There seems to be no end to the rising prices of high-grade vintage cards and leading the pack is the hobby’s most famous modern era card. A 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle graded PSA 8 sold for $525,800 Thursday night, setting yet another new record for the grade. The card sold as part of a top quality ’52 set break conducted by Heritage Auctions.
Another PSA 8 example was listed by Goodwin and Company over the weekend but later pulled “due to authenticity concerns”.
The 1952 Topps Mantle rookie card has long been recognized as the most important and recognizable gum card of the post-war era and it is unquestionably the most valuable. Prices on high-grade examples have skyrocketed in the last 12 months, with PSA 8 rated cards selling – in respective order – for $386,000, $406,000 and $486,000.
“The sky seems to be the limit for high-grade Mantle rookies right now,” said Auction Director Chris Ivy. “It’s the one card that all collectors want, and the top collectors want to the top examples. They’re obviously very willing right now to pay what it takes to get them.”
At present there have been 32 1952 Topps Mantle cards graded 8 by PSA. There are two at 8.5, six rated as mint 9 and three as gem mint 10.
At 407 cards, the 1952 Topps set was the largest of its day, both in number of cards and the dimensions. Ultimately, though, these excesses turned against Topps Company management, who realized late in the 1952 season that the “High Number” cards (#’s 311-407) would never reach their channels of distribution in time for the close of the baseball season. Limited quantities were trucked to stores in the northeastern United States and in Canada, but the solution for a warehouse filled with unsellable cards is said to have been a boat trip several miles out into the Atlantic Ocean and an ignominious burial at sea, making those that have survived – especially Mantle – extremely coveted.