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    Description

    The earliest known Mantle/Yankees check!

    1949 Mickey Mantle Signed Independence (KS) Yankees Payroll Check. The most furious bidding war of our February 2013 Platinum Night auction was inspired by the offering of the check that represented Mickey Mantle's $1,150 signing bonus, the unimaginably modest sum that marked the beginning of one of the greatest careers ever executed in the pinstripes of the New York Yankees. After a back-and-forth battle extending over several tense minutes, the hammer finally fell upon a realized price of $286,800, the standing record for the highest price ever paid for a Mantle document.

    At the time, we believed that check to be the very earliest ever issued to Mantle by the franchise that he would lead to twelve American League and seven World Championships over the following two decades. The presented check proves that we were wrong.

    Now, that distinction is reassigned here, to a check nearly identical in format but predating the aforementioned signing bonus model by ten days. The seventeen-year old slugger famously signed on with the Yankees organization the evening of his high school graduation, inking the deal in the backseat of veteran scout Tom Greenwade's Chrysler. Greenwade played coy with young Mickey and his father Mutt, suggesting that the modest terms were a hedge on Mantle's small size and erratic fielding, though he'd later admit, "The first time I saw Mantle I knew how Paul Krichell felt when he first saw Lou Gehrig."

    This check represents half of the $140 monthly salary that made Mickey a member of the Independence Yankees of the Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri class D farm system. Three dollars in official deductions results in the final figure of $67, the amount drawn from the team's "The Independence State Bank" account and authorized by club secretary John Vallina. The tremendously scarce teenaged signature variation of Mickey Mantle endorses the check on reverse, with 8.5/10 strength.

    Mantle would spend two years with the Class D Independence Yankees of the old K-O-M League before making his unsteady 1951 Major League debut and the rest, as they say, is baseball history. This check representing the dawning of that fruitful partnership comes to us from the grandson of an Independence resident who maintained a lifelong involvement with athletics in the small Kansas town. While we have admitted our past error in the reasonable belief that the signing bonus check sold in 2012 represented the earliest issued to Mantle by the Yankees franchise, we calculate only the tiniest possible odds that this offering will not retain that status.

    As Mantle was signed to the Yankees on May 16th, and this check represents payment for June 15th to June 30th, logic would dictate that only two checks have ever existed that predate this one, for the second half of May and the first half of June. Only the most optimistic among us could expect either of those needles to emerge from the haystack. Encapsulated "Authentic" by PSA/DNA. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2018
    18th-19th Saturday-Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,353

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