With even poor grade examples from Topps’ 1952 debut set now trading at over $10,000 on a regular basis, it may not be surprising but the 1953 Topps Mickey Mantle card has become one of the hobby’s most valuable pieces of post-War cardboard.
One of the 90 PSA 8 graded copies is now on eBay. After just two days of bidding and with more than a week to go, the card had rocketed to near $18,000.
Four times in the last 12 months, PSA 8 Mantle cards have sold for more than $20,000. Just three years ago, the card was selling for under $13,000 when offered at auction, according to Vintage Card Prices. Not a bad return for anyone who had purchased one for investment purposes or held one in a high-end set.
The breakthrough moment for Mantle’s second year Topps card may have been a 2007 event conducted by Mile High Card Company, when the card broke the five-figure barrier for the first time, soaring to $13,497. Since that time, no ’53 Mantle offered at public auction has sold for less than $10,826.
PSA has graded only eight 9’s, with most residing in private collections. SGC has graded four 96 (mint) examples, five 92s (NM/MT) and 11 88s (NM).
Those higher prices have trickled down to lower grades, although increases haven’t been quite as pronounced. From 2010 through 2013, most PSA 7 rated 1953 Mantle cards sold for $3,000-$4,000. Now, the card trades regularly above $5,000 with a high water mark occurring just two months ago when Heritage Auctions sold one for $10,755. Respectable mid-grade examples, graded or not, can still be found for under $2,000 but that may not be the case much longer.
While still not as scarce as the 1952 issue, grading companies have looked at over 3,200 examples of the 1953 Topps card as of this writing. Mantle may be a single print, but his card was produced in the widely distributed Topps first series. Yet as prices push the 1952 Topps set to a plateau that isn’t reachable for many average collectors, the 1953 set remains somewhat within reason.