Even in 1985, it was considered the hobby’s greatest post-War trading card. Owning a nice copy was something the average collector contemplated but often couldn’t afford.
One lucky kid’s father recognized the iconic stature of the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, though, and bought one for him as a confirmation gift. The $2,000 cost (about $4,300 in today’s dollars) certainly would have had jaws dropping.
It turned out to be a lot better investment than a few boxes of that year’s cards.
As an avid young collector, Brian Baltes appreciated the gift, even though it spent most of the next three decades in a safe deposit box. Last weekend, he brought it to a show at Hofstra University.
It was a rare sight—a raw, authentic 1952 Topps Mantle—still in the original screw-down holder it came in 32 years ago. The card’s corners appeared sharp and other than not being perfectly centered, it appeared near mint.
David Seideman of Forbes.com was there when Baltes showed it to a few dealers before submitting it for grading and authentication (and that wasn’t the only great card he had).