Mickey Mantle was an iconic baseball player with immense talent, who spent his entire 18-year career with the New York Yankees.
A true legend, Mantle featured in 12 World Series including seven championships, and he holds World Series records for the most home runs (18), RBIs (40), extra-base hits (26), runs (42), walks (43), and total bases (123).
Here’s a roundup with our five top picks when looking at the best Mickey Mantle cards to collect.
The Best Mickey Mantle Cards
We’ve considered everything from rarity to values when putting together this list of the best Mickey Mantle cards.
5. 1994 Upper Deck Baseball Dual Autograph Mickey Mantle (with Ken Griffey Jr.) #GM1 (eBay)
The only non-vintage Mantle card to make the list, he shares this rare dual auto with none other than Ken Griffey Jr.
1,000 copies of this foil card could be found in 1994 Upper Deck Series 1 packs, while there are three versions, including cards signed by only one of the legends. (As you might have guessed, the Griffey Jr. auto is the most affordable of the trio.)
- KG1 Mickey Mantle, Ken Griffey Jr. – Griffey Autograph
- MM1 Mickey Mantle, Ken Griffey Jr. – Mantle Autograph
- GM1 Mickey Mantle, Ken Griffey Jr. – Griffey and Mantle Autographs
It features an illustration of the two Hall of Famers standing side by side, with a small Upper Deck logo in the top corner.
The dual signature card is exceptionally tough to locate in pristine condition, likely due to the low print run and the foil finish. In fact, there’s only one PSA 9 copy, and no Gem Mint versions as of yet.
That’s exceptionally rare, especially for a card that was released in 1994.
4. 1953 Topps Baseball Mickey Mantle #82 (eBay)
If you’d prefer a vintage Mantle RC, we’d take a look at his 1953 Topps Baseball Release. However, prices begin to go up drastically from here on out.
The card features another iconic image of The Mick, colored in astonishing detail. For example, check the shade under his hat, but watch out for print defects near his face.
It’s a close-up of a batting pose, and it’s one of Mickey Mantle’s most important cards and one of two major keys to this popular Topps set. The red bottom border is subject to chipping, and the card is very tough to find well-centered. (Centering issues are common for the majority of vintage cards, as they were laid on printing presses manually.)
Expect to pay upwards of $100,000 if you’re looking at mint condition copies, and be wary of buying reprints or forgeries.
3. 1952 Bowman Baseball Mickey Mantle #101 (eBay)
Just a year after the release of his ‘51 RC seen below, 1952 Bowman Baseball features a strong Mantle card that highlights the player in the famous Yankee pinstripes.
The addition of a facsimile autograph is an interesting one, and the closest you’ll get to an officially signed option from the decade. Somewhat underappreciated due to the popularity of the 1952 Topps release, that’s also reflected in the asking price for graded copies.
The 1952 Bowman Mantle is clearly a more affordable option compared to the almost mythical 1952 Topps card. However, it’s still valuable in its own right, while there are only two Gem Mint copies according to the PSA registry.
As always, be wary of cut Mantle cards, or any ungraded versions that seem too good to be true.
2. 1951 Bowman Baseball Mickey Mantle Rookie Card #253 (eBay)
Mantle’s RC is next up, featuring a similar image to many later editions. 1951 Bowman Baseball is where you’ll find his true rookie card, featuring the Hall of Famer in a traditional batting pose.
Once clear difference is a black and white name tag which is found to the right of the player. It’s a real throwback, even if the card itself was cutting edge at the time.
Some collectors consider the card below to be an RC, as it was his first ever Topps release. That’s not really good enough to beat this Bowman card released a year earlier, even if there’s a wide disparity in terms of values.
It’s noted that as with most high-numbered cards in the set, the Mantle RC often suffers from print lines, wax stains along the reverse and poor centering.
1. 1952 Topps Baseball Mickey Mantle #311 (eBay)
The iconic 1952 Topps Baseball collection was a primer for many future sets to come. For the first time, it featured full team logos, colorized black-and-white photography and a facsimile signature of the player taken directly from their player contract with Topps.
One of the more important pieces of Americana from the era, the ‘52 Mantle RC is unmistakable. There’s no better card to collect within the hobby, even if prices ensure that it’s out of reach for most of us.
It features a simple shot of the slugger holding a bat, with a deep blue sky making up the background. If you’ve ever heard about record-breaking card sales for millions of dollars on the news, it’s likely to involve a graded 1952 Topps Mantle.
Mickey Mantle Cards: Buyers Guide
Mickey Mantle is one of the greatest ever to play the sport, and is an icon for American card collectors.
Here’s what we think of the current state of the market for the best Mantle rookie cards.
The Best Cheap Mickey Mantle Cards
You can pick up reprints for next to nothing, but we’d advise to check out the 1953 Bowman Color set for a cheaper Mantle card from the era. PSA 1 copies aren’t in great condition, but they can be picked up for less than $1,000. That’s a decent price for a graded vintage Mantle card.
The Best Mickey Mantle Investment Card
Mantle’s 1952 Topps card is always going to be the most popular option. It’s unlikely to be surpassed anytime soon, such is the importance of one of the most valuable cards in the hobby. For many collectors it’s the holy grail, and that bodes well for the future.
Mickey Mantle Cards: Buying/Selling Advice
There’s no two ways about it. 1950s Mickey Mantle cards are expensive. Of course, they’re seen as one of the best investment options by a wide margin, while the same is true for his incredible release found in 1952 Topps Baseball.
All markets ebb and flow to some extent, but Mantle cards should be seen as one of the safer investments within the hobby. (In fact, they’ve made some astonishing gains over the past decade or so.)
Think about it this way. If you leave a Mantle card in a time capsule for five, ten, or even 20 years, it’s likely to be worth far more than what you paid for it.
That’s a common view for many experts, which is one of the reasons why prices are so high.