1951 Bowman #253 Mickey Mantle Rookie PSA 8 NM-MT
No one would argue that the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card resides as the post-WW1's most iconic card, yet it is Mantle's 1951 Bowman subject that resides as his true rookie card. Next to the majestic Babe Ruth inaugural card, the 1951 Bowman Mantle rookie arguably stands as the most coveted rookie card in the entire collecting community. The seemingly infinite rise of Mantle's sanctified 1952 Topps subject has likewise propelled the desirability and value of his inaugural 1951 Bowman issue, with the sale of a PSA 8 example in March 2021 resulting in a staggering $612K price tag! Presented here is an absolutely breathtaking example of the iconic Mickey Mantle rookie card, an awe-inspiring PSA NM/MT 8 gem that has only been bested by a mere 10 PSA specimens. Imagine, of the 2,300+ encapsulated copies, only 10 finer examples have been handled by PSA with a microscopic-like 2.3% achieving the hallowed "NM/MT 8" assessment. Incredibly, "Near Mint/Mint 8" examples were selling for less than $200K only a few years ago, with the recent rookie card frenzy propelling the '51 Mantle, from a value perspective, to its rightful place.
Considering that several PSA 8 '52 Topps Mantles have now sold between $1.3 -$1.6 million, it makes perfect sense that the 1951 Bowman "true rookie" would likewise realize a meteoric rise in value. At the time this was written, while the disparity of 1951 Bowman versus 1952 Topps Mantles PSA 8 "specimens" stood at roughly 50% (53 Bowman Mantles vs. 35 Topps Mantles), the pricing disproportion well exceeds 100%. Therefore, it was only a matter of time for the pricing point floodgates to open for "The Mick's" inaugural cardboard memento, with the '51 Bowman still retaining significant growth potential to close that imbalanced value gap. Regardless of how the Mickey Mantle mystique was established, no one will argue that Mantle's 1951 Bowman image will forever be embedded in hobby lore, standing tall as one of the most significant rookie cards on the planet.
Mantle's supernatural-like power ably assisted his mammoth sized tape measure home runs, bolstering "The Mick's" legendary stature that has led to his insatiable cardboard frenzy. He was Goliath, Davey Crockett, John Wayne and Joe DiMaggio all rolled up into one super icon, truly establishing himself as the ultimate hero for his captivated fans. We cannot think of a more formidable card to better represent the strength of our hobby than Mickey Mantle's inaugural cardboard issue, treasured by every young boy who grew up worshiping the "Commerce Comet". The seemingly timeless "bat over shoulder" lithographic pose with Mickey's #6 (vs. his famous #7) partly showing on his uniform was taken from a classic 1951 photograph from Mantle's rookie season. Virtually all of the qualities associated with this legendary picture are pristine including vibrant gray/blue colored hues, immaculate contrast/resolution and a flawless sky-blue background. The extremely well-centered image atypically falls within the approximate "45/55" range between four blinding white borders, only slightly favoring the upper right edges. As meticulous collectors are well aware of, this is a critical attribute since most examples reflect skewed illustrations.
A razor-sharp perimeter boasts four pinpoint corners, the obverse side surface glistens with a pack-fresh aura, and the super clean verso has eluded any gum stains that typically plague this issue. Many enthusiasts would surely agree this miraculous offering's eye appeal is consistent with most of the few existing "Near Mint 9" examples in circulation due to the immaculate-like central image and highly sought-after fine centering. To reiterate, the "true" Mickey Mantle rookie card holds an unbridled place in the hobby that is surpassed by only a handful of cards, with the mere sight of a high-grade specimen immediately arousing the utmost attention of any sophisticated hobbyist. Along with the 1952 Topps Mantle that continues to soar in value, high-grade '51 Bowman Mantle subjects are likewise realizing escalating price tags that one would assume will continue "narrowing the gap" versus the overwhelming pricing delta of the 1952 Topps Mantle. Considering it resides as Mantle's irrefutable inaugural card, it still remains significantly undervalued as opposed to its 1952 Topps brethren, and that $612K price tag realized in the Spring of this year may soon become a "wholesale" value!
MIN BID $100,000