Yankee Legend’s iconic #311 issue is now second-highest selling baseball card in history
A 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle #311 baseball card, graded Mint 9 on a scale of 1 to 10 by PSA, sold for a new Mantle card record of $2.88 million last night at auction. The online event, hosted by Heritage Auctions, had a total of 21 bids placed on the much-publicized Mantle lot. The previous record for a 1952 Topps Mantle card was $1.13 million in 2016, but that was for an example graded PSA Near Mint-Mint Plus 8.5. The last PSA Mint 9 ’52 Topps Mantle card was sold in 2006 via Memory Lane Inc., which fetched $282,588. The new mark certainly trumps any figure ever placed on the coveted cardboard keepsake featuring the late New York Yankees legend. And that’s saying something.
Although the $2.88 million figure is remarkable, it’s still shy of the $3.12 million paid for a 1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner card – graded PSA Excellent 5 (MC) – sold by Goldin Auctions in October 2016. Therefore, the Mantle card sold last night is now the second-highest selling baseball card in history. The consignor of the card was former NFL offensive lineman Evan Mathis, who won a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos on February 7, 2016. The word on the street is that he needed additional funds for a new dream house in Tennessee for his wife and three daughters. Following the auction, Mathis might even consider building something a little closer to the ocean.
“The 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle is more than just a baseball card, it is pop culture art and the symbol of the card collecting hobby itself,” said PSA President Joe Orlando.
“This new auction record is not only a record for a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle or any post-WWII baseball card, it is now the new standard for any card other than the 1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner,” he continued. “The fact that the last PSA Mint 9 example was auctioned for $282,588 in 2006 shows the tremendous gains that high-end, iconic sports collectibles have generated during the last 12 years.”
The ’52 Mantle card has long been a darling of the sports collectibles hobby. With apologies to Honus Wagner, it is perhaps the most recognizable sports card in the entire hobby. The first Mantle card ever issued by Topps, it came out the same year that “The Mick” won his second of seven World Series rings with the Bronx Bombers. It was a season in which he clubbed 23 home runs, registered 87 RBI and batted .311 while patrolling center field at Yankee Stadium. Interestingly, the ’52 Topps card is not Mantle’s official rookie card, however; that distinction belongs to his 1951 Bowman release (#253).