Every once in awhile you see something you never knew existed. I have to admit I didn’t know there was “another” Mickey Mantle rookie card. Now, you have to expand your idea of what a ‘card’ is just a bit and you have to accept the research that indicates it was issued during the generally accepted time frame but the issue that’s been described as a Wheaties Premium Mickey Mantle leaves you wondering why it isn’t worth a lot more.
It’s certainly harder to find than either of Mantle’s traditional rookie cards but collectors sometimes thumb their noses at 5×7 sized issues that have been connected with distribution through General Mills.
But here’s the thing: Collectors have been doing a lot of research on this issue recently and the general consensus is that earlier dating of the image on the card/photo of 1951 isn’t quite right. Mantle’s jersey is missing a patch that players wore that year and the picture is identical to one taken at Ebbets Field. Detective work seems to put the date of that photo session as the World Series of 1952 when the Yankees met the Dodgers. The card/photo was likely issued at least a month or two after that.
Even if it’s not a ‘true’ Mantle rookie, it’s still an interesting issue. It’s part of a nine card set that includes a few other Hall of Famers.
We didn’t check other population reports, but PSA has graded only 37 Mantles. In 2011, an SGC 80 went for $3,006. Only one has been rated as high as a 7 by PSA and that particular card is for sale now on eBay at a price of $4359.99. There’s an ungraded, lower end example up for auction as well with a much lower bid.
A PSA 6.5 sold in November for $3,199. Earlier this year, Legendary Auctions sold a PSA 6.5 for $2,629. In 2010, a PSA 5 sold via a major catalog auction for $1226.
Interest in Cal Ripken’s most rare minor league cards is still strong. A PSA 7 1980 WBTV Charlotte O’s card of the Hall of Famer sold via Small Traditions Auctions for $12,307. It’s one of less than 40 copies on record.
In the same auction, a 1996 Select Certified Mirror Gold #100 Derek Jeter rookie card, one of only 30 made and graded PSA 9, sold for $13,479.