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Thoughts on the market value of the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle

mmier118

New member
Jan 29, 2010
536
I just wanted to get peoples thoughts on the long term value of a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle. I didn't realize that average to poor PSA 1's were now getting over $5,000 with nice 1's going for around $7,000.For higher grades the value just goes up from there. I understand that this IS the iconic card for a generation of "baby boomers" but it really makes me wonder who is going to buy these cards once the current group of owners decides to sell. I mean I really enjoy baseball cards and have the ability to spend 4 figures on a piece of cardboard so it seems like I would be a perfect candidate for buying one from the current holders, but I just don't ever seeing myself owning this card, I just don't connect to it like I do to a 1989 upper deck Griffey or Jordan RC. I mean maybe if I could get a PSA 3 or 4 for the current price of a crummy PSA 1 I might consider it just because of it's significance in card collecting, but we are coming up on a whole generation of people that have never seen Mantle play. For that type of money I'd rather have a nice Jordan RC, a Pujols Bowman Chrome auto and a Trout BC auto. I just can't see the Mantle holding it's value over the next 20 years. I mean honestly with the resurgence of Bowman amongst the younger collectors, wouldn't they just want the 1951 Bowman, that's his true RC anyways. When the 1952 topps really started taking off topps wasn't even making Bowman cards. I really don't think the 1952 is that rare it's just the fact that demand for it is currently quite high, I guess I just don't think that demand will be quite as strong in 20 or 30 years. Anyways wanted to get some peoples thoughts on it so let me know what you think.
 

RiceLynnEvans75

Active member
Feb 9, 2010
3,264
NOVA
In 20-30 years I believe the cost to purchase one will be higher. How high I have no idea. In regards to the point of a whole generation of people that have never seen Mantle play, it doesn't matter....much. I don't know of anybody that saw Honus Wagner play, or anybody from that era for that matter, yet cards continue to go up in cost, though there are the typical peaks and valleys.

The one factor I'd be curious to see is that with the supposed shrinking size of the modern collecting community, how that will impact the vintage market (what we now know as vintage) down the road. From many fellow vintage collectors, it seems I've heard numerous times now that they started out in their respective modern cards but eventually weaned off of that and went into vintage. I guess modern cards are the gateway to vintage. If the modern community is shrinking, I would imagine that would eventually lead to a smaller community for vintage as well. SO, how that would impact the rise/fall of prices would be interesting. With that said, I also believe that the modern community will hit a rise again sometime in the future.
 

D-Lite

New member
Nov 10, 2010
1,872
SF Peninsula
I was thinking about the changing generations as well when thinking about price trends recently and I'm of the opinion now that as those young collectors that keep on collecting mature they will continue to buy the vintage iconic cards. The value is in the card, not just the player on it. The 1952 Topps Mantle is all about the CARD, hence the price premium over the '51 Bowman. People collect it because it's collectable and inspires more than just fans of that particular player. I just recently started building a '53 Bowman set for the beauty of the cards and photography, not because I'm a Vic Raschi fan. I never saw a single player from that set play, but as a collector I really enjoy that set.
 

buck724

Member
Jul 22, 2010
211
I think the card will always hold value for the sake that it's so iconic in the hobby. I would love to own one myself lol

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Freedom Card Board mobile app
 

smapdi

Active member
Aug 7, 2008
4,183
The 52 Mantle isn't rare in that it's particularly hard to find. There are always multiples on offer on ebay, auction houses feature them regularly, and because it is such a liquid commodity, they are always changing hands. But it's rare enough, especially factoring in condition. But as an icon of the hobby, it's really second to none. It's surpassed explanation, really. There are T-206s rarer than the Wagner, and rarer Wagners, and no Babe Ruth card really stands out as iconic (though I think there is a fairly clear-cut case of "most expensive"), and there's no real reason why Bowman Chrome cards of today's rookies are worth more than comparable cards from other brands. The subjectivity of the hobby is hard to codify or quantify. But I'd bet as long as people collect cards, your Trouts, Pujolses, Ripkens, Ryans, etc., will ebb and flow, but the 1952 Topps Mantle will be as blue-chip as they get.
 

ThoseBackPages

New member
Aug 7, 2008
32,986
New York
Most new collectors start with what they see, current players. Then they learn more about the game, and the card business in general. Then eventually they start going backwards and get into vintage. Thats how it usually works
 

mrmopar

Member
Jan 19, 2010
3,685
Mantle is more well known than the average baseball player of his era. The same could be said for the likes of Ruth, Mays, Jeter, etc. All sports have those handful of incredibly famous and revered athletes, who even non-fans recognize. Those players will see a premium because of this sheer recognition. Mantle will always hold a value much greater than his performance warrants. Look at the same set. Eddie Mathews is the last card in the set, a high number AND condition sensitive card. He is a HOF to boot, but nothing close to Mantle. How about #1 . Andy Pafko's card only has the value it has due to being card #1 and very little to do with the player (other than a small premium for being a Dodger). That card will always be sought after though, not for the player on the card, but for the significance and relative scarcity of the card in top condition.
 

mmier118

New member
Jan 29, 2010
536
Thanks for all the great feedback and I think the 52 Mantle will always be an Iconic card, I was just questioning if it would continue to climb in value, I mean are people really going to drop 10 grand on a nice PSA 1? To me that just seems crazy for a couple of reasons. I just don't see them being super super rare when compared to the other big name cards and the demographic that has the money to drop 7k on a PSA 1 of a 60 year old piece of cardboard will be constantly shrinking. I think that a lot of the reason people spend that much is that they feel that they can always sell it for what they paid or more and for now that is true but at some point I think that stops being true, I guess I just feel that it is really reaching it's peak right now and that the group that wants that card the most is the "baby boomers" who are kind of peaking in there disposable income right now. I agree with sportscardtheorys point that a nice PSA 3 1951 Mantle is way better then a miscut bent up PSA 1 1952 topps Mantle and that over time the 1952 will come slightly down especially in the lower grades (the high end one's are a different animal) and the 1951 would slowly float up or go down less.
 
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bigunitcards

Member
Sep 8, 2013
654
OKC, OK
PSA lists 1,200 graded Mantles and Beckett has 130. So would we say there are likely < 2000 real '52 Mantles in existence? Does that seem like a likely graded/ungraded estimate to you guys?
 

Liberate Baltimore

New member
Jun 2, 2009
633
Columbia, Maryland
PSA lists 1,200 graded Mantles and Beckett has 130. So would we say there are likely < 2000 real '52 Mantles in existence? Does that seem like a likely graded/ungraded estimate to you guys?
There are probably tens of thousands of 1952 Topps Mantle cards surviving for several reasons:

1.) He was double-printed sheets of 1952 Topps high numbers

2.) His card was saved more because he was already one of the most popular players in New York.

3.) Unlike tobacco cards, modern bubble gum cards were saved at a far greater rate.

Just this past auction period (2 months) we had three 1952 Topps Mantle cards consigned to us, all ungraded. We then submitted them to PSA for our consignors. I've handled probably 25 raw 1952 Topps Mantle cards. By far, there are thousands of more 1952 Topps Mantle cards just waiting to be discovered....most of them in the hands of non-collectors.
 

gt2590

Super Moderator
Aug 17, 2008
33,543
Near Philly
For "die-hard" knowlegable collectors, it's all about the '51.

But like most things, perception IS reality and the perception in the Public and most Collectors minds' it's all about the '52. And that is what will ALWAYS drive the prices/value and demand.

Personally, I prefer the '52. But not for value, but rather because I prefer the design and look of the '52 set much more than the '51. Given the choice, I like the '54 design the best, but he's not in that set anyway...
 
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MansGame

Active member
Sep 25, 2009
15,306
Dallas, TX
I wanted to create a similar titled thread and then found this one and thought about just revisiting it and seeing what people think today which is ~5.5 years later since the last post in here.

It is interesting to read these thoughts and to see that in 2014 we were thinking $7,000 was the going price for a PSA 1 and maybe a floor of $5,000.

It appears those prices have gone up but what is wild is how few sales there really are unless you have access to some sort of paid database for prior sales? Anyone have datapoints for sales of like PSA 2s or 1s or AUTH over the last few years to get a sense of how much they go for now or should expect to pay?

I did find another dated post on another site which indicated an AUTH one which looked like it had gone through the dishwasher went for ~$4k, so pretty sure that means the price of poker has gone up and begs the question if it is worth it to just own the cardboard regardless of condition but is $5k or more too much to pay for something that is extremely beaten up?

Finally, I loved the #'s or discussion around how many there are. Someone said close to 2,000 and I looked and it appears there are ~1,600 on PSA now and Beckett has ~170 which means the guess of ~2,000 authentic ones out there is probably pretty close if I had to guess.
 

jbhofmann

Active member
Mar 12, 2009
6,914
Indiana
I wanted to create a similar titled thread and then found this one and thought about just revisiting it and seeing what people think today which is ~5.5 years later since the last post in here.

It is interesting to read these thoughts and to see that in 2014 we were thinking $7,000 was the going price for a PSA 1 and maybe a floor of $5,000.

It appears those prices have gone up but what is wild is how few sales there really are unless you have access to some sort of paid database for prior sales? Anyone have datapoints for sales of like PSA 2s or 1s or AUTH over the last few years to get a sense of how much they go for now or should expect to pay?

I did find another dated post on another site which indicated an AUTH one which looked like it had gone through the dishwasher went for ~$4k, so pretty sure that means the price of poker has gone up and begs the question if it is worth it to just own the cardboard regardless of condition but is $5k or more too much to pay for something that is extremely beaten up?

Finally, I loved the #'s or discussion around how many there are. Someone said close to 2,000 and I looked and it appears there are ~1,600 on PSA now and Beckett has ~170 which means the guess of ~2,000 authentic ones out there is probably pretty close if I had to guess.
Last 3 intact Mantle PSA1 have sold for over $10K. (Watchcount eBay data only)

$14K
$12K
$11K

One that had a hole all the way through the surface, $6,600K.
 

smapdi

Active member
Aug 7, 2008
4,183
My wife actually started following prices on the 52T after seeing one at a show for sale for $14,000 or something that looked like it had been through the wash, graded SGC 1 IIRC, and the guy was sure he'd sell it at something close to that price. She wants me to sell everything else to buy one, and I can't really say she's wrong. Prices in the hobby as a whole seem to be rising, from the latest Bowman prospects to blue chip vintage, and I think people's expectations now are just that any 52T in 4 figures is a bargain no matter what condition. This in turn is lifting the prices on 51B and 53T. I assume 52 Bowmans are also rising, but I haven't looked lately.
 

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