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    From the world famous Rosen find!

    1952 Topps Mickey Mantle #311 PSA NM-MT 8. It has been twenty-eight years since a Saturday afternoon telephone call to hobby icon Al "Mr. Mint" Rosen forever altered the course of post-war baseball card collecting. Rosen's famous money-fanning print advertisements had come to the attention of a Boston-area lumber company forklift operator who was interested in selling a collection of 1952 Topps baseball cards. The cards, the man reported, were in like-new condition, a tale that Rosen had heard many times before and accepted with no small degree of skepticism. A later conversation revealed that the cards derived from the hen's-tooth-rare high series, a late-season production that managed only very limited distribution before the 1952 World Series came and went, knocking baseball cards from drugstore shelves for the long winter.

    The 1952 Topps set had been the largest of its day, both in number of cards and the dimension. Ultimately, though, these excesses turned against Topps Company management, who realized late in the 1952 season that the "high number" series 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.

    Thirty-four years later, Rosen felt his pulse quicken at the thought that some might have been spared. "How many Mantles?" he asked the man on the other end of the telephone line.

    "About thirty."

    Rosen hung up and started packing a suitcase for the drive up to New England. With six figures in cash in hand, and a police escort for protection, Rosen arrived at a modest home in Quincy, Massachusetts in the suburbs of Boston and completed what is arguably the most significant trading card transaction in the hobby's history.

    Today that extraordinary find has been scattered to all four corners of the collecting world, with the most sizeable concentrations found at the upper reaches of the PSA Set Registry. Most of the all-important Mantle rookies have found homes in permanent collections, a trend which is fortuitously bucked here, a nearly unimprovable example of the post-war hobby's most recognizable and important entry.

    The image has ingrained itself in our American iconography, with the Mick posed in a right-handed batting stance, his eyes drifting up to the grandstands beyond. Thankfully spared from death by drowning, this stunning specimen is outshone by just eleven representations among the over 1,180 examples validated by PSA at the time of this writing. Searching for the faults responsible for "points lost" from a Gem Mint rating, one sees only the subtlest of diamond cuts and extremely light corner touches (the total amount of wear represented close to fully at top-left) and centering that finds Mantle's portrait elevated just above the purest equilibrium. From any reasonable viewing distance, one is unlikely to spot any deviation from utter perfection, as color, gloss and registration are rendered with unimpeachable results.

    More information about Mickey Mantle.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    Jul-Aug, 2014
    31st-1st Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 6,585

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

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