ATLANTIC CITY — Arizona Diamondbacks principal owner and managing general partner Ken Kendrick has amassed an amazing card collection.
A 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle PSA 10; a 1951 Bowman Mantle PSA 10; a 1909 T206 Honus Wagner PSA 8; a 1933 Goudey Napoleon Lajoie PSA 9; a 1954 Topps Hank Aaron PSA 10; and the list goes on and on.
Kendrick loaned his collection to Collectors, the parent company of PSA, in conjunction with the release of the book “The Diamondbacks Collection: 50 of the Greatest Cards in Sports Collecting History" by Tom and Ellen Zappala.
The book, published by Peter E. Randall, chronicles each of Kendrick’s top 50 cards with a detailed description of each card and the player’s career.
In all, 47 of the 50 cards were displayed at one of Collectors’ booths at the National Sports Collectors Convention. The Wagner, the highest graded specimen of that card, and two other cards which are currently housed at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown were not on display in Atlantic City.
But all the other masterpieces were at The National. Every card is graded PSA 8 or higher except for a 1954 Wilson Franks Ted Williams, which is a 7.
Kendrick’s collection has “THE DBACKS COLLECTION” on every slab.
“This is a museum-quality display at The National, which I think should be the objective for anyone who’s exhibiting at the show because this is an opportunity to get in front of the public,” Collectors Chief Marketing Officer Steve Sloan told Sports Collectors Digest. “These are relics, pieces of American history in many cases that you won’t be able to see anywhere else because they’re hidden in private collections. It’s an honor for PSA and Collectors to be able to house Ken’s collection and we’re just blown away he was willing to entrust it to us. It doesn’t see the light of day very often.”
According to Sloan, Kendrick’s overall collection has an insurance value of more than $100 million.
“What we have here is approximately $80 million in value,” Sloan said. “We don’t have the Wagner on display, but everything else, including the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, one of only three in PSA 10, Babe Ruth rookie, Hank Aaron rookie in a 10.”
There are only three non-baseball cards in the top 50: a 1935 National Chicle Bronko Nagurski PSA 9; a 1948 Bowman George Mikan PSA 8; and a 1986-87 Michael Jordan PSA 10.
Kendrick reached out to PSA to see if it was interested in showing off the collection at the hobby’s largest show. Obviously, Collectors and PSA were thrilled to have it as the centerpiece of one of its booths.
PSA’s security team flew to Chase Field in Phoenix to pick up the collection and flew it directly to The National.
Kendrick owns the coveted Wayne Gretzky/Bruce McNall 1909 T206 Wagner in a PSA 8. It’s the highest graded of the 32 Wagner’s ever graded by PSA.
“Some people will probably put the floor at $25 million if it were to go to market and, obviously, he’s turned down offers for it,” Sloan said.
Sloan’s favorite card on the display is a 1933 Goudey Napoleon Lajoie PSA 9. PSA has graded nine examples graded a 9 but zero 10s.
“To see one in that condition is just incredible for collectors,” Sloan said.
But the real showstopper of the collection is the rarest Mantle card of all.
“A lot of people overlook it because of the ’52 on display, but this is pop 1, gem-mint 10 ’51 Bowman rookie card,” Sloan said. “That is just the pinnacle of Mickey Mantle in being his rookie card.”