Welcome to the 2013 installment of the PSA Set Registry awards! With approximately 83,000 sets registered at the time of the awards deadline, the task of selecting the special award winners was as challenging as ever. As the registry continues to grow each year and more hobbyists assemble unique, high-quality collections, the voting process gets increasingly difficult. PSA would like to thank all the collectors who have made our registry program the most dominant of its kind.
PSA would have never achieved our level of success without all of the loyal set registrants. Our company recognizes that YOU drive the demand for PSA-certified items. As a result, PSA remains the #1 authentication and grading service in the hobby. Our brand has never been stronger and we appreciate your support more than you know. The PSA staff looks forward to seeing many of you at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago this summer!
In fact, we will be making a big announcement during our annual luncheon this year at the show, which should be a lot of fun. Stay tuned for details.
The PSA Set Registry has become as much about community as it is about competition. Collectors all over the world have chosen to make this online program much more than a game; it is about sharing the endeavor you have chosen with others and building camaraderie with fellow hobbyists, even when they are building a set in the very same category. The relationships you have made on the site will, in many cases, outlast the ownership of the collectibles.
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 or concerns with our team, please feel free to email me directly at [email protected]
Joe Orlando, PSA President
Best Collection of the Year
At the end of the day, the set registry is about establishing a goal and working towards completion until the collector is satisfied with the level of quality. That is true whether a person collects one set or 100 sets, PSA Good 2s or PSA Mint 9s... the ultimate goal is the same. The goal is to check all those items off the list, to fill all the holes needed to complete the collection. In 2013, this year's winner for Best Collection - Bob Fisk - exemplifies this as well as anyone who has ever been recognized on the registry.
Consider this, not only does Fisk have nearly 16,000 PSA-graded cards registered on the site, most of his sets are 100% complete. Of his approximately 70 different trading card sets, only four of them have less than a 90% completion percentage and nearly 60 of his 70 sets are 100% complete. They range from 1948 Bowman Baseball to 1990 Donruss Aqueous Test, covering nine decades. Fisk collects many of the classics, including massive runs like 1948-1955 Bowman Baseball and 1951-1972 Topps Baseball set runs with every set being 100% complete. Once he completes his 1973 Topps Baseball set, his 100% complete Topps streak will actually continue through 1975!
Along with all the mainstream, collector-favorite baseball sets from the period, Fisk also collects many tough regional and test issues from various decades. From the 1954 Wilson Franks to the 1968 Topps 3-D to the 1985 Topps Mini set, Fisk has several complete sets which rank in the top five within their respective category. Most of his sets possess a GPA in the PSA NM 7 to PSA 9 range, so the quality is as impressive as the quantity. It is our pleasure to recognize such an outstanding collection and hobbyist in 2013.
Best Set of the Year
Donald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection - 1914/15 Cracker Jack Mega Baseball Set
We are rapidly approaching the 100-year anniversary of one of the true baseball card classics - the Cracker Jack issue. In 1914, Cracker Jack started inserting a lone baseball card into packages of their sticky confection. One year later, they did it again. This time, however, they offered the collector a way to obtain a complete set of cards via coupons or cash, or a combination of both. In recent years, collectors have become increasingly aware of the relative scarcity of the 1914 cards and it is clearly reflected in the prices paid at auction. While the 144-card 1914 set has the advantage in scarcity, the 176-card 1915 set has always been more popular with collectors since the set is actually attainable, though certainly not easy to find, in high-grade. This mega set, which includes both the 1914 and 1915 issues, requires 320 total cards. This award-winning set has a stellar overall GPA of 6.80, making it the finest ever registered on the site.
Best Rookie Set of the Year
Colin's 51 Parkies - 1951 Parkhurst Hockey Set
If you follow the vintage hockey card market, you know how hot some of the classic trading card issues have been over the past few years. Many price records have been set at auction for both commons and stars during that time. The 105-card 1951 Parkhurst set is no exception. Boasting over 20 Hall of Fame rookie cards, including those of Maurice Richard, Terry Sawchuk and Gordie Howe, this set is packed with power cards. The set is also very challenging to assemble in PSA NM-MT 8 or better. That is why we selected this set as our rookie of the year. Not only did it come out of nowhere to rank #1 on the Current Finest list, it is also the second finest of all-time on the registry, possessing an outstanding GPA of 8.30.
Best Pre-War Vintage Baseball Set of the Year
Donald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection - 1934-36 Batter-Up Baseball Set
The 192-card 1934-36 Batter-Up Baseball card set is one that is often overlooked since it was manufactured during the time of Goudeys and Diamond Stars. Unlike the Goudeys and Diamond Stars, the Batter-Ups were designed using real photographs from the period. These cards were made using a die-cut format, where the player image could be "popped out" and the card "propped up." The set contains many of the game's top stars like Jimmie Foxx, Rogers Hornsby, Mel Ott, Hank Greenberg and Lefty Grove. This year's winner boasts a GPA of 7.63, which is well over a full point higher than the only other complete set on the registry.
Best Post-War Vintage Baseball Set of the Year (1948-1959)
Donald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection - 1958 Topps Baseball (Master) Set
This set, which contains one of the more popular and difficult group of variations in the low number Yellow Letters, has always been a popular choice with collectors. The set, which is filled with great star cards, multi-player cards and a high-number All-Star series, is very tough to assemble in top grades. Print defects, poor paper, centering issues and inconsistent print quality combine to provide a real challenge for those looking for stellar examples. The set starts with Ted Williams and contains a host of stars, including a great combo card of Mickey Mantle and Hank Aaron entitled World Series Batting Foes. This year's winner ranks as the finest of all-time with a GPA of 8.73.
Best Vintage Baseball Set of the Year (1960-69)
The Duke of Mint - 1961 Topps Baseball (Basic) Set
There are some categories on the PSA Set Registry that are much more competitive than others due to the extreme popularity of the issue. The 1961 Topps set is a great example of this. There are dozens of competitors in the category and lots of collectors battling in the PSA 8 and higher range. The year was highlighted by the Mickey Mantle/Roger Maris pursuit of Babe Ruth's single-season mark for home runs. Of course, Maris eclipsed Ruth by one homer on the last day of the season. The set contains all sorts of interesting cards including, but not limited to, a series of MVPs, World Series highlights, combo cards and a high-number All-Star series. This year's winner ranks #1 on the Current Finest list and is only the second complete set to reach a GPA of PSA 9 or better (9.01) in registry history.
Best Modern Baseball Set of the Year (1970-present)
David Sobie (The Mint 1973 Collection) - All 9's or higher - 1973 Topps Baseball Set
This set, which was also in the running for our rookie of the year award, emerged over the past 12 months to take the #1 spot on the all-time list in the 1973 Topps Baseball category. This 660-card monstrosity is, of course, anchored by the rookie card of the greatest third baseman in baseball history - Mike Schmidt. The set also begins with an interesting all-time home run leader card of Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays. The issue, which is prone to chipping along the edges of the black reverse and print defects on the front, features the final cards for two legends - Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays. This year's winner went right to the top of the class with a tremendous GPA of 9.32.
Best Vintage Basketball Set of the Year (pre-1970)
Bill Schonsheck (reaching new heights) - 1969 Topps Basketball Set
The set registry is ever-evolving in many respects and that includes the ebb and flow of competition over time. With two outstanding 1969 Topps sets already inducted into the set registry HOF, this year's winner has now vaulted itself into the #1 spot and is the finest of all-time. In this 99-card classic, so many key basketball cards reside. From the #1 card of Wilt Chamberlain to the multitude of key rookies like those of Connie Hawkins, Walt Frazier and Lew Alcindor, these colorful giants remain popular today along with their sister 1964 Topps Hockey and 1965 Topps Football Tall Boy sets. With a GPA of 9.19, this set tops all the rest in this very competitive category.
Best Modern Basketball Set of the Year (1970-present)
Richard Berberian (Barron of Bird/Magic Mega Set) - 1980-81 Topps Basketball Run with Wax Pack Set
During the 1980s, a new era began in the NBA as a result of two superstars who changed the sport forever - Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. The fact that both of them appear on the same rookie card makes the card, and set, important in the world of basketball cards. This modern mega set is comprised of the 176-card 1980-81 Topps set, the 16-item 1980-81 Topps Pin-Ups set and one unopened wax pack. This year's winner has an overall GPA (for all three components) of 9.86. In other words, the entire set is close to averaging a PSA Gem Mint 10! Keep in mind that, for a modern issue, these cards are not easily located in PSA 10 condition due to serious print issues and centering problems. The quality, diversity and creativity of this set made it a standout in 2013.
Best Vintage Football Set of the Year (Pre-1960)
David Avant Lithgow (Odessa File) - 1957 Topps Football (Basic) Set
In the world of football cards, the 1957 Topps set is clearly one of the most important and popular issues ever released. Anchored by the three big rookie cards of Paul Hornung, Bart Starr and Johnny Unitas, this 155-card set has always been a collector favorite. In fact, there are several other Hall of Fame rookie cards in the set like Raymond Berry and Dick Lane as well. In high-grade, these colorful cards can be extremely appealing, but they are often riddled with print defects and have little room for error when it comes to centering. This year's winner not only ranks #1 on the Current Finest list, it is also the finest set ever assembled in the category. With a stunning GPA of 8.73, no finer set is known at this time. David has dedicated his set as a tribute to his mother, Odessa.
Best Vintage Football Set of the Year (1960-1969)
John Jeffries Collection - 1963 Topps Football Set
During the 1960s, Topps produced some terrific football card sets that have stood the test of time. The ultra-tough 1962 set to the towering Tall Boys of 1965, you could argue that Topps had their best football card decade during the 1960s. Included in that standout group is, without question, the 1963 Topps set. This colorful, 170-card issue has always provided a real challenge for high-grade collectors. The colored borders, which surround each card, show the slightest bit of wear. From a great #1 card of Johnny Unitas to Jim Brown to a handful of key HOF rookie cards like Bob Lilly and Ray Nitschke, the set is packed with great cards. This year's winner ranks #1, by quite a distance, on the Current Finest list, and it's also the finest set ever assembled on the registry with a GPA of 8.60.
Best Modern Football Set of the Year (1970-present)
Kevin Roberson (Elitecards) - 1985 Topps Football Set
Once you enter the post-1980 card era, collectors are much more selective about which sets to build. Within each major sport, however, there are certain sets that have clearly garnered the attention of collectors. In the graded football card market, the 1985 Topps set is one of them. This 396-card set, which resembles the 1962 Topps issue, was designed with solid, black borders. For a modern-era issue, these are very tough in PSA 10 as a result. While absent any major rookies, the set does have some notable first cards of Hall of Famers like Richard Dent and Warren Moon. It is also packed with stars, including important second year cards of John Elway and Dan Marino, not to mention of very desirable card of the legendary Walter Payton. This year's winner has an astonishing GPA of 9.81, making it #1 on the All-Time Finest list.
Best Pre-War Vintage Hockey Set of the Year (pre-1948)
Simon Bourque (Simgin) - 1936 World Wide Gum Hockey Set
The market for vintage hockey cards has been strong in recent times. In the vast majority of cases, hockey cards for the prewar era through the 1950s and 1960s are far tougher to locate than baseball cards from the same period. When you consider the huge difference in condition scarcity, the gap in difficulty grows even more. The 135-card 1936 World Wide Gum set is one of those extremely tough issues. Larger than many hockey sets from the period, this black-and-white set is filled with the stars of the generation. Key cards include those of legends like King Clancy, Eddie Shore and Howie Morenz. This year's winner is one of only two sets to ever reach 100% completion, and it possesses nearly a full point lead over #2 on the All-Time Finest list with a GPA of 6.35.
Best Vintage Hockey Set of the Year (pre-1970)
Michael Frank (hockeywax) - 1953 Parkhurst Hockey (Basic) Set
There is no doubt that this issue remains one of the most beautiful trading card sets ever produced. The 100-card 1953 Parkhurst set contains fantastic eye-appeal and the cards are very tough in top grades to boot. The cards will often suffer from various degrees of toning along the edges, which can hinder the appeal if severe. Within this classic set, a nice selection of HOF rookie cards reside like those of Gump Worsley, Andy Bathgate, Harry Howell and Jean Beliveau - the most valuable card in the issue. The set also contains a very tough #1 card to find in high-grade (Harry Lumley). With an awesome GPA of 8.34, this year's winner is now the finest ever assembled on the registry and one of only two complete sets in registry history to reach a GPA of PSA 8 or better.
Best Modern Hockey Set of the Year (1970-present)
Rich Katz (Movin' On Up) - 1970 O-Pee-Chee Hockey Set
During the 1950s and into the 1960s, Parkhurst and Topps dominated the hockey card manufacturing landscape for a large portion of the time period. In the 1960s, O-Pee-Chee began its rise, eventually surpassing both as the premiere brand in trading card collecting. As the decade came to a close, after Parkhurst cards were no more, OPC hockey cards surged past Topps. Yes, OPC was the Canadian version of Topps. For the most part, the cards looked the same, but the difference in difficulty clearly set them apart. The 1970 OPC set was a very large set by hockey standards, containing 264 cards. With centering being a condition obstacle on many of the bright, colorful cards, high-grade examples can sell for gigantic premiums. This year's winner ranks #1 on the All-Time Finest list with a GPA of 8.84, and the set rating puts it nearly a full point higher than the second best set on the Current Finest list.
Best Vintage Misc Sports Set of the Year (pre-1970)
TJHickster (Texas Tommy) - 1951 Topps Ringside Boxing
Vintage boxing cards have always been popular with collectors, from great prewar issues like the giant T9s to the tough 1948 Leaf cards to this set - the 1951 Topps Ringside issue. Filled with great cards of past and present boxers, this visually-attractive set is packed with stars. Legendary fighters like Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson and Rocky Marciano (one of the most coveted boxing card rookies) are found throughout the set. There is even a tough short printed (SP) card of Bob Murphy at #49, a card that has sold for over $10,000 in PSA 8 at auction. This year's winner, which exhibits an overall GPA of 8.10, surpassed a set that remained in the #1 spot for 10 consecutive years. In fact, these two sets are the only ones to have ever reached a GPA of PSA 8 of higher in complete form on the registry.
Best Modern Misc Sports Set of the Year (1970-present)
David Peck (dpeck100) - 1982 Wrestling All-Stars Series A Set
You could argue that, when it comes to wrestling, the 1980s might be the Golden Age of the "sport." Yes, we just put the word "sport" in quotes because we are fully aware that this extremely popular form of entertainment is staged. That said, the level of athleticism shown by its combatants and the abuse these men put their bodies through should not go unnoticed. The critically-acclaimed movie The Wrestler, perhaps, captured that best. Love it or hate it, the world of wrestling produced some enduring characters from that decade. Andre the Giant (a tough #1 card in high grade), Hulk Hogan, The Junkyard Dog and Ric Flair are just some of the memorable names from the genre. This year's award-winning 36-card set ranks #1 on the All-Time Finest list with a GPA of 9.53, and this collector has really helped create awareness of this fan-friendly subject.
Best Vintage Player Set of the Year
Al Johnson - Yogi Berra Player (Master) Set
When it comes to player sets, there is no question that the Master sets pose a much greater challenge than the Basic sets. Not only do they contain a much greater volume of cards, they also tend to require cards that are much tougher to find in any grade. This makes it very tough to complete these sets. This year, in the vintage category, we selected the only Yogi Berra player set to ever reach 100% completion. With a GPA of 7.25, it is also a high-grade collection. Beyond all the key Berra cards, like his 1948 Bowman rookie and his 1952 Topps classic, this 113-card set contains all the tough regional Berra cards and scarcities. They include cards like his 1951 Topps Major League All-Stars issue and a variety of regional/food-issue cards like Drakes, Red Man Tobacco and Post Cereal cards. It also contains all the coins, pins and stamps that contained Berra's image. This set is a great tribute to the man who won more World Series championships (10) than any player in baseball history.
Best Modern Player Set of the Year
Kenneth Kavowras (Hennyman Tom Seaver Master Set) - Tom Seaver Player (Master) Set
Once Master Player sets venture into the modern-card era, the required number of cards tends to increase in a major way, as more and more cards were produced heading from the 1970s into the hobby boom of the 1980s. That is evident here. While Berra and Tom Seaver actually played during the same decade, it was the end for one legend yet the beginning for another. Seaver was not only dominant on the mound, but he remains one of the most well-liked players in baseball history. At the time of the awards deadline, this approximately 430-card set was 100% complete with a GPA of 8.44. Starting with his classic 1967 Topps rookie and ending with his final card - 1987 Topps - the set is filled with a variety of issues, from decals to stamps to discs. You could argue that the 1973 Topps Test Pin-Ups might be the toughest item to find in the group. All in all, Tom Terrific is well represented in this terrific set.
Best Topps Specialty Set of the Year
Jahdoo1 - 1962 Topps Baseball Bucks Set
Most collectors assume that the 1962 Topps Baseball Bucks were issued as some sort of subset to the 1962 Topps regular issue, but that is not so. They were actually issued as a standalone set, and they remain one of the most unique Topps products ever made. Within this 96-item set are a host of stars and each player included is featured either on a $1, $5 or $10 fantasy note. The set's top stars include Hank Aaron, Robert Clemente, Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax and Willie Mays. Since the notes were issued in folded form, the vertical fold does not negatively impact the grade. That said, due to their large size (4- 1/8" x 1-3/4"), it isn't easy to complete a high-grade set. This year's winner ranks #1 on the All-Time Finest list with a GPA of 7.69 at the awards deadline.
Best Overall Specialty Set of the Year
Logan R. Ward (The Stock Car Museum) - NASCAR Racing 1980-89 - Master Mega Set
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