Nearly 40 years after he retired as an active player, Mickey Mantle is still magic to baseball fans and collectors. Proof of that can be found in the Winter Extravaganza Rarities Auction conducted by Memory Lane Inc. in mid-December.
Pieced together with dogged determination over a 10-year period by a Mantle fan and collector, the Bruce Griggs Collection featured in the Memory Lane auction contained 33 of the finest Mantle cards in existence, helping to boost the auction’s final tally to more than $1.5 million.
The Bruce Griggs Collection was ranked among the finest on the PSA Set Registry. It included each of Mantle’s regular-issue cards from his rookie season of 1951 through his final appearance on a Topps card in 1969. Both white and yellow-letter variations were included. Each card in the Mantle Basic Collection was graded PSA 8. Headlining the group, of course, was the ever-popular 1952 Topps Mantle, which sold for $79,900 (with the buyer’s premium, shown right).
“It was an honor for us to sell this group,” said Memory Lane’s J.P. Cohen. “To see all of these cards in such rare and consistent quality was remarkable. We know those who purchased these Mantle cards will be very pleased.”
Speaking of iconic cards, the Memory Lane sale also included a 1954 Topps Hank Aaron rookie card in Mint condition. It drew a final realized price of $24,651. The card was a true classic, combining a popular player with the impeccable condition.
More star cards
The Winter auction was loaded with top-quality vintage cards and memorabilia from all eras.
For instance, the No. 1 card in the 1934 Goudey set, Jimmie Foxx, another NM-MT specimen in the auction, brought $14,942. A 1933 Sport Kings Ty Cobb, graded PSA 7, was sold for $6,705.
A Mint, graded 1955 Topps rookie card of Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew brought an astonishing $11,157. The 1959 Topps Al Kaline offered in the auction soared to $6,527.
Collectors shopping for the absolute best of the best flocked to a PSA 10 1968 Topps Mantle card. The final realized price for this monumental piece of cardboard reached $11,732.
Mantle’s teammate, Yogi Berra, remains a hit, especially when starring in a Mint PSA 9 1963 Topps holder. One of only three of its kind ever to reach such lofty status, the Berra card in the Memory lane sale brought heavy hitters out to the tune of a $5,541.
Prewar cards continue to attract a growing audience in the card market. A 1902 W600 Sporting Life Eddie Plank graded PSA 5 was sold for $8,101, while a 1911 M116 Sporting Life Johnny Evers in PSA 8 found a buyer at $4,161.
A pair of top quality PSA 8 T205 cards, Robert Byrne and George McBride, each sold for more than $4,000.
Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio were icons of the game during their heyday, and each continues to enjoy incredible popularity with collectors. A 1941 Double Play Williams/Charlie Keller graded PSA 8 sold for $4,053, while another pair of Williams cards attracted a strong following – a 1950 Bowman card of Teddy Ballgame reached $4,425, while a 1952 Berk Ross sold for $1,874. Each fit nicely in a PSA 8 holder.
Set Registry participants love a tough common in high grade, and a pair of older cards didn’t disappoint them. A 1952 Topps Charley Maxwell graded PSA 8 drew strong interest before reaching $4,023, while a 1967 Topps Mel Queen error card, graded PSA 8, brought $2,709.
Some nice vintage complete sets were offered in the auction, including a high-grade 1961 Bell Brand Dodgers set that rocketed to $19,498.
Football card collectors weren’t forgotten in the sale, and those who say cards from the 1970s aren’t that valuable must have missed the final selling price for a PSA 1975 Topps Dan Fouts rookie card. It hammered at $2,312.
For more information on this and upcoming auction from Memory Lane Inc., call (877) 606-5263 or visit www.memorylaneinc.com.