Expert Comments:

Over the past year, PSA introduced a couple of new features to improve our online program. First and foremost, we launched the PSA Shop Button several months ago. This feature was created to help collectors find more items for their sets and find those items faster. Your time is valuable. If this service can help you save time or improve your collecting efficiency, then the PSA Shop Button is doing its job. If you haven’t tried using this search tool yet, we highly suggest you give it a try.

Shortly after launching the PSA Shop Button, we introduced the PSA Digital Album. We wanted to give collectors a chance to show off their sets in a nostalgic way, harkening back to a time before the Internet and third-party grading even existed. Both new features have been received with open arms from our set registrants. While we continue to look for ways to improve both new features, our staff hopes that each one can help improve your hobby experience.

At PSA, we always remember that our company would have never achieved our level of success without all of the loyal set registrants. All of you drive the demand for PSA-certified items. As a result, PSA remains the #1 authentication and grading service in the hobby. In fact, during the last 12 months, our company has certified more items in a one-year period than ever before. Our brand has never been stronger and we appreciate your support more than you know. The PSA staff looks forward to seeing many of you at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago this summer!

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Happy Collecting!
Joe Orlando, PSA President

Ron Gates Collection- Best Collection of the Year
We begin with our award for Best Collection of the Year and the daunting task of selecting one amongst the hoard of fine collections on the registry. In the past, we have recognized collections for different reasons. Sometimes, it was for sheer volume and completion. There are many collectors that have north of 5,000, 10,000 and 20,000 cards registered on PSA’s website. In other cases, we have recognized those who specialize in a specific area. These are the collectors who have become leaders in their respective categories. There are others who have registered collections of extreme quality, dominating the ranking in the areas they pursue. All gave us different reasons and all have been more than worthy of special recognition.

In 2015, this distinction goes to a collection that truly meets various criteria. The collection of Ron Gates is vast, containing nearly 15,000 PSA-graded cards. His collection is focused on completion, which is what set building is all about. Gates has dozens upon dozens of complete sets registered. His collection is hyper-focused. Gates has become one of the leading golf card collectors in the entire hobby. Some of his sets include, but are certainly not limited to, the 1901 Odgen’s Ltd. Guinea Gold, the 1912 Gallaher Ltd. Sports Series, 1925 Imperial Tobacco, 1927 Millhoff Famous Golfers, the extremely popular Churchman issues from 1927 and 1931, 1981 and 1982 Donruss and 1998 Champions of Golf - Masters Collection. This is just a mere sampling.

His collection covers over 100 years of production. It starts with issues from the early 20th century such as the 1900 Copes Golfers set and extends through the early 21st century to the various Upper Deck sets released in the 2000s. There are traditional card sets and autographed cards sets, player sets and specialty sets with different themes. The icons are all here, from Walter Hagen and Bobby Jones, from Jack Nicklaus to Arnold Palmer to – yes – even Tiger Woods in his prime. For all of the reasons noted above and more, we felt it was appropriate to acknowledge this fantastic collection this year.

Michael Frank (hockeywax) - Parkhurst Complete Run Hockey Set - Best Set of the Year
Over the last several years, building Mega Sets has become an increasingly popular segment of the PSA Set Registry. It requires a lot of time, patience and effort to build set after set after set within a particular category. This year, we gave the Best Set of the Year to an extremely impressive hockey set run, which includes all the Parkhurst issues from 1951 through 1961. The set requires a total of 906 cards. Within that large number are some of the most important and tough hockey cards in the hobby, such as the key rookies of Gordie Howe (1951), Jean Beliveau (1953) and Jacques Plante (1955) to name a few. This is the finest complete Parkhurst run registered to date, with the vast majority of the cards in the entire run grading PSA NM-MT 8 or better.

 

John Yurcak (J's 30-year project) - 1952 Topps Baseball Master Set - Best Rookie Set of the Year
Each year, sets are registered on our website as thousands of new entries are logged. With well over 100,000 sets already registered on the site, one might think that finding great newly-registered sets would be difficult. This year’s winner proves that there are some really great collections still out there. The 1952 Topps baseball card set is one of the truly iconic issues in the hobby, but this new set registrant decided to take it to a new level by completing the Master Set, which includes all of the important variations. Instead of 407 cards, this set requires 490, making it an even bigger challenge. This year’s winner has an excellent GPA of 7.91 and currently ranks fourth on the All-Time Finest list.

Baseball

Jim ChaninJim Chanin (Jim's 1914 Cracker Jack Set) - 1914 Cracker Jack - Best Vintage Pre-War Baseball Set of the Year (Pre-1948)
If you are a hobbyist that stays on top of the market, then you know how much the 1914 Cracker Jack cards have surged in recent years. Far tougher than their 1915 counterpart, most collectors have stayed away from the 144-card 1914 set simply because it is perceived as too tough. Some collectors, however, have decided to take that challenge and the prices for these condition rarities have been exploding. This is true of some of the lesser-known player cards as well, like the scarce #93 Del Pratt card, which has sold well into five figures during the past year. This year’s winner is the finest complete set ever assembled on the registry, boasting a GPA of 6.66. Keep in mind that the finest possible set, at this time, is only 7.36.

Charles M. MerkelCharles M. Merkel - 1953 Bowman Color - Best Post-War Vintage Baseball Set of the Year (1948-1959)
This set has to be one of the most hotly-contested issues on the registry as a result of its overwhelming popularity. The 160-card 1953 Bowman baseball card set has always been considered one of the most beautiful releases of the 1950s, if not ever. The simplicity of the design and gorgeous photography have attracted collectors since they were first distributed to the public. The set has plenty of stars, an extra-tough series (cards 113-128) and even a couple of multi-player cards featuring some key New York Yankee players of the period such as Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra. This year’s winner is the finest 1953 Bowman set ever assembled on the registry, carrying an unmatched GPA of 8.99.

Larry Mayer (BBCards4U) - 1966 Topps Basic Set - Best Vintage Baseball Set of the Year
The 1960s was a decade that produced several great baseball cards sets, featuring a variety of designs and a number of important rookie cards. The 598-card 1966 Topps set is no exception. The crisp photos and use of color can really make these cards stand out, especially when they are found in high grade. While it does not carry quite the rookie card power as some other years, the debuts of Hall of Famers Jim Palmer and Don Sutton do reside here. In addition, the set begins with a very desirable #1 card of Willie Mays and contains the usual selection of super stars throughout, along with some short prints (SP) within the high-number series. This year’s winner is the finest ever assembled in the category, exhibiting an unmatched GPA of 9.37.

Pat Neshek (Neshek Collection) - 1970 Topps Master Set - Best Modern Baseball Set of the Year
The 1970 Topps baseball card set is one that is sometimes overlooked since it is sandwiched between the ultra-popular 1969 Topps set and ultra-difficult 1971 Topps issue. While that may be the case, this set has no problem holding its own when it comes to appeal. The Master Set contains a whopping 726 grey-bordered cards and is anchored by the Thurman Munson rookie card, along with numerous attractive star cards. It was a time of transition in baseball, with legends like Willie Mays and Ernie Banks nearing the end of the their careers while youngsters such as Nolan Ryan, Johnny Bench and Reggie Jackson were just starting to make a name for themselves. This year’s winner, which has a GPA of 9.45, is the finest ever assembled on the registry. This particular set is owned by MLB pitcher Pat Neshek, one of the most effective relievers in the game today. Pat is not only a fine pitcher and great collector, he is also a fantastic ambassador for the hobby.

Basketball

The Crandell Collection - The Big Three - Best Vintage Basketball Set of the Year
In the world of basketball cards, the 1948 Bowman, 1957 Topps and 1961 Fleer sets have long been considered the three premier vintage hoops sets in the hobby. Three different manufacturers, three different years, full of iconic hardwood legends. At the time, other than a handful of regional or more esoteric productions, these three issues were the only mainstream sets released. From George Mikan to Bill Russell to Wilt Chamberlain, the most important rookie cards of the period are found in this Mega Set. You need 218 cards in all to complete it and this year’s winner ranks second on our All-Time Finest list, with every card in the run grading PSA 8 or better. It’s a set of tremendous quality and importance.

Bill SchonsheckBill Schonsheck (reaching new heights 2) - 1970-71 Topps Basic Set - Best Modern Basketball Set of the Year
In 2015, this set has been crowned the new king within its specific category. Until this year, the reigning champion held the #1 spot on our registry rankings for 11 out of the last 12 years in dominant fashion. While the new champ narrowly pulled in front this year, this set has now become the finest 1970 Topps basketball set ever registered on the site, which makes it more than deserving of special recognition. With an unprecedented GPA of 9.28, this year’s winner pulled in front of the now #2 set, which carried a GPA of 9.27. The Tall Boy set, which requires 175 total cards for completion, is anchored by the popular Pete Maravich rookie card.

Football

Jeannie DeeJeannie Dee (Jeannie's 1948 Bowman Football Set) - 1948 Bowman - Best Vintage Football Set of the Year (pre-1960)
Much like its baseball sister set, the 1948 Bowman football issue is one that probably doesn’t receive the fanfare it deserves due to its black-and-white design. Aside from its appearance, the 108-card issue is filled with important cards, including short prints and multiple key rookies. Debut singles of Hall of Famers like #7 Steve Van Buren, #22 Sammy Baugh, #26 Bob Waterfield, #36 Bulldog Turner, #63 Pete Pihos and #107 Sid Luckman are just some of the great rookies in the set. The #3 Johnny Lujack, though not a Hall of Famer, is also one of the most desirable rookies in the issue. The fantastic set possesses a GPA of 8.53, making it the finest ever assembled in the category.

Myles Maxwell (mjm7478) - 1964 Topps - Best Vintage Football Set of the Year
When it comes to football card sets of the 1960s, you don’t often hear much about the 1964 Topps set simply because the decade is so packed with legendary issues. These issues include everything from the brutally tough 1962 Topps set and its black borders to the super colorful 1963 Topps set to the towering 1965 Topps Tall Boys. Each set has some measure of specific appeal, something that makes it stand out from the rest. While this specific set doesn’t have quite the star rookie power of some other period releases, the 176-card 1964 Topps set does offer a design rich with color and a degree of difficulty since ungraded examples have been hard to come by for high-grade collectors. This year’s winner boasts a GPA of 8.92, which makes it the finest on our All-Time list and it currently has a near full-point lead over the second best active set.

Kevin Roberson (Elitecards)Kevin Roberson (Elitecards) - 1986 Topps - Best Modern Football Set of the Year
The Hall of Famer football cards, especially rookies of the 1970s and 1980s, have really picked up steam over the past year or so. It is not uncommon to see PSA Gem Mint 10 rookie cards of Walter Payton, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice routinely exceed $10,000 each at auction. One of the more challenging sets of that period, when it comes to condition, is the 396-card 1986 Topps football card set. Surrounded by pesky green borders, the slightest touch will reveal wear and prevent the card from achieving PSA’s top grade. The set also contains some great NFL rookies along with the aforementioned Rice, including #275 Reggie White, #389 Bruce Smith and #374 Steve Young. Well, you would never guess how challenging the set can be after looking at this year’s winner. Carrying an almost unimaginable GPA of 9.99, this stellar set was deserving of special recognition in 2015.

Hockey

Rich Katz (Movin' On Up)Rich Katz (Movin' On Up) - 1910-11 Sweet Caporal Postcards - Best Pre-War Vintage Hockey Set of the Year
One of the wonderful aspects about our hobby is that there always seems to be something else to learn, a collectible that you may have never seen in person or one of which you only have little knowledge. This year’s winner represents that kind of set, a set that the average collector may not be too familiar with – but should be. Within the 1910 Sweet Caporal 45-photo postcard set of hockey subjects such as Georges Vezina are, perhaps, the most haunting images ever seen on any type of card. If you have never seen one before, do yourself a favor and venture online to view some images of this unique set. The portraits are truly stunning. The subjects look like ghosts from the past. You almost expect the eyes on each card to follow you like those on a painting in a haunted house!In addition to the striking appearance, the cards are very tough to find. Often times, you may see one here or there, but rarely do you see a complete set. This set is not only complete, it is the finest known. Its 7.05 GPA gives the set a near two-point lead on our All-Time Finest list.

Joester-Joseph R. Henninger, III (Joester68)Joester-Joseph R. Henninger, III (Joester68) – 1968-69 O-Pee-Chee - Best Vintage Hockey Set of the Year
Each year, when we look at all of the potential sets to recognize, there are several factors that come into play. Sometimes, a set may appear on the scene as if they were lying in the weeds before joining the registry. Other times, dominance over a period of time can be the key factor. That was the case with this year’s winner. For 13 straight years, including 2015, this award-winning set has held the highest ranking in its specific category. This 216-card set carries a superb GPA of 8.75, making it the finest ever assembled on the registry. The 1968 O-Pee-Chee set is one of the more popular hockey issues of the decade. It features some terrific star cards, like the #2 Bobby Orr, key rookies like #89 Bernie Parent, tough checklists and a high-number series filled with All Star and Trophy cards.

James Feeley (J. Feeley 1982 OPC Set) – 1982-83 O-Pee-Chee - Best Modern Hockey Set of the Year
The early 1980s belonged to a man by the name of Wayne Gretzky. Well, at least in the world of hockey. This set provides a great reminder as to how great “The Great One” really was. Gretzky appears on a number of cards in this 396-card set, especially of the league leader kind as he dominated the stat books. There are also a handful of Hall of Fame rookie cards, such as #105 Grant Fuhr, #307 Joe Mullen and #380 Dale Hawerchuk. This year’s winner, the top set in its category on the All-Time Finest list, possesses a near perfect GPA of 9.98. It has also held the top perch for 12 years in a row and it currently holds a near full-point lead over the second best set on the Current Finest list.

Miscellaneous Sports

Jim's Mecca Champions - 1910 Champions (T218) - Best Vintage Miscellaneous Sports Set of the Year
Every year, we give special recognition to dozens of sets, but one could argue that this set may be one of the most visually stunning in the group. The 1910 Champions set (T218) is unique in that it contains subjects ranging from boxers to track & field stars to swimmers and more. Boxing legend Jack Johnson is considered the most recognizable sports figure and valuable card in this diverse set. Each subject is captured with the use of beautiful, color artwork in this 153-card tobacco set. While most of the backs feature Mecca or Hassan brand tobacco advertising, some of the cards have been found with Tolstoi backs as well. This year’s winner is the only set in registry history to achieve a GPA of PSA NM 7 or better (7.17), taking the top spot on our All-Time Finest list.

Logan R. WardLogan R. Ward (The Stock Car Museum) - 1989 Maxx Racing Master Set - Best Modern Miscellaneous Sports Set of the Year
If you are a sports fan, then you probably know that auto racing is one of the most popular sports in the world. In the hobby, racing collectibles have often been overlooked in the past, but thanks to one devoted collector, more exposure has been given to the genre via the set registry and his efforts to share his endeavor with others. The colorful set is filled with images of not only significant racing figures like Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, but the issue also features some of their cars as well. This year’s winner defines what it means to be the best of the best within a specific category. This 221-card set has a Current Finest possible set rating of 9.98 and this award-winning set has a rating to match. In other words, this set is literally as good as it can possibly get at this time.

Joe Lill (trptjoe) - Ernie Banks Master Set - Best Vintage Player Set of the Year
Earlier this year, we lost one of the great players and ambassadors of baseball. Ernie Banks had a powerful bat as one of the premier home run hitters in the game from the 1950s to the 1970s, but he will be remembered even more for his enthusiasm. He clearly loved the game so much. This year, it seemed fitting to honor the finest Banks Master set on the registry for such a fine gentleman. The set itself contains 165 different Banks cards. You need all of his mainstream cards and so much more, from his classic 1954 Topps rookie to some terrific rarities like the 1959 Home Run Derby card. Don’t let the modest 6.33 GPA fool you either; some of the required cards are very tough cards to find in high grade within this run. This year’s winner is the first, and only, complete set assembled on the registry.

The Bronx is Burning - Thurman Munson Master Set - Best Modern Player Set of the Year
During the 1970s, Thurman Munson established himself as one of the top catchers in baseball, along with the likes of Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk and Gary Carter. Munson was the unquestionable leader of the late-1970s New York Yankees team, which won back-to-back World Series titles in 1978 and 1979. In 1976, Munson would be named the AL MVP in perhaps his finest overall season. Just a few years later, Munson would perish in a plane crash, which cut his career and life much too short. This year’s winner is the only complete set ever put together in the Munson Master category and it boasts a GPA of 8.56. At 110 cards, the set contains a host of regional and more obscure issues like the tough 1971 Topps Greatest Moments #1 card, in addition to the classic regular-issue Topps cards.

Tom Clark (TC Collection)Tom Clark (TC Collection) - 1965 Topps Embossed Baseball - Best Topps Specialty Set of the Year
Over the years, Topps produced some of the most desirable and unique “specialty” baseball card sets, especially during the 1960s and 1970s. Even though they had the premier brand in “mainstream” baseball cards, the company didn’t rest on its laurels. They created several of what turned out to be highly-collectible sets like 1964 Topps Stand-Ups, 1968 Topps 3-D and 1971 Topps Greatest Moments sets. Some were of the Test variety and some were not, but many of them are desirable. The 1965 Topps Embossed set is no exception. The 72-card set features star players from both leagues in a gold-foil/3-D format. Legends like Mickey Mantle, Roberto Clemente, Willie Mays and Sandy Koufax and more are all here. It’s no wonder that there is so much competition on the registry for this relatively obscure set. This year’s winner carries a GPA of 8.21, making it the finest set in its specific category.

Daniel Hunt - Robert Casterline Collection (knowfun) - Pro Football Hall of Fame Rookie Players - Best Overall Specialty Set of the Year
This has always been a favorite category on the registry because of the extreme diversity. It’s an area where collectors can really get creative in establishing a theme and building their ultimate checklist. It’s also an area where the sets tend to evolve and grow over time as more items are added to the list. That is certainly the case with this extremely popular category. As new football players are enshrined in the Hall of Fame each year, the set continues to grow. As of this writing, a collector would need a total of 237 rookie cards to complete this set…and think about the power cards that reside here. From the 1935 National Chicle Bronko Nagurski to the 1957 Topps Johnny Unitas to the 1965 Topps Joe Namath and more, this set is filled with the biggest names in football history. This is simply the finest complete set ever registered on the site, featuring a GPA of 8.86, and it has a near full-point lead over the second best set on the Current Finest list.

Donald E. SpenceDonald E. Spence - The Lone Star Collection - 1947 Bond Bread Jackie Robinson - Best Regional Set of the Year
In the year that Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, Bond Bread released a set entirely devoted to the icon in fitting fashion after the NL Rookie of the Year signed an endorsement contract. Bond Bread took a chance on the new Brooklyn Dodger, and while we don’t know if Robinson’s endorsement enhanced sales of their products, we wouldn’t bet against it. This historic set may only contain 13 total cards, but those 13 cards represent some of the most desirable regional cards in the hobby. When you combine the issue’s limited distribution with the fact that these cards were released so early in this trailblazer’s career, you can quickly understand its appeal. Even in low grade, these cards have been known to generate thousands of dollars each at auction due to their scarcity. This year’s winner is the finest set of its kind ever registered on the website with a GPA of 5.81.

Dylan LaneDylan Lane (The Empire State Collection) - 1909-12 Sweet Caporal Domino Discs PX7 Baseball Set - Best Oddball Set of the Year
Sometimes, when you hear the term “Oddball,” you tend to assume that it carries a negative connotation. In the world of collecting, that couldn’t be further from the truth. With so many mainstream trading card sets produced over the years, this term is one of endearment for those sets that possess characteristics that simply make them different from the rest of the pack. There have been sets of collectibles such as pins, coins, decals and stamps released by different manufacturers, just to name a few. Some are actually considered fairly mainstream, while others are extremely obscure. Whatever the case may be, these sets must exhibit something that makes them stand out. This year, we decided to recognize the best 1909-12 Sweet Caporal Domino Disc (PX7) set on the registry. Containing 137 total discs, this issue is chock-full of baseball legends like Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson and Cy Young. It even has a few variations to boot. This award-winning set has a GPA of 7.13, which gives it a near two-point lead over the next best set in the category.

Jason Weil Jason Weil (The Weil Collection) – 1970-1979 Topps Wax Packs - Any Series Baseball - Best Unopened Pack Set of the Year
For those in their 40s and 50s who started collecting as a child, the 1970s was a decade where it all began. Just before the hobby explosion of the 1980s, many young collectors were getting their first taste of opening packs in the decade of disco. While the 1970s has often been overshadowed by the decades that came before and after, Topps did produce some pretty popular baseball card sets during that stretch. From the tough, black-bordered 1971 set to the massive 1972 set to the colorful 1975 set, the decade is full of desirable Topps issues. Some of the greatest players in baseball history ended their illustrious careers during the decade, such as Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays. This unopened pack run features a Topps wax pack from every year (1970-1979) and it is the only set to reach both 100% completion and a GPA of Mint 9 overall. Those were the days.

Non-Sports

DJR - 1888 Allen & Ginter Pirates of the Spanish Main (N19) - Best 19th Century Vintage Non-Sports Set of the Year (pre-1900)
The Allen & Ginter Cigarette Company produced many great 19th Century trading cards sets, covering a wide range of subjects. Beyond some of the popular baseball cards produced by the company, they also issued a large number of non-sports sets. The subject matter of these sets ranged from American Indians to wild animals to flags from around the globe. The one thing all of these sets have in common is that each subject was depicted using fine artwork. Some of the most visually-stunning cards you will ever lay your eyes on were produced by Allen & Ginter in the late-1800s. This year’s winner, which has a 7.03 GPA and more than a full-point lead over all of its competitors, is a great example of the aesthetic appeal generated by the company. The 1888 N19 Pirates of the Spanish Main set contains 50 cards and each card features a different pirate. While there is no way to confirm how accurate or authentic the depictions are, the most recognizable pirate in the set is, arguably, Edward Teach – otherwise known as Blackbeard.

Brian Karl (Brian's 1935 Mickey Mouse with the Movie Stars Set) - 1935 Mickey Mouse with the Movie Stars - Best Pre-War Vintage Non-Sports Set of the Year (1900-1947)
In the world of non-sports trading cards, there aren’t too many characters that are as iconic as Disney’s Mickey Mouse. In 1935, Mickey made his first appearance on cardboard in the 96-card Gum, Inc. base set. This set is one of the most desirable and difficult sets in the non-sports world to complete in high grade. That said, as difficult as the base set is, it pales in comparison to the 24-card Mickey Mouse with Movie Stars set. This set was really an extension of the base set (card numbers 97-120), so some collectors collect the entire run while others treat them as two distinct issues. Since these cards were issued separately and are incredibly difficult to locate in any grade, collectors can tackle each one individually on the registry. Mickey is pictured along with movie stars like Charlie Chaplin, Groucho Marx and Greta Garbo. This year’s winner is the only complete set on our Current-Finest list and it resides at the top of our All-Time Finest list with a GPA of 5.46.

Grand Slam - 1952 Topps Look n' See - Best Vintage Non-Sports Set of the Year (1948-1959)
This just in…1952 Topps Look n’ See cards are hot!For the last several years, this terrific non-sports issue has become more and more popular with hobbyists. All you have to do is look at the level of competition within the category and you will see the phenomenal interest in the issue. One thing is for sure. It’s easy to see why the set is so appealing to collectors. In addition to the rich color used throughout, the 135-card issue is, perhaps, the most diverse collection of subjects you will ever see within one set. From American Presidents to Cleopatra to Ghandi, this set covers a virtual abyss of subjects. While this set is certainly considered a non-sports issue, it even contains an appearance by “The Sultan of Swat” himself - Babe Ruth. This year’s winner is the finest set ever registered in the category, featuring a wonderful GPA of 8.67.

Mark S. Adams/(oldfart007)Mark S. Adams/(oldfart007) (Leaf '67 Trek) - 1967 Leaf Star Trek - Best Vintage Non-Sports Set of the Year
During the annual awards process, we see plenty of dominant sets that have led their respective categories for long periods of time. In some cases, the opposite occurs and a new sheriff in town is anointed. That was the case here. After the prior leader spent 11 consecutive years on top, this set emerged to take over the number one spot. If you have been following the market, especially for non-sports cards, then you have witnessed the incredible surge in price for cards in the 1967 Leaf and 1976 Topps Star Trek sets. They have been on fire!With the help of some recent films, Star Trek is back in full force. The 72-card, 1967 Leaf issue started it all for Trekkies. Based on the original series, these black-and-white cards stick to some of the television storylines, yet veer wildly from others. This year’s winner is the finest set ever assembled, exhibiting a GPA of 8.61.

Pete Tolman (Darth Pete) - 1980 Topps Star Wars Empire Strikes Back - Best Modern Non-Sports Set of the Year
Unless you have been living under a rock somewhere, you are probably aware that the Star Wars franchise is releasing a new series of movies starting later this year. As soon as the new trailer hit YouTube, tens of millions of views were recorded in just a few days. So, do you think the anticipation level for the new film is high? I think so. As a result, fans across the globe start to reminisce about the trilogy that started it all in 1977. Even with all the new technology, the second series of films wasn’t able to capture the magic of the first three according to most fans. The second film in the first trilogy was The Empire Strikes Back. While not as commercially successful as the first movie, it is still considered the best of the first six films by the critic community. This award-winning set, which requires 352 cards, carries a GPA of 9.70, making it the finest on our all-time list.

Tickets

Al Glaser (TicketCollector)Al Glaser (TicketCollector) - PSA's Top 10 World Series Tickets of All Time - Best Ticket Set of the Year
Ticket collecting can be a lot of fun. Not only can you collect a more traditional set such as a complete run of Super Bowl tickets, you can also get creative in putting together the list. This year, we decided to recognize a set that is small in the number of required items, but packed with enormous importance. Within the past year, PSA put together a list of the 10 most important World Series tickets of all time based on the events of each game. The list includes everything from Babe Ruth’s called shot in 1932 to Don Larsen’s perfect game in 1956 to Carlton Fisk’s walk-off winner in 1975. The tickets have to be from those specific games, not just any ticket from the series. This year’s winner has every ticket, in Full form, from each specific, iconic game. The memories can be held in your hands.

Autographs

Eric J. Sanders - EJ GuruEric J. Sanders - EJ Guru - 500 Home Run Club Single Signed Baseballs - Best Single Signed Baseball Set of the Year
There are certain collectible themes that just stand the test of time…and this is one of them. There are so many interesting aspects to the game of baseball, from pitching artistry to defensive genius, but nothing seems to captivate fans and collectors more than the guys who can blast the ball out of the yard on a consistent basis. That is what this single-signed baseball set is about, collecting all the men who reach 500 career home runs or more in their careers. From Babe Ruth to Hank Aaron to Barry Bonds, you need all of them to complete the set – a total of 26 autographed baseballs. The two toughest holes to fill are those of Jimmie Foxx and Mel Ott, both were dominant sluggers from the 1920s through the 1940s. This year’s winner is only one of two complete sets on the registry’s Current Finest list and it carries an impressive GPA of 8.65.

Jim Doyle (Doyle Collection)Jim Doyle (Doyle Collection) - 1980-2001 Perez-Steele Hall of Fame Postcards - Best Autograph Set of the Year
Many collectors have long been fans of the colorful baseball artwork produced by Dick Perez. Some of his eye-appealing work was used to create some collectible cards sets, starting during the 1980s. This particular set is one of his most desired creations. The 1980-2001 Perez-Steele Hall of Fame postcards set features some of the greatest names in the game and the cards provide one of the best-looking mediums you could hope for as an autograph collector. The set begins with pitcher Carl Hubbell and ends with outfielder Dave Winfield. Icons like Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle are featured, but there are also some very tough autographs to obtain from other Hall of Famers. Some of the more difficult signatures are those of Roy Campanella, Lloyd Waner and Satchel Paige to name a few. This year’s winner carries a phenomenal GPA of 9.90, which amounts to 103 autographs graded PSA 10s and four PSA 9s. Wow!

Ben Thornhill (West Wood) - 1976 Cincinnati Reds World Series Champions Game-Used Bats - Best Game-Used Bat Set of the Year
There have been several great dynasties throughout baseball history and many debates have ensued when discussing the greatest teams ever assembled. One team that always enters the conversation is “The Big Red Machine” of the 1970s. The Cincinnati Reds lineup was simply stacked. Joe Morgan, Pete Rose, Tony Perez and Johnny Bench were at the core, not to mention stars like George Foster, Ken Griffey, Sr. and Dave Concepcion. After winning their first World Series title in 1975, they took it all again in 1976, sweeping the Yankees in four games. This professional model bat set is a great one. Not only does it contain all the starters from the legendary team, it also contains just as many bench players for a total of 16 gamers. Furthermore, Hillerich & Bradsby Co. (H&B), which later became Louisville Slugger, produced one of its best-looking bat styles in 1976. All of the bats that were made that year featured a special Liberty Bell brand, which makes any H&B bat made in 1976 extremely desirable with bat collectors. With a terrific GPA of 8.62, this fine bat collection was an easy choice for special recognition in 2015.

Digital Albums

J. Tony Silva - 1975 Topps Mini Baseball Set
Logan R. Ward (The Stock Car Museum) - 1988 Maxx Charlotte Racing Master Set

In 2015, we launched the PSA Digital Album within the registry so collectors could show off their great sets in a more visual format. As part of the annual registry awards, we also decided to allow our registrants to vote for their favorite albums posted so far. At the time of the awards deadline, there were roughly 1,500 albums being built by collectors. Based on the results of the poll, our registry community decided to recognize both of the albums listed above. Both albums were complete and each one does a great job of communicating the appeal of these colorful and collectible sets.

Best of the Registry Winners of 2015

Click here to view the sets that were #1 on 5/29/15 5pm EST (2pm PST) with one of the following criteria:

  • 95% complete for vintage sets pre-1970
  • 100% complete for modern sets (1970-present)
  • 1,000 or more cards registered in player and mega sets

10 Year Anniversary Recipients

To celebrate collectors who have won awards for being number one in their category for at least ten years in a row, we recognize their sets with the 10 Year Anniversary icon. To these collectors, you have our thanks for your loyalty and friendship. We appreciate all you do for the PSA Set Registry. To view a list of these award winning sets, please click here.