Hello collectors. The PSA Set Registry continues to enjoy tremendous participation. With well over 1500 sets registered at this point, the growth has been truly remarkable. In fact, this just may be the most talked about topic in the graded sportscard market right now. The Set Registry continues to be a hit as it continues to be filled with more and more sports and non-sports sets.

In relation to the Registry surge, vintage commons are selling at a very brisk pace in the market according to top dealers. Some sets, that were considered somewhat "soft" a year or so ago have begun to receive increased attention. In addition, regional sets have also enjoyed more demand due to their smaller size (total number of cards). If collectors cannot afford to assemble a complete set of 1954 Topps baseball cards, they may try for a 1954 Red Heart set or 1954 Dan Dee set. The feasibility of completing the set seems to be appealing to some.

One interesting note worth mentioning is the fact that the Registry should help educate the collectors out there. How? Well, the word common card in some ways denotes that the card is common when, in fact, that card may be 20 times scarcer than the most valuable star card in the set. It will be interesting to see what cards emerge as the true common player rarities along the way. The Registry rewards those who spend the time and effort pursuing cards such as these; it is the essence of set collecting.

Over the past couple of years, I have been sporadically working on a book about sportscard collecting entitled The Top 200 Sportscards in the Hobby. The book, which covers all sports, provides a guide to each and every card that made the list and answers questions like:

Why is this card or player important?

What makes this card difficult to find in top condition or at all?

What is the outlook for this card?

Images of all the cards that made the list, including some of the finest examples in the hobby, are included -- once in black and white and once in color. The color photos will appear in a section called The Gallery. This section should prove to be popular with all of the wonderful artwork and imagery appearing on some of these gems.

The one question that I have already begun to receive over and over again is whether or not I ranked the Top 200. I did not. Here's why. I will be honest with you, it was hard enough to just narrow it down to these particular cards and I am sure, even without any ranking, debates will emerge between collectors as to which cards they feel should and should not be in the book. With this in mind, I kept any ranking out of the equation. Each section is devoted to a sport and the cards are placed in chronological order.

Finally, the book is due out sometime in June. I have showed a few top dealers some sample pages from the book and they all seem to like it because it should appeal to the novice as well as the advanced collector for different reasons. Most importantly, I think it is imperative that more and more information about collecting not only reaches the hardcore collectors, but also the people thinking about collecting sportscards.

If this book can help encourage some new people to start collecting by explaining to them how interesting some of these athletes and cards are to history, then I think the book will be of great value. I certainly hope the readers enjoy it. Everyone should know how fun collecting can be and that's what we were trying to get across when writing it. Tom Candiotti, the famed knuckleball pitcher and advanced collector, provided the foreword and several images from his great collection. Other advanced collectors were also very helpful in providing images from their legendary sportscard collections so it should be fun to look at for sure. We will keep everyone updated with the progress and exact release date.

Last but not least, every year baseball seems to have an intriguing story. Whether it is a new player or a record chase, something grabs the headlines. While this season has been somewhat quiet in terms of major news, the call-up of pitcher Mark Prior might be the most exciting of the bunch.

Prior, a powerful right-handed pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, has moved through the minor leagues like a hot knife through butter. With an overpowering fastball and veteran-like control, Prior has caught the attention of scouts and collectors alike. With two solid outings under his belt already, Prior appears to be the "Real Deal." Let's keep an eye on this one, he may be the biggest story by the end of the season. His 2001 SP Authentic card has caught fire and a host of other Prior cards should follow the lead.

Mark Prior SP Authentic card
Mark Prior SP Authentic card

Joe Orlando has been an advanced collector of sportscards and memorabilia for over 30 years. Orlando attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California where he studied communications and was the starting catcher for the baseball team. After a brief stint in the minor leagues, Orlando obtained a Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School in Southern California in the spring of 1999. During the last sixteen years, Orlando has authored several collecting guides and dozens of articles for Collectors Universe, Inc. Orlando has also authored two books for Collectors Universe. Orlando's first book, The Top 200 Sportscards in the Hobby, was released in the summer of 2002. His second book, Collecting Sports Legends, was released in the summer of 2008. Orlando has appeared on numerous radio and television programs as a hobby expert including ESPN's award-winning program Outside the Lines, HBO's Real Sports and the Fox Business Network, as the featured guest. Currently, Orlando is the President of PSA and PSA/DNA, the largest trading card and sports memorabilia authentication services in the hobby. He is also Editor of the company's nationally distributed Sports Market Report, which under Orlando's direction has developed into a leading resource in the market. Orlando also contributed the foreword and last chapter to The T206 Collection: The Players and Their Stories, a 2010 release, and to The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players, a 2013 release. Recently, Orlando helped put together a new hobby book entitled The 100 Greatest Baseball Autographs, which was released in the summer of 2016.