PSA Set Registry Hall of Fame

2015 AWARDS 2002 Award Winners
2003 Award Winners
2004 Award Winners
2005 Award Winners
2006 Award Winners
2007 Award Winners
2008 Award Winners
2009 Award Winners
2010 Award Winners
2011 Award Winners
2012 Award Winners
2013 Award Winners
2014 Award Winners

The criteria for entry into the PSA Set Registry Hall of Fame includes set popularity, difficulty, grade average, completion percentage, domination, and degree of competition within the set category.

2014 INDUCTEES
PSA Collector Hall of Fame

 

Bob Fisk
Last year, PSA recognized Bob Fisk for our Collection of the Year award.  This year, without any hesitation, we are happy to induct him into our PSA Set Registry Hall of Fame in 2014.  In addition to owning a tremendous number of PSA-graded cards and registering them on the site, nearly 17,000 in all, Fisks’ approach to collecting really embodies what the online venue is all about – completion.

Despite having dozens of sets registered on the site, with the exception of just a handful of sets, Fisk’s completion percentage in virtually every case is 90%-100%. In fact, the vast majority of his sets are 100% complete (over 85% of them).  That is what the registry is all about.  No matter what set you collect or what level of quality you can afford, the endeavor is about establishing a theme and working towards the goal of checking off every item on that list.  This plays a big part in the personal satisfaction for the collector.

Fisk’s body of collecting work provides a great model for aspiring hobbyists.  In addition, Fisk’s interests cover decades of card manufacturer production.  From the 1940s to the 1990s, Fisk owns many important sets and most of them boast high-grade GPAs in the PSA NM 7 to PSA Mint 9 range.  Beyond massive mainstream runs like 1948-1955 Bowman baseball, 1951-1975 Topps baseball, Fisk has assembled a terrific array of difficult regional and Test issues.  These include 1954 Wilson Franks to the 1968 Topps 3-Ds to the 1985 Topps Minis.  There are Dan Dee, Bell Brand, Hires, Morrell Meats, Kahns and Kellogg's cards to boot.  The list goes on and on.  From the mainstream classics to the elusive and obscure, the collection is outstanding in many respects as a result of the dedication of this focused collector. 

Thomas Tull 
On occasion, a collector comes along and makes such a major impression that there is simply no purpose in waiting to induct him into the PSA Set Registry Hall of Fame. That was the case with mega-collector Thomas Tull.  While Tull’s collection became part of the registry over the past year, his passionate pursuit of collectibles is not new.  Tull has been an avid collector for quite some time, but he decided to make a portion of his collection viewable to the public by listing it on the site in 2014.  The result changed the registry in a major way as some of Tull’s newly listed sets immediately rose to the top of the rankings.

Some of the finest sets ever registered on our site belong to Tull and several of them can be found in the hobby’s most iconic categories.  At the time of the awards deadline, Tull owned the top 1909-11 T206, 1933 Goudey, 1941 Play Ball and 1951 Bowman baseball sets just to name a few.  Some of his individual cards are also the finest known of their kind like his 1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig #92, 1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle #253 and 1954 Topps Hank Aaron #128 – all in PSA Gem Mint 10s.  This is a mere sampling of the sheer power in Tull’s card collection.

While Tull is being honored for what is actually part of the PSA Set Registry, his incredible baseball collection is so much more than what is listed on the site.  It goes well beyond baseball cards.  The same standard of quality seen in his vast card collection is applied to everything Tull acquires.  From bats to jerseys to autographs, Tull’s collection represents some of the finest baseball collectibles residing in private hands. For more information on Thomas Tull and his stellar collection, please click here.

PSA Set Hall of Fame

The Tull Collection - 1909-11 T206 Baseball Basic Set
The T206 baseball card set is, arguably, the most iconic issue ever produced.  At a monstrous 524 cards, these beautiful, tiny pieces of artwork have captivated collectors for generations.  In fact, in recent years, the set has seemingly grown in popularity.  Tull’s set contains every Hall of Famer in PSA NM-MT 8 or better with the exception of the Honus Wagner  (PSA VG-EX 4) and Eddie Plank (PSA NM 7) and all of the key rarities.  This is the finest complete T206 baseball set ever assembled on the website with an overall GPA of 7.64.  The PSA Set Registry Hall of Fame was created for sets like this one and it stands currently unmatched.

The Tull Collection - 1933 Goudey Baseball Set
Recognized as one of The Big Three, the beautiful 1933 Goudey set has long been one of the most popular baseball card sets ever produced.  It is also one of the most hotly contested categories on the registry as most key baseball card collectors consider this issue to be essential to any comprehensive collection.  Within the 240-card set is an array of stars, including four Babe Ruth cards at the heart of the set.  There are also two cards each of several major Hall of Famers like Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx and Mel Ott, not to mention the #106 Napoleon Lajoie card - one of the iconic rarities in the hobby.  Tull’s set is, quite simply, the finest ever registered on the site, exhibiting an unrivaled GPA of 8.36.

The Tull Collection - 1941 Play Ball Baseball Set
In the summer of 1941, two of baseball’s biggest stars put on a show for the ages.  Joe DiMaggio hit safely in 56 straight games and Ted Williams hit .406 for the entire season, a man who actually raised his batting average on the final day with an amazing performance at the plate.  The 1941 Play Ball set, the most popular and visually appealing of the three year Play Ball run (1939-1941), is home to these two legends and more.  This 72-card set also offers great cards of sluggers Mel Ott, Jimmie Foxx and Hank Greenberg to name a few, in addition to the only recognized rookie of Pee Wee Reese.  This year’s inductee is the finest set ever registered in the category, boasting a GPA of 8.69. 

The Tull Collection - 1951 Bowman Baseball Set

Once again, a legendary set that has no peer in terms of quality has taken center stage.  The colorful 1951 Bowman baseball card set is as important as they come in terms of key rookie cards, aesthetic appeal and popularity.  During the 1950s, there were several gorgeous baseball card sets released and many of those sets contained incredibly important rookie cards, but only one set is home to the only true rookie cards of elite Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays…not to mention New York Yankee ace Whitey Ford.  On top of having the best set in registry history, with an unthinkable GPA of 9.19, Tull also owns the only PSA Gem Mint 10 Mantle rookie.  As great as some of the other sets are within the category, it is hard to imagine this set ever being caught.

The Tull Collection - 1952 Topps Baseball Master Set
The 1952 Topps set has long been considered the king of postwar baseball issues.  The slightly larger format and the wonderful selection of great stars have separated this set from all others during the period.  Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle find themselves sandwiched between the most important #1 card in the entire hobby (Andy Pafko) and the final card in the set (Eddie Mathews).  What makes this inductee even more impressive is that it is a Master set, which means you need 83 more cards than the Basic version.  This includes all of the black and red backs (1-80) and other noteworthy variations.  This is the second best set on the All-Time Finest list, possessing a GPA of 8.43.

The Tull Collection - 1953 Bowman Color Baseball Set
This 160-card set has always been adored for its simplistic design, showcasing attractive color photos on the front surrounded by white borders.  It is a lesson and a reminder that, sometimes, less is more.  The set, which contains a great selection of stars like Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra, Bob Feller and an iconic card of Pee Wee Reese, also offers additional challenges within.  In particular, the cards found in the 113-128 series can be outright brutal to find in high-grade as they are often off-center.  The handful of combo or multi-player cards add a little pizazz to this gorgeous set.  This year’s inductee is the finest ever assembled on the registry, with a GPA of 8.97. 

The Tull Collection - 1955 Topps Baseball Set
The 206-card, 1955 Topps baseball set is defined by vibrant color and immense star appeal.  The unquestioned rookie cards of Sandy Koufax, Roberto Clemente and Harmon Killebrew reside here and the star power doesn’t end there.  Sprinkle in collector-favorite cards of Ted Williams, Ernie Banks, Hank Aaron, Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider (the final card in the set)  and Willie Mays – to name a few – and you can see why this set has always been so popular.  Just imagine if a Mickey Mantle card were included in this aesthetically-appealing set.  Collectors can still dream.  This year’s inductee is the highest-rated set on the All-Time Finest list, boasting a GPA of 8.97.

Michael Rakosi (Rookie Ecstasy) - Hall of Fame Rookies Basketball Set
Many of the sets that have been inducted into the PSA Set Registry Hall of Fame have been of the traditional variety.  In other words, these are sets that were issued by the manufacturer and the checklists are, in essence, built in to the collector hunt.  There are also sets, and some very popular and important ones, that require creativity and constant updating to maintain completion.  This is one of those sets.  This set is comprised of every basketball Hall of Fame rookie card known.  From Bill Russell to Wilt Chamberlain to Michael Jordan and beyond, you need them all and the list keeps growing as new Hall of Famers are named.  This year’s PSA inductee has a top-notch GPA of 8.89, the best ever on the registry.

Kevin Roberson (Elitecards) - 1971 Topps Football Set
Very rarely have we inducted card sets that were produced in the post-1970 era but, as time goes on and the registry evolves, more sets from this era have become worthy of our highest honor.  The 1971 Topps football card set has become one of the most popular categories on the registry in recent years.  In the marketplace, even “commons” can bring extraordinary prices in top grades as a result of the competition and tough colored borders.  This 263-card set contains some key rookie cards of football Hall of Famers like Mean Joe Greene and Terry Bradshaw in addition to popular cards for Joe Namath and Johnny Unitas – the #1 card in the series.  This year’s inductee ranks at the top of our All-Time Finest list with a GPA of 8.93. 

Donald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection - 1951-52 Parkhurst Hockey Set
It’s hard to argue with the importance of the 1951 Parkhurst hockey card set.  Home to a small army of elite, Hall of Famer rookie cards, this set includes inaugural issues of Maurice Richard, Terry Sawchuk and Gordie Howe to name just a fraction of the group.  This 105-card set was made with a relatively simple design on the front, including blank backs throughout the set.  The issue is plagued by print defects as well as centering issue, making high-grade copies extremely desirable.  In fact, prices for stellar examples have been breaking records for a few years now.  This year’s inductee is, quite simply, the best set ever assembled in the category, possessing an unmatched GPA of 8.57.

Michael Frank (hockeywax) - 1953-54 Parkhurst Hockey Basic Set
The 100-card 1953 Parkhurst hockey card set is one of the beautiful hockey issues ever released.  In fact, of all the important Parkhurst issues of the era, most hobbyists feel that this issue is clearly the best looking of them all.  It is also one of the toughest sets, plagued by toning and other condition issues.  Hall of Famer rookies of Jean Beliveau, Gump Worsley, Andy Bathgate and Harry Howell can be found in this set, with the Beliveau regarded as the most desirable of the group.  This year’s inductee has a stellar and unmatched GPA of 8.41, the highest ever recorded on the registry.  Furthermore, it is the first 1953 Parkhurst hockey set to ever be inducted in our hallowed hall. 

Rich Katz (Movin' On Up) - 1958-59 Topps Hockey Set
Consider this.  In all the years the PSA Set Registry has been operating, there have only been two complete 1958 Topps hockey sets to ever reach an overall GPA of PSA 8 or better.  If you weren’t convinced before or unaware, this set is really, really tough.  Poor centering, paper stock and print defects all contribute to the challenge in this 66-card set.  Of course, the set is anchored by one of the most important rookie cards in the hobby – the Bobby Hull #66 – which is often found with subpar centering.  This year’s inductee carries a GPA of 8.23, placing it head and shoulders above any set ever registered on the site. 

Rich Katz (Movin' On Up) - 1964-65 Topps Hockey Set
During the 1960s, Topps unveiled a “Tall Boy” design that they used for Basketball (1969), Football (1965) and Hockey cards (1964).  All of the sets remain popular with collectors due to their eye-catching design but, in terms of difficulty, the 1964 hockey issue has the advantage.  This 110-card set contains some tough short prints and checklist cards, a high-number All Star series and a slew of ice legends like Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull.  What is frightening about the quality of this year’s inductee is that it has a GPA of 8.83 out of a possible 8.85.  Needless to say, it is the finest of its kind ever registered on the site and more than worthy of enshrinement in 2014.

R. Clark - 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Hockey Set
In the history of the PSA Set Registry, we have rarely inducted modern-era sets into the Hall of Fame, but there are exceptions to the rule. For example, we have placed several PSA 10 sets of 1986 Fleer basketball cards in our special hall since it is home to one of the most important rookie cards of all-time in Michael Jordan.  While there are other important aspects to that set and this one, the 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee hockey set, the importance of an iconic rookie card can’t be underestimated.  Wayne Gretzky is to hockey what Jordan is to basketball.  This 396-card set is plagued with problematic centering, print defects and issues from the erratic O-Pee-Chee cuts.  This year’s inductee is the finest set on our all-time list with a GPA of 8.87, making it the first of its kind to be enshrined.  

Daniel R. Mims (Mims Collection - Bob Marcy Tribute) - 1933 Goudey Indian Gum
In 2014, we recognized our first 19th century non-sports set, the 1888 N2 Celebrated American Indian Chiefs. That beautiful 50-card set is, arguably, the most popular Indian-based set from the pre-1900 era. The 1933 Goudey Indian set is, perhaps, the most popular of the post-1900 era. It is much larger in size at 216 cards but offers similar aesthetic appeal, and each card is booming with vibrant colors. There are action sequences and even cards of subjects like Billy the Kid, Davy Crockett and General Custer. According to hobbyists, the toughest cards in the series are cards from #110-#152. This year’s inductee is the finest set ever registered on the site, boasting a GPA of 7.82.

Bumchex - 1962 Topps Mars Attacks
There is simply no doubt that the 55-card, 1962 Topps Mars Attacks set is one of the most important issues in the non-sports world.  This eye-catching and sometimes graphic set captures the play-by-play of what it might be like if earth was invaded by hostile aliens.  For the most part, it doesn’t look good for us humans.  So many memorable movies and television shows have been created over the years, founded on the same basic premise, because such a large number of people are fascinated with the subject.  This year’s inductee is the finest Mars Attacks set ever registered, boasting a stunning GPA of 8.71 at the time of enshrinement in an ultra-competitive category.  

Jon Fischbach (Captain Jon's 1977 Star Wars Set) - 1977 Topps Star Wars
This super-popular set has the honor of being our very first modern, non-sports set to be inducted into the PSA Set Registry Hall of Fame.  Star Wars has become such a huge part of American pop culture that there are almost no words that can be used to describe it and the franchise continues on, generating new legions of fans each year.  In fact, a new Star Wars movie is due out in 2016.  The first movie, however, is the one that changed movie-going forever and this first major set will forever be linked to that landmark film.  At 330 cards, this is one of the larger non-sports set you will encounter.  The category is one of the more hotly-contested on the registry, but one set has risen to the top of our All-Time Finest list in 2014, with a GPA of 9.88.

Brian Glaser (GradedTickets) - Super Bowl Basic Set Tickets
In the world of ticket collecting, there may not be a more popular collecting theme or set than this one.  Collecting a single ticket from every Super Bowl is to the hobby what the actual game is to sports fans.  Every year, diehard and casual fans alike gather in small groups to watch the big game and all that comes with the big event, including the halftime entertainment and commercials.  It has become the single most popular sports event in our country with a crossover appeal that is lacking in other sports.  Not all the games are competitive but the event itself has become a part of the American fabric.  From Broadway Joe’s guarantee in 1969 to Lynn Swann’s leaping catch in 1980, all the great moments are captured here.  This year’s inductee is the second best complete set on our All-Time Finest list.  

HONORED MEMBERS
PSA Collector Hall of Fame

William Bengen (2008)
Since the beginning of the PSA Set Registry in 2002, every Hall of Fame inductee has come to us from the world of sportscard collecting.  Of course, this is no surprise since sports, particularly baseball, seem to dominate the want lists of most trading card aficionados.  As the registry has matured along with the graded card market in general, there is no question that the sports category is not the only game in town when it comes to card collecting.  Whether it is due to the appeal of fantasy, historical reflection or for sheer entertainment value, non-sports sets bring a level of diversity that you simply cannot find in any sport, even if you combine them all.  The card productions come from the worlds of fiction and non-fiction.  There are aliens, war heroes, super heroes, television stars, music legends, classic cars, cartoon characters and so much more.  While the subject matter of the cards is not always of a serious matter, non-sports cards have never been taken more seriously as new price records continue to be established at auction. William Bengen, last year’s Best Collection of the Year, has been chosen to pave the way for so many other collectors who share his love for non-sports cards.  Bengen’s immense collection is made up of, primarily, sets from the 1950s and 1960s and the collection is as diverse as the non-sports category itself.  Bengen can be found near the top of many categories including non-sports classics like 1956 Topps US Presidents, 1959 Fleer Three Stooges, 1962 Topps Civil War News and 1964 Topps Beatles Color sets just to name a few.  His collection is filled with dozens of great sets from the non-sports world, spanning decades of card production.  It is our pleasure to induct Bengen, a leader in the genre and a real gentleman, into the PSA Collector Hall of Fame in 2008.  Bengen’s efforts are sure to inspire new generations of collectors, exposing them to an entirely different option in the graded card community.  Bengen provides proof that grading is not just for sportscards anymore.

D'Orsay Bryant, III, M.D. (2011)
In 2010, Bryant received the award for Collection of the Year and this year it is time to enshrine him along with other top collectors in the registry.  His collection is filled with thousands of PSA graded basketball cards, both vintage and modern…and his collection keeps growing each and every year.  From his 1969 and 1970 Topps Tall Boy sets, which both carry overall GPAs of PSA Mint 9 or better, to hundreds and hundreds of Gem Mint 10 examples from the post-1970-present era (including perfect PSA 10 sets of 1986 and 1987 Fleer cards), Bryant only collects the best in terms of quality.  His affable nature has endeared him to the other hobbyists who have the pleasure of knowing him and, as someone who has such a strong presence in modern sportscards, Bryant becomes the first inductee to represent the post-1970 era in a significant way.

Jim Crandell (Davalillo) (2006)
During the past few years, you may have noticed a pattern in our selection for those who are inducted into the PSA Set Registry Hall of Fame. Usually, after the individual collector has been recognized in the previous year in the Collection of the Year category, that collector is then inducted the following year into the HOF. In 2006, that pattern was broken and our decision to break that pattern was, in essence, made for us. When you consider the sheer magnitude of Jim Crandell's collection, the quality and the totality of its parts, we simply had no choice but to recognize the great collector. We could not make Jim wait, like they do in MLB with their 5-year post retirement requirement, nor should we. Jim's collection speaks for itself. With dozens upon dozens of registered sets, in a variety of sports (including some non-sports), Jim has accumulated one the hobby's best collections of trading cards. As one of the graded card market's collecting pioneers, Jim has put together beautiful sets from so many of the hobby's most important issues, including traditional, regional and player-based sets. Jim's amassment of graded sets includes such classic issues as the 1952 Bowman Small Football, 1952 Topps Baseball and 1948 Bowman Basketball sets but it also contains tough non-traditional sets like 1954 Dan-Dee Potato Chips Baseball and 1964 Topps Stand-Up Baseball. With such a vast collection already built and with an activity level that has not ceased, we are proud to add Jim Crandell to the list of current PSA Set Registry HOF inductees.

Marshall Fogel (2003)
We couldn't be more pleased to announce that our inaugural inductee into our PSA Collector Hall of Fame is this man - Marshall Fogel. Marshall has not only assembled an unmatched collection in terms of quality and volume but he has also been a great advocate for the hobby - willing to share his enthusiasm and knowledge with all who cross his path. From Goudeys, to Play Balls, to Leafs, to Bowmans, to a ton of Topps sets and more, Fogel has covered a massive map that extends through decades of baseball card manufacturing. No other collector has reached so high and wide in his card collecting pursuits. For that, it is our pleasure to recognize Mr. Fogel as the first member in this our most prestigious and exclusive club. Congratulations Marshall!


David Hall (2011)
It is time to recognize someone who not only deserves accolades for the collection he once owned, but also for being the person who dreamt-up the concept of the registry itself. Starting with the collection, consider this; Hall once owned the following sets: In baseball, a 1948-1955 Bowman run, including the tough 1953 Black and White issue. Starting with 1951 Blue and Red backs, he compiled a Topps run from 1951-1957. This run, of course, contained the finest 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle on the planet in PSA Gem Mint 10, which sold for a record of $121,000 in 1997. To round out the baseball run, he owned the 1948 Leaf, 1954 Dan-Dee, 1954 Red Heart, 1954 Wilson Franks sets. Continuing with basketball, he owned The Big Three (1948 Bowman, 1957 Topps and 1961 Fleer). From the world of football, he owned the 1935 National Chicle set along with a Bowman run from 1948-1955, including both the large and small sets from 1952, both the 1948 and 1949 Leaf sets and Topps sets from 1955-1957. Finally, he owned a 1948 Leaf set of boxing cards for good measure. You are probably wondering why he focused so much on the 1948-1957 time period. When asked, Hall will tell you that this was the period where he remembers following his idols all the way from his years in little league to high school. This is a time when many of us are most impressionable. The vast majority of the sets were comprised of high-grade cards and several of his sets still rank in the top 10 within their respective categories today. Well before PSA became a successful business, David Hall had to make a tough decision. Challenged by some in the anti-grading establishment during the mid-1990s, Hall decided to put PSA first by selling off his entire collection in 1996 and 1997, putting to rest any notion of a conflict of interest. Keep in mind that PSA had not yet turned a profit at the time this decision was made and it was a difficult one because Hall is a true collector.  That said, he believed in what PSA could do for the hobby and persevered despite years of struggling to gain acceptance. To put this in perspective, PSA didn't grade its 1,000,000th card until 1998. Since that time, PSA has graded 1,000,000 or more cards per year, every year. A couple of years after selling off his prized collection, Hall developed the PCGS Set Registry for coins. Soon thereafter, PSA followed suit and the rest is history. At this time, PSA has certified nearly 18 million items and the PSA Set Registry is more than 64,000 collections strong. As tough as it must have been at the time, I think it is clear Hall made a wise decision and all of us are beneficiaries of his vision.

Brian Karl (2013) Last year, we recognized Brian Karl for his vast collection, a collection that helped him take home the 2012 Collection of the Year award. With nearly 20,000 PSA-graded cards, it is vast indeed. The core of his collection centers on two primary genres - baseball and non-sports - with a nice balance between the two subjects. His non-sports collection is one of the best in the business, containing virtually all the classics like 1935 Mickey Mouse, 1938 Horrors of War, 1940 Lone Ranger, 1940 Superman, 1959 Fleer Three Stooges, 1962 Topps Mars Attacks, 1965 Topps Test King Kong, all the 1964 Topps Beatles sets...all the 1966 Topps Batman sets. It goes on and on and on....and many of his sets rank in the upper echelon of their specific category. Karl has been a real leader in the non-sports arena, a segment of the graded card market that continues to grow. When it comes to his baseball sets, it is more of the same. Karl owns many complete Bowman and Topps sets, ranging from 1948 Bowman through late-1960s Topps sets. Most of them are complete and rank high on the registry, in PSA 8 or better condition. He has classic prewar sets like 1934-36 Diamond Stars but also has a huge variety of regional sets, from the 1950s to the 1980s. They include, but are not limited to, Red Man Tobacco, Red Hearts, Bazookas, Bell Brand, Post Cereal and a ton of Kellogg's sets. He even has a perfect 1984 Donruss set, with all the cards graded PSA 10. The sets listed above are just a mere sampling of what lies in Karl's great collection, but it provides enough information to give the reader an idea of its diversity and level of quality. For all of the reasons listed above and more, we are pleased to induct Karl into the PSA Collector Hall of Fame in 2013.

Don Louchios (2005)
Don Louchios has compiled a collection that is arguably the best, pound-for-pound, in the hobby. Quality is a constant. While Don's collection contains many of the classics like The Big Three (T206's, 1933 Goudeys and 1952 Topps), he has also made an effort to diversify his collection by assembling non-traditional sets like the ultra-tough 1950 Drake's and 1964 Topps Stand-Up baseball issues. In addition, Don does not limit himself to baseball. He has the finest 1935 National Chicle football set on the registry and one of the best 1933 Goudey Sport Kings sets as well. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect to Don's collection is the fact that it is constantly growing and improving. Don is a very active PSA Set Registry member and seemingly far from ending his hobby journey. As the years go by and Don's collection reaches new heights, the hobby will be watching. It has certainly been amazing to watch so far and, this year; it was time to induct such a great collector into our PSA Set Registry Hall of Fame.

Charles M. Merkel (2004)
Last year, renowned collector Marshall Fogel took home our most prestigious award. This year, the attention turns to a man who has assembled another amazing collection, who was the recipient of the 2003 Best Collection of the Year award - Charlie Merkel. To say that Charlie Merkel has a great collection is an understatement. He is at the top of some of the most important sets in hobby history including 1915 Cracker Jack, 1932 US Caramel, 1933 Goudey, 1934-36 Diamond Star, 1952 Topps, 1948-1950 Bowman baseball and 1952 Bowman baseball. In addition, Charlie is near the top of so many other key sets like 1951 Bowman baseball, 1953 Bowman baseball and more. With so many key sets, Charlie's level of quality is simply amazing. It is also important to point out that Charlie is one of the few collectors who actually kept his original collection from childhood. Many of those cards are not registered today but he still owns them. I think Charlie has done a pretty good job of upgrading - don't you?

Michael Rakosi (2009)
One of the wonderful things about the registry is the fact there is such a diversity of sets and collections from which to choose when each awards season comes along. Much like the National Baseball Hall of Fame, there are different ways one can become enshrined. Some collectors have done this through persistence and volume as some baseball players have reached Cooperstown through longevity and consistency, amassing impressive career numbers. Hall of Fame pitchers like Don Sutton come to mind. Other collectors can do this through quality and dominance, much like pitcher Sandy Koufax did before his career was cut short prematurely. This year’s inductee, Michael Rakosi, represents the latter. No, he does not own 50,000 PSA graded cards and he never will. Rakosi has a specific interest and that interest is in the most important basketball cards in the hobby. When it comes to all the key basketball issues, no one comes close. From The Big Three in 1948 Bowman, 1957 Topps and 1961 Fleer, to the scarce 1968 Topps Test set to a collection of all the Hall of Fame rookie cards and more, Rakosi has the finest set in every major category he participates in. In addition to his incredible card collection, Rakosi exemplifies what collecting is all about because he has a real passion for what he does and everyone who knows him can attest to it. Simply put, Rakosi has the best basketball card collection on earth, making him an easy selection for the Hall of Fame in 2009.

Marty Quinn (2010)
The non-sports segment of the PSA Set Registry continues to flourish. It is clear that the popularity of non-sports cards is here to stay.  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 induct 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 with PSA, he had also been an ambassador of the registry program itself as well as grading. It is clear that Marty is a true collector. If you talk to Marty about this trading card genre, his passion for the cards comes shining through.  Marty has dozens of top-ranked non-sports sets, from over seven decades of production, including ultra-popular issues like the 1935 Mickey Mouse and 1940 Lone Ranger sets.  The latter is a fantastic set that was honored in 2010 for being the finest of its kind.

Stephen Soloway M.D (2007)
Dr. Soloway is a symbol for set building. He may not be at or near the top of many individual categories but his focus is on completion, the true essence of set collecting. While he generally doesn't steal the headlines as a collector, people forget that he was the first person to complete the 1909-11 T206 Baseball set, which is no small accomplishment. Soloway is also the first person to complete the Top 10 Baseball Card Classics, another set featuring 10 of the most important cards in the hobby. When you look at the sheer size of his collection and its diversity, coupled with the fact that he is such an outstanding advocate for set collecting, we were ecstatic to add Soloway to our exclusive list of HOF collectors.  To read more about Stephen Soloway, click here.

Donald E. Spence (2007)
Donald Spence has one of the finest known baseball card collections on the planet. His collection starts with 19th Century baseball cards with 1887 (N28) Allen and Ginter and it continues for decades through 1970 Topps. The one thing that all of his sets have in common is quality; it is the universal theme to his collection. If you are looking at a category that Spence participates in, most likely, you will see his name somewhere near the top. In fact, as our Mega-Set categories expand, it will be hard to imagine many collectors competing with him. You cannot help but be impressed with the amazing quality of his sets. When you couple that fact with the magnitude of his collection, Spence was an easy choice to join our distinguished group of collectors.

PSA Set Hall of Fame

707 Sportscards LTD - Levi Bleam (2004) - 1965 Topps Football
The Topps Tall Boys have long been a favorite card style with collectors. These cards exhibit gorgeous colors and provide inherent difficulty because preserving these tiny "giants" of the hobby is a tough chore. This 176-card football issue carries with it a hoard of short prints, a super-challenging checklist (#176) and a nice selection of stars, including the legendary Joe Namath rookie card - a card that just might be the most recognizable football card in the hobby. Currently, this is the only complete set on the Registry to reach PSA NM-MT 8 quality across the board (a GPA of 8.00 exactly), which is a noteworthy accomplishment. Congratulations Levi and crew!

Virgil Adkins (2003) - 1986-87 Fleer Basketball
In the modern era of card collecting, there are only a handful of sets that collectors consider worthy as all-time classics. Maybe, over time, that small group will increase to include more and more sets, but for now, there is really only one modern set that virtually ALL collectors consider a classic - the 1986-87 Fleer Basketball set. Filled with HOF rookie cards and the rookie card of, arguably, the best player the game has ever seen in Michael Jordan, then add those pesky colored borders and you have a winner. Complete the entire set in PSA Gem Mint 10 and you leave us no choice but to recognize both Virgil Adkins and D'Orsay Bryant who have accomplished that goal. As the first two collectors to register perfection, you both deserve induction.

Virgil Adkins PSA 10 Set #2 (2007)- 1986-87 Fleer Basketball
Here, we decided to induct two top sets into the PSA Set Registry HOF. They join two others (Virgil Adkins' first set is one of the two who have already reached the ultimate destination in years past with GPAs of PSA Gem Mint 10. That's right, these inductees cannot get any better - literally. This set is the most important issue of the modern sportscard era and, truthfully, there's nothing close to a rival. Centered on the classic Michael Jordan rookie card, this color-border issue is full of HOF rookies that dominated the hardwood throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

AE Collection (2012)- 1986-87 Fleer Basketball Set
There is no question that the 1986 Fleer basketball set remains one of the most important sets ever produced. What is, perhaps, more telling than anything else is that there are more participants in this category than in any other set category on the entire registry (244). This colorful 132-card set defined an entire era of basketball, an era that most people consider the best in NBA history. So many basketball icons can be found in this set, including several Hall of Fame rookies like those of Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon and Dominique Wilkins.  The anchor of the set is the most recognizable rookie in basketball card history - Michael Jordan.  This year, we decided to acknowledge all the registrants who have achieved a perfect PSA Gem Mint 10 set in the most popular category on the site.

T. Allan Bergquist (2009)- 1975 Topps Mini Baseball
While few modern-era sets deserve consideration for HOF induction, this is certainly one that does.  In 1975, Topps produced one of their best sets of the decade. Filled with great rookie cards (including those of Robin Yount, George Brett, Gary Carter and Jim Rice) and specialty cards, this super colorful 660-card production is bookended by Hank Aaron.  What began as a test issue, this mini-version of the regular set became popular almost overnight and still is to this day.  With a leading GPA of 9.28, this fine collection of minis stands out above the rest. 

 

Jim Blumenthal (2013) - 1910 Standard Caramel (E93) Baseball Set
Since 2002, this stellar E93 set has remained in the #1 spot, and no complete collection in registry history has come close in terms in quality. This 30-card set, which contains a high percentage of stars and Hall of Famers like Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson and Honus Wagner, has an almost unthinkable GPA of 8.10. To put the quality of this set in perspective, the next best set in the category has a GPA of 6.16, almost two full points lower. The complete and utter dominance of this set helped earn it a place in the PSA Set Registry Hall of Fame in 2013.

 

Simon Bourque (Simgin) (2011)- 1911-12 C55 Master Hockey Set
Much like the T206 baseball set, this tiny tobacco issue has become a staple in the world of hockey cards.  The C55, C56 and C57 sets are all highly collectible but the 1911-12 C55 issue is the one that contains the single most important card of the bunch – the #38 Georges Vezina rookie.  There are other keys within the C55 issue like those of Cyclone Taylor, Art Ross and Newsy Lalonde but the Vezina is the most prized of this relatively small set of less than 50 cards.  The GPA of this particular set is an unbelievable 7.30, making it - by far – the finest set ever registered with PSA.



John Branca (2002) - 1951 Bowman Baseball
There was heavy, heavy competition on this set and in this category. From the 1948 Leafs to the 1953 Bowmans to the various Topps sets from the 1950s, there's a lot to choose from. The 1951 Bowman set is filled with huge stars like Mantle and Mays rookie cards and tough commons, but one set is unquestionably better than the others - John Branca's. In fact, if we gave the stars more weight, his lead would be even more impressive. All of the big keys are in PSA Mint 9 - wow!


John Branca (2004) - 1952 Topps Basic Set Baseball
Starting with a condition rarity and ending with another in Pafko (#1) and Mathews (#407), this set is widely recognized as the most important set in the post-war era and it's easy to see why. Still, to this day, the 1952 Topps baseball set is one that has few comparable issues in terms of pure eye-appeal. The large format and great colors helped Topps succeed with their first major issue. More than anything, this set is symbolic. It symbolizes a time long past. It symbolizes a time that evokes so much emotion for so many collectors. It symbolizes collecting in general, led by an individual specimen that may be the most recognizable card ever made - #311 - Mickey Mantle. Both Marshall Fogel's and John Branca's sets, with respective GPA's of 8.26 and 8.25, deserved induction in 2004.

John Branca (2004) - 1954 Wilson Franks Baseball
This is another case where you simply cannot imagine there ever being another set that will eclipse the quality of the current leader. The 1954 Wilson Franks are clearly one of the toughest post-war sets in the hobby. Packed with hot dogs, these colorful cards were subject to a host of condition problems. In fact, these cards were often produced off-center straight from the factory due to the super small borders. In addition, this set includes great stars like Roy Campanella, Bob Feller and Ted Williams - one of the hobby's top rarities in high-grade. John's complete set has a GPA of 8.20. The next best set in the category is considered high-grade for the issue and that set averages about PSA EX 5 to EX-MT 6 across the board. Need we say more?

John Branca (2004) - Ted Williams Basic Player Set
Ted Williams is a favorite of so many collectors. He was a hero on the field and a hero off the field. Teddy Ballgame defended our country and, in the process, he lost about 5 full years of his prime. Nevertheless, he is still considered the greatest hitter who ever lived by most. From a hobby perspective, it is very fitting that Williams is featured on so many legendary cards. Virtually all of his cards are considered must-haves like the 1941 Play Ball, 1954 Bowman and 1954 Topps #1 and #250 cards. In fact, Williams had more cards selected for The Top 200 Sportscards in the Hobby than any other player, including Mickey Mantle. Oh, by the way, how appropriate that #9 is represented by all PSA Mint 9's here. Wow!

John Branca (2005) - 1953 Bowman Color Baseball
Many hobbyists feel that this issue is one of the most visually appealing card productions of all-time. The simple, yet striking, photographs provide insight into the era. This HOF set is now the finest complete 1953 Bowman set ever assembled, with a GPA of 8.83. No frills, no foil, no special coating, just the images of America's pastime.

John Branca (2007)- 1954 Topps Baseball
It's hard to imagine a set getting any better than this with an astonishing GPA of 8.83 and this category has been very competitive since the inception of the Registry. Arguably the most visually appealing Topps issue of the 1950s, this set is a true classic. With Ted Williams providing the bookend to the set with cards #1 and #250, the Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks and Al Kaline rookie cards anchor it for good measure.

John Branca #2 (2011) - 1952 Topps Basic Baseball Set
Our 2011 Rookie Set of the Year is of such high quality that we decided to place it alongside the other legendary collections in the category. In fact, this newly registered set already ranks higher than four other 1952 Topps sets already inducted into the HOF. The importance of the issue cannot be overstated as it is universally considered the most important postwar set ever manufactured and the one that turned an entire generation of kids into lifelong baseball card collectors. With an overall GPA of 8.42, this particular set is more than deserving of enshrinement.

D'Orsay Bryant III, M.D. (2003) - 1986-87 Fleer Basketball
In the modern era of card collecting, there are only a handful of sets that collectors consider worthy as all-time classics. Maybe, over time, that small group will increase to include more and more sets, but for now, there is really only one modern set that virtually ALL collectors consider a classic - the 1986-87 Fleer Basketball set. Filled with HOF rookie cards and the rookie card of, arguably, the best player the game has ever seen in Michael Jordan, then add those pesky colored borders and you have a winner. Complete the entire set in PSA Gem Mint 10 and you leave us no choice but to recognize both Virgil Adkins and D'Orsay Bryant who have accomplished that goal. As the first two collectors to register perfection, you both deserve induction. 

D'Orsay Bryant, III, M.D. (2011) - 1969-70 Topps Basketball
The colorful 1969-70 Topps basketball issue was not the first Topps issue to utilize the Tall Boy design as both hockey (1964) and football (1965) came before it but that format seemed most appropriate here considering it is the sport of giants. A slew of Hall of Famers can be found in this 99-card set, with Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) rookie leading the way. The set also features a great number one card of Wilt Chamberlain and a tough checklist card at the end. This particular set carries a GPA of 9.05, making the second best set ever registered in a hotly contested category.

Bert Caverson - 1954-55 Parkhurst Basic & 1954-55 Parkhurst Master Hockey Set
The world of vintage hockey is filled with very tough sets, especially for the high-grade collector. The 1954 Parkhurst set is a perfect example of this. While this set is often overshadowed by its Topps counterpart, this Parkhurst issue has tons of appeal, including a very interesting high-number series that contains In Action shots. In the entire history of the registry, only one 100-card complete set (Basic) has ever reached an overall GPA of PSA 8 or better. This set is that one set, possessing a GPA of 8.01. The Master version of this set, which contains 157 total cards at this time and includes all the known Lucky Premium backs, also ranks #1 on the All-Time Finest list (7.88); and there is no other set close to completion.

Adam Baron Cohen (Mickey's Twinight) (2012) - 1935 Gum Inc. Mickey Mouse Set
Mickey Mouse is one of the many iconic characters that helped define the Disney empire, which virtually covers the entire planet. There have been many popular movies over the decades, which have helped bring fairy tales to life for generations of children throughout the world, but it all started with Mickey Mouse.  In 1928, Mickey made his first appearance in an animated cartoon entitled Steamboat Willie and the rest is history.  In addition to its sheer importance, this 96-card set is one of the toughest non-sports issues to find in high-grade. This year's inductee ranks #1 on the All-Time Finest list with an excellent GPA of 7.67.

Richard Baron Cohen (Twinight #1 Master Set) (2010) - 1959 Fleer Three Stooges Master Set
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. The set's first three cards are considered the most popular and the checklists within can be very tough to locate in high-grade. This 99-card set has enjoyed a great deal of fanfare in recent years and, in 2010, we simply had no choice but to recognize this particular set. Not only does this Master Set exhibit a leading GPA of 9.60, Richard owns 14 of the top 17 Basic Sets (including the top 10 in a row), all complete in PSA NM-MT 8 or better. I guess you can say that Richard likes collecting this set. It's just a guess.

Jim Crandell (Davalillo) (2005)- 1952 Bowman Small Football
When it comes to vintage football cards, this set is usually overshadowed by its big brother - the 1952 Bowman Large set. Over the past few years, collectors have learned to appreciate the little brother more and more. In fact, most hobbyists believe that this set is actually tougher than the Bowman Large issue. This HOF set is 96.53% complete with a GPA of 7.98 and no one on the current finest list is remotely close.

Jim Crandell (Davalillo) (2008) - 1957-58 Topps Basketball
Vintage basketball card sets are few and far between but virtually each one of them is considered important.  The 1957 Topps basketball set is certainly no exception and it may be the toughest vintage hoops issue of all.  Plagued with horrible print problems and often found off-center, even the most seasoned high-end collector can be frustrated with this set.  In fact, as of this date, only two sets in registry history have reached an overall rating of 8.00 or better, including this fine specimen.  With so many important cards found throughout the set, like rookies of Hall of Famers Bob Cousy and Bill Russell, this 80-card set remains a staple in the hobby.

Jim Crandell (2012) - 1948 Bowman Basketball Set
When it comes to vintage basketball sets, the 1948 Bowman issue is clearly one of the most important releases in the sport's history. The 72-card set, which closely resembles the 1949 Bowman baseball issue in design, is filled with Hall of Fame rookie cards like those of Joe Fulks, Buddy Jeanette, Max Zaslofsky and Jim Pollard but the clear key to the set is the George Mikan rookie card - which the majority hobbyists feel is the most important basketball card of all time. This year's inductee is only the third set in registry history to reach a GPA of PSA 8 or better at 8.05.

Steven R. Crane (SRC) (2013)- 1965 Topps Football
Once Topps took over as the top manufacturer for football cards, post-Bowman, the brand continued to dominate into the 1960s. Fleer was also producing sets during the time, as was the Philadelphia Gum Co., but Topps was still the top dog. In 1965, one year following a "Tall Boy" experiment in their 1964 hockey card release, the company decided to try the supersized design in their football issue. The result was a 176-card masterpiece, which included one of the most recognizable rookie cards ever made - Joe Namath. All three inaugural Tall Boy releases (1964 hockey, 1965 football and 1969 basketball) are amongst the most popular sets in their respective sports. This particular set ranks #2 on the All-Time Finest list, with a GPA of 8.40.

Dominic Dicicco Collection (2012) - 1986-87 Fleer Basketball Set
There is no question that the 1986 Fleer basketball set remains one of the most important sets ever produced. What is, perhaps, more telling than anything else is that there are more participants in this category than in any other set category on the entire registry (244). This colorful 132-card set defined an entire era of basketball, an era that most people consider the best in NBA history.  So many basketball icons can be found in this set, including several Hall of Fame rookies like those of Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon and Dominique Wilkins. The anchor of the set is the most recognizable rookie in basketball card history - Michael Jordan.  This year, we decided to acknowledge all the registrants who have achieved a perfect PSA Gem Mint 10 set in the most popular category on the site.

The Duke Of Mint (2008) - 1952 Topps Baseball -Basic
The 1952 Topps set remains one of the most important sets in the entire hobby and some will argue it may be the most important.  From the #1 Andy Pafko to #311 Mickey Mantle to #407 Eddie Mathews, the power that resides in this set is astonishing.  This 407-card issue offers so many reasons to collect it but, above all, the image captured on the 1952 Topps Mantle may be the most symbolic card in the hobby.  This year’s inductee will be the fifth set in the category to be inducted into the PSA Set Registry Hall of Fame and deservedly so with an overall rating of 8.03.

Steven Ferrell (SF 500 HR Club) (2013) - 500 Home Run Club Single Signed Baseballs
The PSA/DNA Set Registry continues to grow as collectors develop all sorts of creative themes within the registry. One of the more classic autograph themes has always been collecting single-signed baseballs of the 500 Home Run Club members. These are the guys who excite the crowd with their prodigious blasts. Everything stopped when they came to the plate because you knew something special could happen or the game could be turned around with one swing. The three most important autographed balls in the set belong to Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx and Mel Ott, with Ott being the toughest to find of the three. At the time of the awards, you needed 25 different single-signed baseballs to complete the set, and this particular collection ranks #1 on the All-Time Finest list with a GPA of 9.47. It is also the first autograph set to be inducted into the PSA Set Registry HOF.

Anthony Fioto (2002) - 1953 Topps Baseball Set
This was the only set that did not win an individual category in 2002, but it was so close to winning Vintage Set (1948-1959) and Set of the Year that we had to recognize Anthony's hard work. If you ever have the pleasure of meeting or talking with Anthony about collecting, you will truly understand what the Registry is all about. No one has more passion about set collecting then Mr. Fioto does and no one on this planet has a better 1953 Topps set. This one has a GPA of 8.51 - wow!

Marshall Fogel (2003) - Mickey Mantle Basic Player Set
Marshall Fogel, after our first two years awarding PSA set collectors, is used to being first at a lot of things. After being our inaugural winner for the 2002 Best Overall Collection of the Year and inducted as the first PSA Hall of Fame Collector in 2003, he earns the distinction as the first collector to have a Player Set inducted into the HOF. The GPA of the set has actually increased to 9.31 from 9.25 a year ago. The set features both the 1952 and 1953 Topps Mantles in PSA Gem Mint 10s. With Fogel and Mantle together on this one, need we say more?


Marshall Fogel (2004) - 1952 Topps Basic Set Baseball
Starting with a condition rarity and ending with another in Pafko (#1) and Mathews (#407), this set is widely recognized as the most important set in the post-war era and it's easy to see why. Still, to this day, the 1952 Topps baseball set is one that has few comparable issues in terms of pure eye-appeal. The large format and great colors helped Topps succeed with their first major issue. More than anything, this set is symbolic. It symbolizes a time long past. It symbolizes a time that evokes so much emotion for so many collectors. It symbolizes collecting in general, led by an individual specimen that may be the most recognizable card ever made - #311 - Mickey Mantle. Both Marshall Fogel's and John Branca's sets, with respective GPA's of 8.26 and 8.25, deserved induction in 2004.

Marshall Fogel (2005) - 1933 Goudey Baseball
One of The Big Three, the 1933 Goudeys have long been a collector favorite. Home of the most popular Babe Ruth cards on the planet, all four of them, this set is also home for a multitude of Hall of Famers. Coupled with its beautiful design, this issue is always in high demand. This HOF set is 99.58% complete and holds a GPA of 8.01.

Marshall Fogel (2011) - 1932 US Caramel
Had it not been for a very small find of these cards a few decades ago, it would be impossible to assemble a high-grade set. Even with the discovery of some quality examples, there are only so many cards to go around, resulting in only a handful of sets that grade PSA NM-MT 8 or better. Part of the reason for the scarcity is that many of cards were redeemed, as part of their offer, for baseball equipment. In hindsight, these people made some of the worst trades in sports history but who knew? From Bobby Jones to Jack Dempsey to Babe Ruth, this multi-sport set is not quite as popular as the 1933 Goudey Sport Kings but it is much tougher.

Forgetaboutit!!! (2010) - 1969-70 Topps Basketball
There are only a few key vintage basketball sets in the hobby due to the limited number of releases during that period but this is certainly one of them.  When Topps decided to issue Tall Boys in hockey (1964), football (1965) and basketball (1969) during the 1960s, each set became a hobby favorite within its respective sport.  The set is built around the classic rookie card of Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and several other Hall of Fame rookies.  It even has a #1 card of Wilt Chamberlain. This is the finest set ever registered with PSA, boasting a phenomenal GPA of 9.12.

Ben Friedman (Planet Super Bowl) (2007) - Super Bowl Basic Set Ticket
This is the first ticket set to ever be inducted into the PSA Set Registry HOF and we couldn't think of a better collection to break the ice. It is no secret that Super Bowl tickets are probably the most popular of all ticket themes due to the ability to complete the set, despite legitimate challenges, and the incredible eye-appeal featured on each design. Unlike the other three major sports, there's only one game for the glory in football and there is no better way to celebrate the big game and all the great memories from it than with a run of game tickets. With an 11.41 Set Rating, this is the best of the best in Registry history.

Craig L. Froehlich (Fro's 57's) (2010) - 1957 Topps Basic Set Football
The 1957 Topps football set is one of the most important football issues ever released.  The cards combined portraits with action shots, much like 1955 Topps baseball set, which made for an appealing design.  Containing key Hall of Fame rookies in Raymond Berry, Tom McDonald, Paul Hornung, Bart Starr and Johnny Unitas, this horizontally-designed set has always been in high demand.  The set is plagued with print problems and centering issues, making this particular set’s GPA of 8.65 all the more impressive.  At this time, it is the finest set of its kind ever registered.


GHR Collection (2008) - 1952 Bowman Small Football
Early Bowman football issues contain some of the most visually appealing cards in the entire hobby.  Great color coupled with classic images make for an outstanding combination, especially in this set.  This 144-card set is considered by many to actually be tougher than the Large variety of the same year.  Featuring significant first and last cards in the set, with Norman Van Brocklin and Jim Lansford filling each slot, this popular Bowman release is full of Hall of Famers and key rookies but the artwork remains the draw.  This year’s inductee is the only set within the category to ever reach an overall rating of 8.00, setting the standard for all current and future 1952 Bowman Small collectors.

GHR Collection (2011) - 1962 Topps Football
This 176-card set is as tough as the men who suited up on the field were. In 1962, Topps decided to frame each card in fragile black borders, which caused great headaches to those trying to find NM-MT cards. The set contains numerous short prints, team cards, stars like Jim Brown and great rookies like those of Mike Ditka and Fran Tarkenton. It even starts off with a highly-desirable number one card of Johnny Unitas. Not only is this year’s inductee the finest set ever registered with PSA with an unthinkable GPA of 8.57, no set ranks even close on the Current Finest list.

Jeffrey Gitomer (2010) - 1939 Play Ball Basic Set Baseball
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, the man that many consider to be the greatest hitter of all-time.  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 8.63.


Jeffrey Gitomer (2012) - 1939 Play Ball Master Set
Most collectors who are drawn to the 1939 Play Ball set will tell you that there is just something about the design and its simplicity that appeals to them.  The classic black and white photographs are not in competition with overly ornate borders or large facsimile signatures, the photos stand alone.  The great swing of a young Ted Williams to the smile of Joe DiMaggio are all captured in various poses, some are simple portraits like Mel Ott while others pictured with their tools of the trade like Bill Dickey.  This year's inductee is the first to reach 100% completion at 276 cards (versus only 161 in the Basic set) and it carries a GPA of 7.33  At this time, there is no other set that comes close.

Al Glaser (SuperbowlTicketCollector) (2008) - Super Bowl Tickets - Basic
Super Bowl tickets are clearly the most popular of all ticket collecting themes.  Their beauty, rarity and historical importance make them very desirable.  Unlike other sports that use a series of games in order to determine the champion, in football there is only one…it’s do or die…all or nothing.  It is the single most celebrated sporting event in America and, each year, this set grows by one ticket, making it an eternal work in progress.  From Joe Namath’s guarantee in 1969 to Lynn Swan’s miraculous catch in 1980, the memories of the big game are abundant.  This set, which currently ranks as the best in the category, was an easy choice for induction in 2008.

Al Glaser (TicketCollector) (2013) - All-Star Game Tickets
In 1933, none other than Babe Ruth christened the very first All-Star Game by crushing a home run into the stands, propelling the American League to victory. Since that inaugural exhibition, the mid-summer classic has provided plenty of memorable moments. There have been stunning pitching performances like those of Carl Hubbell in 1934 and Fernando Valenzuela in 1986, to devastating drives from the likes of Stan Musial in 1955 and Reggie Jackson in 1971. At the time of the awards deadline, you needed 83 different tickets to complete the set. Keep in mind that there was a brief time (1959-1962) when two All-Star Games were played each season, which is why there is more than one ticket required per year. This particular set is the finest complete set on the site and, so far, there is no other set that has come close to its level of quality.

Hatch Graham (2012) - 1986-87 Fleer Basketball Set
There is no question that the 1986 Fleer basketball set remains one of the most important sets ever produced.  What is, perhaps, more telling than anything else is that there are more participants in this category than in any other set category on the entire registry (244). This colorful 132-card set defined an entire era of basketball, an era that most people consider the best in NBA history.  So many basketball icons can be found in this set, including several Hall of Fame rookies like those of Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon and Dominique Wilkins.  The anchor of the set is the most recognizable rookie in basketball card history - Michael Jordan.  This year, we decided to acknowledge all the registrants who have achieved a perfect PSA Gem Mint 10 set in the most popular category on the site.

William Gray (2008) - 1948 Leaf Basic Set Football
In the world of football cards, it rarely gets tougher than the 1948 Leaf issue.  Subject to numerous condition obstacles such as poor centering, print defects, registration and toning, this issue offers advanced collectors one of the greatest challenges in the hobby.  The set also contains some extremely important cards like rookies of Sid Luckman, Doak Walker, Bobby Layne, Sammy Baugh, Leo Nomellini and Chuck Bednarik.  This 98-card set has remained at the top of the category for years and we felt 2008 was a great time to induct this set, the only one of its kind to reach an overall rating of 8.00 or better at 8.06 in registry history.

HPR-66TPS (2012) - 1966-67 Topps Hockey Set
During the 1960s, you would be hard pressed to identify a more noteworthy hockey set than this one. Other than the tough, "Tall Boy" issue from 1964, the 1966 Topps set is a cut above, offering condition sensitivity and player power. Each card in the entire 132-card set is framed by brown borders, which will reveal the slightest hint of wear.  In addition, the set is home to one of the most important hockey cards ever made - the rookie card of Hall of Famer Bobby Orr.  There is also a nice high-number run of All-Star cards to finish off the classic issue.  This year's inductee is the finest set ever registered on the site, carrying an unimaginable GPA of 8.32.

Scott D. Ireland Collection (2005) - 1933 Goudey Sport Kings
This complete set, much like the 1965 Topps Football set inducted in 2005, has surpassed the initial 1933 Goudey Sport Kings inductee in terms of quality. With an unthinkable GPA of 8.60, this set has a formidable lead over sets assembled by some of the hobby's most prominent collectors. Capturing top athletes from a variety of sports, from Babe Ruth to Babe Didrickson, this set enjoys tremendous demand.

Scott D. Ireland Collection (2007) - 1933 DeLong Baseball
Averaging above PSA NM-MT 8 across the board, this often overlooked set is starting to emerge from obscurity. To illustrate its difficulty, this is the very first complete set to reach an average of PSA NM-MT 8 or better in PSA Set Registry history. Anchored by a major card featuring Lou Gehrig, this beautiful collection receives our ultimate award in 2007.

Scott D. Ireland Collection (2007) - 1933 Goudey Baseball
Much like the 1915 Cracker Jack set honored earlier, this particular set ranks 2nd best all-time in a classic category with a GPA of 8.24. From its beautiful design to incredible selection of stars, including the Babe Ruth quartet (card #'s 53, 144, 149 and 181) and the #106 Napoleon Lajoie rarity, it was time to give this member of The Big Three the ultimate honor.

Scott. D. Ireland Collection (2008) - 1915 Cracker Jack Baseball
One of the true classics in baseball card collecting, the 1915 Cracker Jack offers the total package - visual appeal, difficulty and a host of great names included.  This 176-card set is riddled with Hall of Famers, from Ty Cobb to Walter Johnson to Honus Wagner but the most valuable card remains a non-Hall of Famer by the name of Shoeless Joe Jackson. There are only four complete sets known to have reached an overall set rating of 8.00 or better.  This one ranks second all-time with an amazing rating of 8.41 and it only trails number one by a whisker.

Scott D. Ireland Collection (2008) - 1934 Goudey Baseball
The 96-card 1934 Goudey set is often overlooked compared to Goudey's 239-card 1933 offering. That being said, the set is one of the most important issues in the hobby and there was simply no way we could ignore this particular set. It is hard enough to dominate a set registry category when it is a less popular issue or one that contains relatively affordable cards but this set is simply incredible.  With an overall set rating of 8.89, there is no set in the category remotely close in quality to this specimen.  From the #1 Jimmie Foxx card to the two classic Lou Gehrig poses (#s 37 and 61), all the cards in the set are represented in top form, defying their age in almost every respect.

Jon Isaacson (FightoldDC) (2009) - Pro Football Hall of Fame Rookie Players
Competition can be fierce within many of the categories on the registry but, over the past few years, one could argue that the competition in this category may have been the fiercest of all.  This particular set has an amazing GPA of 8.89.  When you consider all the great cards needed to complete this 199-card set, from the 1935 National Chicle Bronko Nagurski to the 1958 Topps Jim Brown to the 1965 Topps Joe Namath, it makes the quality of this collection all the more impressive.

Jon Isaacson (Redskins 1986 Fleer PSA 10 Set) (2012) - 1986-87 Fleer Basketball Set
There is no question that the 1986 Fleer basketball set remains one of the most important sets ever produced.  What is, perhaps, more telling than anything else is that there are more participants in this category than in any other set category on the entire registry (244).  This colorful 132-card set defined an entire era of basketball, an era that most people consider the best in NBA history.  So many basketball icons can be found in this set, including several Hall of Fame rookies like those of Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon and Dominique Wilkins.  The anchor of the set is the most recognizable rookie in basketball card history - Michael Jordan.  This year, we decided to acknowledge all the registrants who have achieved a perfect PSA Gem Mint 10 set in the most popular category on the site.

Andrew Kaplan (2003) - 1953 Bowman Color Baseball
This is the first of two sets that Mr. Kaplan was recognized for this year and both are truly exceptional. The 1953 Bowman Color set is beloved by collectors for its simple design - just beautiful color photos without any disturbances. The competition on the Registry is proof that this is a collector favorite, with several high-quality sets in the running each and every year. This set, however, is clearly the best with an 8.68 GPA amongst a slew of powerful foes in the PSA NM-MT 8 range.

Andrew Kaplan (2003) - 1933 Goudey Sport Kings Misc Sports
This set was recognized last year as it won for Best Miscellaneous Sportscard Set. As most collectors know, in terms of importance, this set has few peers. Covering an assortment of sports and with a beautiful design, the 1933 Goudey Sport Kings are very desirable including the two most famous "Babes" in sports history - Ruth and Didrickson. Mr. Kaplan's set has a great GPA of 8.32 and keep in mind that this set category has very, very strong competition from a few of our hobby's heavyweights.

David Kjeer (Short Print Nightmare) (2007) - 1952 Bowman Large Football
This is, arguably, the most important football issue ever produced along with the likes of the 1935 National Chicle and 1957 Topps set. With 144 colorful cards created in a large format, this eye-appealing staple set is as challenging as it is attractive. With a ton of Short Prints, condition sensitivity and two terribly difficult first and last cards in #1 Norm Van Brocklin and #144 Jim Lansford, it is a wonder how this set could have reached a 7.89 GPA.

Theodore Kotsiakos (2004) - 1964-65 Topps Hockey
Last year, we awarded Theodore for his great set with Best Vintage Hockey Set during the year of the Tall Boy. This year, we felt it was time to honor his hard work by inducting his set into the Hall of Fame. Many collectors know about the great Tall Boy issues of the 1960's and 1970's but some may not know that the hockey issue is considered by many to be the toughest of all the Topps Tall Boy productions since these hockey cards were generally not distributed in nearly the same quantities as baseball or football. Theodore's set has a GPA of 8.12, which is clearly deserving of top recognition. The set is a classic and, considering the difficulty, the induction decision was easy to make.

Dave Lemon (2005)- 1965 Topps Football
After inducting the first PSA NM-MT 8 or better complete set into the Hall of Fame last year, we couldn't ignore this one. With a GPA of 8.28, this HOF set has actually surpassed its predecessor in quality. Anchored by the Joe Namath SP rookie card and tougher than most collectors would think, this set only has two PSA NM-MT 8 or better representatives to date as the competition heats up.

Dave Lemon (PSUinCT) (2011) - 1940 Gum Inc. Lone Ranger
When collectors discuss the sets that exhibit the finest artwork used in the design, the 1940 Lone Ranger set is always mentioned. This 48-card set is considered one of the most important non-sports issues of all-time and it provides a fitting tribute to the fictional hero. The legendary masked man is shown in various scenes, depicting adventures with his trusty sidekick Tonto and his horse Silver. Through radio, television and film, The Lone Ranger has remained popular for well over half a century. This year’s inductee ranks number one on the All-Time Finest list with a GPA of 7.85.

Robert Levine (Ruby) - 1956 Topps Basic Set Baseball
In 2004, this set was recognized as the Set of the Year. Always popular, this 342-card set contains a spectacular array of key star cards including those of Ted Williams, second year examples of Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente and the ever-popular Mickey Mantle card from his one and only Triple Crown season. As you might imagine, the competition is fierce in this category with several high-grade complete sets in the running. That being said, there's only one set that is 100% complete with a GPA above PSA Mint 9 at 9.017 - this one.

David Avant Lithgow (Odessa File) (2013) - 1957 Topps Basic Football 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.

LoanOfficerSchool (2012) - 1986-87 Fleer Basketball Set
There is no question that the 1986 Fleer basketball set remains one of the most important sets ever produced.  What is, perhaps, more telling than anything else is that there are more participants in this category than in any other set category on the entire registry (244).  This colorful 132-card set defined an entire era of basketball, an era that most people consider the best in NBA history.  So many basketball icons can be found in this set, including several Hall of Fame rookies like those of Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon and Dominique Wilkins.  The anchor of the set is the most recognizable rookie in basketball card history - Michael Jordan.  This year, we decided to acknowledge all the registrants who have achieved a perfect PSA Gem Mint 10 set in the most popular category on the site.

Don Louchios (2013) - 1933 Delong Baseball Set
This 24-card set may not be very big in terms of sheer volume, but it remains one of the most important prewar issues of the period. Anchored by fantastic cards of legends like Mickey Cochrane, Lefty Grove, Jimmie Foxx and Lou Gehrig, these colorful cards are representative of the beautiful cards produced during the decade like the 1933 Goudeys and 1934-36 Diamond Stars. The Delong cards can be tough to find centered and often exhibit border toning. This particular set ranks #1 on the All-Time Finest list (8.05) and is one of only two sets ever registered with a GPA of PSA 8 or better.

Don Louchios (2002) - 1935 National Chicle Football
This set, much like Charlie Merkel's 1915 Cracker Jack set, has a reputation of its own. Most of you know how tough this set is; a set that includes tough cards like ones featuring Bronko Nagurski and Knute Rockne (both PSA NM-MT 8's). That being said, consider this - the only other complete set on the Registry has a GPA of 3.00 while Don's set has a GPA of 8.35! This set is one of the most dominating major sets on the list.

Don Louchios (2003) - 1952 Topps Basic Set Baseball
We do not need to explain to anyone how important this set is. Last year, Charlie Merkel's great set was inducted but this year, it was time to recognize a second collector in this highly competitive category. Mr. Louchios, with a GPA of 8.36, is second on the list within, perhaps, the most significant group of collectors in the Registry. Just like in the Baseball Hall of Fame, you need to recognize greatness more than once in a particular category when one deserves it. If Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio can both make the HOF as outfielders than Merkel and Louchios can make it as 1952 Topps Baseball collectors.

Don Louchios (2004) -1910-11 Sporting Life (M116) Basic Set Baseball
This is the first of two sets from our 2004 Collector of the Year that reached Hall of Fame status this year. This set, much like Wendell's T205 collection, was recognized last year during the 2003 awards. It received the honor of Best Pre-War Baseball Set of 2003. The set is full of Hall of Famers and home to two major rarities in McConnell (Chicago) and McQuillan (Cincinnati). There are very few sets that one could say will never be matched. If you talk to any hobby expert about this set, that is exactly what they will tell you. Consider this: Don's set rating is 9.19 (100% complete with a GPA of 7.97). The very next best set has a set rating of 2.86. That about says it all.

Don Louchios (2004) - 1933 Goudey Baseball
As one of The Big Three, the 1933 Goudey set deserves its share of attention. Charlie Merkel, who owns the finest current set on the Registry, had his set inducted in 2003. Don's set is right behind Charlie's with a GPA of 8.14. To complete this set in PSA NM-MT 8 or better condition is a major accomplishment and deserving of Hall of Fame recognition. From the ultra-tough #1 card, Benny Bengough, to the difficult low numbers to the classic Ruth quartet or the legendary pre-war rarity in Napoleon Lajoie, this set has it all. In addition, this set boasts a tremendous amount of Hall of Famers including the likes of Jimmie Foxx, Mel Ott, Rogers Hornsby and Lou Gehrig among a slew of others. Don is at it again!

Don Louchios (2005)- 1909-11 T206 White Border Baseball
This set is simply amazing and it is, without question, the best T206 set known to date and improving each year. With a GPA of 8.16 and 94.66% completion, The Monster has been tamed. Hobbyists know how hot this issue has been in recent times, making this accomplishment all the more impressive.

Don Louchios (2006)- 1941 Play Ball Baseball
Of the three major Play Ball issues that were released, the 1941 issue is generally considered the most popular. As the only release of the three to exhibit color, the previously seen black and white photos were transformed into eye-appealing beauties in 1941. Classic cards of Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams drive the set's popularity, along with the Pee Wee Reese rookie card and assorted star cards featuring the likes of Jimmie Foxx, Hank Greenberg and Mel Ott. This HOF set is 100% complete with a GPA of 8.52. With border toning and centering as major condition obstacles, it's hard to imagine anyone putting together a set this nice.

Don Louchios (2006)- 1948-49 Leaf Basic Set Baseball
This set ranks as one of the toughest in the post-war era and it contains a plethora of hobby staples. The Satchel Paige Short Print remains the key with terrific cards of Bob Feller (SP), Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial (R), Ted Williams and Jackie Robinson (R) to boot. In addition, the set is riddled with numerous Short Prints and some of the worst condition obstacles a collector could encounter. Don's complete set has a stupendous GPA of 8.18, making this the best group in the hobby.

Don Louchios (2007) - 1915 Cracker Jack Baseball
With a GPA of nearly 8.2, ranking second all-time in the category, this set deserves to be inducted in 2007. Always regarded as one of the hobby's premier issues, it combines awesome background color, extreme difficulty with an array of Hall of Famers including keys of Shoeless Joe Jackson and Ty Cobb.

Don Louchios (2007) - 1938 Goudey Baseball
This has been one of the more overlooked sets in the pre-war era, especially during the past few years when most other pre-war issues have skyrocketed. While this may be true, the set is of major importance by any measure. This ultra-tough 48-card issue is almost impossible in PSA NM-MT 8 or better as one of only two sets in Registry history to achieve that goal with a GPA of 8.06.

Don Louchios (2008) - 1932 US Caramel Misc Sports
The 1932 US Caramel set has always been considered one of the more interesting issues in the hobby, featuring various athletes from the worlds of baseball, boxing and golf.  In fact, the Bobby Jones #3 card is one of the golf legend’s most valuable productions.  The set, one that has always been considered one of the more condition sensitive productions in the hobby, also contains important cards of Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth.  The Rogers Hornsby #11 card remains one of the toughest holes to fill for the set builder, with high-grade examples rarely offered.  With an amazing rating of 8.47, it is easy to see why as it is easily the finest group known.

Don Louchios (2008) - 1933 Goudey Sport Kings
Along with the 1932 US Caramel set, this hobby classic is one that prides itself on diversity except, in this case, the diversity is even greater.  From baseball to billiards, from swimming to dog sledding, virtually every sport imaginable is covered in this wonderful set.  In addition, the cards can exhibit great eye-appeal when found in top grade due to their design and use of color.  Ty Cobb, Babe Didrickson, Bobby Jones, Babe Ruth, Jim Thorpe and a slew of other sports icons fill the set.  This is the second set within the category to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.  With an overall rating of 8.49, it is surely one of the finest in the hobby.

Master Macboube (2012) - 1955 Topps All-American Football Master Set
A few years back, there was a small but incredible find of 1955 Topps All-American cello boxes.  This small find produced many of the top PSA-graded examples we see today and it has enabled a few different collectors to assemble some pretty impressive sets. Along with all the cards required in the Basic set of 100 cards, which includes those of Jim Thorpe, Don Hutson and the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame, two scarce error cards are also required.  Some versions of the #14 Gaynell Tinsley and #21 Whizzer White cards were produced with the wrong backs.  In fact, the backs were interchanged, resulting in two valuable rarities.  This year's inductee is the finest Master set ever registered, boasting a GPA of 8.95.

Tom Malito (Teemu) (2006) - 1951-52 Parkhurst Hockey
This classic hockey issue is one that only a single set registrant has been able to assemble with a GPA of PSA NM-MT 8 or better. With 100% completion and a GPA of 8.09, this HOF set stands alone. With key rookie cards at its core, including Maurice Richard, Terry Sawchuk and Gordie Howe, this 105-card set symbolizes the beginning of a new era in hockey history. As true condition rarities, these little gems are hot commodities. With very poor centering and bleeding issues present, this accomplishment is put into proper perspective.

Tom Malito (Teemu) (2012) - 1954-55 Topps Hockey Set
There is no doubt that Parkhurst dominated the decade of the 1950s when it came to hockey card production but, when Topps unleashed their inaugural 1954 set on the public, it was a time to remember. A hobbyist can still make the argument that this is the most attractive trading set ever manufactured.  The 60-card masterpiece has electric colors and the red/blue bottom border is very susceptible to chipping and wear. While there are no major rookies in the set, the set does include over a dozen Hall of Famers, all captured with outstanding artwork. This year's inductee has a magnificent GPA of 8.24, which ranks #2 on the All-Time Finest list.

Benjamin Martello (The Hammer Collection) (2008) - 1965 Topps Football
Topps Tall Boys of the 1960s have always been popular, no matter the sport.  While the 1964 Topps hockey issue is considered tougher overall and the 1969 Topps basketball issue may have more recognizable names throughout, the 1965 Topps football set might be the most popular of the three.  It certainly contains the most popular Tall Boy creation of all-time in the Joe Namath rookie, a card that symbolizes card collecting.  This 176-card set is filled with short prints and each card within boasts tremendous color, adding to the set's appeal. These cards are also difficult to find well centered due to their narrow borders. This year’s inductee is the finest set known in the category with an overall rating of 8.35 and the third one of its kind to be inducted into the PSA Set Registry Hall of Fame.

Thomas Martin (2009) - 1968 Topps Baseball Basic Set
The 1968 Topps baseball set is one of the favorites of the decade.  With super important rookie cards of Johnny Bench and Nolan Ryan, this issue is filled with a tremendous star selection including some very popular combo cards. While it has never been considered overly difficult by 1960s standards, this particular set has an unthinkable GPA of 9.80. In other words, it is closer to a PSA Gem Mint 10 set than PSA Mint 9 set!  Keep in mind that this set requires 598 cards.

 

Charles M. Merkel (2002) - 1915 Cracker Jack Baseball
In advanced set collecting, this particular set has a reputation - a reputation for incredible quality. At the time of the voting, Charlie's set was the only complete set to exhibit a GPA over 7.00 and it was nearly 8.5! There were other close contenders like Don Louchios' amazing 1941 Play Ball set and Marshall Fogel's dominant 1938 Goudey set. Hey, even Charlie's 1933 Goudey set was a major contender, but in the end we felt that this set deserved the award.
 

Charles M. Merkel - 1934-36 Diamond Stars Basic & 1934-36 Diamond Stars Master Baseball Set
The 1934-36 Diamond Stars Baseball (Basic) Set already comes in at 108 total cards, but when it comes to the Master Set, the number increases substantially to 170. The release, which contains great artwork and a fine selection of big names like Mel Ott, Rogers Hornsby, Jimmie Foxx and the tough #1 card of Lefty Grove, also contains a very tough high-number series (97-108). These cards are significantly tougher than cards from the earlier series. The Master Set contains all the possible variations, including the year varieties, and the popular Hank Greenberg (Greenburg) misspelled card. This collection ranks #1 on the All-Time Finest list in both the Basic (8.70) and Master (8.37) categories.

Charles M. Merkel (2002) - 1952 Topps Basic Set Baseball
This set is one of the Big Three (along with the T206 and 1933 Goudey sets) and no post-war set is more desirable. The fact that Charlie's set is able to stand out amongst the heavy competition is truly astonishing. In fact, if you look at the numbers, it isn't even close. Choosing a winner in this category was extra difficult, but when you consider the degree of competition, popularity, and significance of this set along with Charlie's dominance, the winner is clear.

Charles M. Merkel (2003) - 1933 Goudey Baseball
Charlie Merkel was recognized in a few different areas this year and one more of his sets has been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Last year, Merkel's 1952 Topps and 1915 Cracker Jack sets were both inducted for their unbelievable quality. This year, Merkel's outstanding 1933 Goudey set makes it a threesome for this standout collector. In fact, Merkel is the first collector to have three sets inducted into the HOF and these three sets are all major keys, with the 1952 Topps and 1933 Goudey making up two of the big three in the hobby (the other being the T206 set). With a GPA of 8.22 and the very first to reach 100% completion, this set had to be inducted.

Charles M. Merkel (2006)- 1932 US Caramel Misc Sports
This multi-sport classic has haunted collectors forever. The challenge is truly daunting for the high-grade collector due to the extremely limited amount of quality examples known. This is one of those issues where, if the cards are fresh in appearance, the eye-appeal is outstanding but examples like that are rarely found. Most of them appear almost dirty in appearance with advanced wear. Major keys of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby and golfing legend Bobby Jones are here. This set, is one of only two to reach 100% completion with a GPA of PSA NM-MT 8 or better with a 8.17 rating.

Charles M. Merkel (2007) - 1952 Bowman Baseball
Plain and simple, this 252-card set is almost too good to be true. With a GPA of 8.95, this colorful vintage classic is almost Mint across the board. This particular set has also been underappreciated over the years. When you consider the appearance of second year cards for both Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, in addition to the super tough #1 card in Yogi Berra, this Bowman production is one of the hobby's most important issues and Merkel's set is the finest in existence.

Charles M. Merkel (2008) - 1953 Topps Baseball
One year after they changed card collecting forever with their 1952 release, Topps produced another classic for the ages. The 1953 Topps set is not only incredibly popular in its own right, but also extremely tough as each card is partially framed by either fragile black or red bottom borders. Leading off with #1 Jackie Robinson and containing two classics in Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, finding top shelf examples can be quite difficult for the high-end collector. After one set dominated the category for over 6 consecutive years on the registry, this year's inductee vaulted into the All-Time Finest position with an overall set rating of 8.68.

Charles M. Merkel (2009) - 1948 Bowman Baseball
For eight consecutive years, this particular set has ruled the top of the category with an incredible GPA of 9.21. There was no question in our minds that it was time to honor this inaugural Bowman baseball issue. With the Stan Musial, Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto and Warren Spahn rookie cards leading the way, this 48-card set, while diminutive in size, is one of great importance amongst collectors and the one that started a great run for Bowman, lasting through 1955.

Charles M. Merkel (2009) - 1951 Bowman Baseball
Last year, we honored John Branca for his simply amazing 1951 Bowman set, a set that most thought could not be surpassed in quality. That was until this year when Charlie Merkel's complete set passed Branca's with a GPA of 8.89! With Whitey Ford, Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle rookie cards included, all exclusive to the issue, you simply cannot ignore this set.

Charles M. Merkel (2011) - 1952 Topps Master Baseball Set
More and more collectors are pursuing varieties within sets to ensure they reach true completion of all the different cards made in a particular series. The Master sets are certainly more difficult to complete but it is that challenge that drives many collectors in their pursuits. Here, instead of the traditional 407 cards needed for the Basic 1952 Topps set, you need 490 total cards, which includes all the Black backs and Red backs in the first series (cards 1-80). As if the Basic set wasn’t hard enough? Not only is this set complete and not only is it number one on the All-Time Finest list with a GPA 8.81, there is no set remotely close to this one in quality.

Charles M. Merkel (2012) - 1941 Play Ball Baseball Set
This particular set vaulted its way into the Hall of Fame in 2012 by tying the All-Time Finest set for the top spot.  With a GPA of 8.68, it now shares the glory as the best ever assembled on the site.  This 72-card release was the only Play Ball release to inject color into the design, which makes this issue a favorite amongst collectors.  When you couple the wonderful eye appeal of the cards with the significance of the year, competition can get heated.  It was the year of DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak and Teddy Ballgame's .406 finish, making him the last man to hit .400.  The gorgeous set is a fitting tribute to a unforgettable summer.

Charles M. Merkel (2012) - 1950 Bowman Baseball Set
The 1950 Bowman baseball set is often overlooked.  Unlike some of its Bowman predecessors, the set is not filled with Hall of Fame rookie cards but, after issuing the 48-card set in 1948 and 240-card set in 1949, Bowman increased its size again with 252 total cards in 1950.  More importantly, the great artwork that Bowman became known for made its first appearance in 1950.  Yes, Bowman did add color in 1949 but not like this.  If there is such a thing as the Bowman "look", the 1950 set was the first set to showcase it.  There are plenty of big names included, such as Jackie Robinson and Ted Williams, and it remains the finest 1950 Bowman set ever assembled with a GPA of 8.94.

Charles M. Merkel (2012) - 1933 Goudey Sport Kings Set
The 1933 Goudey Sport Kings set is one of the most interesting issues ever released, mainly due to its incredible diversity.  From Babe Ruth to Babe Didrickson, from football to swimming, this classic 48-card set covers a plethora of sports and does so with terrific artwork.  There's an even a card dedicated to dog sledding!  The issue begins with Ty Cobb and includes several key cards, including the most popular card of golfing legend Bobby Jones.  This year's inductee ranks third on the Current Finest list with a GPA of 8.23.

Phil Minard (2007) - 1952 Topps Basic Set Baseball
As one of The Big Three in baseball cards, anyone who can assemble this set in PSA NM-MT 8 or better condition has really done something. When you add in the size of the set (407 cards) and the degree of competition in the category, inducting this set was a no-brainer. Starting with the ultra-tough #1 card in Andy Pafko and ending with a super rookie card in #407 Eddie Mathews, the set will always be centered on the great #311 Mickey Mantle.

Craig and Ashton Moss (Ashton's 51 parkies) (2009) - 1951-52 Parkhurst Hockey
This particular set ranks #1 all-time in the category with a GPA of 8.13 and, to illustrate the difficulty of the issue, only four sets have ever reached a GPA of PSA NM-MT 8 or better on the registry.  With a hoard of key HOF rookies like those of Maurice Richard, Doug Harvey, Terry Sawchuk and Gordie Howe, this 105-card set is one of the more challenging post-WWII sets in the entire hobby.

Julius Narancsik (Northern Lights)(2011) - 1951-52 Parkhurst Hockey
The 105-card, inaugural Parkhurst issue is a memorable one and a set that remains a classic for hockey collectors.  The condition sensitivity and interesting design create a lot of demand, however, the overriding factor might just be the fact that the set contains over 20 Hall of Fame rookies! This is an incredible number for any set in any sport. That select group includes key rookies of Maurice Richard, Terry Sawchuk and Gordie Howe.  This year’s inductee ranks number one on the All-Time Finest list with an unmatched GPA of 8.33, making it an easy selection for enshrinement.

 

Dave and Lori Nicklas (The Hockey Collection) (2009) - 1964-65 Topps Hockey
Of all the Tall Boy issues released by Topps, which includes classic releases in basketball and football, this set has always been considered the toughest.  Filled with Short Prints, a host of Hall of Famers and a tough high-number All Star group, these cards are very difficult to find in PSA NM-MT 8 or better. This 110-card collection boasts a remarkable GPA of 8.64, making it the finest set ever registered on the site.

Durhon Oldham (2010) - 1951 Bowman Baseball
The 1951 Bowman set has always been considered one of the most important baseball card sets ever produced. Beating Topps to the punch, Bowman created rookie cards for Whitey Ford, Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle, who would all go on to dominate the headlines in New York and become baseball royalty one day. This 324-card set, which combines horizontal and vertical designs, carries a GPA of 8.47, placing it in the top five all-time on the registry in an ultra-important and highly-competitive category due to the overwhelming popularity of the issue.

 

palacejester (2010) - 1952 Topps Basic Set Baseball
Many hobbyists feel that this set is the premier post-war set.  Topps, despite being a little late to the party, decided to combat Bowman’s early lead by issuing larger-sized cards and collectors were very receptive.  The Mickey Mantle card is, arguably, the symbol of trading card collecting…even more so than the T206 Wagner…since the Mantle card was a part of the memories of collectors that fueled the hobby boom in the 1980s.  The 407-card set also starts and finishes with two trading card icons – the #1 Andy Pafko and #407 Eddie Mathews rookie.  This is one of only a handful of complete sets in the category to reach a GPA of PSA 8 or better (8.01).

palacejester (2012) - 1952 Bowman Small Football Set
Throughout the early 1950s, Bowman continued its excellence in card design. In 1952, Bowman may have arguably hit its peak. Releasing two sets, a small and large version of the same basic cards, Bowman left an indelible mark on the hobby. While many collectors view the large version as being more popular, there is no doubt that the small version remains tougher to locate in high-grade. Starting with a #1 card of Norm Van Brocklin and ending with card #144 in Jim Lansford, both condition rarities, this set provides one of the great hobby challenges.  This year's inductee ranks #1 on the Current Finest list with a GPA of 7.98.

Ronnie Paloger (Bombaye) (2009) - 1938 Gum Inc Horrors of War
As the non-sports portion of the registry continues to grow, the entire category deserves increased recognition. If we were to narrow the entire genre down to a handful of sets and rank them by importance, this one would certainly be in the running near the top spot. With spectacular and sometimes graphic artwork, the 1938 Horrors of War set captivates the collector and the images can certain trigger emotions. When you consider the difficulty in finding examples from this 288-card set in high-grade, it is a borderline miracle that this particular set achieved a 7.95 GPA.

 

Ronnie Paloger (Bombaye) (2013) - 1951 Bowman Jets, Rockets, Spacemen
Sci-fi and aliens are amongst the more popular subjects in the world of non-sports trading cards. While the super popular 1962 Topps Mars Attacks set is often referred to as the definitive set within this genre, there was a very important issue that predated the Mars Attacks cards by over 10 years. The imaginative 1951 Bowman Jets, Rockets and Spacemen set is filled with vibrant artwork throughout this 108-card issue. This particular set is the best collection ever registered with PSA, and it remains the only complete set to ever reach a GPA of PSA 8 or better (8.15).


Gregory Panos (The GP PSA 10 Collection) (2012) - 1986-87 Fleer Basketball Set

There is no question that the 1986 Fleer basketball set remains one of the most important sets ever produced.  What is, perhaps, more telling than anything else is that there are more participants in this category than in any other set category on the entire registry (244).  This colorful 132-card set defined an entire era of basketball, an era that most people consider the best in NBA history.  So many basketball icons can be found in this set, including several Hall of Fame rookies like those of Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon and Dominique Wilkins.  The anchor of the set is the most recognizable rookie in basketball card history - Michael Jordan.  This year, we decided to acknowledge all the registrants who have achieved a perfect PSA Gem Mint 10 set in the most popular category on the site.

Greg Pietsch (Pproperties) (2006)- 1935 National Chicle Football
As one of the key football card sets, this issue's importance cannot be underestimated. This is only the second set on the Registry to reach 100% completion with a GPA of PSA NM-MT 8 or better at 8.08. When you consider the difficulty of these cards, it's easy to see why only two sets have reached that plateau. With only 36 cards in the set, the challenge is deceiving. Anchored by the most significant football card in the hobby, #34 Bronko Nagurski, every card in the set is tough and the high-numbers are virtually impossible to find in high-grade.

 
Marty Quinn (Mighty's Graded Sets) (2010) - 1940 Gum Inc. Lone Ranger

This set, which also received an award in 2010 for Best Pre-War Vintage Non-Sports Set (Pre-1948), is in a class by itself in terms of quality and visual appeal.  With a GPA of 7.56, this set is the finest of all-time on the registry.  In terms of importance, due to the incredible artwork and difficulty, many collectors consider this to be one of the top five non-sports sets in the entire hobby.  The number one card in the set, A Silver Bullet Stops a Hanging, is one of the most desirable condition rarities in the hobby.

Michael Rakosi (Heifetz) (2003) - 1948 Bowman Basketball
There is some solid competition on this set but one clearly stands out from the others with an unthinkable GPA of 8.54 - it is this one. The only other set with 100% completion has a GPA of 8.04, which is excellent. The fact that Mr. Rakosi is a full half-grade higher (.50) than that great set just tells us how exceptional his set really is. The 1948 Bowman Basketball set is certainly one of the most significant sets in the hobby and this one is the finest example. Big center George Mikan stands even taller here - great job!

 

Michael Rakosi (Mona Lisa's Smile) (2004) -1957-58 Topps Basketball
Michael Rakosi's focus on some of the top vintage basketball sets is well-known in hobby circles. This year, after having his fine 1948 Bowman Basketball set inducted into the PSA Set Registry Hall of Fame in 2003, Michael's 1957-58 Basketball set will follow its lead. As one of the toughest sets to complete in PSA NM-MT 8 or better condition, this issue has haunted collectors for decades. Print snow, centering and border toning are just a few condition obstacles this set endures. The 80-card set is also filled with so many major keys such as rookie cards of Bob Cousy and Bill Russell - the Russell being one of the true classics in the hobby. There are also a host of Short Prints and the first and last cards, Clifton and Schnittker, are virtually impossible in high-grade. Michael's complete set has a GPA of 8.15, making it the very first set on the Registry to reach PSA NM-MT quality across the board.

Michael Rakosi (More Stars Than in the Heavens) (2005) - 1961-62 Fleer Basketball
As one of only a handful of vintage basketball sets, the 1961-62 Fleer basketball set has always been considered a classic. The ultra-bright design helps compliment the inclusion of so many key rookie cards like those of Elgin Baylor, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain. This complete HOF set is the best of the best. With a GPA of 9.29, this set leaps into The Hall uncontested.

Michael Rakosi (This Test Scored an A) (2006)- 1968-69 Topps Test Basketball
In the world of basketball cards, there are very few vintage sets. Of the small amount that do exist, most are considered hobby classics. Of all the classic vintage basketball sets, perhaps none of them can match the difficulty of this tough test issue from Topps. Just finding these cards is difficult and, when you do, you are usually confronted with serious centering issues. Of the 22 cards in the set, more than half are Hall of Famers. Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Jerry West, Oscar Robertson and John Havlicek are just a few of the legends that reside here. This HOF set is 100% complete, an accomplishment in itself, and it carries a 7.72 GPA.

Chris Raney (Threeputts) (2005) - 1954-55 Topps Hockey
There are few sets, not just hockey sets, that can compare visually and historically to this great issue. Showcasing one of the most beautiful designs of any card production and led by Gordie Howe's most popular card, this award-winning complete set will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005 after posting an astonishing GPA of 8.42.

Carl Riegger (2006)- 1962 Topps Civil War News
As one of two non-sports sets to be inducted into the HOF in 2006, the 1962 Topps Civil War News set is certainly deserving of special recognition. Historically, this set has been one of the most popular choices for card collectors. Evidence of that can be seen in the strong competition on the Registry, with several high-grade complete sets in the running. This particular set remains the only one to reach and exceed a GPA of PSA Mint 9 or better at 9.22 and it is, of course, 100% complete.

 

Ron Rittlinger (2003) - 1968 Topps Basic Set Baseball
There are tougher sets on the Registry; there's no question about it but there comes a point in the balloting when you simply cannot ignore an extraordinary accomplishment. This is the perfect case. Last year, Mr. Rittlinger won for Best Vintage Baseball Set of the Year (1960-1971) with unbelievable quality and a GPA of 9.18. This year, he raised it to 9.30! This set is better than PSA Mint 9 across the board - case closed. Even Nolan Ryan himself would be proud.

 

Brian Roberts (66brian) (2006)- 1966-67 Topps Hockey
This year's winner for vintage hockey set of the year (1948-1971) becomes a dual winner in 2006, entering the HOF as well. This super-important hockey issue is one that offers a great challenge for the high-grade collector with those pesky brown borders surrounding each card. Despite recent troubles in the sport, collectors have not ignored its history and evidence of that is clear with price records set at auction for both hockey trading cards and memorabilia in 2006. With the classic Bobby Orr rookie card as the focal point, this HOF set is 100% complete with a GPA of 7.999.

 

Larry Robbins (L.R.'s 1958 Vintage Baseball) (2007)- 1958 Topps Basic Set Baseball
When it comes to difficultly of 1950s regular issue sets, you can go on and on about this one. With all kinds of condition obstacles in the way for high-grade collectors such as horrific print defects and centering issues, it is with complete amazement that we introduce this set - one that boasts a GPA of 8.74! This is, without a doubt, the finest 1958 Topps set in the hobby and we would guess it will be for a very long time.

 

Larry Robbins (l.r.’s 1957 Vintage Baseball) (2009) - 1957 Topps Baseball Basic Set
The 1957 Topps set has always been popular with collectors due to the simplistic design and outstanding selection of cards. It is also tough to find well-centered and without that pesky print snow in the background. The set begins with Ted Williams and ends with a great combo card of Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle. In between, you can find great rookie cards of Don Drysdale, Bill Mazeroski, Frank Robinson, Rocky Colavito, Brooks Robinson and Jim Bunning. This particular set is the only one ever to average PSA Mint 9 or better with a 9.01 GPA.

Larry Robbins (L.R.'s 1954 Bowman Vintage Set) (2012) - 1954 Bowman Baseball Basic Set
The 1954 Bowman baseball set is one that is often overshadowed by its Topps counterpart but, unlike the Topps set, the Bowman issue contains the only mainstream card of Mickey Mantle from that year.  In addition to the Mantle card, this 225-card set contains one of the most significant postwar baseball cards in Ted Williams, which was pulled from production early due to a contract dispute.  The quality of this year's inductee is stupendous with a GPA of 9.08, which makes it the only set in registry history to reach a PSA 9 average and the set includes 31 PSA Gem Mint 10s.  No finer 1954 Bowman set.

The RVS Collection (2010) - 1955 Topps All-American Basic Set Football
Always popular, there are many key cards in this colorful set including Jim Thorpe, The Four Horsemen and the Don Hutson rookie.  Many hobbyists remain unaware but 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 and now holds an unthinkable GPA of 9.28.  This is one of those sets that will almost certainly remain uncontested forever.

Art Sainsbury (GoodLieu's) (2011) - 1948 Bowman Basketball
There aren't many vintage basketball sets to collect so the ones that were issued receive that much more attention with so few sets to choose from.  While there are some older basketball cards in circulation, the 1948 Bowman set is considered the first key set for collectors of hoops legends.  Of course, the set features the most significant basketball card of all - the George Mikan rookie - along with several other Hall of Fame rookie cards. This year's inductee ranks second on the All-Time Finest list with a GPA of 8.25.

 

Marc R. Schoenen (Phillies Phan) (2013) - Mike Schmidt Master Set
Collecting by player has become a more and more popular segment on the registry as the years have gone by. The Basic sets can be challenging enough, but in most cases, the Master sets are infinitely more difficult to complete due to the overwhelming number of non-mainstream cards needed to finish the set. Take this set for example. The Mike Schmidt Basic set requires 47 total cards. The Schmidt Master set requires 660 cards! Yes, you need all the key cards like his 1973 Topps rookie, but you also need all the obscure items, from the scarce 1972 Puerto Rican League sticker to his tough mid-1970s O-Pee-Chee cards to his 1985 Topps Test Mini. This particular Master set carries an overall GPA of 9.52, and it has remained in the #1 spot for over 10 years in the registry.

 Bill Schonsheck (reaching new heights) (2013) - 1969-70 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.

Bill Schonsheck (First Recollection) (2013) - 1958 Topps Football Set
The 1950s produced many memorable football card sets that have stood the test of time. From the early Bowman sets to the Topps sets from later in the decade, that ten-year span is rich with collector favorites. One year after producing what many regard as one of the most significant gridiron issues ever released, Topps grabbed the attention of the hobby again. This time, instead of being centered on three key rookies, the eye-catching set was anchored by one hugely important rookie card in Jim Brown. Yes, the set also contains an important rookie card of Sonny Jurgensen and some key second-year cards like that of Johnny Unitas, but the Brown is, by far, the nucleus. This particular set, which includes the 132 cards plus the Felt Initial card, is the finest ever assembled on the registry with a GPA of 8.72.

Wendell W. Smith (2004) - 1911 T205 Gold Border Baseball
Wendell Smith received the award for Best New Set in 2003 - the Rookie of the Year - and, truthfully, it was just a matter of time before this set was going to make the full leap into the PSA Set Registry Hall of Fame - the pinnacle of Registry recognition. This set, a set that Wendell continues to upgrade when possible, is 100% complete with a GPA of 7.32. When you consider how tough those pesky gold borders are, this set represents amazing quality for the issue. Cobb, Speaker, Mathewson, Johnson, Young and a host of other Hall of Famers are here - now in a new Hall of Fame.

Stephen Soloway M.D. (2011) - 1932 US Caramel
Had it not been for a very small find of these cards a few decades ago, it would be impossible to assemble a high-grade set. Even with the discovery of some quality examples, there are only so many cards to go around, resulting in only a handful of sets that grade PSA NM-MT 8 or better. Part of the reason for the scarcity is that many of cards were redeemed, as part of their offer, for baseball equipment. In hindsight, these people made some of the worst trades in sports history but who knew? From Bobby Jones to Jack Dempsey to Babe Ruth, this multi-sport set is not quite as popular as the 1933 Goudey Sport Kings but it is much tougher.



Donald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection (2005) - 1952 Topps Basic Set Baseball
The last of The Big Three is honored here, a set that is 100% complete with a GPA of 8.19. This set has always been considered the king of all post-war issues, containing so many key cards. Andy Pafko, a notoriously difficult number one card, and the Eddie Mathews rookie bookend the set with the most popular Mickey Mantle card ever made lying in between.



Donald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection (2008) - 1951 Bowman Baseball
After three years of solid card production, Bowman’s fourth offering was a massive hit. Above everything else, this set contains the only three recognized rookie cards of Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, making it a must for so many collectors. The colorful artwork, which started with their 1950 release, became Bowman’s signature during the early-to-mid 1950s and it attracted a ton of collectors. This year’s inductee has propelled itself into the number one slot, featuring an overall set rating of 8.99 and the set is anchored by the only PSA Gem Mint 10 Mantle rookie in the hobby.

Donald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection (2009) - 1912 T202 Hassan Triple Folders Baseball
When it comes to sheer beauty, there aren’t too many sets that can compete with this one. This 132-card set is a spectacular sight, with two portraits flanking the black-and-white action scenes in the center, resulting in one of the most visually appealing issues ever manufactured. It is also one of the most condition-sensitive issues since the cards were designed to be handled and folded. The set includes many of the top names of the era such as Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson and Tris Speaker, with several Hall of Famers appearing on more than one card in the set. This particular set leads all others with a GPA of 7.65.

Donald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection (2009) - 1934-36 Diamond Stars Master Set Baseball
Often overlooked, this Diamond Stars set is extremely tough. The excellent artwork, tough high-number series and nice star selection gives this set plenty of appeal. The set also contains a well-known error card of Hank Greenberg (Greenburg) and one of the most important #1 cards in all of collecting - Lefty Grove - a true condition rarity. With a leading GPA of 8.20, this set is the best of its kind.

Donald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection (2009) - 1955 Topps Baseball
There are a lot of collectors competing in this set category as the 1955 Topps set has always been one of the more popular issues of the 1950s.  Filled with key rookie cards of Sandy Koufax, Harmon Killebrew and Roberto Clemente, this set is widely considered one of the most visually appealing sets ever produced by Topps. This particular set has a leading GPA of 8.81, a tremendous level of quality considering the centering and print issues associated with this legendary Topps offering.

Donald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection (2009) - Mickey Mantle Basic Player Set
This just might be The King of all player sets as it features, perhaps, the most collectible figure in the entire hobby. When you consider the checklist for this set and all the key cards within, the fact that Spence has been able to tally a 9.53 GPA is bordering on impossible. From his 1951 Bowman rookie to his classic 1952 Topps card to his 1969 Topps White Letter finale, this set is chock full of symbolic treasures.

Donald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection (2010) - 1933 Goudey Baseball
Part of baseball’s Big Three, along with the 1909-11 T206 and 1952 Topps sets, the 1933 Goudey set has long been one of the hobby’s favorites. Combining exceptional color with an even more impressive lineup of names throughout the set, this 240-card set has it all. Anchored by the famous Babe Ruth quartet (card #s 53, 144, 149 and 181) and the Napoleon Lajoie rarity, this set is filled with Hall of Famers. In fact, many of them have at least two cards like Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx. This particular set is only the fourth set in registry history to reach 100% completion with a GPA of 8 or better (8.06).

Donald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection (2010) - 1941 Play Ball Baseball
The 1941 Play Ball set was the final production in a three-year run from Play Ball; it was also the only one of the three sets to utilize color in the design. As a result, many collectors find this issue the most attractive of the three classic sets. The year was also a memorable one in the game itself as Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams enjoyed an incredible season. DiMaggio hit safely for a record 56 games while Williams ended the year with a .406 batting average. This 72-card set is now the finest of its kind on the registry with a remarkable GPA of 8.66.

Donald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection (2010) - 1954 Topps Baseball
Topps continued its tradition of producing colorful trading cards with this collector-favorite in 1954.  The set is known for its amazing star and rookie card selection, in addition to its eye-appealing design, making it one of the most desired sets of the era. Ted Williams is at the front and back of this 250-card set (cards #1 and #250). In between are classic rookies of Ernie Banks, Al Kaline and Hank Aaron. This particular set elevated itself into a tie for the finest set of all-time on the registry with a GPA of 8.93, making it nearly mint across the board.

Donald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection (2010)- 1948-1955 Bowman Mega Master Set Baseball
The 1948-1955 Bowman set run is one of major importance, one that contains so many keys including rookies of legendary players like Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Roy Campanella, Duke Snider, 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 no run is nicer than this one.

Donald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection (2011) - 1909-11 T206 Basic Baseball Set
We are coming towards the end of the 100-year anniversary of the mighty T206 set, an issue that seems to become more desirable with each passing year. It would be bordering on ludicrous to not enshrine this amazing 524-card set in 2011. With a GPA of 7.26, this is the finest complete set ever registered with PSA. That’s right, it includes all the top rarities like the Eddie Plank and Honus Wagner cards along with 74 additional cards featuring Hall of Famers, yet it retains an average grade well above PSA Near Mint 7. This is one of the most important sets ever enshrined in our 10-year history.

Donald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection (2011) - 1953 Bowman Color Baseball
Collectors often rank this Bowman issue as one of the best-looking designs ever used for a baseball card set. The simplicity of the fronts, using terrific color photographs and a facsimile signature of each player, resulted in a classic set. During the time, most baseball card issues were utilizing artwork instead of actual photos on the cards; which is part of what sets this production apart from the rest. The set also offered a couple of popular multi-player cards and the classic Pee Wee Reese rookie. This inductee is the second best set on the All-Time Finest list with a stupendous GPA of 8.92.

Donald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection (2011) - The Top 200 Sportscards in the Hobby
Based on a book released nearly 10 years ago, this set contains 200 of what many people consider to be amongst the hobby’s most important sportscards. The set spans over 100 years of card production in several different sports. In 2007, after modifying the original list, Joe Orlando wrote another book that expanded the list to 250 just to torment Spence. All kidding aside, Spence is already 97.5% complete on that one and we are sure we will be acknowledging that set in the not-too-distant future but, for now, it is time to enshrine this set as the first complete one of its kind, not to mention a collection with a GPA of 8.43.

Donald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection (2012) - 1915 Cracker Jack Baseball Set
The 1915 Cracker Jack set is one of the real staples of the baseball card hobby, just like the candy has been to the sport itself. Booming with rich, red color behind classic images of the period's greatest players, the Cracker Jack issue has long been a favorite of collectors. The intensity of Ty Cobb to the regal portrait of Christy Mathewson to the sheer joy found in Shoeless Joe Jackson's smile are all captured here in this 176-card set. This year's inductee is the best 100% complete set on the Current Finest list with a stellar GPA of 8.28.

Donald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection (2012) - 1940 Play Ball Baseball Set
Born between the classic 1939 and 1941 Play Ball sets, the 1940 release has long suffered from middle-child syndrome.  While sometimes overlooked, the reality is that this Play Ball issue is not only the largest set of the three, it is also the toughest.  Leading off with Joe DiMaggio and including several legends of the past like Shoeless Joe Jackson and Honus Wagner, this 240-card set is not for the faint of heart.  This year's inductee boats a terrific GPA of 8.04, which makes it the only complete set on the registry to reach a PSA 8 or better average.

Donald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection (2012) - 1952 Topps Baseball Master Set
The Master sets are certainly more difficult to complete but, today, more collectors are of the belief that a set isn't truly complete until you have all the known card variations. Here, instead of the traditional 407 cards needed for the Basic 1952 Topps set, you need 490 total cards, which includes all the Black backs and Red backs in the first series (cards 1-80). The challenge goes far beyond Pafko, Mantle and Mathews.  This particular set is only the second collection ever to reach 100% completion in the category with an overall GPA of PSA 8 or better (8.40).

Donald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection (2012) - 1953 Topps Baseball Set
The follow up to the classic 1952 Topps baseball set is no slouch.  As a truly condition-sensitive set, with extremely fragile, colored bottom borders, some collectors steer clear of this challenge.  That said, when the cards are found in high-grade, they can be some of the most attractive cards you will ever see.  That is the reward for those who attempt to complete it.  Beginning with Jackie Robinson in the #1 slot and filled with key cards of players like Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Satchel Paige, this 274-card set also contains a fair amount of short prints.  This year's inductee ranks second on the All-Time Finest list with a GPA of 8.46.

Donald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection (2012) - 1986-87 Fleer Basketball Set
There is no question that the 1986 Fleer basketball set remains one of the most important sets ever produced. What is, perhaps, more telling than anything else is that there are more participants in this category than in any other set category on the entire registry (244). This colorful 132-card set defined an entire era of basketball, an era that most people consider the best in NBA history. So many basketball icons can be found in this set, including several Hall of Fame rookies like those of Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon and Dominique Wilkins.  The anchor of the set is the most recognizable rookie in basketball card history - Michael Jordan.  This year, we decided to acknowledge all the registrants who have achieved a perfect PSA Gem Mint 10 set in the most popular category on the site.

Donald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection (2013) - 1948 Bowman Baseball Set
This 48-card Bowman issue was the first in a series of popular baseball card sets manufactured between 1948 and 1955. During that period, the brand rivaled Topps, and to this day, some of the most important baseball cards ever made are Bowmans. In fact, some of those hobby classics reside in their first issue, like rookie cards of Yogi Berra, Warren Spahn and Stan Musial. This classic black-and-white set has nearly 100 competitors in the category, but this one has risen to the top on the All-Time Finest list, carrying a GPA of 9.23.

Donald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection (2013) - 1958 Topps Master Baseball 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.

St. Bea - 1957-58 Topps Basketball
There are certain trading card sets that just embody the challenge of condition rarity. In the world of basketball cards, one could argue that no other set provides a more significant challenge in high-grade than this one - the 1957 Topps Basketball issue. Plagued by poor centering and terrible print problems, this set is rarely compiled in PSA 8 or better condition. In fact, there have only been three complete sets ever registered to reach that level of quality. Containing a hoard of key Hall of Famer rookie cards like those of Bob Cousy, Tommy Heinsohn and Bill Russell, the star power helps lure many collectors into the daunting challenge. This particular set ranks #2 on the All-Time Finest list at 8.07.

Super Bowl (2013) - Super Bowl Basic Set Tickets
Collecting one ticket from each Super Bowl is, arguably, the most popular ticket collecting theme in the hobby. This complete run, from 1967-present, is the finest collection ever registered on our site. Keep in mind that this is one of the most competitive ticket categories on the registry. The game itself is, perhaps, the sport that appeals most to the mainstream audience as families and friends have been gathering for decades to watch the big game. From Joe Namath's "guarantee" in 1969 to Lynn Swan's miraculous grab in 1980 to the 2008 comeback by the New York Giants, the memories are abound in this appealing ticket set. 

T-206 King (2002) - 1909-11 T206 Baseball
Known as The Monster, the T206 set is rarely attempted in any grade but no set in hobby history was ever as nice as this one. This wonderful set has, unfortunately, been broken up as it was sold a couple of years ago at auction. Of course, record prices followed. This set, a set that was only missing a few cards, was the very first set to be pedigreed by PSA as part of the Harris Collection. The one common characteristic that all the cards had was quality (the vast majority in NM-MT condition or better), but more specifically, eye-appeal. Whenever possible, this collector took his time hand selecting examples that exhibited tremendous eye-appeal. Today, pieces of this incredible amassment are in the hands of collectors across the globe.

Butch Thibault (Network 8687 PSA 10 Collection) (2007) - 1986-87 Fleer Basketball
Here, we decided to induct two top sets into the PSA Set Registry HOF. They join two others who have already reached the ultimate destination in years past with GPAs of PSA Gem Mint 10. That's right, these inductees cannot get any better - literally. This set is the most important issue of the modern sportscard era and, truthfully, there's nothing close to a rival. Centered on the classic Michael Jordan rookie card, this color-border issue is full of HOF rookies that dominated the hardwood throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

 

Sarah and Joe Verno (2012) - 1950 Bowman Football Set
In terms of design, this classic football issue is a virtual twin of its sister baseball set and it remains one of the most beautiful vintage football issues ever released.  This colorful, 144-card set is filled with a tremendous selection of Hall of Fame rookies including, but not limited to, those of Y.A. Tittle, Lou Groza, Marion Motley, Tom Fears, Elroy Hirsch and - of course - Otto Graham, the key to the set along with the #1 card of Doak Walker. This year's inductee is nothing short of dominant.  With a GPA of 8.89, there is no set within striking distance of this great collection.

Wes Verno (2003) - 1955 Topps All-American Basic Set Football
Last year, this tremendous set won for Best Rookie Set of the Year with a GPA of 8.85. This year, it went up to 8.95! That's right, a set that is almost uniformly PSA Mint 9s across the board. When you consider how hot these cards have been for about two years now and how old the set is, the accomplishment is tremendous. This is a set that we think we can safely say will not be surpassed anytime soon and, maybe, ever.

Michael Wachs (2011) - 1911 T205 Gold Border Basic Baseball Set
This 206-card amassment is not for the faint of heart as great amounts of time and money are required to reach completion here. While this set is not nearly as vast as the T206 set mentioned earlier, it more than makes up for it in difficulty. Filled with Hall of Famers from Ty Cobb to Christy Mathewson to Cy Young, those fragile gold borders make it nearly impossible to find high-grade copies. The set also features several variations.  With that in mind, this is the only complete set in registry history to attain a GPA of PSA Near Mint 7 or better at 7.14, a feat that will not be easily duplicated.

Fred Walstrom (Mars Attacks 1962 Bubbles Inc.) (2011) - 1962 Topps Mars Attacks
This 55-card masterpiece captures our fascination with aliens. The fantastic, and sometimes horrific images, in the this set give us a glimpse of some people’s biggest fear - a play-by-play of what would happen if we were invaded by a hostile invader with superior technology. If it were to resemble the images found in this set, we are in for a lot of pain and suffering. The premise has been used repeatedly in books, radio, television and film, from Invasion of the Body Snatchers to War of the Worlds. The collector who assembled this set has been collecting it since he remembers opening packs in 1962. This year’s inductee ranks second on the All-Time Finest list with a GPA of 8.25 for a set, which might be, the most popular non-sports set in history.

Richard F. Weigle (Vintage Corvette) (2012) - 1986-87 Fleer Basketball Set
There is no question that the 1986 Fleer basketball set remains one of the most important sets ever produced.  What is, perhaps, more telling than anything else is that there are more participants in this category than in any other set category on the entire registry (244). This colorful 132-card set defined an entire era of basketball, an era that most people consider the best in NBA history.  So many basketball icons can be found in this set, including several Hall of Fame rookies like those of Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon and Dominique Wilkins.  The anchor of the set is the most recognizable rookie in basketball card history - Michael Jordan. This year, we decided to acknowledge all the registrants who have achieved a perfect PSA Gem Mint 10 set in the most popular category on the site.

West Coast (2006)- 1962 Topps Mars Attacks
The non-sports segment of the Registry continues to grow and this year we decided to place two tremendous non-sports sets into the HOF. This 55-card classic captures our fascination with aliens and the images give us a glimpse of what some think it might be like. By the looks of it, we don't stand a chance! With beautiful yet graphic artwork, this set has remained one of the keys in the fantasy world of trading cards. This complete set, with a GPA of 8.31, stands above several top notch sets on the Registry as the best of the best.

West Coast (2009) - 1940 Gum Inc Superman
This set joins the 1938 Horrors of War set, from the non-sports segment, to enter the Hall of Fame in 2009.  This 72-card set captures, perhaps, the most celebrated superhero of all-time – Superman.  The cards, with the help of some fantastic artwork, illustrate the Man of Steel’s heroics. From rescues on the ground to rescues in the air and beneath the sea, Superman is shown saving civilians from a host of dangerous situations.  This particular set boasts an all-time leading GPA of 7.67 with no one within the category close at the time of the induction.

The Who 82 (2012) - 1986-87 Fleer Basketball Set
There is no question that the 1986 Fleer basketball set remains one of the most important sets ever produced.  What is, perhaps, more telling than anything else is that there are more participants in this category than in any other set category on the entire registry (244). This colorful 132-card set defined an entire era of basketball, an era that most people consider the best in NBA history. So many basketball icons can be found in this set, including several Hall of Fame rookies like those of Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon and Dominique Wilkins.  The anchor of the set is the most recognizable rookie in basketball card history - Michael Jordan. This year, we decided to acknowledge all the registrants who have achieved a perfect PSA Gem Mint 10 set in the most popular category on the site.