PSA Set Registry® 115,827 Registered Sets

Expert Comments:

Welcome to the 2006 installment of the PSA Set Registry awards! As always, it has been extremely difficult to select the special award winners since so many incredible collections populate the Registry community. This year, at the time of the voting, the total number of sets has grown to nearly 22,000 with no signs of slowing down. I want to personally thank all of our participants for helping change the industry forever by supporting this groundbreaking PSA program. Without you, this program could not thrive. A special thanks goes out to trading card expert Greg Bussineau who assisted in the voting process.

This year, we decided to plan the awards around the National Sports Collectors Convention due to our great turnout at each annual Set Registry luncheon. For those of you who have attended this luncheon over the past few years, we thank you for supporting the event. For those of you who have never participated, we hope to see you this summer in Anaheim. It is simply a great place to meet other collectors who share the same passion you do, exchange ideas, trade or make friends.

The Set Registry luncheon is also a great place to hear about what’s new at PSA and to share your ideas of how to make the registry better. This summer, we are eager to unveil some new features, services and set categories that will hopefully enhance your collecting experience. For example, we are very excited about the launch of our new Autograph Registry, which should provide a great venue for collectors of all types of signatures. Everything from sports to historical to entertainment will be represented. If you want to collect The Babe or Honest Abe, there should be something for everyone.

PSA will also be launching a major, new service this summer – unopened pack authentication and grading. We are excited about this new service and how it could enhance the registry as well. We plan on incorporating unopened packs into the existing trading card categories and creating an entirely separate registry for those who like to collect pack runs. So, if you are just looking to compliment your existing 1952 Topps Baseball or 1986 Fleer Basketball set with a single pack or if you just want to collect a 1960’s run of Topps packs, the Registry will offer a venue for you.

Remember that the Registry is a living, breathing program that evolves as our hobby does. Please, if you have any suggestions or comments, email me directly at [email protected]. We want to make the PSA Set Registry the ultimate destination for collectors around the globe and, with your help; we can make this wonderful program even better.

Happy Collecting!
Joe Orlando, PSA President

Best Collection of the Year
Donald E. Spence / Stephen Soloway M.D.- Co-Winners

In 2006, we decided to split this award between two gentlemen who have different areas of taste but both embody the true spirit of the Registry.

Don Spence has made his presence felt in a big way the last of couple of years. With a fast and furious pace, Don has placed himself in contention in many of the most significant set categories on the Registry including but not limited to 1915 Cracker Jack, 1934-36 Diamond Stars, 1939 Play Ball, 1948-49 Leaf Baseball, 1951 Bowman Baseball, 1952 Topps Baseball and the like. The list is tremendous but what is even more remarkable is that, within virtually every one of these categories, Don is in the running for the top spot. In fact, Don’s T202 Hassan Triple Folder Baseball set earned individual honors as Set of the Year in 2006. Don’s emphasis on quality and his true passion for collecting earned him a share of the Collection of the Year honors in 2006.

Stephen Soloway has made it a point to collect what he likes and to cover an amazing amount of ground in cardboard history. A collector who finds himself on each of the Big Three (T206, 1933 Goudey and 1952 Topps), this man was the first collector on the Registry to complete the T206 baseball set, averaging better than a PSA EX 5. He is currently competing in multiple, major vintage baseball categories. He is also a man who is attempting to complete a 1988 Sportflics set, a set where the cards can be shot out of a cannon and into a pool of molten lava yet still remain in mint condition. All kidding aside, you would be hard pressed to find someone who collects so many different sets from so many different decades and who does it all with same amount of passion, no matter how much the set is worth on paper. For this, Stephen’s combination of breadth and spirit, he will share in this year’s award for Collection of the Year. To read more about Stephen Soloway, click here.

Donald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection - 1912 T202 Hassan Triple Folders Baseball Set - Best Set of the Year
For those of you who follow the pre-war market closely, this issue has finally started to gain the attention it deserves and that attention was long overdue. This set, which is one of the most attractive issues found in our hobby, features great action sequences sandwiched between two colorful portraits. Don’s set, which is 100% complete, contains a GPA of 7.205, an astonishing level of quality when you consider the pitfalls of this issue. The large size and triple-fold style create unique condition obstacles for anyone attempting a complete set in high-grade.

BPToman - 1984 Topps USFL Football - Best Rookie Set of the Year
Most football fans can remember the emergence of this new league back in the 1980s. It didn’t last long but the one thing it did provide was a stage for some future NFL stars. Great Hall of Famer rookie cards of Steve Young, Jim Kelly and Reggie White are contained along with a rookie card of star running back Herschel Walker. This set, which is deceptively tough in PSA Mint 9 and Gem Mint 10, has been completely assembled here with a GPA of 9.076 and it was the only complete set, in any grade, on the Registry at the time of the voting.

Baseball

Old Man - 1911 T3 Turkey Red Cabinets - Best Vintage Pre-War Baseball Set of the Year
These pre-war giants have taken the hobby by storm in recent times. The 100-card set features some giants of the game too like Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, Cy Young and Walter Johnson to name a few. These cards are unique in that their large size allows people to appreciate them from across the room, a rarity in the world of trading cards. That size also creates severe condition sensitivity making high-grade examples virtually impossible. Even in lower grades, these T3’s shine. This set is complete, the first set to reach 100% and average PSA EX condition or better on the Registry with a GPA of 5.224.

Larry Robbins (L.R.'s 1958 Vintage Baseball) - 1958 Topps (Basic Set) - Best Post-War Vintage Baseball Set of the Year (1948-1959)
Often overlooked but never taken lightly, this set is certainly one of the toughest of the decade. With sub par paper quality and enough print defects to drive any collector batty, collecting this set takes extreme patience if you are looking for high-grade examples. Anchored by the Roger Maris rookie card, a high-number All-Star card run and a number of beautiful mutli-player specials, this set offers a wide variety of appeal – including a great #1 card of Ted Williams. This complete set has reached an unthinkable GPA of 8.639, leaving it head and shoulders above the rest in its respective category.

Tony Marino - 1960 Topps - Best Vintage Baseball Set of the Year (1960-1971)
The only horizontal issue manufactured by Topps in the 1960s, this colorful production has always been deceptively tough. How often do you see these cards offered in PSA Mint 9 or better? With tons of print problems, bizarre rough cuts and centering issues, finding true Mint examples of stars like Hank Aaron and Willie Mays isn’t easy. The set, which features great rookie cards of sluggers Carl Yastrzemski and Willie McCovey and a beautiful high-number All-Star run, is loaded with great stars. This complete set has a GPA of 8.728, making it a clear choice as this year’s category winner.

Jeffrey Brewer (Redsoxjeff's Quest back to 1977) - 1977 Topps - Best Modern Baseball Set of the Year (1972-present)
During the 1970s, collectors were hit with a lot of condition sensitive card sets. Topps, in 1970, 1971 and 1975, decided to go with colored borders. In other years, like 1978 and 1979, Topps produced issues with wide-ranging centering. Surprisingly, the 1977 Topps baseball set ranks right up there as one of the decade’s toughest sets. The paper used for the cards, which has been a subject amongst collectors for years, caused the edges and corners to flake, chip and reveal wear with ease. Even pack-fresh examples fail to reach the highest grades. The rookie class was solid, with HOF hopefuls in Dale Murphy and Andre Dawson, as was the attractive design. This complete set has a GPA of 9.243. Just ask anyone who knows the issue well, to have that level of overall quality is amazing.

Basketball

D'Orsay Bryant, III, M.D. - 1970-71 Topps - Best Vintage Basketball Set of the Year (1971 and older)
As the Tall Boy brother of the famed 1969-70 basketball set, this issue definitely gets its share of attention from collectors. Filled with hoop legends and league leaders, this issue contains even more cards than its predecessor. The second Tall Boy production from Topps centers on one man – Pistol Pete Maravich. This rookie card classic is far and away the issue’s most valuable resident. This year’s winning set is 100% complete and it is the only set on the Registry to average better than a PSA Mint 9 throughout with a GPA of 9.043.

D'Orsay Bryant, III, M.D. - 1996-97 Topps Chrome Refractors - Best Modern Basketball Set of the Year (1972-present)
While there are many vintage classics in the card world, there is also such a thing as a modern classic. In the 1980s, collectors were presented with the 1986 Fleer set, a set that remains one of the most sought-after card issues in all of the hobby. In the 1990s, collectors were presented with another classic set – 1996-97 Chrome Refractors Basketball. This set, which features ultra-attractive rookie cards of Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson and two-time MVP Steve Nash, symbolizes the new generation of hardwood cardboard. The super flashy design and limited production were clear indications that the hobby had changed since the 1986 Fleer classic. This complete set features a GPA of 9.026, making it the first complete set to average a PSA Mint 9 or better.

Football

David Kjeer (Short Print Nightmare) - 1952 Bowman Large - Best Vintage Football Set of the Year (pre-1960)
In the world of football cards, many consider this set to be the ultimate gridiron issue. The large format, star card selection and tremendous artwork capture the pain and glory of these 1950s gladiators. This 144-card set is just chock full of condition obstacles and a hellacious amount of short prints, deterring many collectors from even attempting this challenging issue. The last card in the set, #144 Jim Lansford, is considered by many to be one of the hobby’s most important. This year’s winning set is 100% complete and it carries a GPA of 7.616, a tremendous accomplishment considering all of the obstacles the set presents.

Museum of Sports History - 1962 Topps - Best Vintage Football Set of the Year (1960-1971)
This black bordered beauty is known just as much for its difficulty as its attractiveness. The solid black borders reveal the slightest hint of wear, making super high-end examples very tough to come by. This 176-card set features some of the hobby’s most significant football cards such as the #1 card of Johnny Unitas and HOF rookie cards of Mike Ditka and Fran Tarkenton. This set, much like the previous winner, is plagued with short prints throughout. This year’s winner is 100% complete and it carries a remarkable GPA of 8.284.

Marcus G. Rider - 1985 Topps - Best Modern Football Set of the Year (1972 to present)
This issue, which appears much like a modern version of the previous winning set, is one of the best football productions in the modern era. While the set is not overflowing with super-popular rookie cards, (although it does contain HOF rookies in Warren Moon and Mike Munchak), it is the set’s challenge and look that excite most collectors. The set also contains nice early cards of legendary quarterbacks Dan Marino, John Elway and Joe Montana. This year’s winning set is 99% complete with a 9.264 GPA, an impressive group considering those pesky borders.

Hockey

Tom Malito (Teemu) - 1936-37 O-Pee-Chee (V304D) - Best Pre-War Vintage Hockey Set of the Year
With only 36 cards in the set, some novice collectors may think that this set is easy – think again. Pre-war hockey issues, generally speaking, are as tough as just about any group you could think of. With far smaller production numbers and distribution than other major sports, just finding some of these cards at all is difficult. This set, which contains mega-cards of Hall of Famers Eddie Shore and Howie Morenz, begins with a great HOF rookie card in Turk Broda. This year’s winner is 100% complete and it carries a 7.083 GPA; no other set within the category is remotely close at this time.

Brian Roberts (66brian) - 1966-67 Topps - Best Vintage Hockey Set of the Year (1948-1971)
When it comes to classic hockey sets, you will not find too many others that can compare and outdo the 1966-67 Topps issue. This extremely tough brown bordered issue is one of the most difficult sets, in any sport, to assemble in high-grade. The set, which contains a nice high-number All-Star run and a host of HOFers, is anchored by the Bobby Orr rookie card – one of the most significant hockey cards in the hobby. This year’s winning set is 100% complete and contains a 7.999 GPA. Considering the degree of competition in this specific set category, rising to the top of the heap is most impressive.

R. Clark - 1979-80 Topps - Best Modern Hockey Set of the Year (1972-present)
This great hockey set is probably the most comparable post-1975 set to the 1986 Fleer basketball set, in its respective sport, as there is. Those tough, yet attractive, blue borders surround each card and provide a condition obstacle for fans of PSA NM-MT 8’s and better. The set, of course, centers on the most popular hockey player on the planet – Wayne Gretzky – The Great One. While the OPC version is certainly tougher and more valuable, the Topps version has held its own over the years. This year’s winning set is the only complete set on the Registry and it features a fantastic GPA of 8.55.

Miscellaneous Sports

Mike Wasserman - 1887 Allen & Ginter (N28) - Best Vintage Miscellaneous Sports Set of the Year (1971 and older)
Amazingly, this is the first time that a 19th Century issue has been recognized in one of the special award categories. That is, of course, mainly to do with the extreme rarity associated with many of the issues, making it difficult for collectors to build entire sets. What makes this set so interesting, in addition to the sheer age of the cards, is that it contains a variety of sports personalities. Like the 1932 US Caramel and 1933 Goudey Sport Kings sets, this issue features all types of sports. It contains everything from baseball to boxing to billiards. This year’s winning set is 100% complete with a GPA of 7.86.

Stephen Sutherland (Graded GSVentures) - 1998 Champions of Golf Masters Collection- Best Modern Miscellaneous Sports Set of the Year (1972-present)
During a decade when Tiger Woods helped bring the sport of golf to the forefront, this set captured some of the game’s greatest players in a large, eye-appealing format. With the exception of some of the early golf sets from the pre-war era, this set has to rank as one of golf’s most beautiful issues. The large size and tough black borders provide a challenge, along with the packaging issue that causes many of these cards to exhibit corner and edge issues. This year’s winning set is the only complete set on the Registry and it carries a GPA of 8.889.

John Woody - Alex Rodriguez Basic Set - Best Player Set of the Year
What makes most modern player sets impressive is that they are, for the most part, huge. When compiling a player set of Sandy Koufax or Jimmie Foxx, they may be very expensive, but the checklist is relatively small. There were fewer card manufacturers and those manufacturers simply made fewer cards. This year’s winner focused on A-Rod who is, arguably, the best all –around player in the game today and the greatest threat to many of baseball’s all-time offensive records. While this is a set in progress, it already contains well over 300 total cards. This winning set is 100% complete, the only complete set in the category, and carries a GPA of 9.208.

Steve Eberhardt (seinbigd) - 1971 Topps Greatest Moments Baseball - Best Topps Specialty Set of the Year
In what has unintentionally become the year of the black-bordered set, we may have saved the best for last – at least in terms of difficulty. The Greatest Moments issue of 1971 provides an incredible challenge. In addition to the solid black borders, the centering and size provide obstacles for the high-end collector. Filled with a combination of stars, both young and old, this set remains one of the most desirable specialty issues in the hobby. The #1 card in the set, featuring Yankee hero Thurman Munson, is a brutally tough card in high-grade. This year’s winning set is 100% complete with a GPA of 8.129, making it the only current set on the Registry to average better than PSA NM-MT 8.

Museum of Sports History - Football Hall of Fame Rookie Players - Best Overall Specialty Set of the Year
If you have been following major auctions over the past year or so, you may have noticed a huge upswing in HOF rookie card interest. It has become one of the most popular categories on the Registry and in the hobby. Rookie cards of legends like Johnny Unitas, Bart Starr, Jim Brown, Joe Namath, Dick Butkus, Terry Bradshaw, Walter Payton are all here and there’s a ton more! Of course, the key to the whole set is the legendary 1935 National Chicle Bronko Nagurski card, the most valuable football card in the hobby. The beauty of sets like this one is that they are ever evolving, much like the Registry itself. This year’s winner is 100% complete with a GPA of 8.25.

Charles M. Merkel - 1954 Red Heart Baseball - Best Regional Set of the Year
When compared to many of the other regional sets of the decade, this set is certainly not the toughest, but it remains a classic. The striking background colors, both blue and red, give these cards extraordinary eye-appeal. Originally packaged with Red Heart Dog Food, many of these cards are found with staining along the reverse – a result of the grease-like substance in the packages. With great cards of Mickey Mantle and Stan Musial, along with some short prints, this set category has a lot of competition. The set that stands at the top is 100% complete with a GPA of 8.91, a true standout amongst other great sets.

Michael Lamone (Boomers Cards) - 1956 Topps Pins Baseball - Best Oddball Set of the Year
Over the past couple of years, the grading frequency of items like sports related coins, stamps and pins have increased. They provide something different to the collector and certainly fit right into this unique category. When it comes to pin sets in particular, few issues can compare to the 1956 Topps Pins set. These pins, just like baseball cards from the era, were packed with bubble gum and the set features a host of great of great stars like Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson and Ted Williams. This set also features some very tough super scarcities such as Chuck Stobbs, Hector Lopez and Chuck Diering. This winning set is 100% complete and carries a GPA of 7.05, making it one of the best sports pin sets on the Registry.

Non-Sports

Marty Quinn (Mighty's Graded Sets) - 1938 Gum Inc. Horrors of War - Best Vintage Non-Sports Set of the Year (1971 and older)
In the non-sports world, there are only a select few that can legitimately be called hobby classics. Some of those classics reside in the pre-war era and perhaps none of them is as emotionally powerful as this one. Yes, the images are disturbing in many cases, but it reminds you just how awful war can be. As you sift through the images, you realize that the artwork was not designed to glorify violence but instead to illustrate the true anguish and suffering that people endure as a result of it. This set is nearly complete at 92% and is far and away the best set in the category when it comes to quality with a GPA of 7.282.

Tap4Black's Alpha Collection - 1993 Magic the Gathering Alpha (MTG) - Best Modern Non-Sports Set of the Year (1972 to present)
Slowly but surely, a new segment of graded card collecting has emerged from a hobby very unlike ours. In the world of gaming cards, the participant is supposed to handle the cards in order to play the game at hand. This, of course, is likened to a hobby sin in our world but that is simply how the game is played. These gaming cards have gained in popularity over time and even for those players who are done playing that game, the Registry has welcomed a group of new collectors who want to play our game on the Registry. With colored borders and the inherent issue with card handling, some of the early gaming issues are difficult in top grades. As one of the most important issues in gaming card history, this particular set rose to the top in 2006 with 95% completion and a GPA of 9.237.

Tickets

Al Glaser (SuperbowlTicketCollector) - Super Bowl (1967-Present) - Best Ticket Set of the Year
When it comes to ticket collecting, perhaps no other theme generates more interest or heated competition than this one. The Super Bowl is the one game that a team has to become champion, giving it such great importance. For fans of the gridiron greats, these tickets give collectors a chance to relive the moments that have made the big game so memorable. The beauty of these tickets is part of their appeal as most of them exhibit bold colors and a terrific design. The challenge that this set offers is also appealing as many of the game tickets are difficult to locate in full form or at all, namely years 1968 and 1978. This winning set is 100% complete and carries a set rating of 10.689, narrowing edging last year’s winner.

Autographed Baseballs

Museum of Sports History - 3000 Hit Club - Best Single Signed Baseball Set of the Year
There is no question that the 500 Home Run Club has remained a leading theme in the world of single signed ball collecting but the 3000 Hit Club is not too far behind. Unlike the 500 Home Run Club, where the focus is pure power, the 3000 Hit Club contains a more diverse group of hitters. There’s everyone from the powerful Hank Aaron, to the perennial batting champion Ty Cobb to the all-time hit king himself – Pete Rose. Some how, some way, all of its members found a way to amass an enormous amount of hits. Some did it with brute force, others with exceptional skill and some with longevity. This winning set is 92% complete and carries a GPA of 6.743, a great accomplishment considering some of the club’s members.

Best of the Registry Certificate Winners