2022 FALL PREMIER AUCTION

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When Mickey Mantle made his debut with the Yankees, writer Leonard Schecter said of him, “He has a face as open as the part of America that he came from.” There he was, the 19-year-old “Oklahoma Kid” already heralded as the second coming of Babe Ruth, or at the very least the legitimate successor to Joe DiMaggio. “When he hits the ball, it just sounds different,” peers said of him. “He’s got it in his body to be great,” added grizzled manager Casey Stengel, who had been around long enough to qualify as an expert. Such expectations seemed impossible to meet, but The Mick did and then some. At the time of his 1952 appearance in Topps flagship product, though, Mantle’s future was uncertain. He started slowly with the Yankees, even finding himself farmed to Kansas City for fine tuning during his debut ’51 campaign. By the mid-1950s, when the tape-measure shots boomed off his bat and the accolades began to pile up, Mantle’s destiny took shape. Today, #311 in ’52 Topps stands as the most recognizable and coveted post-war trading card – hobby royalty alongside the T206 Wagner in terms of price and prestige.

Presented here is a wonderful example graded VG-EX+ 4.5 by CSG (Certified Collectibles Group’s reputable sports card grading service). You will be hard-pressed to find a mid-grade classification with such sharp corners and straight edges. The skyward portrait of the Commerce Comet is fairly centered horizontally (45/55), with a more pronounced vertical discrepancy (25/75). White borders are clean and colors bright. The switch-hitting slugger and his yellow weapon of choice stand out beautifully. The sky-blue background and Mantle’s face are mostly crisp, save for a bit of white spotting commonly found on the larger surface areas of Cy Berger’s masterful design. While centering is clearly worse on the reverse side, the red and black print colors are strikingly bold and the back surface is virtually flawless.

Another bonus is the fact that this offered ’52 Mantle is the less common Type 2 variation. (The CSG 8 in this auction is a Type 1). The embedded CSG video clip identifies the subtle differences between each Type version. Only CSG and BVG specify Type 1 or Type 2 on their flips and in their population reports. In Beckett's pop, one in five are Type 2. (PSA and SGC do not differentiate.)

About CSG: For those relatively new to the hobby or unfamiliar with Certified Sports Guaranty (CSG), it is part of Certified Collectibles Group (CCG), the industry’s leading authenticator of non-sports cards, comic books & magazines (CGC), coins (NGC), paper money (PMG), etc. The founding of CCG in 1987 precedes that of Collectors Inc. (PSA, PCGS, etc.) and the two authentication giants have been each’s main competitor for decades. With CGC’s years of experience grading Pokémon cards, CSG has quickly gained steam among sports card collectors and marketplace giants alike. In December 2021, CSG became the exclusive authenticator of raw trading cards sold on eBay, the world's largest sales platform for cards. In August, PWCC partnered with CCG to streamline grading of raw sports cards through CSG. As their reputation grows, it won't be long before many of the world's most valuable vintage and modern sports cards are in CSG holders.

1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle (Type 2) - CSG VG-EX+ 4.5
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Minimum Bid: $20,000
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