It was a Mickey month: Just look at all those 1951 Bowman and 1952 Topps Mantle cards on our Top 10 chart. And there were several others that sold in the $5,000 to $10,000 range. While those two landmark cards always hog the headlines, there are other Mantle oddities and rarities that are worth a look. Three to consider:
• A 1967 Topps disc of Mantle sold for $4,750. Created as part of a scarce test issue, the disc’s image is printed on silver foil with a blank cardboard back, and (though not graded) bears no creases or flaws, according to the seller. The coin is so rare that the seller originally listed it in a Buy It Now sale at $19,000 before settling for the final selling price.
Other faces to appear in Topps’ 1967 test disc issue includes Willie Mays (whose discs can sell for upwards of $1,000), Frank Robinson (an ungraded but nice example just sold for $350), and Hank Aaron (a seller is currently asking $2,375 for an ungraded but excellent-condition example). A rare Sandy Koufax disc from the Topps test occasionally surfaces; at press time, we saw one listed at $8,000, although based on other sales, it likely won’t fetch that sum.
• A rare 1950s-era baby shirt featuring Mantle promoting Yoo-Hoo’s chocolate drink sold for $1,254. Made by Hudson Creations, the never-worn, top-condition shirt bears an illustration of The Mick (a somewhat low-level illustration, at that) within a black-bordered, red-background circle above the words “Me for Yoo-Hoo.” Underneath the promotional line is a large Mantle facsimile autograph.
• Collectors of affordable but intriguing Mantle-bilia will love this: A 1960 5 x 7.5-inch full-page print ad promoting the old TV competition Home Run Derby got away for $80. The image on the ad depicted Mantle posed from the left side next to an image of the right-handed-hitting Willie Mays in a matching pose.
As great as Cleveland superstar LeBron James was in the NBA Finals, the star-studded Golden State Warriors couldn’t be denied its second title in three years. On the heels of the Warriors’ decisive win over the Cavaliers, a seller got $4,400 for an ungraded 2016-17 National Treasures 1-of-1 autographed card of Finals MVP Kevin Durant. Another seller got $3,000 for a 2007-08 Upper Deck SPx autographed patch card of Durant graded 9.5 with a 10 for the sig. Still another listed a PSA-10-graded 2007-08 Topps Chrome Refractor parallel rookie card of Durant and got $2,700.
It’s nice to see one of baseball’s classiest heroes, Frank Robinson, get some love on our Top 10 chart. He’s always been undervalued among collectors, but in June, a perfect-condition (PSA 10) Robby card from Topps’ 1965 set sold for $38,077.
How much higher is that figure than even slightly lesser-grade 1965 Topps Robinsons? Well, consider these recent sales: a PSA 9 example of the card brought $1,581; several PSA 8s fetched prices between $150 and $230; and a few PSA 7s fell between $40 and $50.
Robinson broke in as a major leaguer as a 20-year-old in 1956 and played until he was 40. How good was he? Over his 20 seasons, he batted a robust .294 with 586 homers while also stealing 204 bases. The lanky right-handed slugger (he stood 6-foot-1 and weighed 183 in his playing days) had a long, distinctive swing that helped him earn an MVP Award in each league: in 1961 with the Reds and in 1966 with the Orioles. In the latter season, he notched a Triple Crown, batting .316 with 49 HRs and 122 RBI.
Late in his career, of course, Robinson doubled up as a player-manager, serving as skipper and DH for the 1975 and 1976 Indians. He went on to serve as manager of the Giants, Orioles and Expos/Nationals, twice leading his teams to second-place divisional finishes. He entered the Hall of Fame in 1982.
The top pitching prospect in the Twins’ organization, Jose Berrios, got his first taste of the major leagues last year and hit a few bumps in the road: He had an 8.02 ERA in 54 innings, coughing up 74 hits and a dozen homers. That didn’t stop a collector from paying $15,750 for a lot of four Berrios cards. The reason?
Berrios came back this season and looked like a different hurler, winning five of his first six decisions while posting a 2.84 ERA.
Still, that five-figure price was a lot to pay, even if three of the cards were autographed. The key card: a 1/1 2013 Bowman Chome signed Superfactor graded BGS 9.5 (with a 10 for the sig). Also in the lot: an autographed 2013 Bowman Chrome Red Refractor (one of five made); an autographed 2013 Bowman Chrome Purple Refractor (one of 10 made); and an unsigned 2012 Bowman Chrome 1-of-1 Superfractor.