The Empire State Collection, a high-grade accumulation featuring all 21 basic Mickey Mantle cards, including the 1951 Bowman rookie and iconic 1952 Topps high number, will be broken up and sold by Memory Lane Auctions.
The collection, pieced together over a period of years by a long-time Mantle fan and collector, is the No. 1-rated basic Mantle set on the PSA Set Registry. It includes 17 cards graded PSA 9 (Mint) and one PSA 10 (Gem Mint). The Mantle rookie rates an 8 (NM/MT), while the 1952 Topps is graded 7.5 (NM+). From 1955 Bowman through Mantle’s final card in the 1969 Topps set, each card is rated 9 or 10. In each case, fewer than five examples exist in higher grades.
All of the cards will be offered as individual lots in Memory Lane’s upcoming Winter Catalog Auction.
“We believe this is the best high-grade Mickey Mantle collection ever offered at auction at one time,” said Memory Lane’s J.P. Cohen. “The market for Mantle cards is extremely strong right now, and it’s exciting for us to be able to offer such a phenomenal group.”
The PSA 9 1962 Topps Mantle was the toughest to acquire, with prices realized at auction often reaching 150 percent of the latest price guide value. The owner acquired the 7.5 1952 Topps Mantle by starting with a PSA 5, then trading up to better cards as prices rose over time.
The Empire State Collection wasn’t always tops on the Registry. The owner, who grew up in Queens, N.Y., as a Yankee fan, spent years building the set. After discovering grading in the 1990s, he first acquired Mantles that were primarily graded PSA 8 but then adjusted his strategy and began chasing 9s at or below price guide values. Earlier this year, he reached the coveted No. 1 position. With retirement on the horizon and the Mantle market sizzling, he has opted to let others have a chance to own a piece of the collection.
Bidding in Memory Lane’s Winter Auction will open Dec. 26 and close Jan. 16. To register and receive a full-color catalog, visit MemoryLaneInc.com or call (877) 606-5263.