting titles at two.

Even so, Pete paced baseball with 205 hits and scored another solid mid-career Topps card. This headshot probably gives as good a look at that mug as any card out there, for better or worse.

Always popular even if he’s not a Hall of Famer (yet), Pete and his fire keep this one at 50+ in graded NM condition.

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Willie Mays (#600)

1970 Topps Willie Mays (#600)

By 1970, Willie Mays‘ speed had long ceased to be a real asset on the basepaths, and his power was fading, as well.

But, wouldn’t you know it … the Say Hey Kid cranked it up a notch for his age-39 season and smacked 28 long balls, the last time he’d reach 20 homers in a season.

Then, for good measure in 1971, he stole 23 bases.

Take that, Father Time!

Of course, not long after that, Mays looked feeble for the New York Mets, but not before he scored a couple more solid slabs of cardboard, including his 1970 Topps issue.

Coming in way up at #600, the Mays beaut checks in well north of $60 in PSA 7.

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Hank Aaron (#500)

1970 topps Hank Aaron (#500)

Hank Aaron sort of sneaked up on people when it came to home runs — nobody really thought of him as a challenger to Babe Ruth‘s record 714 round-trippers in the same way they thought of Mays and Mickey Mantle.

But by 1970, Aaron had sailed way past 500 dingers, and things were heating up.

Though his 1970 Topps card shows Hank in a pensive mood off the field, it’s still a classic shot of a true legend caressing a baseball with a glove tucked under one arm.

Little wonder PSA 7 copies land in the $50 range.

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Roberto Clemente (#350)

1970 Topps Roberto Clemente (#350)

Like Munson, Clemente was an absolute superstar whose flame burned brighter in the years after his untimely death.

Unlike Munson, though, Clemente in enshrined in Cooperstown, and his 1970 card is a stunner. There stands Roberto with a bat in his hand, wearing his home Pittsburgh Pirates vest, and with sunny Forbes Field looming in the background.

It’s a combo that brings in more than $50 in PSA 7 most of the time.

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Reggie Jackson (#140)

1970 Topps Reggie Jackson

Awhile back, I christened this card as the best in the 1970 Topps set, and I haven’t really found anything to persuade me from that opinion.

Young Reggie swinging a mighty bat with Yankee Stadium in the background on a second-year card? Yep, it’s a classic.

And a classic that fetches $50 or more in PSA 7.

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Hank Aaron All-Star (#462)

1970 Topps Hank Aaron All-Star (#462)

Everything that goes about the Hank Aaron card above goes here, except that this All-Star version features the “exploding newspaper” design that you probably either love or hate.

Consider me in the former camp, especially since these cards give me the comic book feels as a bonus.

This is a $40-50 card that vaults all the way to about $300 in PSA 8 and creeps into the $1500 range in PSA 8.

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Johnny Bench All-Star (#464)

1970 Topps Johnny Bench All-Star (#464)

Same story as the Bench card above and the Aaron All-Star just above, right down to the pricing for the Aaron.

I’ll award bonus points to JB here because he gives us some gorgeous blue sky to build our ballpark dreams around.

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