Mickey Mantle New York Yankees contract issued for the 1959 season. The four-page fold-over contract, dated February 26, 1959, between Mickey Mantle and the New York Yankees, is signed in blue ink by "Mickey Mantle (grading "10) and "H Roy Hamey ("9"), assistant general manager of the Yankees. The one-year agreement calls for Mantle to receive a salary of $70,000 for the 1959 season. Mantle's 1959 contract represented the highest salary of his career up to that point, and he would not receive an increase until 1962. (Mantle's highest salary with the Yankees during his 18 years was $100,000.) Although Mantle's final numbers in 1959 were down from those he totaled in 1958, they were more than respectable. "The Mick" finished the year with 31 home runs, 75 RBI, and a .285 batting average. Mantle's low RBI total that season was more a reflection on the Yankees light-hitting lineup than his batting skills. That lack of run production resulted in the Yankees falling all the way into third place, their lowest finish in the standings since 1948.
Prior to 2003, the number of Mickey Mantle signed New York Yankees contracts in the hobby was probably zero. The reason for that is that Mantle never sold any of this contracts during his lifetime, so if any did surface, they had to have originated (probably illegally) from either the files of the New York Yankees or American League. (Normally, three contracts were signed by the two parties; one was for the player, the other for the team, and the third was filed with the League.) In 2003; however, at a highly publicized auction in New York City, Mantle's widow and sons sold all of Mantle's baseball items, including each and every one of his New York Yankees contracts from 1951 through 1968. A few of those contracts have resurfaced at other auctions over the year, while others have not been seen since, and remain safely tucked away in any number of advanced collections. The offered contract was sold only once prior, a year later in 2004, when it was purchased by our consignor and in whose sole possession it has remained since that time. While 18 may seem like a large number of contracts, the supply still nowhere meets the demand, making Mantle contracts one of the most highly prized of all postwar Hall of Famer contracts. The offered contract is one of only four different 1950s Mantle contracts that has come to auction since 2003 and the first example, from any year, that we have offered. The contract (8.5 x 11 inches) displays two horizontal folds and is in Near Mint condition. Full LOA from Steve Grad and Brian Sobrero/Beckett Authentication. Auction LOA from James Spence/JSA. Opening Bid $5,000. Estimate $25,000+.
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