Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Christmas Mantle!

As we wind down 2018, there's one late-year addition to my collection that I want to make sure I feature here on the blog.  This December, I finally got around to crossing a major item off of my baseball card collecting bucket list; a vintage Topps Mickey Mantle!

For as long as I can remember, I've longed to add a vintage Topps Mickey Mantle to my baseball card collection.  In fact, during the very early days after my re-entry into collecting in 2007 I picked up the beauty you see above, from the 1958 Topps All-Star subset.  I first posted it here on the blog around this time of year back in 2008, just as I was wrapping up the first year here at Shoebox Legends.

It's a beautiful card for sure, and one that I'll always cherish, but being an All-Star subset card still left me longing for a plain ol' base card of The Mick.

A few years later I picked up another sweet Mantle, seen here.  I've professed my love for the combo cards in the '50s and '60s Topps sets many a time, so I'll spare you that here.  Let's just say that even years later this remains one of my absolute favorite cards from the '60s, period.

That's two beautiful Mantle cards in hand, but even after all these years I never managed to land one of his Topps base cards.  I guess I just never made it a priority, at a time when I had the funds available anyway, to grab one.  For whatever reason this year, I hadn't spent a dime on cards at all since a very small batch of pick-ups on COMC during their Black Friday promotion.  That meant that I had the entirety of my monthly allocated hobby budget available to me for December.  On top of that, eBay offered up a 15% off promotional code a while back, and in the end I scored this:

Yes, after more than a decade back in the hobby I can finally say that I own a flagship Topps Mickey Mantle base card!  There was such a feeling of satisfaction in grabbing this one, and even more so when it arrived last week, that I'm questioning why I waited just so long to cross this off my list of hobby things to do.

When I look for vintage cards these days, I typically have three criteria:
  1. PSA-graded (I truly don't care about the grade, this is purely for authenticity since I'm typically buying sight-unseen via eBay or another website).
  2. Decent centering - unless the card is so rare that this makes a decently centered copy impossible and/or out of my price range, I prefer a card that's at least halfway centered.  Each collector who is into vintage has their preference it seems on which qualities matter most, but to me centering is typically more important than "sharp corners", for example.
  3. Does not look like it was run over by a Mack truck - I want something that presents well and that, regardless of the grade it was assigned, looks appealing.  I'm not a guy who's chasing the best copy of a card, and I'm certainly not that guy when it comes to someone like Mickey Mantle who I can barely afford in the first place, but I don't want a card that's so beat up that it's going to nag at me to upgrade it someday either.
In a nutshell, I'm looking for low-grade, (relatively) low cost examples that are still visually striking or present much better than you'd expect based on their low grades.  I think this one fits that bill nicely.  I'm not going to win any awards or be featured in a Mantle super-collector article in Beckett or anything, but to me this is an absolutely beautiful card that I'd never even consider upgrading.

Best of all, the "lowly" grade of "VG - 3" resulted in a price tag below $100, and that was before the 15% off promotion, which made my take-home cost closer to $80.

Here's a look at the back, apologies as I always have difficulty with getting crisp scans of the backs when it comes to PSA slabs for some reason.

So, there you have it, my first proper Mickey Mantle card.  I'm still beaming over it, easily one of my more satisfying pick-ups of 2018!

Were you able to secure any major or significant additions of note to your collection this past year?  Looking back over the past twelve months, if there are one or two acquisitions that stand out in particular I'd love to hear about them in the comments.

Thanks as always for stopping by!


Nick said...

Congrats on The Mick! The only Topps Micks I own are '67 and '69, and even those took me many years to track down. On a similar wavelength, I was thrilled to land a '58 Topps Roger Maris rookie earlier this year, which was a card I honestly never, ever thought I'd own.

Johnnys Trading Spot said...

Congrats, always a blessing to be able to add The Mick.

Mark Hoyle said...

Congrats. That’s a great card.

Marc said...

Sweet acquisition. Are you going to place your Mantle on the mantel?

Fuji said...

Congratulations! I have a few vintage oddball and subset Mantles... but not a regular issue base card of him. One day... hopefully.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...