Mickey Mantle Collectibles Guide Part XIII: Buttons

By Kelly Eisenhauer

One thing I always remember about my earliest trips to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx in the 1960s was getting off the bus and immediately being swamped by the souvenir vendors trying to sell us their wares, like programs, yearbooks and buttons, which are interchangeably called pins or pinbacks. The ballpark hawkers would have large felt-covered boards with button upon button. There were literally hundreds from which to choose. Most pins came with attached with red and white or red, white, and blue ribbons, or chains with gold plated charms that featured miniaturized bats, balls or gloves. It wasn’t until many years later, that I would find out that these pins would be called PM10’s. A PM-10 pin is defined as any pin or button sold in or outside of the ballpark by vendors. 


Since Mickey Mantle was a fan favorite, I would always see something different every time we would visit. As a kid, I would have no idea as to how valuable these baseball celluloids would become. Some of them today are worth more than $10,000.
As far as Mantle is concerned, his earliest pins date back to 1952. They came in various sizes and most of them were issued in black and white, although a few different color pins were also made. I am sure there may be one or two that I might have been overlooked, but this is one of the most comprehensive lists known to date.

1 – Mickey Mantle Fan Club Pin

Considered by many as the Holy Grail of all Mickey Mantle pins, this 11/4-inch pin features a black-and-white head shot photo of Mickey from 1952. The pin has a white background with the words “Mickey Mantle Fan Club” written in bold black letters. It has been said that the Mickey Mantle Fan Club distributed the pin, which was located at 400 Madison Ave., Suite 906, New York, N.Y. Pictured is an autographed letterhead envelope from the club, as well as a May 1951 Mantle Fan Club postcard that was signed by Mantle on the reverse side. The pin is so rare that it is thought that no more than five are in existence. This author believes it to be very rare, but a little more plentiful than that. In 1999, legendary collector Barry Halper sold his pin for $12,650 (Photo Nos. 809-812).

2 – Mickey Mantle Yellow Basepath Pin

Designated as a PM 15 pin, the yellow basepath pins date back to 1956. Measuring 7/8 of an inch in size, these small pins featured a black-and-white photo inside a green infield with yellow basepaths. The pin also featured the player’s name in written script around the home plate area of each pin. The pins were available in bubble gum machines, as well as five-and-dime stores. Excellent condition pins range from $300-$500 (Photo No. 813).

3 – Mantle and Maris “61 in ’61 or Bust” Pin
 Measuring 3½ inches in diameter, this larger-sized pin featured pictures of the M&M Boys as they went head to head in trying to break Babe Ruth’s record of 60 home runs in a single season. With Mickey on the left side of the pin and Roger on the right, the pin’s design has the look of a baseball with black threads curving through the center area of the pin. The pin has the following, “61 in ’61 or Bust” in bold, black print. The pin was most likely sold by vendors inside and outside Yankee Stadium. Because of its rarity, values are between $4,000- $5,000 (Photo No. 814).

4 – I’m For Mantle – 60 in ’61
Another very rare pin that once again was focused on the home run race between Maris and Mantle in 1961. This 15/8-inch pin showed a black-and-white bust shot photo of a smiling Mantle with a white background. On the top of the pin in red letters were the words “I’m For Mantle,” and at the bottom of the pin were the words “60 in ’61.” A matching counterpart was made for Maris. It was identical in design and featured a black-and-white bust photo of Roger looking to his left.
(Photo No. 815).

5 – The Greatest Home Run Hitters
One of the largest pins ever made with Mickey’s likeness, this 6-inch diameter button featured Mantle, Ruth and Maris. Called by two names, “The Greatest Home Run Hitters pin,” or the “Shooting for 61 in ’61 pin,” this 1961 item pictured the Yankee threesome. Sold at Yankee Stadium souvenir shops and by stadium vendors, the pin has sold in excess of $1,000. Recent smaller reproductions have surfaced with little or no value. The pin, which is off-white or beige in color, shows Mickey on the left, Ruth in the center and Maris on the right side. A black-and-white illustrated baseball appears directly above the words “Shooting for 61 in ’61.” At the top of the pin in black are the words “The Greatest Home Run Hitters,” and “New York Yankees” is also printed in bold type at the very bottom of the pin (Photo No. 816).

6 – PM 10 Yellow Background
This 31/2-inch in diameter pin shows Mickey looking over his left shoulder. The black-and-white photo of Mickey appears with a mustard-yellow background. A name strip appears at the bottom of the pin. The pin dates back to the 1950s and is valued at around $300 (Photo No. 817).

7 – PM 10 Light Blue or Aqua Background
Identical in appearance to the above mentioned yellow background pin, this button has an aqua or light-blue background. The photo is exactly the same, with Mickey looking over his left shoulder. This aqua version pin is much more common than the above-mentioned yellow version. This light-blue pin is valued at about half of the yellow version. It is worth $150 in excellent-plus condition (Photo No. 818).

8 – PM 10 Blue Portrait Pin
This very rare Mantle pin is known as the Portrait pin. It features Mickey wearing his pinstripe uniform and Yankee hat. The photo of Mickey shows him looking straight on and features only a bust shot in black and white. The background is a turquoise type blue and shows Mickey’s name at the bottom of the pin in bold, black print (Photo No. 819).



9 – PM 10 Name at Top Pin Version 1

Issued in the 1950s, this black-and-white 1¾-inch celluloid pin shows Mickey looking pretty much straight forward with his head slightly tilted to the left. This pin is one of  only a few that features Mickey’s name at the top of the pin. The photo shows Mickey from the neck up. Valued around $500 in ex-mint condition (Photo No. 820).

10 – PM 10 Name at Top Pin Version 2
Very similar to the above-mentioned version No. 1, this black-and-white pin is slightly larger in size. It measures 2¼ inches in diameter and shows Mickey in a very similar pose, but looking more straight on than in No. 1. A portion of Mickey’s shoulder is also shown, which makes it very easy to differentiate the two. Mickey’s name also appears at the top of the pin. This version is a little more common than version No. 1. The value of this pin is around $300 in ex-mint condition (Photo No. 821).

11 – 1950s PM 10 Eyes Closed Pin
This celluloid pin measures 15/8-inch in diameter. It shows a black-and-white photo of Mickey that appears to show him with his eyes closed. The pin has Mickey’s name on the bottom. The photo of Mick is from the middle of his chest on up (Photo No. 822).

12 – 1961 Four-in-One Pin
With the words “N.Y.Yankees” written inside an illustrated baseball diamond logo, this 3½-inch pin features four Yankee greats. They are Mantle, Maris, Yogi Berra, and Bill “Moose” Skowron. With Mantle in the 12 o’clock position, Skowron’s photo occupies the 3 o’clock position, Berra at 6 o’clock and Maris’ photo is at 9 o’clock. The pin is valued at $1,500- $2,000 (Photo No. 823).

13 – PM 10 Small Aqua Pin
Measuring 15/8-inch in diameter, this colorful Mantle pin shows Mickey looking over his left shoulder while holding his bat in a right-handed batting stance. Similar to the photo used in pin No. 7, the photo shows a young Mantle with his bat behind his head and his name printed in bold black at the bottom of the pin. The “blue” background has several variations. I have seen a sky blue, aqua, and a greenish-blue version. It is the same pin and neither color variation is worth anymore than any of the others.  The pin is worth $200-$250 in near-mint condition. This pin dates back to the early 1950s (Photo No. 824). 

14 – PM 10 Mantle Blue Pin
Measuring 15/8 inches in diameter, this pin shows Mickey looking over his right shoulder, while in a left-handed batting pose. No hands or bat are seen, as the photo was cropped to fit the pin. Mickey’s name appears inside a name strip at the bottom of the pin. A sky blue background was used for this 1960s pin. The pin is worth around $300-$350 in near-mint (Photo No. 825).

15 – PM 10 Mantle Baseball Pin
Measuring 15/8 inches in diameter, this Mantle pin shows a smiling Mickey with a baseball background. Black-and-white in design, the pin also shows the threads of a baseball and his name inside a nameplate at the bottom. The pin dates back to the 1950s, but has been reprinted in the 1970s. Pictured are the original button in the first photo and a grainy reproduction in the second. The original pin is worth around $200 in excellent to mint condition (Photo Nos. 826-827).

16 – PM 10 Right-handed Batting

This black-and-white PM 10 measures 15/8 inches in diameter. It shows Mickey in a right-handed batting pose looking over his left shoulder. Mantle’s name runs from his back shoulder area through his left forearm area. Only part of Mickey’s hand is shown (Photo No. 828).

17 – PM 10 Right-handed Batting 
This black-and-white PM 10 shows Mickey in a similar right-handed batting stance. Looking over his left shoulder, both of his hands can be seen holding the bat. With bat behind his head, Mickey’s name is located at the bottom of the pin in a smaller font than pin No. 16 (Photo No. 829).

18 – PM 10 Small Yellow w/ Bat

Identical to the smaller aqua pin shown in pin No. 13, this PM 10 has the same mustard-yellow background as shown in pin No.  6. The pin shows Mickey looking over his left shoulder. A white nameplate appears at the bottom, with Mickey’s name in bold black print. Only part of his right hand is shown holding his bat, which is located behind his head (Photo No. 830).

19 –1954 Louis Dormand Pin
Using the same photo as the 1954 Mickey Mantle Louis Dormand postcard, this 3-inch in diameter, colorful pin, features a young Mickey holding his bat on his left shoulder. An early 1953-54 facsimile Mantle autograph is located over his hands. There is some concern whether this is an actual vintage piece or a button that may have been made in the 1970s or 1980s. The pin has been professionally made, but seems to be eaily found at $25-$35 (Photo No. 831).

20 – Thin B&W Left Hitting
This PM 10 look-alike is a black-and-white that is extremely thin and shows Mickey in a left-handed batting pose. The Mantle image is not very clear, as the photo is very dark. Mantle is shown wearing his home pinstripes and looking over his right shoulder. No name appears and it is doubtful that this pin is an original (Photo No. 832).

21 – Mickey Mantle Day Pin
After announcing his retirement in March of 1969, the Yankees honored Mantle with a special day on June 8, 1969. To commemorate Mickey Mantle Day, several items including special programs, pennants, and buttons were made to sell to the fans in attendance.

The original pin is very rare and was issued in very small numbers as described below. See pin No. 22. 
In the 1980s, Sport Magazine or someone using their name issued thousands of buttons with the famous blue-sky background photo of Mickey kneeling with his hat in hand and glove below his right forearm. The photo itself is copyrighted and dated April 1969. The button or pin was issued as a “fantasy” pin for those fans who were not in attendance but wanted a memento.
Two different variations of the fantasy pin exist. Both pins feature the words “A Day To Remember” around the upper curl, with two No. 7s at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock. Printed around the lower curl of the 4-inch button are the words “Sunday, June 8, 1969, Yankee Stadium.” The pins also feature a facsimile signature of Mickey as well as a memo, “ My Thanks to you all.”
This pin was originally issued with black letters and gray 7s on the side, but the more common variation features all white letters. Both pins are said to be made in the 1980s and are very affordably priced at $10 or less (Photo Nos. 833-834).


22. Original Mickey Mantle Day Black-and-White Pin
One of the rarest Mantle pins is the actual and original Mickey Mantle pin from June 8, 1969. Much smaller than the colored versions listed above, this black-and-white beauty features Mickey in a right-handed batting pose looking over his left shoulder wearing his road grays. The words “Mickey Mantle Day, June 8, 1969” curl around the top of the pin. The pin measures 1¾ inches in diameter. It is unclear as to who made the pin, but it is said that the pin was attached to Mickey Mantle Day pennants sold by vendors at and around Yankee Stadium. The pin recently sold at auction for slightly more than $2,000 (Photo Nos. 835-836).

23 – Mantle Grape Nuts Premium

Issued in 1954 as a premium by Post Grape Nuts Cereal, this 3-inch in diameter pin features a very young Mantle holding his bat on his left shoulder. Dressed in his home Yankee pinstripes and blue-armed undershirt, the Mick is pictured in front of an olive-green background. In the middle of the pin is a script-written signature. The pin is considered to be rare. It is valued at around $500 or higher depending upon condition (Photo No. 837).

24 – I Love Mickey Pin
In 1956, Teresa Brewer and Mickey Mantle recorded a song called “I Love Mickey,” that was released on Coral Records. A 1½-inch pin was issued that featured both Brewer and Mantle. On the top of the pin in black print are the words “I Love Mickey.” At the bottom of the pin also printed in black are Brewer and Mantle’s names. This pin has been reprinted or reproduced and two different versions exist. The most common reprint issue has red-lettered printing, while the second repro button has black printing, but is larger than the original. The repro measures 2¼ inches in diameter.
The one thing to look for when buying the original is the union label that is embedded on the backside of the pin. The original buttons were given away with the purchase of the “I Love Mickey” sheet music. The pins are worth between $50 and $75 (Photo Nos. 838-840).

25 –1953 New York Yankees Button
This rare 1953 Yankees team pin features Mantle and the rest of his teammates. Measuring 3½ inches in diameter, the pin has “New York Yankees” on the top of the rim with “1953” placed directly above the team photo. Below in the bottom section of the pin are the words “American League Champions.” (Photo No. 841)

26 – 1961 Yankees World Champions
This very large 6-inch in diameter button is red, white and blue in design. It has the words “New York Yankees” at the top in white letters over a red background. In the middle, the 1961 Yankees team photo is the focal point. It includes the names of all the players, coaches, trainers and batboys. At the bottom of the pin in white letters “World Champions 1961” appears over a blue background. Tony Kubek’s name is misspelled as “Tony Kuber.” It is the opinion of some that this is not a vintage pin. Mantle is pictured in the team photo (Photo No. 842).

27 – Red, White and Blue Mickey Mantle Pin
This 3½-inch diameter pin shows Mickey inserted into a circle, which is placed toward the lower bottom portion of the button. A white baseball with red laces graces the left side of the pin, while the Yankees top hat occupies the right side. On the top of the pin, “New York” appears in white letters and “Yankees” is in red print. The pin was probably produced in the 1970s. Mantle’s name appears in white letters inside the circular Mantle photo (Photo No. 843).

28 – Baseball Hall of Fame
In 1981, Sports Photo Association Inc. of Paterson, N.J., produced a pin called “Baseball Hall of Fame.” Identified as HF24, the pin shows Mickey in his pinstripe uniform in a right-handed batting pose from waist on up. Mickey’s name appears on the left side of the button, which features a light-blue background. The pin is worth about $15-$20 (Photo No. 844).



29 – Mantle Signature PM 10

Produced sometime in the 1950s, this is one of the few Mantle pins that features Mickey’s signature in an old-style script. Measuring 15/8 inches in diameter, this black-and-white pin shows Mickey in a right-handed batting stance. He is wearing his home Yankee pinstripe uniform with Yankees hat (Photo No. 845).   
 
30 – MLBPA Mantle Pin

Made in 1969 and sporting the Major League Baseball Centennial logo and well as the Major League Players Association logo, this Mickey Mantle pin measures 3½ inches in diameter and is red, white and blue in design. Mickey’s black-and-white photo appears inside a red, white and blue circle that is bordered by 10 dark-colored stars. At the bottom of the pin in a white background are the words “Mickey Mantle, New York Yankees,” which appear in blue print (Photo No. 846).

31 – Mantle Collector’s Club
In the early 1980s, Mickey’s first agent, Tom Catal, formed the Mickey Mantle Collector’s Club. Besides receiving a personalized, typed, autographed letter from Mickey, each collector could also purchase specially made memorabilia that featured Mickey. Lithographs and various other kinds of collectibles were affordably priced. One of the items made available to club members was a special set of six Mantle pins. Each measured 3 inches in diameter and were numbered MM1 through MM6. Mickey’s name appeared at the top curl of the pin, while “Collectors Club” appeared at the bottom. The pins today are worth about $25-$35 each (Photo No. 847).

32 – 1969 MLBPA Small Pins
Two dime-sized Mantle pins were made and manufactured by the MLBPA. Using a black-and-white headshot of Mickey, the pins are identical except for the fact that one has a red background and the other has a dark blue background. Measuring ¾ inches in diameter, the pins have Mantle’s name at the top and “New York Yankees” is curled around the bottom. The pins have a 1969 copyright around the bottom brim, but were actually released in 1983. The pins are valued around $10-$15 each (Photo Nos. 848-849).

33 – Mickey Mantle Phillies Cigar
In 1964-65, Phillies cigars used Mickey Mantle as their spokesman. A full advertising campaign with Mickey and his son, Mickey Jr., offered youngsters a chance to get their own Mickey Mantle baseball glove made by Rawlings. For $3.39 and 20 Phillies cigar bands, Phillies would send you a Mantle glove, the Phillies cigar color photo premium and a thank-you letter with a facsimile autograph.

Phillies cigars also made a 3-inch in diameter baseball pin to promote their special. Although the pin did not contain a Mantle picture, it did have his name and the words “Baseball Special!” The red-and white Phillies cigar logo also appeared in the lower area of the pin. The pin is worth around $30-$40 (Photo No. 850).

34 – Mantle Gayfers/ Lee Jeans Pins
In the early 1980s, Gayfer’s Department store, in conjunction with Lee jeans, sponsored an in-store visit by Mantle. To commemorate the event, flyers and pins were made with Mickey’s likeness. An original 3-inch in diameter pin was made that showed Mickey in a right-handed batting pose. “Lee Jeans – The brand that fits” is printed on the top of the bottom and “Gayfers” is printed at the bottom. The pin is blue and white in design and has Mickey’s name is printed over his back shoulder area. Part of his No. 7 is also visible. Reprint copies have been made and the quality is excellent, but Mickey’s back is barely visible. There is no No. 7 visible either. The reprints are very common and sell for approximately $10-$15. A smaller pin was also made, which shows Mickey in a completely different pose. He is batting left-handed and the photo is blue-tinted and very difficult to see his facial details (Photo No. 851-853).

35 – Mantle Echelon Mall Pins
On Dec. 3, 1982, Mantle made a personal appearance at the Echelon Mall in Voorhees, N.J.  To mark the event, three different pins were made. They all measured 2¼ inches in diameter. The first pin shows Mickey looking over his left shoulder in a right-handed batting stance. “I saw Mickey Mantle at Echelon Mall” is printed in red at the top rim of the button and the date of December 3, 1982, is printed in red at the bottom. Mantle’s photo is very clear and a good part of Mickey’s No. 7 is visible.
In example No. 2, the Mantle photo is a lot darker and the “I saw Mickey Mantle at Echelon Mall” is printed in black, while the date of  Dec. 3, 1982, is in red.

In the third example, a different photo has been used. The white part of Mickey’s undershirt is seen and the photo seems to be chopped off in the area of Mickey’s hat. All printing is done in red, like the first example and all three have solid-white backgrounds. It is this author’s opinion that the pins were not reprinted, but just made up to meet demand. The pins are readily available and a valued around $5 (Photo No. 854).


36 – Mickey Mantle Paramus Park Pin
Very similar in design to the Echelon Mall pin, a Mickey Mantle pin was made to highlight his visit to the Paramus Park Mall on June 16, 1982. The black-and-white photo of Mickey is identical to the one used in Example No. 1 of the Echelon pin. “I saw Mickey Mantle at Paramus Park” is printed in red ink, as is the date of June 16, 1982. The value is around $5
(Photo No. 855).

37 – Mantle 1990s Blue Background
Measuring 1¾ inches in diameter, this new Mantle pin shows a black-and-white photo over a blue background. Mickey’s name is spelled around the bottom rim of the pin. Not intending to be an original vintage pin because of its shiny back surface, the button was probably made for fans of Mickey and not collectors
(Photo No. 856).

38 – Mickey Mantle Switch Hitting Double-Image Pin
This extremely attractive Mantle pin shows two images of Mickey. The Mick is seen in a right-handed and a left-handed batting stance. Not a vintage pin, this oversized 6-inch button entered the collectors market in the last few years. Mickey’s full name, Mickey Charles Mantle, appears directly below the switch-hitting image, as well as a white area that reveals the specific number of the pin. The pin was limited to a total of 536, which was the number of career home runs hit by Mickey. The value is around $25 (Photo No. 857).

39 – Pennsylvania Dept. of Health Mickey Mantle Day Pin
Shortly after Mickey’s death in 1995, the Pennsylvania Department of Health began an organ donation program in Mickey’s honor. At various minor-league ballparks and even at the professional level in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, the Health Department and organ-procurement agencies began to promote organ donation days at certain “Mickey Mantle Day” games. Donation cards with Mickey’s picture and special Mickey Mantle Day pins were given to the public free of charge. The Mantle pins were red, white and blue in design and measured 23/8 inches in diameter. Not possessing a photo of Mickey, the pin featured a facsimile autograph over a blue No. 7. Filling out the rim of the pin at the top and bottom were the words “Pennsylvania Department of Health, Mickey Mantle Day.” The pin also shows the year, which is printed in red. These pins were issued for a few years and the main variation was the changing of the year. Some minute differences are present. For example in 2002, the No. 7 is smaller and totally inside the red threads of the illustrated baseball. The pin also has a much darker blue background with a PA Dept. of Health logo present. The pins are worth around $5-$10 each (Photo Nos. 858-859).

40 – Mickey’s Pal, Billy Martin
Very little is known about this particular pin. It shows Mickey and Billy Martin adjusting each other’s necktie. Issued in the 1980s, this 3-inch in diameter pin has a blue background, a black-and-white photo of the two famous Yankees, and the words “Mickey’s Pal, Billy Martin.” It is unknown why the pin was made, as well as the pin’s manufacturer. The pins are valued at $15-$20 (Photo No. 860).

41 – Mickey Mantle’s Baseball Flip Tipps Pin
 In 1989, Flipp Tipps produced a flipbook that showed the home run hitting swings of Mantle. The book featured 72 pages of visual and written instruction. To promote the booklet, a 3-inch in diameter pin was made that featured an illustration of Mickey in a right handed batting stance with a baseball that contained the words “Baseball Flip Tipps.” With the flipbooks produced in vast quantities, their value is $1-$2. The pins are worth around $5 each (Photo Nos. 8161-862).

42 – On-Deck Bat, Weight Adjustable
In 1962, the Alvern Co. of Newton Centre, Mass., produced a product called the Mickey Mantle On-Deck Bat. It consisted mainly of a plastic baseball bat that had an opening where sand could be added to make the bat heavier. A hard cardboard header card showed a picture of Mickey Mantle batting and stated that the product is easy to use and “great for On-Deck or training.” In addition to the right-handed batting photo of Mickey described above, the header card also featured a circular photo of Mickey in the shape of a pin with a facsimile signature. That same circular photo also appeared on another header card that was affixed to the plastic bat. Alvern also issued a small Mantle booklet called “How To Play Various Positions and Batting Tips by Mickey Mantle.” The photo on the booklet was the same picture, but in a full-body pose. It is thought that Alvern was going to issue two Mantle pins, one large and one small, which never materialized. The evidence is based on two different test proof sheets that show both examples. It is unclear as to why these pins were not issued, since Alvern had the rights to use the photo for the packaging design anyway (Photo Nos. 863-867).

About the author
Kelly R. Eisenhauer of Lehighton, Pa., has been a fan and collector of Mickey Mantle memorabilia for more than 40 years. He supplied photography for the HBO documentary “Mantle, The Definitive Story” and is featured in Richard Wolfe’s current book, For Yankee Fans Only – Vol. 2. Eisenhauer owns and operates his own Mickey Mantle webpage at www.hofmemories.com. Anyone with questions or comments can reach him at mrike@ptd.net.

Many of the photographs from this multi-part series, including a remarkable number of one-of-a-kind pieces, came from the Mickey Mantle Collection of B.S. Alpert.