Julius Erving is the next player that we’re going to focus on as part of our ‘in-depth’ series, as we take the time to look at his 1972 Topps RC in more detail.
“Dr. J” truly perfected the art of the dunk, and is seen as the prototype for players who came afterwards like Michael Jordan. In fact, they had eight head-to-head meetings, with Erving’s Philadelphia 76ers often coming out on top.
“MJ and I played against each other – there were three years where we overlapped. I caught him before he really hit his stride. He was scoring a lot of points, but he was trying to find himself. Find the right mix of teammates. There were a lot of things going on during that time.”
MJ wound up with five MVP awards to go with his six championships. Erving finished with four MVPs (three in the ABA) and three rings (two in the rival circuit).
Here’s everything you could possibly need to know about Julius Erving’s 1972 Topps RC, as we discuss everything from average values to set info.
1972 Topps Julius Erving RC #195: In-Depth
Julius Erving’s 1972 Topps rookie card is one of the more popular vintage collectibles from the decade.
The Set: 1972 Topps Basketball
The 1972 Topps Basketball set features a number of colorful cards, and the Erving rookie has to be seen as the key to the collection. There are also a few more important Hall of Famers in the set, including Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Cards #1-176 focused on the NBA, while ABA players showed up on cards #177-264.
The Player: Julius Erving
There’s no denying that Erving was a special talent. He scored 30,026 points, which was third on the career-scoring list at the time of his retirement.
In Erving’s 16 seasons as a player, none of his teams ever missed the postseason, he’s seen as one of the most talented players in the history of the NBA, and was undoubtedly one of the best dunkers ever.
His legacy is untouched, and he still holds multiple NBA records as of 2022.
The Rookie Card: 1972 Topps Julius Erving #195 (eBay)
The card itself uses a red and yellow motif, with Erving’s team listed in large lettering at the bottom. (This was when he still played with the ABA’s Virginia Squires.)
The player is shown in a simple image midway through a jump shot, set against a bright yellow background.
Topps noted his position as center on the back of the card and forward on the front, but that hasn’t stopped it from being incredibly popular with collectors.
PSA has said that the ‘card can feature a very common print dot next to Erving’s left elbow, which should not affect the overall grade of the card.’
However, the white border and the yellow background are also susceptible to defects, which is why there’s only a sole PSA 10 copy. (There are 160 PSA Mint 9 versions at the current time of writing.)
As Erving’s sole RC, it’s hard to find much better.
1972 Topps Julius Erving RC #195: Values
As a rare vintage option from the early 1970’s, Erving’s rookie card can sell for a decent chunk of change. For example, the most recent sale for a PSA Mint 9 was $19,278.
However, anything under a VG 3 can be picked up for under $400, so there should be something to suit almost every budget.
1972 Topps Julius Erving RC #195: Summary
In terms of legacy, Erving was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993. Dr. J was also named to the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History list in 1996.
Another strong example if you’re looking for Hall of Fame rookie cards to invest in, Julius Erving is one of the better long-term holds within the sport.
We’ve mentioned that he was the prototype for the stars that came afterwards, but that shouldn’t diminish his impact to any extent.
If you’re on the market for Julius Erving’s rookie card, we’d advise to stick with graded copies.