Few baseball players had the same impact on the game as the legendary Mickey Mantle.
Mantle carried the torch from the legends before him – Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig – while putting together one of the all-time great careers in baseball history.
Although injuries got the better of him towards the end of his career, Mantle is considered one of the best to play baseball.
It’s no surprise that Mantle’s cards, to this day, are still some of the most highly sought-after. His 1952 Topps card continues to break records, while his other early Topps and Bowman cards in high grade continue to break records at auction.
But since most of us don’t have the funds to access some of Mantle’s high-grade six-figure cards, I wanted to provide a list of five Mickey Mantle cards that can be purchased for $1000 or less.
These are a big time underrated gem. Note there are four Exhibits Mantles in the set. The population report below from PSA should provide the first indication that there is tremendous value in these Mantle Exhibits cards. The Portrait card is the rarest (only 57 graded by PSA), but the other three can be found for less than $500 on eBay. In fact a Near-Mint version of the Exhibits Mantle in Pinstripes which has only 103 cards graded by PSA can often be found for less than $500.
Here’s the Pinstripes batting version:
I would tend to go for a graded Exhibit card unless you have examined many of these. They are often reprinted (especially the Mantle batting pose). Note that the Exhibit reprints normally have a gray back, whereas the originals look more like this:
The Berk Ross Mantle is a curious card, as the image leverages Mantle’s 1951 Bowman pose, yet the cards have a colorized tint that makes the image appear a bit blurry and darker. I personally think the Mantle Berk Ross is one of the better investments in the hobby, given the relative scarcity of the card.
PSA has graded only 248 of the Berk Ross cards, so if you think Mantle cards will only continue to increase in value over time, this is a somewhat inexpensive way to invest in his cards.
The only problem is that other collectors have certainly picked up on the scarcity of the Mantle Berk Ross card and thus $1000 doesn’t exactly get you a high-grade option.
But for $1000, you can still pick up a relatively nice version, probably around a PSA 3 or so.
Something cool about owning a Mantle card from the peak of his playing days that came out of a bag of potato chips. This Dan Dee Mickey Mantle card is also one of the scarcer Mantle cards with only around 350 of the cards graded by PSA. As a comparison, the legendary 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card has over 1300 copies graded by PSA.
Graded versions of the Dan-Dee Mantle card are quite expensive, but a PSA 2 or even a PSA 3 (if you are lucky) can be found for around $1000.
The 1959 series was Bazooka’s first baseball issue, featuring a 23 card set of the greats of the day, including this fantastic pose of Mickey Mantle. The cards were printed on the bottom of Bazooka boxes, thus to find one in pristine shape is extremely tough. There are only 11 cards in existence that have received an actual numerical grade, whereas 85 have received an ‘Authentic’ grade. Note that PSA is quite strict on grading for hand-cut cards and this is no exception.
For $1000, you can get an Authentic version of the Mantle ’59 Bazooka card. It probably won’t be in excellent shape, likely to have a little bit of wear and tear, but given the scarcity, I’d say it still makes quite an excellent long term investment.
The 1951 Wheaties set was a test run for the cereal company and is a set of black & white portraits issued sometime around 1951 and used later in ’52 on Wheaties boxes. There are only 66 copies of this Wheaties card graded by PSA, making this the scarcest card on this list. I love the look of this card and it was made right at the start of Mantle’s baseball card issuance. Pristine copies of this card go for huge money, but a lower grade copy can be found for around $1000. Note that although this card set is cataloged as being issued in 1951 there has been some recent confirmation of it likely being a 1952 or later card.
Mantle PSA Existence Comparison
While the early Topps and Bowman Mantle cards get all the attention, if you’re looking to invest in a Mantle card, here’s a snapshot of the five Mantle cards we’ve recommended and the other more well known Mantles. As shown, if we’re judging by scarcity, the 1951 Wheaties, 1952 Berk Ross, 1959 Bazooka, 1954 Dan Dee and 1947-66 Exhibits Mantle cards offer tremendous value.
|Year||Issue||PSA Total Graded|
|$740.00 (29 bids)|
End Date: Thursday Sep-21-2023 22:29:32 EDT
Buy It Now for only: $1,391.75
Buy It Now
|$535.00 (24 bids)|
End Date: Sunday Sep-24-2023 23:11:00 EDT
End Date: Saturday Sep-23-2023 09:32:49 EDT
Buy It Now for only: $600.00
Buy It Now
|$1,212.58 (18 bids)|
End Date: Sunday Sep-24-2023 20:03:00 EDT
|$620.00 (15 bids)|
End Date: Sunday Sep-24-2023 23:39:00 EDT
|$995.00 (31 bids)|
End Date: Thursday Sep-21-2023 22:11:42 EDT