Any 1952 Topps Mantle card will find a buyer if priced reasonably enough. Even those that look like they’ve been run over by a bulldozer and tacked on the barn wall for 50 years sell.
Supply just doesn’t meet demand, even with the massive amount of publicity the card–and the set–has gotten over the last three decades. Still, you would think the economic slowdown over the last couple of years might have pushed prices lower and allowed those who’ve only dreamed of owning one to get in the game. It’s true in some cases. But for the most part, it’s not easy to pinpoint a lot of trends when it comes to one of the hobby’s biggest icons.
A check of selling prices over the last few years shows remarkable consistency in the prices attained on eBay and in major catalog auctions.
One headline generating sale stands above the rest–the late 2008 sale of a PSA 8 Mantle card by Memory Lane for over $112,000.
Mile High Card Company offered several ’52 Topps Mickey Mantle cards in its recently completed auction. A PSA 7 sold for $42,938–the highest price that’s been recorded in several years for that grade and significantly higher than most that have been sold over the last couple of years.
Of course, no two cards are exactly alike–even when they share the same professional grade. “Buy the card, not the holder” is always good advice and for advanced collectors it’s an absolute mantra. Mile High sold a 7.5 in June of this year–presumably a better card than a 7 would be. However, it sold for $37,453. A 7.5 sold in April of last year for $43,300.
The four year average for a straight ‘7’, according to Vintage Card Prices, is $34,170.
PSA 6-graded 1952 Topps Mantle cards sell for an average of $21, 387. That’s a significant drop for one grade, but collectors can often discern sharp differences between cards graded 6 and 7.
On the other hand, the difference between the average selling prices of PSA 4 and PSA 5 ’52 Mantle cards is minimal. 4’s average a very consistent $12,110. PSA 5’s, which can often be very attractive cards, appear to be the best bargain of all graded Mantle cards if one is buying for a collection and they might be a decent investment at the moment. Prices have dipped fairly significantly in the last year and a half.
From March of 2008 to October 2 of 2009, no PSA 5 Mantle card sold for less than $17,000. From October 7 of last year mid-November of this year, none brought a price higher than $16,151, with most selling in the $14,000-$ 15,000 range.
SGC’s mid-grade cards have averaged $17,5o0 for SGC 70 (5.5) and $12,455 for SGC 60 (5.0), with 5.5 examples showing a steady rise in selling price from 2007 through the middle of 2009.
There was also a significant drop in the average selling price of the 1952 Topps Mantle when comparing PSA 4’s and 3’s. The average selling price for a 3 (VG) sits at $7018. However, five of the last seven have sold for less than that, creating yet another space for bargain hunting when compared to past history.