My Truth About PSA Set Registries
For me, it was the turn of the century. I was relieved because the threat of Y2K did not have any negative implications on mankind. So I headed off to Woodmar Mall where I consistently set up as a dealer at their quarterly card shows. It was at this moment I set my eyes and hands on my first PSA slab.
The card belonged to a dealer next to me and he went on to explain to me the ins and outs of getting cards graded. I don’t recall everything he said but I do remember being impressed on the whole concept of card grading specifically because I have always been such a stickler for the condition of a card. As a side note, I don’t recall the exact card he showed me but for some reason, I’m thinking it was a Peyton Manning rookie card.
According to their website Professional Sports Authenticators (PSA) started grading cards in 1998 and since then has graded more than 40 million cards and collectibles. Today, they are the largest and most trusted third-party authenticators.
Much of their success, in my opinion, can be attributed to their Set Registries. Established in 2001, the PSA Set Registry allows collectors to safely show their PSA graded cards in a secure online environment and compare their collections to others assembled. This “comparing” is a rub for some collectors. They sense that this “friendly competition” has caused some collectors to take things too seriously in an effort to move up the ranking, in fact, many collectors feel that because of the registries it has caused prices on certain graded cards to skyrocket in price. But is that such a bad thing for the hobby? Personally, I don’t think so.
For me, participating in PSA Set Registries is my favorite part of collecting and here’s why:
- It’s FREE! There is no software to download, it’s a website, a beautiful one at that. The tools and data available on this website are second to none. Something for every type of collector: sports cards for all sports, non-sports cards too, there is autograph authentication, tickets, unopened packs, and original photos just to name a few of the categories featured.
- Inventory – once you’ve registered onto the PSA website it will give you access to your inventory. All you have to do is Add Inventory, enter the eight-digit certification number and all the details of your card can be entered. You can add up to two photos, your cost, where you purchased it from, current value, and see population reports. Also, you have an opportunity to enter notes inside a section called Owner’s Notes where it can be seen on the inventory list or the Personal Notes option where you can enter your own personal thoughts or information pertaining to the card and can only be seen by you. Perhaps the greatest feature I enjoy about inventory is the Mobile App. It allows me to take my inventory list where ever I go. The app is just as sophisticated and powerful as the website.
- Money Tracker – it doesn’t matter how big your inventory is if you enter the cost and value of each card you will be able to see the totals. Once your inventory page is open there is a line at the very top that will tell you how much you have spent and how much the current value is for all your inventory. I like to update my card values once a year so I can have an apple to apple comparison on which way my card values are going. I’m pleased to say the market is strong and I’ve seen increases for the past three years. It also displays this feature with certain set registries. For example, I’ve been working on the Roberto Clemente Basic Set Registry. When I open that set up not only can I see which cards I already own but it will also show me how much I have spent on this set and what the secondary market is for those cards.
- Checklist – another positive aspect of Set Registries is the number of registries available and the valuable checklist for each one. For example, the Hall of Fame Players – Post War Rookies registry gives you a rich checklist of every rookie card of every Hall of Famer from 1948 to the present day. Or specialty sets like the Top 100 cards of the 1980s by Mike Payne. Perhaps you are a player collector, well there are all kinds of sets for you too, like the Michael Jordan Master Set Registry which currently has over 4000 items to build it or you can build the Michael Jordan Basic Set Registry like I do which only has 72 cards in it. Of course, there are options like the Peyton Manning Rookie Card Registry too, you name your niche there is a set registry for it.
- The Hunt – there’s nothing more exciting to me than starting a set registry and beginning the hunt for the cards in that set. As my budget allows I start to knock out the easy ones but then there’s those hard to find gems that can make it challenging. For example, I was putting together the Frank Thomas Rookie Card Set Registry, which only has 7 cards in the set. I was knocking them out then it came time to find the 1990 O-Pee-Chee, this thing was hard to find. I saved it on my search criteria on eBay and it took nearly 8 months for one to pop, thankfully from a collector from Canada! I pounced on it and entered my best offer which the seller quickly accepted. Another challenge is trying to find nicely centered, halfway decent looking cards from the 1970s or 1980s. The hunt is where you put in the work.
- Accomplishment – The Hunt can become frustrating but then there’s that sense of accomplishment when you are successful in your hard work. There’s also that moment when you complete a set registry. This is pure hobby achievement! It takes passion, discipline, and persistence to stick with it. Some set registries can take years to build. Others can take a lifetime. Either way each card you purchase gets you one step closer and gives you that feeling of achievement all over again.
- Legacy – on a personal level I like that my PSA Set Registries will leave a part of my legacy to my wife and children. In a day of card investing and the sportscard market values reaching new heights, it’s nice to know that I will be leaving my family a card collection that is the cream of the crop. There won’t be no debating condition, there will be an established market for them to refer to. My wife is the biggest baseball fan I know it would be nice to leave her my Post War Rookie Registry. My kids don’t collect today but my son collected Ken Griffey Jr as a kid, my daughter collected Kobe Bryant and another daughter collected Sammy Sosa. I would love to leave them PSA Set Registry cards of those players.
Recently, I was listening to a couple of card collectors. Comments were made about Set Registries. They just didn’t get it. They didn’t understand why people would be fascinated with them. That’s what inspired me to write my truth about PSA Set Registries, why do I collect them? Because that’s what interests me. Is it all that I collect? No. I also like to collect autograph cards of Hall of Famers and even a bit in non-sports cards. One of the freedoms we have as collectors is we can collect whatever interest us. But vintage collectors criticizing modern-day collectors and Vice a Versa. I would never, ever, dare to question why someone would collect what they do. Despite the reasons, we should RESPECT what others collect, and that’s the truth!
Happy Collecting, Collectors
Learn. Collect. Enjoy.