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 cards in the hobby. Certainly, owning any ’52 Mantle is a badge of collecting honor, but one of this quality is a true rarity – a well-centered, crease-free, midgrade example with vibrant color and clarity of image, something to bridge the gap between the more common, lower grade examples and the ultra high grade, ultra expensive ones.
This card is a truly spectacular specimen, a card that so often appears with severe centering issues is centered here nearly perfectly, with only a slight, non-distracting tilt keeping us from boasting about its true perfection. The corners are square with slight wear that reduces the technical grade of the card, but despite that, it remains a wonderful example – vivid colors, crisp registration, and again – the centering! This is a card that should be chased not for its grade, but for its appearance within the grade – typically, a card in this condition will exhibit a noticeable flaw, and, softer corners (consistent with the grade) aside, there is no such issue with this example. This is as wonderful a card as you will find in this type of condition.
A 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle remains one of those baseball cards that transcends the hobby – one that people outside the hobby recognize at a glance. Still one of baseball’s most widely-recognized names, Mickey Mantle remains one of the most revered figures in sports, and despite not being his official “rookie” card, the 1952 card is certainly his most popular and sought after. Completing the 1952 Topps set remains a monumental collecting achievement, partially due to the difficulty of obtaining the more scarce high number cards, but mostly due to this card – postwar collecting’s most treasured card.