Summer, 2020 Auction - Closes August 29
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 8/30/2020

Easily the most popular and significant postwar baseball card, the 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle goes beyond the now-overused term "iconic" and into the stuff of legend.  Atop the want list of thousands of collectors, experienced and novice alike, it is often stated that this, along with the T206 Honus Wagner, are the best-recognized in the hobby, transcending collecting itself to the point where non-hobbyists can identify the card on sight.  Certainly, owning any '52 Mantle is a badge of collecting honor, but one of this quality is a true rarity - a sharp, well-centered, crease-free example with vibrant color and bright image quality.

Imagine our surprise when encountering this gorgeous specimen among a grouping of pristine, untouched 1952 Topps high numbers presented to us by a non-collecting family in western Pennsylvania.  The card is simply stunning, virtually pristine with sharp corners, brilliant borders and vivid color, along with nearly-perfect centering.  The primary flaw is simple: the card is 1/16" narrow, a significant enough variation to prevent the card from attaining a numerical grade.  PSA confirmed our suspicion upon submission that the card, sadly, would not grade numerically.  The company holdered the card with an "Authentic Altered" grade, however, suggesting something untoward was done to the card.  Having spent hours with the consigning family, we do not feel that to be the case - so we did what many do when in our shoes: we asked for a second opinion by shipping the card to SGC.

After a thorough analysis, SGC concurred with our opinion.  The card is narrow, a size variance rendering it incapable of attaining a numerical grade.  However, in their evaluation, SGC did not see signs of alteration or trimming with the card.  Instead, they offered to holder the card with an A designation, stating that the card did not meet the minimum size requirement necessary for a numerical grade.  Ultimately, after conferring with the consignor, we elected to leave the card in the PSA holder for Registry purposes, but will also include the SGC "MIN" grading label as evidence that the card was not deemed to be altered by SGC.

The mystery of how this card came to be will remain that - a mystery.  The original owner has passed, and his family is unaware of the origin of the cards.  They are certainly incapable of performing any sophisticated card alteration, nor would they have any awareness that such shenanigans even happen in the hobby.  A non-baseball family, they are unsure of how the cards even wound up in their father's belongings.  The pile of cards were found in a box of his childhood toys, tied together with string (which damaged some of the cards, but thankfully not this one), preserved for decades.  When the collection passed to us, we likely became the first people not part of this family to have ever touched the cards.  

A pristine, fresh-to-the-hobby 1952 Mantle is a dream come true.  In the days before third-party grading, this card may have taken its rightful place among the most valuable 1952 Mantle cards in the hobby, a beautifully-centered, NEAR MINT specimen.  With the exacting standards of today's grading companies, however, it was not to be.  Despite this, it is the finest Mantle we have handled, and by all accounts should set records for the highest price ever attained by an AUTHENTIC specimen .

Stunning 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle (HOF RC) - PSA AStunning 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle (HOF RC) - PSA A
Stunning 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle (HOF RC) - PSA A
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Bidding
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $3,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $51,053
Number Bids: 34
Auction closed on Sunday, August 30, 2020.
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