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 the build from start to finish. 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.

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.


April 2020

Started: April 20, 2021

Cards Acquired

47 / 340

Cards Cost

USD $1,471.02

(ave. $31.30 / card)

Cards Graded


Grading Costs


Running Total


Returned Graded Cards

1956 Topps Camilo Pascual Gray Back

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

error: Protected