The Trading Card Database’s Twitter account recently shared a countdown of the 60 Top non-sports sets of all time, as based on rankings by TCDB members.
It started out as a fun follow, and some of the choices at the lower rungs were pretty questionable, but I kept with it.
I started to get extremely concerned when set #11 was 1977 Topps Star Wars, a set I had pegged for the Top 3.
About the time spent following the rankings on Twitter, C-3PO says “I’m going to regret this!”.
I relaxed a little when 1955 Topps Rails And Sails came in at #5…
I’ve recently become enamored with this set, maybe the countdown won’t be so bad?
#4 was 1991 Impel Marvel Universe II, an overproduced set that frankly looks like… well, let’s just say it may not have been Marvel’s top notch artists working here. To be fair, it could just be an artist I don’t like, there are a few of those (*cough* McFarlane *cough*)
#3 was 1992 SkyBox Marvel Masterpieces, which at least looks like an effort was put forth.
#2 is the first series of Garbage Pail Kids. No surprises here. GPKs came after I was in college and are not my sense of humor, but there’s no denying their popularity.
And then the Tweet came, and #1 was…
1990 Impel Marvel Universe????
Not Wacky Packages. Not The Beatles or Elvis. Not Mars Attacks. Not even a different series of GPKs or Star Wars.
A low-end Marvel set from the early 1990s.
I immediately proclaimed it to be the
As it turned out, there was a reason behind the skewed rankings. The rankings came from the set ratings that TCDB users give to each set, but there’s also a minimum number of ratings involved… Mars Attacks, an infamous set that would inspire a Tim Burton movie, had a perfect 10.0 rating, BUT…
…At the time of the ranking, only 3 users had rated Mars Attacks, so it didn’t show up.
With my “outrage” lessened by understanding why the results were what they were, I thought it would be fun to run through some other sets I like which I think are worthy of of being in anybody’s list of top 60 non-sport sets.
…All while I think about going out to TCDB and ranking some of these sets so they don’t get neglected in any future countdowns.
1961 Topps Sports Cars
This set surprised me by ranking as high as #24, I’ve found that there aren’t a lot of people who are familiar with it.
1953-55 Topps World on Wheels
This set ranked #27 which seems reasonable, if a little low.
1991 Impel Star Trek 25th Anniversary
This set might be generously ranked at #36 but it is a pretty decent set.
1976 Topps “Autos of 1977”
This set didn’t get ranked, and it’s just as well… it’s not a great set, but I like it because it’s a 1970s set and it deals with cars. I would’ve collected this set in the day had I been aware of it.
1966 Topps Batman (Black Bat)
It’s unforgiveable that not one series of 1960s Batman sets made the rankings.
1970s Topps Wacky Packages
This might have been diluted by the fact that TCDB regards each of many series as it’s own set… which is a fair assessment from a collectible angle but for rating purposes I think everyone regards them as one set and I wouldn’t know which Wacky Pack goes with which series.
1964 Topps The Beatles
Again, there were several Beatles sets, the distinctions got lost over time and I think that works against The Fab Four.
1993 River Group Beatles Collection
I think this is a good set, but if the vintage Beatles cards don’t make it, then this shouldn’t either
1994 Cornerstone Monty Python’s Flying Circus
I love that they captured this entire “Spanish Inquisition” sequence on card backs towards the end of the set.
1993 Cardz The Flintstones
This just barely makes it on my list. There are cards for every main character and every episode, but it also focuses a little too much on series and specials that came after the original run. Those later works generally focus on Pebbles and Bam Bam (yergh).
2015 Upper Deck Dinosaurs
I only have a couple of cards from this set, but it’s a beauty and really should be on a Top 60 list like TCDB had. These were also pretty expensive cards when released, which doesn’t help.
OK, that about covers it, and if you disagree with my picks, well you can…
What are your favorite non-sport sets? Let everybody know in the comments.
…And don’t forget to rate some sets the next time you’re on TCDB!
All my favorites are pre-war.
This ranking was like if I ranked the greatest NBA games according to how many I’ve watched. You need to have material before you start ranking things publicly!
Star Wars is clearly No. 1. I’d probably put Garbage Pail Kids No. 2 although I can’t stand to even look at them. … Maybe I’ll rank them myself. Hmmm.
I don’t have much in the way of non-sport cards but I do love 1992 Lime Rock MAD Magazine, Series 1 & 2. I hope to complete that set one day.
Off the top of my head… 1977 Topps Star Wars would be #1 for me. Pretty sure they were the first packs I ever opened. And although I wouldn’t put 1990 Impel Marvel Universe at #1… I still think it’s a great set with a lot of nostalgia. I remember collectors going crazy over packs of that stuff in search of the holograms.
The other sets that stood out in this post are the 1961 Topps Sports Cars (love this set) and 60’s Topps Batman (insane that none of them made it on the list).
I must admit I had no idea Monty Python cards existed. The “Spanish Inquisition” sketch might be my favorite bit of theirs, so I’m glad you showed that one!
There was one series of cards about the original series; I wrote about it a few years ago.