Highest Population PSA Sports Card Sets of All-Time

mobile hero PSA 1080x1168 copy
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

For the past few years, people in the hobby have been debating whether or not we are in a second junk wax era. The sports card market has been booming for a few years now and there was no shortage of record multi-million dollar card sales in 2021. 

Despite the record sales, it’s in the back collector’s minds that card companies are producing an outsized supply in the midst of a sports card explosion, reminiscent of the 1987–1994 junk wax era

The junk wax era for sports cards refers to a time period when cards were massively overproduced. For example, the 1992 Collector’s Edge football set printed 25 million cards.

Demand couldn’t keep up with the supply, and once people found out just how many cards were printed, card companies almost went bankrupt and ruined the hobby. 

With the help of our friends at GemRate, who provide awesome grading data for sports card sets and cards, we’re going to break down the highest grade card sets by PSA, their gem rate (likelihood of getting a PSA 10 grade), the highest-graded card in the set, and the gem rate of that card. 

Let’s dive in! 

1. 2019 Panini Prizm Basketball — 509,769 Graded Cards and 51.4% Gem Rate


Luka Doncic and Trae Young helped fuel plenty of hobby hype, but Zion Williamson was one of the most hyped rookies to enter the NBA a year later after just 1 season at Duke. Unfortunately, Zion, and his rookie cards, have fallen into the bust category after injuries and the hype dying down. 

It was feared that this product would be overproduced, and it turns out it has 50% more supply than the second-highest graded set on this list. 

If you submit any 2019 Panini Prizm basketball card to PSA, you have a 51.4% chance of receiving a PSA 10 grade. 

The top graded card in the set is Zion Williamson’s #248 Base, with 37,873 total copies graded and 20,281 PSA 10s (a 53.6% gem rate). That supply would put Zion’s base rookie card 6th on the most graded sports card list and on a trajectory to take the 5th-place spot from Barry Bonds 1986 Topps Traded #11T PSA 9 card. 

It’s likely that this set will continue to grow in graded population as PSA catches up on its backlog of orders. 

2. 1961 Topps Baseball — 341,448 Graded Cards and 0.3% Gem Rate


The second set comes as a bit of surprise because (like most other sets on this list) it is not from the junk wax era. While some individual junk wax era cards are the most graded of all time, the general market does not submit those cards for grading at the same rates as other products. 

The 1961 Topps Baseball set has a gem rate of just 0.3%, making PSA 10s rare despite the large population (just 1,024 total PSA 10s). 

The most popular and highest graded card in the set is the #300 Mickey Mantle, which received just 2 gems out of 8,321 cards submitted. According to Cardladder, the last sale of the PSA 9 1961 Topps Mickey Mantle was for $41,490. Mantle cards fetch significant value on the market, and this particular copy is able to hold value because the gem rate is so low despite a large population.

3. 1959 Topps Baseball — 339,251 Graded Cards and 0.2% Gem Rate


The 1959 Topps Baseball set has 339,251 total graded cards with a 0.2% gem rate, meaning just 678 copies exist in a PSA 10 grade. The highest graded card in the set is a Mickey Mantle and only 1 copy has received a PSA 10 out of 8,325 graded copies. 

According to Cardladder, the PSA 9 (pop 25) copy of this Mantle card last sold for $98,560 again proving that a card that is rare due to its condition can hold significant value in the marketplace. In the 50s and 60s, Topps released a lot of baseball cards, but PSA wasn’t created until 1991 so cards sat for decades at the mercy of deteriorating conditions. 

It’s fascinating to think how many more PSA 9 and PSA 10s would be in the market today if a grading service existed back then, and how it would impact the eye-popping values of these cards today. 

4. 1956 Topps Baseball — 330,586 Graded Cards and 0.1% Gem Rate


More Topps. More Mantle. The 1956 Topps Baseball set has 330,586 graded cards with a gem rate of 0.1%. That means just about 330 copies of any card in the set exist as a PSA 10. 

Mickey Mantle’s card from the set was graded 7,958 times and just 4 received a PSA 10 grade. According to Cardladder, the Mickey Mantle #135 Gray Back in a PSA 9 (pop 38) last sold for $137,760. 

The lack of a grading company (and lack of quality assurance by Topps), and the legacy of Mantle formed a perfect storm where just about every high-grade Mantle card is worth significant sums of money. 

5. 1968 Topps Baseball — 316,896 Graded Cards and 2.6% Gem Rate


The 1968 Topps Baseball set has 316,896 graded cards and a 2.6% gem rate. Even with a gem rate under 3%, that leaves 8,239 copies in a PSA 10 grade. The highest graded card in the set is the #177 Mets Rookies featuring Jerry Koosman and Nolan Ryan, with just 4 gems out of 7,958 graded copies. 

According to Cardladder, a PSA 10 copy of the card sold for $600,000 in August of 2020. 

6. 1971 Topps Baseball — 313,272 Graded Cards and 0.1% Gem Rate


The 1971 Topps Baseball set has 313,272 total cards graded and a gem rate of 0.1%. That leaves just 313 total PSA 10s available in the market. The highest graded card in the set is the #513 Nolan Ryan with zero copies receiving a PSA 10 grade out of 5,054 submitted copies. 

A PSA 9 copy of this card last sold in August for $17,834 with a pop of just 31 in that grade. 

7. 1957 Topps Baseball — 308,933 Graded Cards and 0.1% Gem Rate


The 1957 Topps Baseball set has 308,933 total cards graded and a gem rate of 0.1%. That leaves just 308 total PSA 10s available in the market. The highest graded card in the set is the #95 Mickey Mantle, and only 1 PSA 10 exists out of 6,874 submitted copies of the card. 

8. 1960 Topps Baseball — 307,910 Graded Cards and 0.1% Gem Rate


The 1960 Topps Baseball set has 307,910 graded cards and a 0.1% gem rate, leaving just 307 PSA 10s out of the entire set. The highest graded card in the set is the #148 Carl Yastrzemski Rookie Star and just 1 copy out of 8,788 has been graded a PSA 10. 

According to Cardladder, a PSA 9 copy of the card (pop 42) last sold for $19,200. 

9. 1975 Topps Baseball — 306,982 Graded Cards and 1.4% Gem Rate


The 1975 Topps Baseball set has 306,982 total graded cards at a 1.4% gem rate and 4,297 PSA 10 copies from the entire set. The most graded card is the 1975 George Brett #228 with just 10 PSA 10 copies out of 12,121 graded cards. 

According to Cardladder, a PSA 10 copy last sold for $162,000 in May of 2021.

10. 1986 Fleer Basketball — 303,845 Graded Cards and 6.0% Gem Rate


One of the most recognizable sets on this list features rookie cards of multiple NBA super stars from the 1980s. Fleer launched basketball cards back in 1961, but it wasn’t until 25 years later that it issued another set. Notable rookies in the set include Charles Barkely, Karl Malone, Clyde Drexler, Dominique Wilkins, Isiah Thomas, Hakeem Olajuwon, Joe Dumars, Chris Mullin, and of course, Michael Jordan. 

303,845 cards from the set have been graded at a 6% gem rate. There are 18,230 PSA 10s, the second-highest on this list apart from the 2019 Prizm basketball set. 

The most graded card in the set is the iconic #57 Michael Jordan with 320 gems out of 22,924 cards submitted for grading. This represents a 1.4% gem rate. 

According to Cardladder, a PSA 10 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan last sold on December 18th for $336,000. 

Did you like this article?
Thumbs Up
Thumbs Down