So the question is..."Why collect the 1971 series?"
For me it's all about a card I've never owned...
It may not stand out by today's standard of action photography but this card was groundbreaking. The 1971 set was the first to use color photos from actual games rather than spring training games. I love the photos, I love the lower case type set, and I especially love the black border.
Here are some other facts about set for the non-1971 geek collector...
The set is larger than any previous Topps set. In total, there are 752 cards compared with 720 in 1970, 664 in 1969, 598 in 1968, 609 in 1967, and 598 in 1966. Along with the larger set size, the high numbers were severely short printed giving rise to the cost of near-mint common cards to be in the $6-$10 range.
To complicate matters even more for the collector who is really concerned with card condition [for my set I'm not too worried] the black border creates a card that can easily chip. This fact may have been the impetus for Topps only using the black border twice more [in the 1985 football set and the 2007 baseball set].
The '71 set was the first set to include player photos on the back and so consequently it is one of the few Topps sets that only has one year of statistics on the back rather than full career stats.
The top card of the set is Roberto Clemente's #630 [book value $90-$150]...followed closely by Nolan Ryan's #513 [book value $90-$150] and the Thurmon Munson's All-Star Rookie card #5 [book value $70-$120]. A total near-mint set is booked between $1500-$2500.
All that being said...here are three more cards added to my set from an eBay lot...
The Senator's team card is my first team card from the set and offers a good example of the chipping that can happen along the corners.
Complete Set: 752 cards
23/752 = 3.06%