There's no question that this section is usually reserved for the vintage issues that many of us are familiar with. From T206's to 1933 Goudeys to 1952 Topps cards, it's usually the big boppers that steal the limelight. While most collectors have placed their focus on the sets and cards from days past, there are more and more collectors who are expressing an interest in assembling sets from the post-1975 era.
There are certainly some collector favorites from the modern era, with most of the attention going to the ever-popular 1986 Fleer basketball set. It's hard to ignore a set that features so many Hall of Famers, a few very tough cards and Michael Jordan's rookie! In baseball, there has been some early interest in the late-1970s and early-1980s issues. It's clear that the PSA Set Registrants are off and running in this area, and the modern PSA graded set collecting community is growing.
No, it's not about investment here -- clearly. The collectors are, for the most part, collecting these sets for the pure fun of it. The sets are feasible to complete and the cards are attainable in the highest of grades for those collectors who prefer to look at the best of the best in terms of quality. For those who cannot afford a 1952 Topps set, there's always 1981 Topps. If you cannot afford a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle in a PSA Gem Mint 10, maybe you can own a 1982 Topps Cal Ripken in the same grade.
What about modern football cards?
Honestly, in the last three months or so, I have seen more interest in assembling modern football card sets than any other sport available. Maybe it's the assortment of key cards like rookie cards of John Elway, Joe Montana and Dan Marino. Maybe it's the fact that many of the football sets are smaller in number and, hence, more feasible to complete for the collector. Those two factors are certainly appealing but the most appealing aspect to collecting these modern football cards may be the pure rarity of PSA 10's.
Here's a quick comparison between the three major sports and issues produced from the same year -- all considered tough PSA 10's by modern card standards:
1986 Fleer Basketball - 1989
1986 Fleer Update Baseball - 369
1986 Topps Football - 89
As you can see, the football issue is about five times tougher to obtain in PSA 10 than both basketball and baseball -- and both are not easy by any means. Furthermore, it is generally understood that collectors and dealers do send the cream of the crop to PSA for grading so the numbers should have real meaning in regards to the difficulty.
Here are some more numbers to ponder revealing the rarity of some modern football cards in PSA Gem Mint 10:
|Total Cards Graded||PSA 10'S||%|
|1980 Topps Football|
|#160 Payton All Pro||181||0||0|
|#225 Simms RC||274||4||.014|
|1981 Topps Football|
|#216 Montana RC||6720||42||.006|
|1982 Topps Football|
|#51 Munoz RC||115||2||.017|
|#434 Taylor RC||777||1||.001|
|#487 Lott RC||44||0||0|
|1983 Topps Football|
|#38 Singletary RC||339||2||.005|
|#294 Allen RC||1663||14||.008|
|1984 Topps Football|
|#63 Elway RC||10204||26||.002|
|#111 Long RC||389||1||.002|
|#123 Marino RC||12045||140||.011|
|#202 Marino League Leader||117||2||.017|
|#280 Dickerson RC||1537||5||.003|
|#380 Green RC||322||2||.006|
|1985 Topps Football|
|#4 Marino Record Breaker||110||0||0|
|#251 Moon RC||931||8||.008|
|#314 Marino All Pro||1680||1||.0005|
|1986 Topps Football|
|#161 Rice RC||9469||36||.003|
|#275 White RC||428||1||.002|
|#374 Young RC||2684||3||.001|
|#388 Reed RC||313||5||.015|
|#389 Smith RC||324||2||.006|
As you can see in all of these examples, PSA Gem Mint 10's are a real chore to find. Most of these issues, while not as popular, are clearly tougher than their baseball counterparts. As more and more weight is given to the PSA Population Report each day, the modern football rarities will continue to catch the eye of the hobby's most discriminating collectors.
Good Luck to the collectors looking for the best of the best in modern football rarities from the 1980s!