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1952 Topps Mickey Mantle #311 PSA NM-MT 8....

2009 October Signature Sports Memorabilia Auction #716

 
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Auction Ended On: Oct 1, 2009
Item Activity: 14 Internet/mail bidders
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Heritage Auctions
3500 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219

Description:
1952 Topps Mickey Mantle #311 PSA NM-MT 8. If we had a dime for every "Baby Boomer" we've met who's claimed to have owned a Topps Mantle rookie as a child, we'd be able to afford this one with plenty of dough to spare! The most important, valuable and recognizable gum card of the post-war era has ingrained itself in our American iconography in such a way that most of us could sketch the card from memory, the Mick posed in a right-handed batting stance, his eyes drifting up to the grandstand behind him. But in spite of all those who owned one, or only dreamed that they did, the examples which have indeed survived in such magical condition as the presented copy are, in fact, impossibly scarce.

At 407 cards in scope, the 1952 Topps set was the largest of its day, both in number of cards and the dimensions of each one, specifically. Ultimately, though, these excesses turned against Topps Company management, who realized late in the 1952 season that the "High Number" cards (#'s 311-407) would never reach their channels of distribution in time for the close of the baseball season. Limited quantities were trucked to stores in the northeastern United States and in Canada, but the final solution for a warehouse filled with unsellable cards is said to have been a boat trip several miles out into the Atlantic Ocean, and ignominious burial at sea.

Fortuitously spared from death by drowning, this stunning specimen is outshone by just eleven representations among the 942 examples validated by PSA at the time of this writing. Searching for the discrepancies responsible for "points lost" from a Gem Mint rating, one sees only the subtlest of diamond cuts and extremely light corner touches (most evident at top-right). From any reasonable viewing distance, one is unlikely to spot any deviation from pure perfection, as color, gloss and registration are rendered with unimpeachable results.

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