1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle - From the Iconic Mr. Mint 1952 Topps High-Number Find (PSA NM/MT 8)
Who would have possibly thought that Joe DiMaggio's exodus after the 1951 campaign would mark the beginning of yet another great centerfielder's career; as the Yankee Clipper passed the baton to a 19-year old power hitter from Commerce, Oklahoma named Mickey Charles Mantle. Indeed, after being sent down to the minor leagues in July 1951 due to a horrific slump, Mantle would return to the big leagues in August to embark on one of the most celebrated careers in MLB history. His immediate star stature would make the innovative Topps Chewing Gum owner Sy Berger include "The Mick" as the #311 subject in Berger's landmark 1952 Topps set, the first card appearing in the esteemed '52 Topps high-number series. The stage had now been set for this Mantle issue to ultimately leave an indelible mark on the card collecting hobby, with this future Hall of Famer soon to be perceived as the true embodiment of a National hero. That said, no post WWII baseball card can even remotely boast the unparalleled mystique of this exalted PSA "NM/MT 8" 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle that has only been bested by a mere fourteen examples. Of all the iconic cards to secure in one's collection, arguably speaking, only a T206 Honus Wagner can surpass the supreme standing of a high-grade 1952 Topps #311 subject representing the immortal "Commerce Comet." Adding critical legendary stature to this museum worthy offering is that it came directly from the historic "1986 '52 Topps High Number find", with Dr. Thomas Newman purchasing this absolutely breathtaking example directly from Mr. Mint. Since that momentous transaction, aside from the standard submission to PSA where it received the hallowed "8" assessment, this card never left Tom's sight.
Historically speaking, it is no secret that this iconic cardboard's sudden rise to stardom in the late 80's and early 90's ably assisted the overall market stature, with its incredible pricing points redefining one's perspective for utilizing cardboard heirlooms as viable investment options. For quite some time and before 2013, price tags for the 1952 Topps Mantle subject had remained relatively "flat", with its value moving in a somewhat "sideways" direction. Typical with any market commodity, the investment values of valuable baseball cards likewise run in cycles, and the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card, dubbed the post-WWII "Holy Grail", continues to realize excessive pricing points. Propelling the recent value of this immortal issue was the $5.2 million record-setting sale of a PSA Mint 9 example, with two PSA NM/MT 8 specimens fetching $1.6 million and $1.3 million over the past six months. Indeed, pricing points for the 1952 Topps Mantle in ALL grades have soared to unprecedented heights, with no end in sight for this tsunami-like uptick that is producing "off-the -chart" figures. "Seeing is believing", and the most definitive case of this seemingly unlimited escalation is evident with PSA 8 sales. In the spring/summer of 2015, several PSA NM/MT 8 offerings achieved approximate $400K amounts, and just when the hobby assumed a PSA 8 Mantle had reached its ultimate level, some six years later, the aforementioned $1.6 million sale represents an unfathomable 300% increase! It is clearly obvious that the 1952 Topps Mantle knows no bounds with regard to its ultimate value, and via its irrefutable "1952 Topps Find" pedigree, this extraordinary PSA 8 NM/MT offering certainly resides as one of the finest examples on the planet.
One look at this spellbinding marvel could prompt even the most meticulous enthusiast to "skip a beat", substantiating the notion that its world-class eye appeal is synonymous with Mantle's incomparable legacy. The classic "bat over shoulder" pose portrays a robust and nearly flawless aqua-marine blue background that atypically reveals virtually no "snow" whatsoever, other than the typical microscopic-like factory issued white printing dot situated near the upper left border. It should be noted that this is a common quality portrayed by virtually all of the cards from Mr. Mint's "1952 Topps Find", with these awe-inspiring examples emanating sparkling hues synonymous to a pack-fresh card. You can virtually feel Mickey's curious nature as he gazes into the future with a youthful innocence that would eventually lead to his immortal Yankee stature. Immaculate resolution, brilliant facial hues, a glistening obverse side surface, bright white borders, a super clean verso and razor-sharp right-angled corners consistent with the "8" assessment all contribute to the imposing aesthetics.
Much to the delight of the most meticulous hobbyists, the hallowed image depicts atypical superb centering, with a near-perfect 50/50 "side-to-side" positioning and the "top- to-bottom" reflecting approximately 45/55 alignment. Equally significant is the lack of any noticeable image "tilt", with a myriad of '52 Topps Mantles plagued by this common flaw. Only five "NM/MT+8.5's", six "Mint-9's" and three "Gem Mint 10's" have managed to surpass this esteemed grade, and considering its unparalleled aesthetics, only a handful of examples could possibly boast finer technical attributes than this superior masterpiece. In the Spring of 1951, who would have possibly thought that this ultra-powerful rookie from the Oklahoma coal mines would be embarking on an MLB career that would ultimately leave his hallowed name on the tips of every avid baseball fan's tongues. Synonymous with "The Mick's" supernatural power that exceeded the physical limits of any ballplayer's expectations comes along this PSA 8 marvel; proudly standing tall as one of only 2% of the nearly 1,700 PSA encapsulated copies, with only a meager 14 (0.8%) PSA specimens reflecting higher technical assessments.
Had it not been for the Sy Berger's decision to dump "truckloads" of excess 1952 Topps high-number vending cases into the Atlantic's murky waters off the coast of New Jersey, the incredible mystique of the ‘52 Topps Mantle might have never been born. Yet, the reality of this card standing tall as our hobby's post-war "Holy Grail" shines forth today like a beacon of light, with its uncontested popularity the main driver of its remarkable pricing surge over the past decade. The $1.6 million sale for a PSA 8 example in the winter of this year stands as a resounding exclamation point to the unlimited potential of the quintessential high-numbered Mantle, an incomprehensible 2,100% increase over the highest price ($71K) realized only a decade earlier in 2011. As is the case with any investment opportunity, one can only speculate as to what the future holds for the extraordinary 1952 Topps Mantle subject, but its bona-fide pricing surge over the past decade certainly supports the notion of its unlimited growth potential!
MIN BID $200,000