We’ve written about that incredible childhood collection that included five 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle cards and other high-grade beauties from the early 1950s. Consigned to Heritage Auctions, many of them have already sold and a PSA 8.5 Mantle–one of the hobby’s best– is among those currently on the block where it’s expected to surpass $1 million.
It turns out the cards belong to a set of brothers who were Yankee fans and acquired them as kids, some by trading with neighborhood Red Sox fans. Their separate collections merged at some point and the cards were stored in their mother’s home for decades. When she passed away in 2006 at age 102, the cards were still there. They’ve been in possession of one brother since then but it wasn’t until he read of a PSA 9 ’52 Mantle bringing over $2 million earlier this year that he reached out to the auction house. After seeing the story in the New York Times, he thought the paper had added too many zeroes and would print a correction the next day.
“I really thought they had made a terrible mistake,” he said.
“Tom”, now 76 and living in New Jersey, says he was offered $8,000 sight unseen by one card dealer. Instead, the whole loot is likely to fetch a price into the millions by the time all of the high-grade cards are sold at the end of the year. A PSA 7.5 from the collection has already sold for $204,000 and a 5 for $72,000. Others from the collection will be sold at a later date.
High-grade 1952 Topps high numbers including multiples of Eddie Mathews’ rookie card and Jackie Robinson’s first Topps card were also part of the 1,200 or so that the brothers had saved.
How did they stay in such great shape over the years? Tom says watching their father, an avid collector of coins, stamps and postcards, care for his collection certainly had an influence.
“We didn’t abuse them,” he told the Associated Press for this story. “They were a collection. We watched how he did things and we did the same.”