Graded NM-MT 8 by BVG. Remarkable ultra high-grade example of 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle. One of card collecting's greatest classics, Mantle's Topps rookie card is the key to the 1952 Topps set, one of the most famous of all cards, and the single most popular and valuable postwar baseball card. This card is exceptionally attractive, crisp, and clean! We have confirmed with multiple sources that this card was previously in an SGC NM+ 86 holder and was submitted to BVG for the NM-MT 8 grade by a prior owner, who believed it deserved a grade of NM-MT. All the grading companies have their own set of standards, and it is not uncommon for there to be slight variation in the grades assigned by each company. Certainly a half-grade difference is well within the "normal" range, and BVG felt the card's exceptional eye appeal warranted the NM-MT assessment. While we do not know if this card would receive the same grade of NM+ or NM-MT from either PSA or SGC if submitted to them for evaluation, we do believe it is entirely consistent in appearance with several of the other ultra high-grade examples in the marketplace and that it is not trimmed or altered in any way. We would grade this card Near Mint+, easily making it one of the finest 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle examples we have ever seen or had the privilege of offering.
The corners are extremely strong and square, showing virtually no visible touches of wear under close inspection. The blue background is virtually flawless. No creases or wrinkles and exceptional centering, far better than normally encountered with 1952 Topps Mantle cards. The 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle has long been universally recognized as one of the most iconic "blue chips" of all vintage baseball cards, and even just a glance at its marketplace history clearly shows that over the years it has consistently risen in value in all grades. Recent REA auction results include a PSA NM-MT+ 8.5 example which sold for a record $272,550 in REA's May 2013 auction and an SGC EX/NM 80 which sold for a record $54,000 in REA's April 2015 auction. (In July 2015, two PSA NM-MT 8 examples sold at two other public auctions, realizing $400,950 and $382,400, respectively, besting the prior record of $268,664 realized in December 2014, right on the heels of a then-record July 2014 sale for $179,250.) With reference to this specific card, it has one prior appearance at public auction: It was offered as the highlight lot at Goodwin Auctions in September 2013, at which time it realized $81,348. (The buyer at that sale is the consignor here.) The September 2013 sale, at that time, was the first NM-MT 8, from any grading company, sold since a PSA NM-MT 8 example realized $75,198 in May 2012. (We provide these earlier past sales results for reference, but also note that clearly much has happened to the market for 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantles in general, in all grades, during the past several years.) This is an outstanding ultra high-grade example of one of collecting's most famous cards, and would be a worthy cornerstone of a high-grade 1952 Topps set, a high-grade 1950s Mantle card collection, or any world-class collection of classic baseball cards. Reserve $25,000. Estimate (open).
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