PSA Set Registry® 115,885 Registered Sets

Expert Comments:

Welcome to the 2009 installment of the PSA Set Registry awards! With over 45,000 sets registered at the time of the awards deadline, the task of selecting the special award winners was tougher than ever. As the registry continues to grow each year and more hobbyists assemble fine collections, the voting process just gets harder. PSA would like to thank all the loyal collectors who have made our registry program the most dominant of its kind.

The registry is more diverse than ever and we will continue to expand the program. PSA would have never achieved the level of its success without all of our loyal set registrants. In addition, a special thanks goes out to trading card expert Greg Bussineau who assisted in the difficult voting process.

At PSA, we continue to look for ways of improving and expanding the registry. Whether you would like to see new features added to the existing program or entirely new categories listed on the site, any feedback you may have of how PSA can improve your collecting experience is appreciated. If you would like to share your comments, please feel free to email me direct at [email protected].

Happy Collecting!
Joe Orlando, PSA President

Marty Quinn - Best Collection of the Year
Over the past few years, it has been a lot of fun to watch the non-sports segment of the PSA Set Registry grow. Make no mistake, the popularity of non-sports cards is no fad. From historical figures to entertainment icons to pure fantasy, some non-sports card issues can offer a combination of scarcity and eye-appeal that goes far beyond anything we find in sportscard collecting. One of our first inductees into the Set Registry Hall of Fame, renowned non-sports collector Bill Bengen, was honored just a couple of years ago. It is our pleasure to honor another significant figure from the world of non-sports in Marty Quinn. Marty’s collection is not only vast, as he has registered well over 100 sets; he was also an early supporter of the Set Registry and the concept of grading itself. We remember talking with Marty on the phone several years ago and discussing the potential of non-sports cards in the graded market. Marty had a vision and, while we believe that the non-sports card market still has plenty of room to grow, that vision is now becoming a reality. As with most of our products and services, it wouldn’t be possible without the support of people like Marty, a visionary with a great collection. Marty has dozens of top-ranked sets, from 1910 to 1976; including ultra-popular issues like the 1935 Mickey Mouse and 1940 Lone Ranger sets.

Donald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection - Bowman 1948-1955 Master Baseball Run - Best Set of the Year
Don Spence is becoming the Registry’s version of The Iron Man, winning this category for the fourth consecutive year. Spence’s overall collection is so impressive that you might need an 18-Wheeler to load all of his PSA Set Registry awards. The 1948-1955 Bowman run is one of major importance, one that contains so many keys including rookies of legendary players like Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford. The run also includes post-war rarities like the 1954 Bowman Ted Williams. From the beautiful artwork found in the 1951 Bowman set to the wonderful photography on display in the 1953 Bowman set, the run is as diverse in style as it is attractive. You need 1,944 cards to complete this run and none are nicer than this one.

RVS Collection - 1955 Topps All-American (Basic) Football Set - Best Rookie Set of the Year
In one of the more remarkable registry stories of the past year, this set bolted to the top in one of the most collectible set categories on the football card registry. Always popular, there are many key cards in this set including Jim Thorpe, The Four Horsemen and the Don Hutson rookie. Many hobbyists remain unaware that this set was assembled, primarily, from a hoard of unopened Cello packs brought to PSA just a couple of years ago. The boxes of Cellos were pristine and not something you see everyday in this hobby. As a result, this set became the first All-American set ever to reach PSA Mint 9 status across the board with a GPA of 9.10.

Baseball

Jeffrey Gitomer - 1939 Play Ball (Basic) - Best Vintage Pre-War Baseball Set of the Year
The Play Ball run of 1939-1941 is one that most collectors are familiar with. While the run was brief, Play Ball produced some of the hobby’s most important cards. It all began in 1939…a black and white set anchored by one of the most important rookie cards of all-time…the first card of Ted Williams. In addition to Williams and a popular card of Joe DiMaggio, there are several Hall of Famers throughout this 161-card issue. This particular set is the finest group ever registered, carrying an excellent GPA of 8.53.

Donald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection - 1955 Bowman (Master) - Best Post-War Vintage Baseball Set of the Year (1948-1959)
The 1950s produced so many memorable Bowman, Topps and regional sets. This one is no exception, mainly due to its unique design and difficulty. Each card, made to look like a television set, is surrounded by wood-colored borders, varying from a very light brown to a rich mahogany color. It was the last hurrah for Bowman as the company called it quits after eight straight years in the business of baseball card manufacturing. This set features the first and only Bowman card of Ernie Banks in addition to an interesting and tough high-number run of umpire cards. With a GPA of 8.79, there is no one remotely close on the Current Finest list.

Robert Becker (RB Collection) - 1963 Fleer - Best Vintage Baseball Set of the Year
The 1963 Fleer set, while smaller in size than its 1960s Topps counterparts, is one of the more important issues of the decade. The 67-card set, which showcases a very attractive design, is filled with many of the brightest stars of the period. This list includes Roberto Clemente, Sandy Koufax, and Willie Mays amongst others, in addition to the tough Joe Adcock short print and checklist, which is considered the most valuable card in the set in PSA NM-MT 8 or Mint 9 quality. This incredible collection boasts a GPA of 9.48 and it is, by far, the best set ever registered in the category.

Gary Nusbaum (Gary's 1974 Set) - 1974 Topps (Master) - Best Modern Baseball Set of the Year
While this set is often overshadowed by other Topps productions of the decade like the 1971, 1972 and 1975 issues, the 1974 Topps set is appealing in its own right. Leading off with some very popular Hank Aaron tribute cards, commemorating his record-breaking career home run total, this set also features a key rookie card in Dave Winfield and offers an attractive design. Since this is the Master Set category, it requires some interesting variations, including the Washington, D.C. cards – a move that was never to be for the San Diego Padres. With an amazing GPA of 9.63, this set is head and shoulders above the rest.

Basketball

D'Orsay Bryant, III, M.D. (The Bryant 1969 Topps Basketball Collection) - 1969-70 Topps - Best Vintage Basketball Set of the Year
This 99-card is one of the staples of basketball card collecting. Beginning with a #1 card of Wilt Chamberlain and filled with key Hall of Fame rookies in Gail Goodrich, Nate Thurmond, Connie Hawkins, John Havlicek, Billy Cunningham, Bill Bradley, Jerry Lucas, Wes Unseld, Willis Reed, Elvin Hayes, Earl Monroe, Dave DeBusschere, Walt Frazier and, of course, Lew Alcindor, these Tall Boys have always been highly collectible. This particular set ranks #2 all-time with a GPA of 9.04 and is only the second set ever to average PSA Mint 9 status or better in the category.

J Jet J - 1971-72 Topps - Best Modern Basketball Set of the Year
One year after Topps released their second Tall Boy set and the Pete Maravich rookie, they reduced the physical size of the cards but increased the size of the set by going to 234 total cards. Within this substantial basketball offering is a host of key rookies including Nate Archibald, Dave Cowens, Bob Lanier, Rick Barry and Dan Issel…and those are just the Hall of Famer rookies! This particular set is the best one ever registered with an impressive GPA of 9.25, one of only two Current Finest sets to achieve a GPA of PSA Mint 9 or better.

Football

Jim Crandell (Davalillo) - 1953 Bowman - Best Vintage Football Set of the Year (pre-1960)
This 96-card set, while considered one of the more attractive issues of the decade due to the design, is tougher than it is visually appealing. To put this in perspective, this particular set is the only one on the entire Current Finest list to achieve a GPA of PSA NM-MT 8 or better in complete form coming in at exactly 8.00. The set contains a smattering of short prints and a very tough #1 card in Eddie LeBaron, adding to the challenge of the entire condition-sensitive issue, which is often plagued with poor centering.

Steve Eberhardt (seinbigd) - 1962 Post Cereal - Best Vintage Football Set of the Year
While this issue is not exactly a mainstream set, it is one of the more difficult vintage football issues to assemble on the registry. Keep in mind that these cards were found on the backs of various cereal boxes and many of them have been poorly cut over the years, eliminating them from eligibility for a numerical grade from PSA. This particular set is not only complete, it carries with it a GPA of 8.41! With 200 cards needed to complete the set, this achievement is put into even greater perspective. The set also includes a slew of very tough short prints and some very early cards of players like Mike Ditka and Fran Tarkenton. This award-winner is the only complete set on the registry and, by far, the finest of all-time.


Benjamin Martello (The Hammer Collection) - 1971 Topps - Best Modern Football Set of the Year
This 263-card set has always been a favorite amongst collectors. The colorful design provides great visual appeal and a challenging frame, susceptible to wear, for those seeking high-grade copies. The set is also filled with key Hall of Fame rookie cards like those of Ken Houston, Willie Lanier, Roger Wehrli, Charlie Sanders, Mean Joe Greene and the key to the entire set – Pittsburgh Steeler legend Terry Bradshaw. In a highly competitive 2009, this particular set rose to the top of the Current Finest list with a GPA of 8.24.

Hockey

Rubberrepeller - 1912-13 C57 - Best Pre-War Vintage Hockey Set of the Year
In past years, we have recognized two of the three pre-war hockey classics in the C55 and C56 sets. This year, we decided to complete the trio by awarding the C57 set, another issue loaded with early Hall of Famers like Georges Vezina and Cyclone Taylor. The set also contains a few key HOF rookies like Punch Broadbent, Clint Benedict and Eddie Gerard. While the colorful C55 and C56 sets may have more significant individual cards within them, the black and white C57 set is widely considered the toughest of the three issues. In fact, there are only two complete sets in the Current Finest category with this one leading the way with a 4.25 GPA.

Dave and Lori Nicklas (The Hockey Collection) - 1958-59 Topps - Best Vintage Hockey Set of the Year
This 66-card set has long been noteworthy, mainly due to the fact that the set contains one of the most important cards in all of hockey collecting – the Bobby Hull rookie card. Positioned at the far corner of the sheet, these Hull rookies are often found off-center and very few have achieved unqualified, high-grade status. The balance of the set is also very tough, much like the baseball and football counterparts from the same year but the hockey issue is, arguably, even tougher. In fact, this particular set is the only one in the history of the registry to reach a GPA of PSA NM-MT 8 or better at 8.01, which speaks volumes about its difficulty.

Dave and Lori Nicklas (The Hockey Collection) - 1971-72 O-Pee-Chee - Best Modern Hockey Set of the Year
There are many tough O-Pee-Chee sets throughout hobby history that have grabbed the attention of collectors but very few from the 1970s can match the importance of this one. The 1971 O-Pee-Chee hockey set is filled with key cards, including rookies of Ken Dryden, Marcel Dionne and Guy Lafleur to name a few. It also includes a couple of special retirement/tribute cards of Gordie Howe and Jean Beliveau, a high-number All-Star run, and two tough checklist cards. This particular 264-card set has a very impressive 9.13 GPA, making it the only set in Registry history to come close to PSA Mint 9 quality across the board.

Miscellaneous Sports

Jack Zugay (Vintagegolfcards) - 1927 Churchman Famous Golfers Large - Best Vintage Miscellaneous Sports Set of the Year
Vintage golf issues continue to benefit from the current popularity of the game and the increasing appreciation of the sport’s history. This is one of the smallest sets ever recognized in our annual event but its importance cannot be denied. Featuring important cards of golf legends Walter Hagen and Bobby Jones, this 12-card set remains popular amongst collectors. The classic images, combined with their relative scarcity, make the set one of golf’s best. This particular set has a GPA of 7.88, nearly 1.5 grade points higher than the closest competitor in the category.

Boy from Monessen - Roberto Clemente Master Set - Best Vintage Player Set of the Year
This is one of those categories that enjoys a very healthy level of competition due to the popularity of the player, Roberto Clemente, and the popularity of many of his cards. Clemente was just one of those guys who seems to appear in a lot of important, scarce or eye-appealing issues. From great regular issue cards like his 1955 Topps rookie to his scarce 1968 Topps Test issue, Clemente can be found in many great mainstream, regional and oddball sets. This particular set is 99% complete and boasts a GPA of 7.78, a tough chore considering all the hard-to-find Clemente cards needed to build the collection.

Matt Huppertz Family Set - Robin Yount Master Set - Best Modern Player Set of the Year
This set is what the registry is all about…finding a collecting theme that means something special to you and completing the set for the love of the hobby. This set is made up of nothing but Robin Yount, the Hall of Fame shortstop who played for the Milwaukee Brewers his entire career, and it includes every card PSA has ever graded from his playing days – a total of 638 cards! This set is not only complete, it also has a GPA of 9.20, so it is as nice as it is vast. No, this set may not be worth a million dollars someday, but it exemplifies the heart and soul of the program.

Bruce Balara (Bruce's Registry Sets) - 1964 Topps Giants Baseball - Best Topps Specialty Set of the Year
This extremely attractive Topps issue may not be the most difficult set of the decade but it certainly has its appeal. Filled with great stars like Mickey Mantle, Roberto Clemente, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Sandy Koufax, this oversized issue is one that can be assembled in high-grade due to a find many years ago. Since this set is reasonable in size at 60 total cards and high-grade copies exist in reasonable numbers, there is a high degree of competition in the category. This leading set has a GPA near perfect of 9.78, a GPA closer to Gem Mint than Mint!

Michael Rakosi (Rookie Ecstasy) - Hall of Fame Rookies Basketball - Best Overall Specialty Set of the Year
This 88-card set is filled with many of the most important basketball cards ever manufactured. It includes, amongst others, iconic cards like the 1948 Bowman George Mikan, the 1957 Topps Bill Russell, the 1961 Fleer Wilt Chamberlain and the 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan…all the rookie card staples can be found in this set. The sheer dominance of this particular set is what makes it so impressive. With a GPA of 8.73, it is about 2.5 grade points higher than the only other complete run of HOF rookies in the category. It is simply the best of the very best.

Charles M. Merkel - 1954 Johnston Cookies Baseball - Best Regional Set of the Year
During the 1950s, there were several key regional sets produced and many of them remain popular today. Their limited distribution and condition-sensitivity have made some of these cards amongst the most desirable of the decade. This set is often times overshadowed by the Dan Dees, Red Hearts and Wilson Franks of the same year but it still remains an important and attractive issue…namely as a result of a first year card featuring legendary home run hero Hank Aaron. The set also includes cards of Warren Spahn and Eddie Mathews amongst others. This particular set carries an 8.67 GPA, making it the best of its kind.

Ed Streeter (Ed’s 1964 Topps Coins Set) - 1964 Topps Coins Baseball - Best Oddball Set of the Year
In 1964, Topps manufactured a 167-coin set (120 regular coins, 44 All-Stars and 3 variations), which featured a plethora of stars from the era. From Mickey Mantle to Roberto Clemente, from Sandy Koufax to an early coin of Pete Rose, the set is loaded with big names and even has a 44-card All-Star series with even more coins of your favorite names. In fact, one of the three key variations includes an All-Star coin of Mickey Mantle (one batting left-handed and one batting right-handed). This particular set showcases a GPA of 8.97, making it nearly Mint across the board.

Tom Mailto (Teemu) – 1970-1979 O-Pee-Chee Wax Packs-Any Series Hockey - Best Unopened Pack Set of the Year
The unopened pack category is fairly new and, in the early going, this set jumped out as one of the first complete runs on the registry. During the 1970s, O-Pee-Chee continued to manufacture the most popular hockey sets of the time. Always considered much tougher than their Topps counterparts, the O-Pee-Chee cards sell for a noticeable premium. During this stretch, O-Pee-Chee was responsible for producing some of the most popular hockey rookie cards in the hobby, from Ken Dryden to Wayne Gretzky. This complete set has an excellent GPA of 7.96, enabling it to become the first recognized pack collection in the category.

Non-Sports

Richard Baron Cohen (Twinight #1) - 1959 Fleer Three Stooges (Master) - Best Vintage Non-Sports Set of the Year
Even sportscard collectors can appreciate the importance and popularity of this non-sports issue, featuring Moe, Larry and Curly in some of their most hilarious situations. This 96-card set has enjoyed a great deal of fanfare in recent years and, in 2009, we simply had no choice but to recognize this particular set. Not only does this set exhibit a leading GPA of 9.32, this collector owns 11 of the top 17 sets (including the top 6 in a row), all complete in PSA NM-MT 8 or better, within the category. Need we say more?

Scott Stonebrook (Stoney417) - 1976 Topps Star Trek - Best Modern Non-Sports Set of the Year
This year, Star Trek was introduced to a whole new generation of sci-fi fans with the help of an ultra-successful movie. In 1976, Topps released an 88-card set featuring Captain Kirk (William Shatner), Dr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and all the fan favorites from the hit television show that aired in the late-1960s. This same core group went on to star in a series of successful films starting in 1979. Over the years, this franchise has taken on many forms in television and film and the fan base continues to grow. This particular set is the only one so far to reach a GPA of PSA Mint 9 or better at 9.03.

Tickets

Roger Centrowitz (RC Collection) - World Series Deciding Game Tickets - Best Ticket Set of the Year
This award-winning set is, arguably, the most interesting of all the sets recognized this year. There are 104 required tickets needed to complete this set, from 1903-present, and this particular set has a remarkable completion percentage of 92.31%. No one has come remotely close to this percentage on the registry so far. For those of you not familiar with ticket collecting, to find any World Series ticket from a specific year may be difficult but remember that, in this set, you have to find a ticket from the deciding game! There have been so many memorable battles throughout history and this set pays tribute to them all.

Autographs

John Blattner (JB’s HOF Collection) - Hall of Fame Baseball (Any Medium) - Best Autograph Set of the Year
John Blattner has been at the forefront of autograph grading as a collector and dealer. As one who has always been picky about the quality of the autographs he buys, Blattner has amassed a fantastic group of Hall of Fame autographs in nearly uniform, high-grade. Currently, there are 240 autographs required to complete this set and Blattner has a completion percentage of 95.42%, over twice the % amassed by the collector in second place within this terribly difficult collecting theme. From Anson to Ruth, Cartwright to Spalding, this autograph set provides a huge challenge to anyone seeking ultimate completion.

Best of the Registry Winners of 2009

(#1 set in each category with at least 90% completion, 5/29/09 5:00 PM EST)