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Mickey Mantle Card Market Continues to Soar

Mickey Mantle cards from the 1950s and other high-grade vintage material climbed to new heights as Memory Lane closed out its latest catalog auction with more than $2.1 million in sales.

The previous record price for a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle in Near Mint condition wasn’t just surpassed Aug. 16.

It was destroyed.

Memory Lane sold the PSA 7 graded example of the most popular postwar baseball card ever made in its Summer Break Auction and when the dust settled, the final tally was $99,185, including the 19.5 percent buyer’s premium. It was the first PSA 7 1952 Mantle offered in more than a year and the realized price beat the old public auction record by more than $40,000. As recently as 2012, PSA 7 Mantles were typically selling for around $30,000.

Lot 198

Several hundred lots were offered in the auction and the ’52 Mantle wasn’t the only card to generate an eye-popping number.

A 1957 Topps Mantle rated PSA 9 sold for $48,373. Just two years ago, Memory Lane had sold another "9" for $21,049. Of the more than 4,000 1957 Topps Mantle cards submitted to PSA for grading and authentication, only 20 have been given an unqualified "9" score, with one PSA 10 on the books.

A 1956 Topps Mantle (gray back variation) graded PSA 9, will head to a winning bidder for $34,914. Five years ago, such a card usually sold for under $10,000.

The Mick’s 1951 Bowman rookie card was represented with a PSA 7, which sold for $21,769.

Those in the market for a high-grade Hank Aaron rookie card congregated around a PSA 8 example offered by Memory Lane. Bidding ended with the card reaching $24,478.

Lot 881

Another record fell with the sale of a 1965 Topps Jim ‘Catfish” Hunter rookie card (PSA 10) for $18,058.

Collectors of the 1962 Topps set know how difficult it can be to find high-grade examples and prices reflected that sentiment. A Mint card of Roger Maris, No. 1 in the set, sold for $18,457, while a PSA 9 Manager’s Dream card featuring Aaron and Mays rocketed to $13,080.

High-grade, iconic football cards also got plenty of respect from bidders. One of the most sought-after vintage cards of all, the 1935 National Chicle Bronko Nagurski graded PSA 6, set a new industry plateau when it realized $23,880.

In all, more than $2.1 million worth of sports cards and memorabilia were sold in the auction.

“This auction was really a blockbuster, with the ongoing strong demand for high-grade, Hall of Fame star and rookie cards,” said Memory Lane’s J.P. Cohen. “We were really pleased to see the momentum we saw at the National continuing to carry over. It’s a good sign for the strength of the hobby.”

In addition to cards, Memory Lane also specializes in high quality, vintage photographs, and two historic Charles Conlon images of Babe Ruth were among those sold in the auction. One had crossover appeal to card collectors. A 1927 Type 1 8-by-10 shot of Ruth used to create one of his 1933 Goudey cards soared to $25,228. A second Conlon photo of Ruth in the early 1920s brought $6,820.

Lot 32

Fans of vintage unopened material weren’t disappointed. Several wax, vending, rack and cello boxes and packs were available, including a 1961 Nu-Card Scoops Baseball box of 24 wax packs which sold for $12,206.

Other sales included:

  • 1954 Topps #201 Al Kaline Rookie PSA 9 MINT – $21,769
  • 1941 Play Ball #71 Joe DiMaggio SGC 92 NM/MT+ 8.5 – $17,176
  • 1911 T3 Turkey Red #42 Cy Young Checklist Back PSA 6 EX-MT – $12,506
  • 1973 Topps #50 Roberto Clemente PSA 10 GEM MT – $12,083
  • 1955 Topps #123 Sandy Koufax Rookie PSA 8 NM-MT – $10,697
  • 1956 Topps #30 Jackie Robinson Gray Back PSA 9 MINT – $9,078
  • Group of 23 500 Home Run Club single-signed Baseballs (all PSA/DNA 9) – $8,526
  • 1949 Bowman #50 Jackie Robinson Rookie PSA 8 NM-MT – $8,298
  • 1949 Bowman #224 Satchell Paige Rookie PSA 8 NM-MT – $7,544

Memory Lane is still consignments for its next catalog auction, set for late this fall. For information on consigning or to register for future events, visit the company’s website or call 877-606-5263.

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