Memory Lane’s spring catalog auction closed with the first known $100,000 sale of a PSA 8 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle.
In the 1950s, kids who collected their baseball cards spent hours on the topic of who was better.
Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays?
Five decades later, those grown-up kids are still collecting and the war between the two former New York outfielders is being waged in the selling prices of the few high grade cards which have survived bike spokes, oversized shoe boxes and flipping.
A 1952 Topps Mantle squared off against a 1951 Bowman Mays rookie in the Spring Fever Rarities auction held by Memory Lane Inc. Mantle won this round with a PSA 8 (near mint-mint) card establishing a new record for the grade. The final bid was $96,000. With the buyer’s premium added, the new owner will fork over $112,800. The card generated 59 bids in the auction, which closed in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Memory Lane sold a PSA 9 ’52 Mantle for $282,587 last year.
The 1951 Bowman Mays didn’t fare too badly, however. The PSA 9 (mint) graded card drew 49 bids and sold for $85,775 including the BP.
According to VintageCardPrices.com, the average selling price for a 1952 Topps Mantle in PSA 8 grade had been $60,972. The new sale raised the average to $73,332.
The two cards highlighted another universal truth–vintage sports cards and memorabilia are generally still a pretty solid investment. Memory Lane broke several records with its sale. The company established a new record, with sales totalling $2,850,259 including the buyer’s premium.
A PSA 8-graded Babe Ruth autographed baseball, preserved in the original box by a retired dentist who received it as a teenage pitcher in the 1940s, established a new high for the grade when it sold for $81,075.
Another item bearing the Babe’s signature was a 1923 Yankees team signed autograph book which also included Lou Gehrig and the others on that club and brought an astouding $51, 955.
Memory Lane also offered one of the more unique pieces in the sports memorabilia arena with its sale of the World War II-era file documents from the court martial of Jackie Robinson. The 44 pages of court proceedings, including a page initialed by Robinson, brought $29,042.
The ball Ruth hit for his 13th home run during the record-setting 1927 season, including a faded Ruth signature, sold for $18,467.
Among the other sports card highlights of the auction was the sale of a W600 Sporting Life Honus Wagner (PSA 5) which drew 51 bids and raised the bar for the issue with a closing realized price of $41,257. A rare 1922 Pacific Coast League Zeenuts ‘rookie card’ of sports legend Jim Thorpe (SGC 60) sold for $32,249.
Rare sports cards don’t come any more desirable than the beautiful 1888 Goodwin’s Champions and a PSA 7 Cap Anson card drew heavy interest for the Tustin, CA based auction company. It was finally purchased at a price of $25,831. Another pre-War highlight was a T206 Ty Cobb portrait (red) in PSA 8 which drew a winning bid of $24, 923.
A 1933 Goudey #53 Babe Ruth (PSA 7) sold for $26,105. Of the last four previous sales of that particular card, none had reached $18,000. A ’33 Goudey #92 Gehrig card (SGC 92) brought $21,405.
A 1933 Goudey Dizzy Dean in PSA 8 grade sold for $16,387, which nearly doubled the selling price of the last PSA 8 Dean which sold last year. Just two years ago, the card was bringing $5600 on eBay.
Among the more modern vintage cards, a 1956 Topps complete set, all graded PSA 8, went for $38,775 while a 1954 set of Wilson Franks cards, still uncut, set the new owner back $31,725. A 1960 Topps Hank Aaron (PSA 9) sold for $19,805 while a 1961 Topps Mickey Mantle (PSA 10) sold for $15,799.
Unopened wax pack collectors salivated over a 1948 Bowman basketball pack, graded GAI 8. It sold for $18,344.
We also have an updated analysis of the 1952 Topps Mantle, which continues to attract strong bidding across all grades.