1952 Topps Mickey Mantle: Looking to Own One?

Some believe the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle is the most popular baseball card of all-time.A picture-perfect presentation of a star being born in New York, the Mantle card is a favorite of those seeking to invest in sports memorabilia and also of those who understand its significance in the hobby.

Mickey Mantle, of course, was immensely popular as a player during the 1950s and 60s.  Mantle won seven World Series rings during his career, all of which was spent playing for the Yankees.  He was a popular speaker and card show guest throughout the 1980s and early 1990s before his death.

Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps baseball cardThe ’52 Mantle is one of the top three or four  sports cards of all-time  for a virtually never-ending list of reasons, highlighted by a few key factors:

  • It’s Mantle-- a living legend who enjoyed immense favor with the baby boomers now edging into retirement.
  • It’s not an easy card to find because Topps dumped many of the final series cards that year into the ocean just to get them out of the warehouse.

  • It’s part of an iconic set that continues to grow in popularity with collectors and investors.

  • It’s proven to be a solid investment.

Always wanted a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle but couldn’t take the plunge?  You’re not alone.It’s a great-looking card; one of those that even casual or non-collecting sports fans are aware of on some level because of the publicity that often accompanies the sale of a high grade copy.

If you’re ready to invest in a 1952 Topps Mantle, we’d recommend some comparison shopping, of course. Knowledge is power and if you know where the market is, you’ll get a better deal.But don’t expect to find one at bargain basement prices. Demand still far outweighs supply.

In May 2013, one of the two PSA 8.5 (NM/MT+) graded Mantle cards sold via Robert Edward Auctions for $272,500, more than $119,000 higher than the last example which had sold in 2010.  Clearly, it was a great investment!

The bar was raised even further in late 2014 when a PSA 8 Mantle card sold at auction for $268,664, more than twice what the last '8' had sold for at public auction. A PSA 8 had topped $100,000 for the first time in an auction in 2009 and the theory that a 'rising tide lifts all boats' will likely be true among the highest grade Mantle cards, but there are enough in the low and mid-grade ranges that if you have the capital, they can be attained.  Those prices do obviously represent a significant jump over what 1952 Topps Mantle cards were selling for five or six years ago and it's not hard to consider this card one of the stars of the baseball card investment world.

You can see what a difference even one grade can make, assuming the graders to a consistent job, and sometimes a qualifier such as off-center or miscut can impact a grade significantly.Beauty, after all, is still in the eye of the beholder.

You can do an eBay search to find out what prices are being asked on the cards that are out there and do a completed items search for some which may have sold.They’re almost always on the market.That’s the good news!

Mantle 1952 Topps AuthenticThe general rule on buying vintage baseball cards is to buy the best you can afford.The card will appreciate. The cards which see the biggest jump in value are almost always those in the highest grades.

1952 Topps Mantle cards are often found with condition issues, whether it’s poor centering or simply wear from being well-loved.  The good news is that you can own one without a lot of hunting, in virtually any condition and the bottom won’t be dropping out of the market anytime soon.  Look for lower grade examples that may look better than the technical grades.  "Buy the card, not the holder" is good advice when it comes to higher priced cards like this one.  It's often possible to own a relatively nice looking Mantle that may have had a slight alteration or tiny piece of the back pulled off for less than $10,000.  Many Mantle cards are off-center but most agree a centered example, even with flaws, is more attractive.

We’d recommend buying only a graded 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle because of the issues with altered cards or those which have been counterfeited.  It was double printed, so we know it's not the rarest card in the high number series.  Even if the graders aren’t uniformly consistent, at least what you see is what you’ll get.  It will also be easier to sell down the road if you must.  You can click here to see what's available on eBay and there should be plenty of options.   Just don’t stick the slab in your bike spokes.