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1989 Topps Hockey: PSA Set from Scratch UPDATE: Going through the raws again

I really miss ripping wax, but it's so difficult to do because of the crazy prices.



Loved building raw sets, but what's the point now when you have your choice of upwards of a hundred at your choosing with just a 'Buy It Now' click away (not to mention, again, that wax is expensive)!



So, I'd been thinking about building another PSA Registry Set, and I've tried some in the past...only real success I had was with my Mike Bossy Player Sets. Tried '81 Stickers. The stickers were hard to find and the Bossy cards became more about searching eBay for already graded cards and ungraded singles. I'd rather open packs like the ol' days than refresh my eBay screen for new graded inventory.



I think the best set to build is 1989 Topps Hockey. Full of stars I grew up watching: Sakic, Yzerman, Messier, Gretzky, et cetera.



The product is readily available, so it's rather easy to piece a PSA set together quickly...but here's where, I think, this is going to be fun (and yes, I want FUN out of this, NOT investment!)



Rules for the set:



Goal: All PSA 10 (think it's achievable).



I can absolutely NOT purchase any graded cards. Doesn't matter is it's a POP 1 PSA 10. Can't buy it.



And EVERYTHING must be ripped from a pack.



I'll piece together sets with the leftovers, sell them cheap on eBay and buy more wax with the money.



10 boxes on the way! I'm going to piece this together raw in cardsavers then submit all at once once I believe each card has a decent shot at a PSA 10. For the ones that come back lower, I'll have to rip more until I find the Gem! I'll update regularly with scans and look forward to hearing your opinions on whether or not they have shots at 10s.









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Comments

  • This is FANTASTIC!!!!!

    Also the only year that Topps "beat" OPC when the two were released in the same year.

    Big Fan of: HOF Post War RC, Graded RCs
    WTB: PSA 1 - PSA 3 Centered, High Eye Appeal 1950's Mantle
  • slum22slum22 Posts: 2,593 ✭✭✭✭
    This sounds like fun. Share your rips along the way. Good luck and keep us posted. I remember opening those boxes as a kid. Lots of nice HOFers and a couple good RCs in there.
    Steve
  • StingrayStingray Posts: 8,843 ✭✭✭
    I think a nice raw set in binder pages would be better money spent, IMO!!
  • SumoMenkoManSumoMenkoMan Posts: 1,269 ✭✭✭
    Very cool! I love the late 80s stuff even though it was overproduced! Good luck and I am looking forward to watching the progress!
  • DboneesqDboneesq Posts: 18,220 ✭✭
    Sounds like a lot of fun. Best of luck!
    STAY HEALTHY!

    Doug

    Liquidating my collection for the 3rd and final time. Time for others to enjoy what I have enjoyed over the last several decades. Money could be put to better use.
  • flcardtraderflcardtrader Posts: 788 ✭✭✭
    Love this idea - good luck!
    flcardtrader@yahoo.com
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  • FrozencaribouFrozencaribou Posts: 1,087 ✭✭✭✭✭
    That sounds like a crazy project but could be fun as well.

    I've ripped 6 or 7 boxes in the past few years and have focused on getting the best possible raw set. I am happy with my raw set but there would only be 15-20 that would grade 10's. The centering isn't great and the coalition is weird. I haven't ever seen an uncut sheet from 1989-90 Topps hockey but I would guess that Trevor Linden, Mark Messier, Patrick Roy, Cam Neely, Kirk McLean, Pat LaFontaine, and Brian Leetch are all triple printed. You will literally have big stacks of those cards in relation to one per box of Joe Sakic and Wayne Gretzky. 1985-86 Topps hockey was similar with Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky. A 198 card set leaves half a printing sheet to fill and it would have made sense for Topps to print more of the stars.

    It is about a million times cheaper than your last project, so that is good. Also, there aren't many 10's around and some of them do go for big money (Sakic and Gretzky).

    Good luck and I would be interested in buying your "seconds" set.

    Thanks,

    Nathanael

  • Great idea, good luck!
  • miwlvrnmiwlvrn Posts: 4,226 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Good luck getting a raw Sakic to grade a 10. I've pulled about 30 or so and I doubt if more than 1 of them could grade higher than an 8 straight from the pack, often it is lower.


  • olb31olb31 Posts: 2,926 ✭✭✭✭✭
    You will wasting a lot of money. Most 10's don't even ell for $10. I have a Roy sticker psa 10 on ebay for $11. very low pop and can't sell it for $10.
    Work hard and you will succeed!!
  • PMKAYPMKAY Posts: 1,372 ✭✭
    Should we set an over under on how many boxes would need to be opened to achieve this goal?
  • Agreed that it's definitely *not* a money-maker. That doesn't make it not fun, though!
  • DboneesqDboneesq Posts: 18,220 ✭✭


    << <i>Agreed that it's definitely *not* a money-maker. That doesn't make it not fun, though! >>


    +1
    STAY HEALTHY!

    Doug

    Liquidating my collection for the 3rd and final time. Time for others to enjoy what I have enjoyed over the last several decades. Money could be put to better use.
  • LarkinCollectorLarkinCollector Posts: 8,975 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>Should we set an over under on how many boxes would need to be opened to achieve this goal? >>


    O/U: 37
  • FrozencaribouFrozencaribou Posts: 1,087 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I would say between 40-50 boxes to get all tens. I'm thinking of it in terms of the percentage of Sakic's that would be gem mint out of packs. One in 50 boxes is being generous with the odds. The Sakic is so tough and PSA looks harder at that card than any other card in the set. 5 10's out of 792 submissions... or .006%.

    50 boxes at $30 a box delivered is $1500. A Sakic PSA 10 is about $800-1000. A Gretzky is $2-300.

    There is the possibility of breaking even on this if you factor in box bottoms. Gem mint box bottoms could help you out a great deal.

    Good luck!


  • PMKAYPMKAY Posts: 1,372 ✭✭


    << <i>

    << <i>Should we set an over under on how many boxes would need to be opened to achieve this goal? >>


    O/U: 37 >>



    I say over under should be 72.5 and the Sakic like Frozen said is the toughie. You get that in a 10 in your 3rd box and you should cruised to an easy under finish but that card is so tough you could go over 100 boxes.
  • miwlvrnmiwlvrn Posts: 4,226 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There are 2 1989 Topps Gem Mint 10 Sakic cards listed on ebay right now by 2 different sellers, $975.20 & $1,150.00

  • grote15grote15 Posts: 29,520 ✭✭✭✭✭
    This project is a lot of fun to pursue.

    I decided to do this back in 2007 with the 1975 Topps baseball mini set in PSA 8 or better. Packs back then retailed for around $25-$30 each and a full box was about 1K.

    I put together 2/3 of the set solely from self-submitted cards, but in the case of 75 minis, I quickly learned that the tougher cards were very difficult to pull in anything but NM 7 or 9 (OC) grade.

    Not familiar with the 89 Topps hockey set, and whether certain cards are super tough or not.

    Ultimately, I broke down and beagn buying graded cards (primarily PSA 9 with some tougher 8s) for my 75 mini set, sticking with PSA 8 or better, as the pack prices climbed to the point where ripping became a very costly pursuit.

    I still submit as many cards as I can each year from pack rips, and am at 90% completion for the set, with at least 2/3 of those consisting of cards I pulled from packs and submitted to PSA.

    If you have lots of patience, it's a very rewarding pursuit.


    Collecting 1970s Topps baseball wax, rack and cello packs, as well as PCGS graded Half Cents, Large Cents, Two Cent pieces and Three Cent Silver pieces.
  • mrpeanut39mrpeanut39 Posts: 841 ✭✭✭
    I'm doing something similar with the 83 Topps Baseball set. It is a lot of fun.

    I'm not sure how active the registry is for this set, but if you have the opportunity, I wouldn't discount trading with other registry members. You can trade doubles of your self submitted 10s so in my mind this counts as building your set through your own submissions.

    Good luck and keep us updated.
    "I think the guy must be practicing voodoo or something. Check out his eyes. Rico's crazier than a peach orchard sow." -- Whitey Herzog, Spring Training 1973
  • MULLINS5MULLINS5 Posts: 4,517 ✭✭✭
    Thanks everyone for the input.

    The plan is to have fun putting together a PSA Gem set solely by ripping packs. Even though it's not an investment, the pieced together sets will be sold off cheap, as well as the box bottoms to help recoup money to recycle back into the project. Complete sets run about $10-$15 and box bottoms under $5. Any decent nm-mt Sakic I'll send for grading to re-sell. Not a lot, but every little bit helps.

    I was even thinking of selling the wax wrappers for a few pennies (or is this considered a 'no-no'?)

    Nathaniel, thanks for your expertise. You're one of the most knowledgeable hockey collectors I know. If you need any of the extras to upgrade your set, consider them yours.

  • StingrayStingray Posts: 8,843 ✭✭✭


    << <i>I was even thinking of selling the wax wrappers for a few pennies (or is this considered a 'no-no'?) >>




    I hope no one would really waste their time re-wrapping 89 Topps Hockey!!
  • miwlvrnmiwlvrn Posts: 4,226 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>Any decent nm-mt Sakic I'll send for grading to re-sell. Not a lot, but every little bit helps. >>



    Be careful and take your time closely examining those Sakics before you send them in, because you'll be taking a loss on your sales of a NM-MT 8 once you consider fees for grading, ebay, paypal, and shipping/insurance to and from PSA. Gotta be 8.5 or higher to be worth sending in. Otherwise, selling raw for a gross price of dollar or two nets more profit than selling a graded 8 for gross of $5 to $9.



  • alifaxwa2alifaxwa2 Posts: 3,097 ✭✭✭


    << <i>The Sakic is so tough and PSA looks harder at that card than any other card in the set. 5 10's out of 792 submissions... or .006%.
    >>



    5 / 792 * 100%=0.66%
    Looking to have some custom cuts or plain custom cards built? PM me.

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  • FrozencaribouFrozencaribou Posts: 1,087 ✭✭✭✭✭
    5 / 792 * 100%=0.66%


    Haha. My math skills need some improvement...

    Still one tough card.
  • fiveninerfiveniner Posts: 4,109 ✭✭✭


    << <i>Agreed that it's definitely *not* a money-maker. That doesn't make it not fun, though! >>




    I agree the hobby is supposed to be fun not break the bank.
    Tony(AN ANGEL WATCHES OVER ME)
  • MULLINS5MULLINS5 Posts: 4,517 ✭✭✭
    Package waiting for me when I got home this evening. First 10 boxes! Also ordered a case of 24 boxes of 1983 Jaws 3-D cards that should arrive in about a week.

    Going to be a late night ripping! Can't wait...I haven't ripped one of these in 20 years!!!

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  • RedHeart54RedHeart54 Posts: 2,270 ✭✭✭
    Can smell that gum from here! You should find an old game on YouTube to watch while you rip.
  • MULLINS5MULLINS5 Posts: 4,517 ✭✭✭


    << <i>Can smell that gum from here! You should find an old game on YouTube to watch while you rip. >>



    GREAT idea!
  • MULLINS5MULLINS5 Posts: 4,517 ✭✭✭
    First four packs are horrribly miscut....is this perhaps an indicator that the remaining packs will be the same?

  • grote15grote15 Posts: 29,520 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>First four packs are horrribly miscut....is this perhaps an indicator that the remaining packs will be the same? >>



    Unfortunately, yes. Centering is typically consistent throughout the packs in an original and intact box.


    Collecting 1970s Topps baseball wax, rack and cello packs, as well as PCGS graded Half Cents, Large Cents, Two Cent pieces and Three Cent Silver pieces.
  • Insane project and obviously not financially prudent in terms of market value.

    That said, the sheer enjoyment and nostalgia of ripping wax and putting together your own set from cards you enjoy is priceless.

    People have spent money on much worse with much lesser return.

    While not pursuing PSA graded sets, I much prefer busting boxes and putting together my own sets rather than buying them already completed off of eBay for way less money.

    With some sets at least, it more about the value of the experience than the value of the cards.

    Good luck, Patrick, I look forward to seeing this thread, and your perfect set, evolve.

    image

    Snorto~
  • MULLINS5MULLINS5 Posts: 4,517 ✭✭✭
    Thank you everyone for the kind words.

    I was right that this will be a fun project. Definitely a rush going through the packs, looking for that Sakic rookie amongst other minty cards.

    The first box was OK. about 60% are terribly miscut. There should be a handful of 10s from the box though.

    The second box was amazing! Very small stack of definite no-gos.

    Pulled 3 Sakics. Don't think any will get a 10 though. I'll scan the stars and post tomorrow.
  • MULLINS5MULLINS5 Posts: 4,517 ✭✭✭
    Opened 3 boxes so far and pulled 4 Sakic rookies. If PSA wasn't so strict on this card I'd be confident at least one could get a 10. I'm thinking 8.5 to 9 on these...opinions?


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  • jordangretzkyfanjordangretzkyfan Posts: 2,374 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Top right looks like your best shot at a 9+. The others have a fisheye on the left pink frame. Thanks for sharing photos of this fun rip!
  • Could you post larger scans? Hard to accurately grade with small images.
  • This is such a cool idea! this should be fun to watch as you go through the process.
    How many cards are there in the set?
  • FrozencaribouFrozencaribou Posts: 1,087 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Great centering on the Sakic's. Well done. Make sure you look at all four corners and the edges under a loupe before submitting. No use wasting money on grading when the margins are so low on any return on investment. A lot of 89 Topps look like 10's until you put the corners under magnification. The card stock and colour combinations hide the minute defects but accentuate them under close inspection, if that makes any sense.

    -Nathanael.
  • FrozencaribouFrozencaribou Posts: 1,087 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Of course, with your history with 1979-80 Topps hockey, you know the nuances of PSA grading on blue bordered topps cards better than any of us.

    -Nathanael
  • I always wanted to own a Sakic RC.
  • MULLINS5MULLINS5 Posts: 4,517 ✭✭✭
    Thank you everyone and sorry about the scans, I had no idea they were that small.

    I'll upload pics tomorrow afternoon and try to get some black paper to use behind the card to show the corners a little better.

    The Sakic on the top right is near perfect. But near perfect will not do on this card.

    Nathanael, I love love love blue borders! Makes it that much more challenging image but man, they're brutal. If there are any cards you need or want let me know.

    DanBessette, if you'd like a Sakic I'll send you one once I have this first round of 10 boxes ripped. Just let me know and it's yours.

    I've opened about six boxes and built only one set (I could build more but many are in a pile for me to look over extra carefully before tossing aside).

    And, I've started building a sub-set to this 1989 Topps set. So far I have 122/198 gum-stained cards image

  • MULLINS5MULLINS5 Posts: 4,517 ✭✭✭
    Here's some scans of the Gretzky and Sakic cards. The lone Sakic is because I couldn't get more than 5 per scan on the bed. 2 Gretzky cards have gum stains, so they're no-good. I still have about 4.5 boxes to open, but I'm going to go ahead and buy another lot of 10.

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  • Stone193Stone193 Posts: 24,351 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Some really nice cards.

    I had a cut card case and got a bunch of Sakics - only I didn't have well centered cards.

    Here's the card that I subbed - only 1 sent with membership.

    image
    Mike
  • I don't think any of the Sakics are 10s. The top left and bottom right Gretzky look like candidates.

    Scanning pro-tip: if you scan in a dark-ish room with the lid open, you'll get a black background without needing to put paper on top.
  • MULLINS5MULLINS5 Posts: 4,517 ✭✭✭
    Thanks for the scanning tip!

    Question for everyone: would the indention in this picture be enough to knock a card out of a 10?

    image
  • BasiloneBasilone Posts: 2,492 ✭✭
    Yes..if the card is accurately graded.
  • I have found PSA to be quite strict on surface issues. Most cards with something big like that have gotten 6s.


  • << <i>Scanning pro-tip: if you scan in a dark-ish room with the lid open, you'll get a black background without needing to put paper on top. >>



    That never works for me.
  • MULLINS5MULLINS5 Posts: 4,517 ✭✭✭
    So, here's an update for anybody who cares image

    All 360 packs are ripped and am pretty confident that I have an entire set that's, at least, PSA 9.

    The first box was terribly miscut, but a few others definitely made up for that as most of the cards are well centered and with strong corners and edges.

    I've begun going through each card and sifting out the weak ones. What I have in cardsavers are strong 9-10s. What's on the shelf pictured I haven't compared yet to the cards in the cardsavers, but they too are strong cards as I've already removed any with wear.

    I've decided to sub two sets to PSA, sending the strongest two cards of each player. Only exception being the stars (Gretzky, Lemieux, Sakic, etc) which I'll send more of.

    The only thing I haven't made my mind up on is whether or not I should send all cards in on one sub or break it up into 3 to 4 different subs, in case I get the 'grader of death'

    For my PSA/DNA set I've picked up 3 inexpensive cards: Sakic, Zezel and McLean. The PSA/DNA set is only a subset that I'm putting together in my spare time. My main focus is the original goal of putting together an entire Topps '89-90 PSA 10 set completely from scratch.

    I also ordered 10 more boxes from BBCE that should arrive this week.

    This has been so much fun to build. I absolutely love being able to rip these boxes and piece together a 'perfect' set of 198 cards from thousands. I only wish I could afford to do the same with other hockey issues from the 80s.

    Thank you everyone who has been following this and offering their expertise.

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  • SOMSOM Posts: 1,555 ✭✭✭
    That's the largest pile of Hemingway I've seen since our Barnes & Noble closed its doors!
  • Arsenal83Arsenal83 Posts: 1,176 ✭✭✭
    PM sent
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