May 2011
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 5/20/2011
What we have here is an uncommonly bold and near perfectly centered example of the key card from the scorching hot 1951 Bowman set, card #253, the cherished Mickey Mantle rookie card. Because of its prominence in the hobby, and in American popular culture in general, more than a few collectors continually mistake the famous 1952 Topps high-number for Mickey's rookie card, but informed hobbyists and devoted fans know better. When he was first called up to the show in early April, 1951, Casey Stengel told Sport Magazine that the kid had "more natural power from both sides of the plate than anybody he ever saw," and even Joe DiMaggio called him the "greatest prospect [he could] remember." Wearing #6 on his back, however, the kid slid into a slump and was quickly demoted back down to the Yankees' top farm team, the Kansas City Blues. Still struggling in KC, he grew depressed, and the slump worsened still. In a story that has been long mythologized in Yankee lore, he then reached out to his father and expressed his doubt about continuing to play baseball. Mutt Mantle was quick to respond, jumping into his car and driving the 350 miles north to Kansas City that very day, where he was frank with his son, all but slapping him upside the head while, according to Mick's recount of the situation, beginning to pack his clothes. "I thought I raised a man," said Mutt to his famous son, thrusting another jock into his duffel bag. "I see I raised a coward instead. You can come back to Oklahoma and work the mines with me." And that was it; the rest is history. The Commerce Comet came crashing back to the Bigs' in 1952, replacing none other than Joe DiMaggio himself in center field, and displaying an unprecedented combination of speed and ambidextrous power unlike anyone had ever witnessed before. The point of the story is that his 1951 Bowman issue registers as The Mick's undisputed rookie card; there is no debate about this. Moreover, the famous pose, derived by Bowman from an actual photograph, still manages to capture some of the youthful doubt and indecision that almost robbed the baby boomer generation of perhaps its most celebrated hero. In more ways than one, if not for Mutt, there may never have been a Mickey. The prominent example offered here features uncharacteristically accurate centering for the issue as well as a noticeably potent and accurate application of the different color layers comprising the central image. While said image registration is not exactly pristine, there is hardly any trace of the blurring effect around the periphery of the subject, so common to the issue when the color layers have not been impressed with complete accuracy. Combined with its noticeably vibrant and thoroughly saturated hues on both sides, and finished off with a gentle but still shimmering touch of factory gloss on front, this one might actually have made Mutt Mantle proud to call his own, even in the summer of 1951.
1951 Bowman #253 Mickey Mantle PSA 7 NM1951 Bowman #253 Mickey Mantle PSA 7 NM
1951 Bowman #253 Mickey Mantle PSA 7 NM
Click above for larger image.
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $2,500.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $11,308.57
Number Bids: 10
Auction closed on Friday, May 20, 2011.
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