Circa 1953 Original Willard Mullin Artwork of Mickey Mantle

Sold For: $3,525

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 948

Item Year: 1953

Category: The Sy Berger Collection

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This spectacular Willard Mullin original pen-and-ink artwork of Mickey Mantle was given to Sy Berger, and the reason is obvious: Mantle is pictured blowing a large bubble-gum bubble as he leads the charge from the dugout. Who other than Sy Berger, the "father of the bubble-gum card," would have been a more fitting caretaker of this iconic piece these past sixty odd years? Although it is undated, based upon the caption this work was produced in the early fifties, just as Mantle was establishing himself as the team's premier player: "It is time, says Yankee brass, for Mickey Mantle to assume the role of inspirational be the take-charge guy...and, among other things, to lead the Yanks in their charge from the dugout to their positions in the field...even as Joe DiMag in days of yore." The reverse displays Mullin's handwritten notations which read: "Mullin for Mon - please do not crush - via Western Union messenger - charge acc't Willard Mullin - Please rush to Arthur Glass - Sports Desk 3rd floor - World-Telegram & Sun - 125 Barclay St., N.Y." Willard Mullin is recognized as the "dean of sports cartooning" and this work, because of its subject matter, is certainly one of the most desirable examples we have ever come across. Despite his voluminous output over the years (Mullin worked for the New York World-Telegram from 1934 to 1966), original Mullin artworks featuring Mantle are particularly rare, and this is certainly one of the finest and most ideal-for-display of all, especially considering its unique and significant provenance. Original pen-and-ink artwork on coquille board, 14.5 x 19.75 inches, signed by the artist in the lower right. In Excellent condition overall. From the Sy Berger Collection. Reserve $300. Estimate $500+. SOLD FOR $3,525

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