1952 Topps Mickey Mantle Cards

By JohnathanCovsney on January 20, 2011 In Collecting

Next to the T206 Honus Wagner, the 1952 Topps Mantle may be the most famous baseball card. Although not Mickey Mantle’s true “rookie”-that honor belongs to the 1951 Bowman issue-the 1952 Topps Mantle has become perhaps the most iconic baseball card image of all time.

The 1952 Topps Mantle features the famous image of Mantle gazing up to his right, over his shoulder where his bat rests. Mantle’s hands, in the foreground, are prominent despite being overlapped by the name and signature block. Like all 1952 Topps, the team logo is included on the front-the first time baseball cards incorporated team logos in their design. “Switch-hitting Mickey is heralded as Joe Dimaggio’s successor,” begins the description on the card’s reverse.

The 1952 Topps Mantle is #311, the first card in the last series (#311-407) that was printed in the 1952 Topps set. Interestingly, the Mantle card was initially less scarce than other cards in the set. Topps used 100-card sheets to print the 1952 series; Mantle, along with Jackie Robinson and Bobby Thomson, was double-printed on the high-number sheet. However, the Mantle double printing is outweighed by the overall scarcity of the high-number cards in the 1952 Topps set.

Like #312 (Robinson) and #313 (Thomson), there are variations on both the front and back of the 1952 Topps Mantle due to double printing. The baseball containing the card number on cards #311-313 has arrows that form its stitching; on one type, the arrows point to the right, while on the “Type 2” variety, the arrows point to the left. The Mantle card also has slight variations on the front; the so-called “Type 1” Mantle has an incomplete black box around the New York team logo on the front of the card as well as a small white “print fleck” in the upper left. The second of the double-printed Mantles has neither of these print irregularities.

The ’52 Topps Mantle in top condition has set several sale records. A PSA 8 recently listed on eBay for $39,000. PSA 1 cards list in the $4,000 range. For many collectors, the Mantle card remains the first picture in mind of a true baseball legend and the capstone card of the most famous Topps set ever.

You can learn more about the 1952 Topps Mantle and the rest of the 1952 Topps set at 1952BaseballCards.com