There are few vintage baseball cards, if any, that rival the T206 Honus Wagner in rarity and value, but a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card finally broke the million-dollar mark last week after fetching a staggering $1,135,250 price through Heritage Auctions.
According to Ryan Cracknell of Beckett Media, the 1952 card was kept in near-pristine condition and could be traced back to the 75 Mantle cards acquired by baseball card dealer Alan Rosen in 1986. Other 1952 Mantle cards in slightly worse condition commanded prices ranging from $155,000 to $501,000. Even after hitting $1 million on the market, however, the 1952 card doesn’t come close to touching the records set by the T206 Wagner, which sold for $2.8 million in 2007, $2.1 million in 2013, and $3.1 million in October of 2016.
Heritage Auctions praised the card’s vibrant coloring and remarkable shelf life, two factors that would appear to have boosted the card’s value over the years.
The card derives from the famous “Rosen Find” of pristine 1952 Topps cards that turned the hobby upside down in the mid-1980’s. Since then, it has lived a lonely, uneventful life, aging as little in its post-Rosen days as it did in its pre-find existence.
Beyond the stunning lack of wear, the card boasts the boldest hues we’ve encountered from the entirety of the 1952 Topps breed, an attribute that must be seen in person to be truly appreciated. Centering is well within desirable parameters, and surfaces are as clean as an operating table. The margin of difference between this example and the multi-million dollar trio at the top of the population pyramid is nearly too small to perceive.