1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card sells for $660,000

A 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle #311 baseball card (graded PSA Near Mint 8) has achieved $660,000 at Heritage Auctions.

It headlined the Platinum Night sports memorabilia sale on February 25-26.

1952 Topps Mantle

Mickey Mantle's 1952 card is the most valuable post-war issue

Topps #311 is the most valuable post-war baseball card, in part because of Mantle’s status as one of the most important players of the era but mostly because so few survive.

Topps split its publication of baseball cards in half across the year, but problems at the factory meant the second set (referred to as the “high numbers”) was released too late in the season.

The auction house explains: “Mantle's #311 representation launched the "high-number series" of the 1952 Topps issue, a portion of the set that fell victim to unrealistic deadlines and thus failed to meet its expected distribution quotas.

“Only small quantities made it to counter displays at the local five and dime, the balance ultimately towed several miles off the New Jersey shore and dumped to clear space on the warehouse floor for newer models.”

The record is $1.1m, set for a PSA 8.5 graded specimen at Heritage last year.

A Yankees jersey Mantle was wearing when he hit his 535th home run against the Detroit Tigers on September 19, 1968 realised $486,000.

This was one of Mantle’s last games before his retirement. Victory was already assured for the Tigers, so their pitcher Denny McLain decided to let Mantle go out with a bang.

McLain pitched Mantle three easy balls, the last of which Mantle smashed out of the stadium to the roar of the crowd.

Mantle said later that McLain gave him a wink as he made his triumphant way round the diamond.

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