The 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle is considered to be the most valuable post-war sportscard. It's the King of post-war baseball cards and a powerful image familiar to all collectors. There have only been three that have been graded "Gem Mint 10" by Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA).
Until now, the previous price record for this legendary card was $160,000, a private sale that took place a few years ago. Superior Sports Auctions, a division of Collectors Universe, announced a recent record breaking sale at $275,000. This is the sixth highest price ever paid for a sportscard and the second highest price ever paid for a Post War card. The private sale was made to an anonymous collector.
As one of the highest prices ever paid for a sportscard, this sale is vaulted into an exclusive club of automatic significance, but that wasn't the sole reason why this sale was one of such major importance. The Condition Census for the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle is listed below, followed by comments from the Collectors Universe experts and a list of the Top 50 prices of all time.
Gem Mint 10. There have been three 1952 Topps Mantle's graded Gem Mint 10 by PSA:
- Fogel-Murphy Specimen. The card came from the fabulous 1952 Topps collection of Mark Murphy. It was then sold by dealer Bill Hughes to Collectors Universe CEO David Hall for $50,000 in 1993. When Hall's collection was auctioned by Superior in 1996, renowned collector Marshall Fogel purchased the card for $121,000.
- Wormser-Candiotti Specimen. This specimen was from Ed Wormser's wonderful collection. Sold in the Wormser sale by Robert Edward Auctions in 1996. Resold by Superior in 1998 to former major league pitcher, Tom Candiotti, for $104,500.
- Roehrig-Garcia Specimen. First sent in to PSA for grading by dealer Craig Roehrig. Sold to Peter Garcia in 1999 for $160,000. Resold by Superior to an anonymous collector in June, 2001 for $275,000.
Mint 9. There have been five 1952 Topps Mantles graded Mint 9 by PSA.
- Greg Bussineau comments: I think this establishes a new threshold not only for the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, but for all post-war cards as well. With the exception of the T206 Honus Wagner card, this is the highest cash price ever paid for a sportscard in hobby history. At Superior, we have been privileged to place all three 1952 Topps PSA Gem Mint 10 Mantles into the hands of collectors. Our company has now sold all three of the existing PSA Gem Mint 10 1952 Topps Mantles, two through auction and now one through direct sale.
- This is a very significant sale in that a new price record was set even though the economy is slower and the sportscard market has softened from last year. This sale proves that the demand for key sportscards is still very strong. No matter what the naysayers may say, the fact remains that this country is full of individuals who want to buy high-quality sportscards and they are not afraid to spend money to acquire those items.
- Overall, the sportscard market can now best be described as steady. The point of some price resistance is now about $2,500. High quality cards priced at $2,500 or less are doing very well and sales are very brisk. Cards priced at over $2,500 are now stabilizing, but as the 52 Topps Mantle sale shows, great cards in any price range always bring great prices.
- It also should be noted that sales are very brisk for regional and special issues. This is especially true of the ancillary issues that PSA has just started to grade, such as the 1952 to 1955 Redmans, Johnston Cookies, and 1971 Topps Greatest Moments.
- Joe Orlando comments: What makes this sale all the more impressive is the fact that the market for high-dollar items has been somewhat uncertain in recent months. At $275,000, this sale clearly reinforces the point that, if you offer items of exceptional quality, the buyers will respond. In fact, this is the fourth or fifth time in the last 30 days that the words "Mantle" and "High-Quality" have combined for new price records in a variety of collectible fields.
- There are very few names in sports history that can generate the kind of emotion that Mantle does. For an entire generation, Mantle was our national hero and, even after his death, his legend continues to grow. Mantle's combination of awesome physical talent, natural charisma and vulnerability made him so easy to like. Baseball fans of the 1950's and 1960's lived through him, he truly represented the American dream.
- Chris Porter comments: Let's not forget the card… as the card itself is absolutely breathtaking. It has all the attributes necessary for the PSA Gem Mint 10 grade. It has virtually perfect centering and creaming aqua blue coloring that jumps out of the holder. The focus is perfect and the surfaces are ultra clean and smooth. The borders and gloss are very brilliant. The back side is spotless and perfect. And finally, the card has four perfectly sharp Gem Mint corners. The new owner of this card now owns the ultimate Post War sportscard in the ultimate condition.
- Steve Rocchi comments: The 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle is the real starting point of the Post War baseball card market. It defines Topp's entry into sportscards and America's love affair with the National past time. For over 20 years, the price of the 1952 Topps Mantle has been the prime indicator of the health of the card market. This new price record confirms the strength of the high-end vintage market and, of course, PSA is delighted we have graded all three Gem Mint examples.
- David Hall comments: It's very interesting that the famous "Gretzky-McNall" T206 Wagner appears four times in the Top 50, selling for a higher price each time. It sold for $110,000 in 1987, $451,000 in 1991, $640,000 in 1996, and $1,265,000 in 2000. This card was the first card ever graded by PSA. We gave it certification #1 in 1991. It's also interesting that all of the top 50 cards are baseball cards.
- CLCT shareholders will be interested in the fact that there have been no confirmed Top 50 sales of any card graded by a grading service other than PSA. There are 10 ungraded cards in the Top 50 and 40 cards graded by PSA. And all Post War cards in the Top 50 were PSA graded.
|The Top 50 Prices Realized for Sports Cards|
|Card and Grade||Price||Transaction|
|T206 Honus Wagner, PSA NM-MT 8*||$1,265,000||2000 Auction|
|T206 Honus Wagner, PSA NM-MT 8*||$640,500||1996 Auction|
|T206 Honus Wagner, "NM-MT" Ungraded*||$451,000||1991 Auction|
|T206 Honus Wagner, PSA VG-EX 4**||$325,000||1999 Private sale|
|1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle, PSA Gem Mint 10||$325,000||2000 Private sale|
|1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, PSA Gem Mint 10***||$275,000||2001 Private sale|
|T206 Honus Wagner, "VG-EX" Ungraded**||$223,992||1998 Auction|
|T206 Honus Wagner, "VG-EX" Ungraded||$220,000||1992|
|T206 Eddie Plank, PSA NM-MT 8||$203,000||1999 Auction|
|T206 Joe Doyle, Variation PSA Good 2||$178,598||2000 Auction|
|1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, PSA Gem Mint 10***||$160,000||1999 Private sale|
|T206 Honus Wagner, PSA VG 3||$145,314||Auction|
|1915 Cracker Jack Joe Jackson, PSA 9||$125,000||2000 Private sale|
|1996 SI For Kids Tiger Woods, PSA Gem Mint 10||$125,000||2001 Private sale|
|1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, PSA Gem Mint 10||$121,000||1997 Auction|
|T206 Honus Wagner, "VG" Ungraded||$119,310||1997 Auction|
|T206 Honus Wagner, NM-MT Ungraded*||$110,000||1987 Private sale|
|1954 Topps Hank Aaron, PSA Gem Mint 10||$110,000||2000 Private sale|
|1941 Play Ball Joe DiMaggio, PSA Mint 9||$109,250||1999 Auction|
|1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, PSA Gem Mint 10||$104,500||1998 Auction|
|1933 Goudey Babe Ruth, #181 PSA Mint 9||$100,050||1999 Auction|
|1933 Goudey Babe Ruth, #144 PSA Mint 9||$100,000||2001 Private sale|
|1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle, PSA Mint 9||$100,000||2001 Private sale|
|1933 Goudey Napoleon Lajoie, PSA Mint 9||$95,700||1998 Auction|
|1953 Topps Willie Mays, PSA Gem Mint 10||$94,798||1999 Auction|
|1953 Topps Mickey Mantle, PSA Gem Mint 10||$94,000||1998 Auction|
|1932 U.S. Caramel Lindy Lindstrom, "EX" Ungraded||$92,000||1999|
|1933 Goudey Napoleon Lajoie, PSA Mint 9||$91,466||1999 Auction|
|T206 Honus Wagner, "VG" Ungraded||$90,460||1997 Auction|
|1933 Goudey Babe Ruth, #181 PSA Mint 9||$90,000||2001 Private sale|
|1952 Topps Willie Mays, PSA Gem Mint 10||$90,000||Private sale|
|1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, PSA Mint 9||$88,217||1999 Auction|
|1933 Goudey Babe Ruth, #181 PSA Mint 9||$87,729||2000 Auction|
|1933 Goudey Sport King, Babe Ruth PSA Mint 9||$85,174||1999 Auction|
|T206 Honus Wagner, "Fair" Ungraded||$85,000||1999|
|T206 Christy Mathewson, (portrait) PSA Mint 9||$84,100||2000 Auction|
|1952 Topps #1 Andy Pafko, PSA Gem Mint 10||$83,870||1999 Auction|
|1863 Harry Wright, Benefit Card PSA Authentic||$83,542||Auction|
|1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, PSA Mint 9||$79,695||2000 Auction|
|1914 Babe Ruth, Baltimore New, "EX" Ungraded||$79,500||1999|
|1952 Bowman Mickey Mantle, PSA Gem Mint 10||$74,911||1999 Auction|
|1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle, PSA Mint 9||$74,000||1999|
|1939 Play Ball Ted Williams, PSA Mint 9||$71,588||2000 Auction|
|1948 Leaf Satchel Paige, PSA NM-MT 8||$70,671||2000 Auction|
|T206 Honus Wagner, PSA PR-FR 1||$67,290||1999 Auction|
|N172 Old Judge Cap Anson, "EX" Ungraded||$66,503||2001 Auction|
|T205 Gold Border Christy Mathewson, PSA Mint 9||$65,000||2000 Private sale|
|1933 Goudey Napolean Lajoie, PSA NM-MT 8||$64,515||1999 Auction|
|1933 Goudey Napolean Lajoie, PSA NM-MT 8||$61,226||1998 Auction|
|T205 Gold Border Ty Cobb, PSA NM-MT 8||$60,439||Private sale|
* Same card, the famous "Gretzky" example
** Same card
*** Same card