Building a complete high grade Basic Set of 1956 Topps baseball cards

From scratch, as cheaply as possible, for as long as it takes to do so and documenting it from start to finish

The goal of the project is to create the most difficult combination of a 1956 PSA Basic or if funds allow, PSA Master Set, and track, organize and document the build from start to finish, to see how long it takes and the cost to build a set of PSA 7’s (or 8’s as per budget). The intended novelty of the set is mid-high PSA-graded uniformity, centered, with rare back variations. The minimum criteria for the card must be PSA 9 surface and positioning, and letting the corners dictate the balance of the grade. If a Mantle comes up with perfect surface and centering, the corners become less consequential. When the project started, the heavier hitters like Mantle, Aaron, Mays, etc, were possible, but in the last year there has been another explosion in card values and reaching the goal feels a little more daunting (expensive).

A number of cards that meet the criteria were pulled from a rack pack, including the Ed Mathews WB with an anticipated grade of 7, and so it will be included in the set to avoid the cost of replacement. Additional packs might yield cards in a similar condition and if so, no attempts will be made to replace them either. A number of cards in the pack had the wrong back, including a Yogi Berra, and these cards will be sold to offset the costs of acquiring the correct cards and these transactions will also be documented. Given the size of the collection and the strict parameters, and thus, cost, the target completion date is 2025. The current value of a complete set of PSA 8’s (priced individually) is around $100,000.

The cards started coming in at a trickle, one or two cards a month, then a rush here and there. The temptation to relax the parameters to complete the set faster is extremely high, and in a few instance I did. It takes a lot of self control to let a clearly incredible card pass which displays a slightly larger off-set than I’m looking for, but I’m relying on the fact that there will always be another around the corner sometime, and not to purchase on emotion.

Centered The Hard Way

“The Hard Way” refers to the low population variations in the cards; 1 to 100 must be gray-back and cards 101 to 180 must be white-back. For some cards, with such scarcity, there is little choice when it comes to card condition and for these cards the rules will be relaxed a little but with the intention of replacing them as opportunities present themselves. There have been rare versions in brutal condition sell raw for sub-$1k gavel-pricing, so being too picky can result in a set that will never be completed.

Start Date

April 2020

Cards Acquired

35 / 340

Cards Cost

USD $1,001.55

(ave. $28.61 / card)

Cards Graded

1

Grading Costs

$50

Running Total

$1,051.55

Returned Graded Cards

1956 Topps Camilo Pascual Gray Back

PSA 8.5
Population 1 of 1
Only 1 higher
Cert#: 49404188

List of raw cards out for grading

Card Player Cost Looks-Like Grade Actual Grade Certificate Poss. Value Notes
1 William Harridge (gb)
2 Warren Giles (gb)
3 Elmer Valo (gb)
4 Carlos Paula (gb)
5 Ted Williams (gb)
6 Ray Boone (gb)
7 Ron Negray (gb)
8 Walter Alston (gb)
9 Ruben Gomez (gb)
10 Warren Spahn (gb)
11 Cubs Team (name left gb)
12 Andy Carey (gb) 32.41 8.0
13 Roy Face (gb)
14 Ken Boyer (gb)
15 Ernie Banks (gb)
16 Hector Lopez (gb)
17 Gene Conley (gb)
18 Dick Donovan (gb)
19 Chuck Diering (gb)
20 Al Kaline (gb)
21 Joe Collins (gb)
22 Jim Finigan (gb)
23 Freddie Marsh (gb)
24 Dick Groat (gb) 40.61 8.0
25 Ted Kluszewski (gb)
26 Grady Hatton (gb)
27 Nelson Burbrink (gb)
28 Bobby Hofman (gb)
29 Jack Harshman (gb)
30 Jackie Robinson (gb)
31 Hank Aaron (gb)
32 Frank House (gb)
33 Roberto Clemente (gb)
34 Tom Brewer (gb) 18.55 8.0
35 Al Rosen (gb)
36 Rudy Minarcin (gb)
37 Alex Grammas (gb)
38 Bob Kennedy (gb)
39 Don Mossi (gb)
40 Bob Turley (gb)
41 Hank Sauer (gb)
42 Sandy Amoros (gb)
43 Ray Moore (gb) 12.15 8.0
44 Windy McCall (gb)
45 Gus Zernial (gb)
46 Gene Freese (gb) 15.00 8.0
47 Art Fowler (gb)
48 Jim Hegan (gb)
49 Pedro Ramos (gb)
50 Dusty Rhodes (gb)
51 Ernie Oravetz (gb) 22.44 8.0
52 Bob Grim (gb)
53 Arnold Portocarrero (gb)
54 Bob Keegan (gb)
55 Wally Moon (gb)
56 Dale Long (gb)
57 Duke Maas (gb)
58 Ed Roebuck (gb)
59 Jose Santiago (gb) 23.50 7.0 rack pack
60 Mayo Smith (gb)
61 Bill Skowron (gb)
62 Hal Smith (gb)
63 Roger Craig (gb)
64 Luis Arroyo (gb)
65 Johnny O'Brien (gb)
66 Bob Speake (gb)
67 Vic Power (gb)
68 Chuck Stobbs (gb)
69 Chuck Tanner (gb)
70 Jim Rivera (gb)
71 Frank Sullivan (gb)
72 Phillies Team (name left gb)
73 Wayne Terwilliger (gb) 20.09 8.0
74 Jim King (gb)
75 Roy Sievers (gb)
76 Ray Crone (gb) 16.23 8.0
77 Harvey Haddix (gb)
78 Herman Wehmeier (gb)
79 Sandy Koufax (gb)
80 Gus Triandos (gb)
81 Wally Westlake (gb)
82 Bill Renna (gb)
83 Karl Spooner (gb)
84 Babe Birrer (gb) 23.50 7.0 rack pack
85 Indians Team (name left gb)
86 Ray Jablonski (gb)
87 Dean Stone (gb)
88 Johnny Kucks (gb)
89 Norm Zauchin (gb)
90 Redlegs Team (name left gb)
91 Gail Harris (gb)
92 Red Wilson (gb)
93 George Susce Jr. (gb) 57.05 8.0
94 Ronnie Kline (gb)
95 Braves Team (name left gb)
96 Bill Tremel (gb) 17.20 8.0
97 Jerry Lynch (gb)
98 Camilo Pascual (gb) 80.00 9.0 8.5 49404188 300.00
99 Don Zimmer (gb)
100 Orioles Team (name left gb)
101 Roy Campanella (wb)
102 Jim Davis (wb)
103 Willie Miranda (wb) 47.96 7.0
104 Bob Lennon (wb)
105 Al Smith (wb)
106 Joe Astroth (wb)
107 Ed Mathews (wb) 23.50 7.0 rack pack
108 Laurin Pepper (wb) 67.56 7.0
109 Enos Slaughter (wb)
110 Yogi Berra (wb)
111 Red Sox Team (wb)
112 Dee Fondy (wb)
113 Phil Rizzuto (wb)
114 Jim Owens (wb)
115 Jackie Jensen (wb)
116 Eddie O'Brien (wb) 47.52 7.0 2 cards submitted (1 Economy, 1 Quarterly Special)
117 Virgil Trucks (wb)
118 Nellie Fox (wb)
119 Larry Jackson (wb)
120 Richie Ashburn (wb) 107.68 7.0
121 Pirates Team (wb)
122 Willard Nixon (wb)
123 Roy McMillan (wb) 12.34 6.0
124 Don Kaiser (wb)
125 Minnie Minoso (wb)
126 Jim Brady (wb)
127 Willie Jones (wb)
128 Eddie Yost (wb)
129 Jake Martin (wb)
130 Willie Mays (wb)
131 Bob Roselli (wb)
132 Bobby Avila (wb)
133 Ray Narleski (wb) 8.41 6.0
134 Cardinals Team (wb)
135 Mickey Mantle (wb)
136 Johnny Logan (wb)
137 Al Silvera (wb)
138 Johnny Antonelli (wb)
139 Tommy Carroll (wb) 61.08 7.0
140 Herb Score (wb)
141 Joe Frazier (wb)
142 Gene Baker (wb)
143 Jim Piersall (wb)
144 Leroy Powell (wb)
145 Gil Hodges (wb)
146 Nationals Team (wb)
147 Earl Torgeson (wb)
148 Alvin Dark (wb)
149 Dixie Howell (wb)
150 Duke Snider (wb)
151 Spook Jacobs (wb)
152 Billy Hoeft (wb) 11.02 6.0
153 Frank Thomas (wb)
154 Dave Pope (wb)
155 Harvey Kuenn (wb)
156 Wes Westrum (wb)
157 Dick Brodowski (wb)
158 Wally Post (wb)
159 Clint Courtney (wb)
160 Billy Pierce (wb)
161 Joe DeMaestri (wb)
162 Gus Bell (wb)
163 Gene Woodling (wb)
164 Harmon Killebrew (wb)
165 Red Schoendienst (wb)
166 Dodgers Team (wb)
167 Harry Dorish (wb)
168 Sammy White (wb)
169 Bob Nelson (wb)
170 Bill Virdon (wb)
171 Jim Wilson (wb)
172 Frank Torre (wb) 55.74 7.0
173 Johnny Podres (wb)
174 Glen Gorbous (wb)
175 Del Crandall (wb)
176 Alex Kellner (wb)
177 Hank Bauer (wb)
178 Joe Black (wb) 63.52 8.0 2 cards submitted (both Quarterly Special)
179 Harry Chiti (wb)
180 Robin Roberts (wb)
181 Billy Martin
182 Paul Minner
183 Stan Lopata
184 Don Bessent
185 Bill Bruton
186 Ron Jackson
187 Early Wynn 49.26 7.0
188 White Sox Team
189 Ned Garver
190 Carl Furillo
191 Frank Lary
192 Smoky Burgess
193 Wilmer Mizell
194 Monte Irvin
195 George Kell
196 Tom Poholsky
197 Granny Hamner
198 Ed Fitzgerald
199 Hank Thompson
200 Bob Feller
201 Rip Repulski 21.65 8.0
202 Jim Hearn
203 Bill Tuttle
204 Art Swanson
205 Whitey Lockman
206 Erv Palica
207 Jim Small
208 Elston Howard
209 Max Surkont
210 Mike Garcia
211 Murry Dickson
212 Johnny Temple
213 Tigers Team
214 Bob Rush
215 Tommy Byrne
216 Jerry Schoonmaker
217 Billy Klaus
218 Joe Nuxall
219 Lew Burdette
220 Del Ennis
221 Bob Friend
222 Dave Philley
223 Randy Jackson
224 Bud Podbielan
225 Gil McDougald
226 Giants Team 115.37 8.0
227 Russ Meyer
228 Mickey Vernon
229 Harry Brecheen
230 Chico Carrasquel
231 Bob Hale
232 Toby Atwell
233 Carl Erskine
234 Pete Runnels
235 Don Newcombe
236 Athletics Team
237 Jose Valdivielso
238 Walt Dropo
239 Harry Simpson
240 Whitey Ford
241 Don Mueller
242 Hershell Freeman
243 Sherm Lollar
244 Bob Buhl
245 Billy Goodman
246 Tom Gorman
247 Bill Sarni
248 Bob Porterfield
249 Johnny Klippstein
250 Larry Doby
251 Yankees Team
252 Vernon Law
253 Irv Noren
254 George Crowe
255 Bob Lemon
256 Tom Hurd
257 Bobby Thomson
258 Art Ditmar
259 Sam Jones
260 Pee Wee Reese
261 Bobby Shantz
262 Howie Pollet
263 Bob Miller
264 Ray Monzant
265 Sandy Consuegra
266 Don Ferrarese
267 Bob Nieman
268 Dale Mitchell
269 Jack Meyer
270 Billy Loes
271 Foster Castleman 23.50 8.0 rack pack
272 Danny O'Connell
273 Walker Cooper
274 Frank Baumholtz
275 Jim Greengrass
276 George Zuverink
277 Daryl Spencer
278 Chet Nichols
279 Johnny Groth
280 Jim Gilliam
281 Art Houtteman
282 Warren Hacker
283 Hal Smith 16.28 8.0
284 Ike Delock
285 Eddie Miksis
286 Bill Wight
287 Bobby Adams
288 Bob Cerv
289 Hal Jeffcoat
290 Curt Simmons
291 Frank Kellert
292 Luis Aparicio
293 Stu Miller
294 Ernie Johnson
295 Clem Labine
296 Andy Seminick
297 Bob Skinner
298 Johnny Schmitz
299 Charley Neal
300 Vic Wertz 25.13 8.0
301 Marv Grissom
302 Eddie Robinson
303 Jim Dyck
304 Frank Malzone
305 Brooks Lawrence
306 Curt Roberts
307 Hoyt Wilhelm
308 Chuck Harmon
309 Don Blasingame
310 Steve Gromek
311 Hal Naragon
312 Andy Pafko 23.50 8.0 rack pack
313 Gene Stephens
314 Hobie Landrith 63.52 9.0
315 Milt Bolling 20.09 8.0
316 Jerry Coleman
317 Al Aber
318 Fred Hatfield
319 Jack Crimian
320 Joe Adcock
321 Jim Konstanty
322 Karl Olson
323 Willard Schmidt
324 Rocky Bridges
325 Don Liddle
326 Connie Johnson
327 Bob Wiesler
328 Preston Ward
329 Lou Berberet
330 Jim Busby
331 Dick Hall 13.03 8.0
332 Don Larsen
333 Rube Walker
334 Bob Miller
335 Don Hoak 10.63 8.0
336 Ellis Kinder 35.00 8.0
337 Bobby Morgan
338 Jim Delsing
339 Rance Pless
340 Mickey McDermott
Total Spent 1,302.02 300.00
USD 1,001.55 230.77
error: Protected