Welcome to the 2016 installment of the PSA Set Registry awards! With approximately 113,000 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. This year, we inducted more sets into our Set Registry Hall of Fame than ever before as a result of so many fine collections being added. PSA would like to thank all the collectors who have made our registry program the most popular of its kind.
Not only is PSA celebrating its 25th Anniversary, the Set Registry turns 15 this year. As they say, time really does fly. It’s hard to believe that PSA and the registry have been around for that long, but it’s true. We are also closing in on 27 million collectibles certified, which wouldn’t be possible without the continued support of our loyal customers. The PSA staff looks forward to seeing many of you at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Atlantic City this summer!
Over the past year, PSA introduced a couple of new features to improve our online program. First and foremost, we've added to the competitive element of the registry by adding in the Top-Pop Bonus feature, which gives a little more clout to the best known examples in the hobby. In addition, we launched the beginning of My CardFacts, an online resource that can be customized to your collection. Furthermore, a notification feature was added to alert registrants of new items added to composites, a section of the registry is currently being developed for young collectors and the number of digital albums continues to grow.
Perhaps more important than anything else is PSA’s focus on getting completely mobile in 2016. We started with the basics earlier this year. Our homepage, price guide, population report and various “Facts” pages are all mobile friendly, but our next goal is the most important of all. We want you to be able to play on the registry from your mobile devices. Our IT department’s top priority is to make this happen. While this will come in phases since there are so many layers to the site, we are confident that the registrants will see significant progress in 2016. If I can use my iPhone to play Fantasy Football than you should be able to do the same with the registry.
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 direct at [email protected].
Joe Orlando, PSA President
Jim Chanin - Best Collection of the Year
During the past 15 years, PSA has recognized some spectacular collections. From those that impress as a result of sheer size to others that have carved out a specific niche, and everything in between. It has been a challenging but rewarding endeavor to acknowledge all kinds of worthy collections.
This year, the distinction for “Best Collection of the Year” goes to one that really exemplifies what the registry is all about. Consider this: Jim Chanin has registered over 60 sets on the registry. All but a handful of them are 100% complete. The majority of the remaining handful are over 90% complete. At the end of the day, this is ultimately what the registry is built on … the idea that we establish themes or select existing checklists and work to fill every void. Furthermore, most of his sets rank in the top 5 within each particular category. In other words, beyond the complete nature of his collection, the quality is terrific too.
While Chanin’s collection does extend into postwar baseball, which includes complete high-grade sets of classics like 1952 and 1953 Topps baseball, the focus of his amassment is on the pre-1948 era. While the collection is too vast to list set-by-set, some of the traditional baseball standouts include 1909 Ramly Cigarettes (T204), 1911 T205 Gold Border, 1912 T202 Hassan Triple Folders, 1915 Cracker Jack, 1933 Delong, 1933 Goudey, 1934 Goudey, 1934-36 Diamond Stars, 1938 Goudey and 1940 Play Ball. Some of his #1-rated baseball sets include 1911 T3 Turkey Red Cabinets, 1914 Cracker Jack and 1922 American Caramel (E120) to name a few.
In addition, Chanin owns an amazing Exhibit card run that extends from 1921-1938, the finest 1911 Turkey Red Boxing set (T9), a virtually complete T206 Player Image or Basic set (just missing the Wagner), complete multi-sports sets such as the 1932 U.S. Caramel and 1933 Goudey Sport Kings, not to mention some great non-sport sets like the 1932 U.S. Caramel Presidents and 1938 Gum Inc. Horrors of War issues. For these reasons and more, it is our pleasure to recognize Jim Chanin’s fine collection in 2016.
Rich Katz (Movin' On Up) - Topps 1960s Run Hockey Set - Best Set of the Year
Over the past several years, Mega-Sets have dominated this category. These are not just exceptional individual sets, these are runs of exceptional sets. This year’s winner is once again of the Mega-Set variety. During the 1960s, Topps produced some very popular and challenging sets, which include the towering Tall Boys from 1964 to the tough, brown-bordered beauties of 1966 and the classic Bobby Orr rookie. In order to complete this Mega-Set, you need all 1,030 cards from the decade. At the time of the awards deadline, this set was exactly that, and the entire run featured PSA 8s, 9s and 10s throughout. A high-grade hockey run for the ages.
Rob Fagan (ghosts1157) - Topps Wacky Packages Series 1-16 Run - Basic Set - Best Rookie Set of the Year
We follow our “Best Set of the Year” category with this one, a category devoted to the new kids on the block…sets that were registered within the past 12 months. Once again, a Mega-Set stole the show. This time, it was from the world of non-sports cards. The Topps Wacky Packages series is one that was not only popular in its day, but it’s a concept that helped spawn the popular Garbage Pail Kids of the 1980s. This year’s winner is an entire run of 1970s Wacky Packages cards from series 1-16, which amounts to 489 total cards. In addition to being the first to achieve 100% completion, this set boasts an excellent GPA of 8.87.
Scott Brockelman (SB1/PWT) - 1909 Ramly Cigarettes (T204) - Best Pre-War Vintage Baseball Set of the Year
Long considered one of the most attractive trading card sets ever produced, the 1909 Ramly baseball set is also one of the toughest prewar issues to assemble in high grade. The images of the players on the fronts are surrounded by an embossed frame and borders that easily reveal wear with the slightest touch. The 121-card set includes a number of stars from the period, including Chief Bender, Eddie Plank and Walter Johnson. It also includes all three Chicago Cubs icons: Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers and Frank Chance. There are also several cards that were made with a square frame in addition to the more common oval frame, and these tough variations sell for a premium. This year’s winner is the finest complete set ever assembled on the registry, exhibiting a GPA of 6.62.
Robert A. Williams (Williams Collection) - 1958 Topps Master Set - Best Post-War Vintage Baseball Set of the Year (1948-1959)
While it is occasionally overshadowed by the one of the earlier Topps issues released during the decade, the 1958 Topps baseball set is one that offers a very colorful design, difficulty and an assortment of multi-player cards. On top of all the great attributes this set has, such as the Roger Maris rookie card, the Master set also requires all of the tough yellow letter variations, which appear in the first series (1-110). These include superstars like Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente. Complicating matters for those who pursue high-grade cards is the fact that this entire set was made with inconsistent print quality and paper stock issues amongst other obstacles. This year’s winner ranks #1 on the All-Time Finest list, with a stellar GPA of 8.92.
Jellybean Collection - 1965 Topps Basic Set - Best Vintage Baseball Set of the Year
After a decade that was dominated by artwork, the 1960s ushered in a new look, where the heroes of the day were captured with sharp photography. The 1965 Topps baseball set is a great example of that new look, one that is clean and colorful. This 598-card set has all the major stars of the period like Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Sandy Koufax, along with Hall of Fame rookie cards of Joe Morgan and Steve Carlton. This year’s winner is the finest 1965 Topps baseball set ever put together on the registry, possessing a GPA of 9.32. In such a highly-competitive category, to sit atop the bunch is quite an accomplishment.
Cole and Dad - The Pension - 1972 Topps with Wax Pack Master Set - Best Modern Baseball Set of the Year
The 1970s produced some of the wildest designs that the baseball card world has ever seen. This includes what is regarded by many to be the most popular of all sets from the decade – the 1972 Topps set. Booming with color and a psychedelic format, this gigantic set features numerous In Action cards of many top stars like Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente, along with Boyhood Photo, World Series and Traded cards. In addition, the key rookie in the release is the inaugural card of Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk. This year’s winner is not just the top Basic set, nor is it just the top Master set. It is the finest Master set of all time along with an unopened wax pack, totaling 795 items. With an astonishing GPA of 9.84, the entire collection is virtual perfection.
Richard Garfein (Paradime) - 1961-62 Fleer - Best Vintage Basketball Set of the Year
With well north of 100 competitors in the 1961 Fleer basketball category, it has clearly become one of the most popular segments on the basketball card registry. Of course, it is no surprise when you consider the eye-appeal of the issue along with the incredible selection of stars and rookies. First cards of Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson and Jerry West lead the way in a set filled with Hall of Famers. This 66-card set also has its share of condition obstacles such as poor centering and print defects that plague the light backgrounds. This year’s winner, one that has been improving year-by-year, ranks #3 on the Current Finest list with a wonderful GPA of 8.90.
Evan Mathis (OG Mega Set) - 1986-89 Fleer with Stickers - Best Modern Basketball Set of the Year
Over the past couple of years, there has been a resurgence of interest in the basketball era that produced some of its brightest stars. In the mid-to-late 1980s, we saw the emergence of Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Isiah Thomas, Dominique Wilkins, Hakeem Olajuwon, Scottie Pippen and John Stockton to name a few. All the while, great rivalries like the one between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics were in full bloom. This Mega-Set includes all the cards and stickers produced by Fleer from 1986-1989, totaling 608 items. The entire run averages near the PSA 10 grade, and it stands as the highest-ranking set in the category.
Cortney DeLorme (57's Finest) - 1957 Topps Basic & Master Sets - Best Vintage Football Set of the Year (pre-1960)
In the world of football cards, there aren’t too many sets that can contend with the historical importance and appeal of the 1957 Topps set. Anchored by the three big rookies in Paul Hornung, Bart Starr and Johnny Unitas, this colorful set gives the collector plenty of reasons to pursue it. The Master set, which contains 158 total cards at this time, is slightly larger than the Basic set, but it does contain a handful of variations. Along with its desirable contents, this issue is plagued by print defects and subpar centering. This year’s winner is the finest Master set ever assembled on the registry, possessing a strong GPA of 8.56, a real chore considering the condition-sensitive nature of the issue.
Travelingvaz - 1969 Topps Basic Set - Best Vintage Football Set of the Year
How popular is the 1969 Topps football set? Well, to sum it up, it has more competitors (north of 100) in the category than any other football set of the decade. The set contains key rookie cards of Hall of Famer Larry Csonka and the ever-popular Brian Piccolo of the Chicago Bears. These rookies are complemented by the stars of the era like Joe Namath, Gale Sayers and Johnny Unitas. The real draw of this 263-card issue is arguably its visual appeal. The entire first series (1-132) was designed with full-bleed backgrounds, and the infusion of so much color really makes the cards pop. The remainder of the set was made with white borders, but even those cards have a striking look. This year’s winner ranks #1 on the All-Time Finest list, boasting a GPA of 9.21.
Richard Ridgeway (Vetteboys) - 1971 Topps - Best Modern Football Set of the Year
In the 1970s, it’s hard to find a more popular gridiron issue than the 1971 Topps set. Each card in this 263-card set is surrounded by full-color borders, whether they are blue, red or a combination of both. The set contains the expected star selection, including a #1 card of Johnny Unitas, but two of the most desirable cards in high grade are rookies of Hall of Famers “Mean” Joe Greene and Terry Bradshaw – both part of the vaunted Pittsburgh Steeler teams of the decade. In fact, Bradshaw rookies in PSA 9 have sold for as much as some luxury cars in the last six months. With all of the interest in this set, this year’s winner is the only one to boast a GPA north of PSA 9 (9.02), which makes it the finest ever registered on the site.
Julius Narancsik (Northern Lights) - 1924-25 Champs Cigarettes (C144) - Best Pre-War Vintage Hockey Set of the Year
This year’s winner was registered just in the past 12 months and it has taken over the category, resting comfortably atop the heap of the All-Time Finest list. The 1924 Champs Cigarettes set, manufactured in Canada, consists of 60 total cards. These unnumbered, black-and-white cards were inserted into packs of cigarettes during the period, and they are very tough to locate in high grade. The set is absolutely filled with rookie cards, stars and Hall of Famers, with King Clancy, Howie Morenz and Georges Vezina amongst the most valuable in the issue. As a result of the heavy concentration of star card power, this set remains very appealing to the vintage hockey collector. This particular set exhibits an unrivaled GPA of 7.42.
Joester-Joseph R. Henninger, III (Joester68) – 1969-70 O-Pee-Chee Basic & Master Sets - Best Vintage Hockey Set of the Year
This 233-card set is still regarded as one of the more popular issues of the decade, a decade that produced a number of great sets released by Topps and O-Pee-Chee. Some of the key cards include Bobby Orr and Gordie Howe, along with rookies of Serge Savard and Tony Esposito. In addition to the players, two tough checklist cards rank amongst its most valuable contents, with Checklist #132 regarded as the tougher of the two. The set finishes with a high-number run of special additions, such as All-Star cards and award winners. This year’s winner has held the #1 spot for over 10 years, boasting an All-Time Finest GPA of 9.30.
Cesare Ruscio (cesare) – 1971-72 O-Pee-Chee - Best Modern Hockey Set of the Year
At the time of the awards deadline, this set ranked at the very top of the All-Time Finest list with a GPA of 9.35, making it the only complete set to average a PSA 9 or better. The 1971 O-Pee-Chee set, one that requires 264 cards, has a terrific selection of stars and special cards, like those featuring Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe and Jean Beliveau. Like the previous winner, the checklist cards are regarded as two of the toughest and most valuable in the set, with #111 considered the tougher of the tandem. Perhaps more than anything else, the rookie card selection is where much of the collector appeal comes from. Hall of Famer rookies like those of Ken Dryden, Marcel Dionne and Guy Lafleur are the most desired.
Richard Ridgeway (Vetteboys) - 1938 F.C. Cartledge Boxing - Best Vintage Miscellaneous Sports Set of the Year
While few major boxing issues have been produced in the last few decades, there are a number of vintage trading card sets that still captivate collectors. The 1938 F.C. Cartledge Famous Fighters set is one of them. The set is reasonable in size at 52 cards, and it’s a set that is relatively affordable compared to some of the period cards pertaining to other sports. The set also contains black-and-white drawings of each pugilist. Two of the standout names in the issue are Jack Dempsey and the iconic Joe Louis, but there are several additional Hall of Famers included as well. This year’s winner possesses a GPA of 9.19, making it the finest complete set ever registered in the category.
The Great Plains Collection - 2001 Upper Deck Golf - Best Modern Miscellaneous Sports Set of the Year
Prior to 2001, there were very few significant golf card sets produced, leaving collectors of the sport wishing for more. In 2001, Upper Deck decided to get involved in the golf card market and they started by issuing one of the most substantial sets to ever cover the sport. At 200 total cards, this set was considered monstrous compared to most golf card issues from past decades. One of the appealing aspects of the set is the fact that it acknowledges some of the greats of the past while ushering in the new crop of talent. Legends such as Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer find themselves sitting next to the likes of Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia. This year’s winner finds itself in a tie for the top spot on the Current Finest and All-Time Finest lists with a perfect GPA of 10.
Steve's Bob Feller Master Set - Bob Feller Basic & Master Sets - Best Vintage Player Set of the Year
In recent times, much has been made about the emergence of some great players like Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. In fact, in 2016, a young pitcher by the name of Julio Urias made his debut at 19 years of age for the Los Angeles Dodgers. While you can clearly see Urias’ potential, some of his starts have been rough. Consider this: In 1936, when Bob Feller made his first start at the tender age of 17, he struck out 15 batters. Two weeks later, he struck out 17 in another start. Feller was a phenomenon. The Bob Feller Master Set currently requires 57 different cards, and several of them are as tough to find today as it was hard to hit his fastball nearly 80 years ago. You need all the mainstream issues like 1938 Goudey, 1948 Leaf and 1953 Bowman Color, but you also need 1937 O-Pee-Chee, 1952 Num Cleveland Indians and 1954 Wilson Franks. This year’s winner has all 57 cards and is the first to reach 100% completion on the registry, while also posting an excellent GPA of 6.17 considering the overall difficulty of the set.
TA79Bandit - Dale Murphy Master Set - Best Modern Player Set of the Year
If you think about the greatest players of the 1980s, there was a combination of upper-echelon Hall of Famers in their prime along with some shooting stars that burned too bright only to later fizzle out. One of the best players of the decade is one that finds himself in between, the once perennial All-Star Dale Murphy. The back-to-back NL MVP (1982/1983) and five-time Gold Glove winner may be one of the most underrated players of his generation, but those who watched him play recall his special talents. Today, his Master Set category is one of the most popular of the era despite requiring a challenging 619 cards at the present time. This year’s winner has the highest ranking complete set on the All-Time Finest list, with a GPA of 9.23.
Mac Oxford (EMO) - 1962 Topps Stamps Baseball Set - Best Topps Specialty Set of the Year
Over the years, Topps has produced a number of special issues that complement their base sets. This was especially true during the 1960s when the manufacturer showcased a creative freedom rarely seen since. One of those sets happens to be this one: the 1962 Topps Baseball Stamps set. At 200 stamps, this is a substantial undertaking. All the great stars you would expect to see are present, like Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Sandy Koufax, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays. This year’s winner is the only set of its kind to reach 100% completion and it has a high-grade GPA of 8.07, which means it has separated itself from the rest of the pack on the All-Time Finest list.
GregJ99 - Hall of Fame Players - Post War Rookies Baseball - Best Overall Specialty Set of the Year
Over the past 12-24 months, we have all witnessed some unprecedented price jumps for many iconic cards. No one area has experienced a greater surge than postwar baseball rookie cards in high grade. This entire set consists of nothing but the best rookies from the 1948-present era. From Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, to Sandy Koufax and Roberto Clemente, to Nolan Ryan and Mike Schmidt – you need them all. With over 250 competitors in this specific category, the sheer number of interested collectors makes this one of the most popular themes on the registry. This year’s winner has all 91 required rookie cards, and those rookies have an average GPA of 8.75. This is the finest complete set on the Current Finest list.
Charles M. Merkel (olemiss) - 1958 Dodgers Bell Brand Baseball - Best Regional Set of the Year
At the end of the selection process, this set turned out to be tied for the smallest within the vast list of special winners. At 10 total cards, it’s a set that you can literally hold in your hands … but don’t let that fool you. The 1958 Bell Brand set, one focused entirely on the Los Angeles Dodgers and their relocation, is one of the most important regional issues ever manufactured. These green-bordered cards were originally packaged in cellophane wrappers and placed inside of bags of Bell potato chips. Not surprisingly, the anchors of the set are Roy Campanella and Sandy Koufax, but the set also contains some short-printed cards. These tough cards include stars like Pee Wee Reese and Duke Snider. This year’s winner is the finest set ever registered in the category, carrying a GPA of 8.65.
"Say Hey" '64 Topps Coins - 1964 Topps Coins Baseball - Best Oddball Set of the Year
This category is one of the more interesting of the bunch. Most of the awards are dominated by more traditional, mainstream sets, but this gives sets of a different feather the opportunity to receive special recognition as well. While the medium itself is definitely different, there is nothing odd about the contents of this 167-piece set. The 1964 Topps baseball coins are filled with stars like Ernie Banks, Pete Rose, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle. In fact, there are more than one of a several Hall of Famers as a result of the additional high-number All-Star series. This year’s winner carries a GPA of 9.43, making it the finest complete set of its kind in registry history.
Kane's Wax Pack Collection – 1970-1979 Topps Wax Packs - Any Series Football - Best Unopened Pack Set of the Year
Unlike trading cards, where the population of PSA-certified examples goes up as more cards are graded each year, the beauty of unopened material is that the overall population of packs, boxes and cases head in the opposite direction – the known population decreases. In fact, since the time when third-party grading became more accepted in the 1990s, more and more unopened material is broken down for the purpose of grading. For those who have experienced the thrill of opening vintage material, it is both a fun and risky endeavor. This year’s winner is a complete run of every Topps football wax pack from the 1970s, which includes years that contain key rookie cards like Roger Staubach and Walter Payton. In fact, a Terry Bradshaw rookie in PSA 9 sold for more than $50,000 this spring, so this set packs more power than one would initially think. With a GPA of 8.91, this particular set sits at the top of our All-Time Finest list.
Al-DP's 1887 Civil War Battle Scenes - 1887 Battle Scenes (N99) - Best 19th Century Vintage Non-Sports Set of the Year (pre-1900)
Most of the non-sports trading card sets that date to the 19th century are relatively small when it comes to the total number of required cards needed to complete them. While their sheer number of cards may be on the smaller side, the contents of these sets give them real weight in the collecting community. One such issue is the 25-card 1887 Civil War Battle Scenes (N99) set. Issued with Duke brand tobacco products, these slightly oversized cards (2-1/12 by 4-1/8 inches) feature eye-catching artwork throughout. Each card captures a scene from the American Civil War, with details of each depiction on the reverse. This year’s winner is the finest complete set on the registry and the only one to achieve a GPA of PSA 6 or better (6.22).
Hubert L. Bernheim (Bert's) - 1936 Jolly Roger Pirates - Best Pre-War Vintage Non-Sports Set of the Year (1900-1947)
This non-sports set is one of the more popular categories on the registry, and it is easy to see why. This 48-card set features colorful artwork on each card, with each one depicting action on the high seas, individual ships or noteworthy figures. The set was produced by Pac-Kups, Inc. for the Dixie Cup Company of Easton, Pennsylvania. For those who may be unaware, the term “Jolly Roger” is a traditional name and it refers to the flags used to identify pirate ships on the verge of attack. The most identifiable version of this flag is, of course, the kind that features the classic skull and crossbones design. As a result of a large find of uncirculated non-sports cards several decades ago, some high-grade examples actually exist from the 80-year old issue. This year’s winner is the finest of its kind on the registry, possessing a fine GPA of 9.25.
William P. Bengen (Jean-Luc Picard - Set 1) - 1949 Bowman Wild West - Best Vintage Non-Sports Set of the Year (1948-1959)
As non-sports sets started to grow in popularity, so did their size. After recognizing a couple of modest-sized sets in the two previous categories, we now enter the postwar era and select a much larger 180-card classic. In terms of visual appeal, the 1949 Bowman Wild West set is very similar to some of the great Bowman sports card sets from the period. The artwork is extremely bright and colorful, making it one of the most stunning sets you will ever see. Technically, the issue was divided into eight subsets (A-H) and each card depicts a specific scene, action sequence or significant figure from America’s great frontier. Some of these subjects include Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Geronimo, Annie Oakley and Sitting Bull. This year’s winner narrowly edges another top-notch set in the category, which was a result of its fantastic GPA (8.05) along with the Top-Pop bonus received for having some finest known cards.
Bumchex - 1967 Topps Wacky Packages - Best Vintage Non-Sports Set of the Year
The 1967 Topps Wacky Packages set was the manufacturer’s first attempt at spoofing popular products with funny and creative takes on each one. Some of those who were spoofed didn’t think it was so funny at the time, sending cease-and-desists letters for the production of cards like “Cracked Animals” and “Ratz Crackers.” Not wanting any trouble, Topps pulled those cards immediately, which created a couple of rarities in this inaugural issue. Well-known artist Norm Saunders helped bring these light-hearted cards to life, and this set was just the beginning as a number of Wacky Packages series would be released down the line. The set is numbered 1-44, but there are actually 56 total cards in the set since there are instances of two different cards sharing the same number. For over 10 years, this year’s winner has sat atop the All-Time Finest list and it currently has an unmatched GPA of 8.94.
Bob Kreider (Beta*Bob's Best) - 1993 Magic the Gathering (MTG) - Best Modern Non-Sports Set of the Year
The world of non-sports cards covers such a wide range of subjects, from superheroes to political figures to music icons, but one area that should not be overlooked is the genre of gaming cards. Magic: The Gathering (MTG) is arguably the most significant gaming card issue ever produced, setting the stage for future card games such as Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! The black-bordered Beta set is basically the second printing of the first MTG series in 1993, directly following the success of the initial Alpha set. Even though the Beta set was printed in much higher numbers, it sold out nearly as quickly as the first run. This year’s winner is one of the more sizable non-sports sets on the registry, requiring 292 total cards, and it remains the #1-ranked set on the All-Time Finest list with a GPA of 9.98. It has maintained that top position since 2008.
Peter Houtsma (PCH Final Four) - NCAA Final Four (1976-Present) - Best Ticket Set of the Year
Even though the registry is so vast, containing well over 100,000 sets, the majority of the venue is dominated by the more traditional and expected issues. From 1909-11 T206 baseball to 1986 Fleer basketball to even 1962 Topps Mars Attacks, most collections are familiar when it comes to their content. When you delve into some of the newer categories, ones that require more creativity in order to establish the theme, you start seeing the collector minds at work. This is one such category – tickets. The number of potential sets in this category is virtually endless, but each one must be dreamed up by the hobbyist since they do not come with manufactured checklists. If you follow sports, you know that March Madness is one of the most popular events of the year. This year’s winner has a ticket to every Final Four game since 1976, which amounts to 82 tickets in all. The GPA is 9.53, which makes it as strong in quality as it is creative in design.
Matthew Malamet M.D., F.A.C.S. (mmalametmd) - AL & NL Cy Young Award Winners Single Signed Baseballs - Best Single Signed Baseball Set of the Year
If you have followed baseball this year, you know it has been a tremendous year for pitchers. There have been some incredible single-game performances, like Max Scherzer’s 20-strikeout masterpiece, and some dominant first-half starts from the likes of Clayton Kershaw, Johnny Cueto, Stephen Strasburg, Chris Sale, Noah Syndergaard and Jake Arrieta to name a few. It seems fitting that we chose this set for special recognition in 2016, a set dedicated to the top pitchers in the game since 1956. In 1967, MLB decided to recognize the best pitcher in each league instead of limiting it to one standout performer. This particular set requires a total of 75 single-signed baseballs from the best of the period, from Sandy Koufax to Bob Gibson to Pedro Martinez. In fact, some elite pitchers have won more than once, like Roger Clemens who has a record-setting total of seven. This year’s winner ranks at the top of our All-Time Finest list, with a collection that is mostly comprised of single-signed baseballs that grade in the PSA 9 to 10 range.
Ben Thornhill (West Wood) - 1977/1978 New York Yankees World Series Champions Game-Used Bats - Best Game-Used Bat Set of the Year
The game-used bat category is one of the newest segments of the registry and, like the autograph section, it’s a category where a collector can get extremely inventive about what themes to use. This year’s winner is an example of that very approach. In 1977 and 1978, the New York Yankees brought World Series titles back to the Bronx after a long stretch of mediocrity. The back-to-back champions had some great arms, like starter Ron Guidry and Goose Gossage in the pen, but they also had a well-balanced lineup. They had power in Graig Nettles and Reggie Jackson. They had speed in Willie Randolph and Mickey Rivers, grit in Thurman Munson and fire in Lou Pinella. This great set, which boasts a GPA of 9.14, contains a professional model bat of each position player in their starting nine, a great tribute to a fan-favorite group.
Jim Doyle (Doyle Collection) - 1964-Date Hall of Fame Yellow Plaque Postcards Baseball - Best Autograph Set of the Year
Since 1964, the popular yellow plaque postcards have been issued through the National Baseball Hall of Fame Gift Shop in Cooperstown, New York. These cards were successors to the Albertype and Artvue black-and-white cards that came before them. One of the favorite pastimes of collectors and fans has been to get these cards autographed. Many times, this happened during the induction weekend itself. The cards provide a terrific medium. A bold, well-paced autograph really makes these cards stand out. The set requires all the top names, from the tough Jimmie Foxx to the iconic Jackie Robinson. This year’s winner has all 162 autographed cards needed to complete the set. In fact, it is the first set to ever reach 100% completion on the registry. To top it off, it carries a GPA of 9.28, which means the autographs are bold and beautiful across the board!
In 2015, we launched the PSA Digital Album within the registry so collectors could show off their great sets in a more visual format. As part of the annual registry awards, we give our registrants a chance to vote for their favorite albums. At the time of the awards deadline, there were over 3,200 albums being built by collectors. Based on the results of the poll, our registry community decided to recognize both of the albums listed below. Both albums were complete and each one does a great job of communicating the appeal of these colorful and collectible sets.
Josh Alpert - 1967 Venezuela Retirado Baseball Set
Josh Alpert has put together a beautiful album of a very tough set. The designs of the cards are interesting with each player uniquely placed against a blue/green background. Some are close-ups of the player and some are long shots. We are guessing that many collectors may have never seen these cards until Josh put up his album. His scans are well done and his set description is a great, informative read.
Dpeck 100 - 1982-1983 Wrestling All-Stars Complete Set
Just for sheer amusement, David Peck’s colorful set of entertainment wrestlers is worth a good look. The mega-set of the 1982 Series A and B and 1983 Wrestling All Stars contains 108 cards depicting wrestling’s best. Hulk Hogan, Dusty Rhodes, the Destroyer, and Jess Ventura are among the notables. The scans are high quality and the set description captures the owner’s passion.
Sets in the following categories that were #1 on 5/31/16 5pm EST (2pm PST) have been recognized as "Best of the Registry." They meet one of the following requirements:
95% complete for vintage sets pre-1970
100% complete for modern sets (1970-present)
1,000 or more cards registered in player and mega sets
To celebrate collectors who have won awards for being number one in their category for at least ten years in a row, we recognize their sets with the 10 Year Anniversary icon. To these collectors, you have our thanks for your loyalty and friendship. We appreciate all you do for the PSA Set Registry. To view a list of these award winning sets, please click here.