SCP Auctions kicked off its fall catalog sale on Wednesday with a 1953 Mickey Mantle game worn jersey as one of the premier items. It took just a few hours for the shirt to rocket past $20,000. Mantle jerseys are sort of the modern era holy grail for memorabilia collectors.
The jersey in the auction is valuable, of course, but it also comes with a great story. It’s a new-to-market find, not one that’s been passed from collector to collector through various auctions. Since the early 1960s, it’s belonged to Rick Moore, a southern California resident who had big league dreams of his own.
Manufactured by Spalding, the gray flannel Yankees road jersey was issued to Mantle for the 1953 season. Tagged exclusively for Mantle, it features blue chain stitching on the front tail that reads “”M.Mantle, 53X”. An “”A.G. Spalding & Bros.”" manufacturer’s label in the collar is accompanied by a tag denoting size “”44″” and the requisite “Dry Clean Only” tag appears stitched on the inside of the front tail.
For years, Moore thought his old tryout keepsake was just a great conversation piece. Thanks to the thriftiness of big league teams years ago, few who saw him wear it had any idea it once sat on the shoulders of one of the greatest players of all-time.
Mantle’s original #7 was removed when the jersey wound up being passed down to the organization’s lowest levels. And that is where the Orange County Register picks up the story.