1910 D322 "Tip Top Bread" Pittsburgh Pirates Complete Set (25) - #1 on the PSA Set Registry! This lot is proof that you should never let anyone tell you that hobby "finds" are an element of the past. For 100 years these 25 cards have rested in obscurity and are now being offered at auction for the first time, marking the centennial of their original circulation. In 1909, the Pittsburgh Pirates were a powerhouse who won 110 games while losing only 42. Pirate pitchers posted an average ERA of 2.15 while the team scored an average of almost five runs per game on 8.7 hits. The pitching staff boasted five pitchers who won 12 or more games, with Howie Camnitz leading the staff with a 25-6 record (HoFer Vic Willis would go 22-11 as second best hurler on the team). As was common, the best hitter on the team was baseball/hobby legend Honus Wagner who batted .339 that year. The Ward family opened their first bakery in Pittsburgh in the 1880's. The original R.B. Ward Company would evolve into the Ward Mackey Company that sponsored this special commemorative edition now and forever designated "D322" thanks to the American Card Catalog. Consumers would find cards placed inside a loaf of bread or could exchange 50 labels from Tip Top Bread to "secure this entire series (25 cards) free." Fifty labels... That means 50 loaves of bread had to be bought and eaten. Even for a small family this hearty amount represents multiple months of bread consumption. The admirable state of preservation suggests this almost unbelievable find was the result of that 50-label exchange. It is this manner of distribution that likely explains the severe lack of availability even the most passionate hobbyist faces today finding these cards as compared to the tobacco-based counterparts. The players are depicted via colorful illustrations, all in uniform, each head to chest portrait the work of renowned sports photographer Carl Horner. The Wagner is "the" same unmistakable portrait the entire hobby is familiar with, but now presented in its full frame glory as originally taken by Horner. The exemplary overall condition of the cards is as impressive and startling as was their discovery. A review of the cards makes questioning their #1 "All-Time Finest" position on the PSA Set Registry with a 5.50 (excellent-plus) GPA a foolish endeavor. The facts are that 56% of the subjects (14) are the stand alone finest examples graded to date by PSA. These include notables Fred Clarke, Chas. Adams, Deacon Phillippe, and the very scarce Tip Top Mascot. Six additional subjects (including Wagner and Dreyfuss) are one of only 2 or 3 known for their grade with none higher, making 20 of 25 (a full 80% of the set) cards earning the title "highest grade level known." The set grades: PSA NM 7: 4 cards, Adams, Leever, O'Connor and Phillippe; PSA EX-MT+ 6.5: 3 cards, Flynn, Leifield and Webb; PSA EX-MT 6: 5 cards, Fred Clarke, Leach, W. Locke, Simon and White; PSA EX+ 5.5: 1 card, Tip Top Mascot; PSA EX 5: 7 cards, Byrne, Camnitz, Gibson, Maddox, Miller, Honus Wagner and Wilson; PSA VG-EX 4: 4 cards, Abbaticchio, Campbell, Dreyfuss and Forbes Field; PSA VG+ 3.5: 1 card, Hyatt. A full population report is available on our web site.