Archive for Mickey Mantle

Sometimes I wish for simplicity

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

When you look at your collection what is it that you see? What makes you proud? What still has you passionate about the hobby? Does the amount of cards or the complexity, or lack of focus, weigh you down?

These are the types of questions I often ask myself.

When I started collecting cards I collected because I enjoyed the idea of acquiring cards. Value wasn’t a big factor. Of course time has changed and I needed a focus, and as you know by now, value — or perceived value, or worth, or whatever you want to call it — most certainly does play a big factor in our hobby these days.

By the time I entered college I realized that I truly loved rookie cards because they were a player’s first card, often their most iconic card, and for better or worse the value of said first cards seemed to rise and fall with performance more than any other a player’s card. And so I determined that I was going to be a rookie card collector.

First it was a rookie card of every baseball player who had one. I actually pulled out a Beckett Almanac and started making a checklist of cards officially designated with the RC or XRC tag.

And then I narrowed it a bit to just Hall of Famer Rookie Cards, but I realized I was missing an entire generation of players who starred on baseball diamonds before Goudey cards were a thing. So I expanded to include t206 or any suitable tobacco or gum card released from HOFers playing days.

For the most part I had accomplished all I set out to do. I do not own a 52 Topps Eddie Matthews because they’ve never been affordable by comparison to what it cost me for other HOFers.

But I do own an authentic rookie or tobacco era cards of just about every other HOF player.

Ruth. Gehrig. Honus. Cobb. Big Train. Mantle. Mays. Aaron. They’re all there in my collection.

For all intents and purposes, my cardboard dreams have come true. I have accomplished what I set out to do — with or without the Eddie Mathews.

But sometimes I sit and wonder what my hobby experience would have been like had I not taken the plunge and sought out rookie cards.

Once I pulled the trigger on the 1951 Bowman Willie Mays in 2006, the seal was broken for me. I was no longer “just collecting cards” I was buying pieces of Americana; I was buying the most iconic baseball cards created. And because I had gone down that route, it seems as though I have spent the last 13 years chasing the fleeting feeling I got when my Mays arrived — and that is an impossible task. Because when the card of your desire arrives via whatever means, it usually creates a situation where you’re instantly looking for the next one that evokes the same emotion. It’s like a drug user constantly looking to match the euphoria they got on the previous hit.

Many people never collected the way I did when I actively chased the HOF rookies. In fact, most people are content with what makes/made them happy regardless of what it is. And in many ways I envy that; I have a great appreciation for those who find the same joy and express such passion in simplicity.

It’s nice to accomplish your goals, but inevitably there is a point where you begin to ask yourself: Now what?

The hunger, the passion that I once had for cards has waned a bit. And I have taken joy in reverting to player collecting. But it does at times feel like I poisoned my own hobby experience. I miss the ability to cherish my pulls, to enjoy cards for what they are and what they represent without constantly measuring them to the HOF collection. While I do not regret the path I have taken; I am not sure where I go from where. I’m not sure there is a suitable answer for the “what’s next” question.

Sometimes you win, Sometimes you lose, Sometimes you break even … in theory

Posted in New Addition with tags , , , , , , , on February 18, 2018 by Cardboard Icons

About a month ago I located on eBay a lot of cards that I thought might have a nice return for me. The auction was poorly titled and clear as day in the pictures was what appeared to be a 1963 Topps Mickey Mantle.

For as long as I have been on eBay — which is now 20 years — I’d dreamed of coming up on a group of cards featuring an authentic Mantle card priced for next to nothing.

Well, I’ll need to keep dreaming.

I won the auction for $40 — a bit of a gamble, but not overly expensive. And when the cards arrived in my hands I opened the package and went straight to the Mantle. The card felt weird and the image looked soft. I grabbed my jewler’s loupe and confirmed my suspicion: The Mantle was a fake.

The stock was wrong. The type face was blurry and there were grain lines printed into the cardboard. And the card is slightly smaller than other 1963s I own.

Gone was the dream.

Gone was my confidence.

Gone was my $40. (The seller didn’t accept returns — which isn’t a problem as I do not allow them either.)

I let the cards sit on my coffee table for about a week before the disgust wore away and I was able to appreciate what was still in the package, which included two cards I did not already own.

The two highlights from this package were a 1973 Fleer Laughlin Baseball’s Famous Feats Babe Ruth and a 1976 MSA Isaly’s disc Hank Aaron. Both items are oversized, but would look neat in a display piece I’m thinking about making.

Additionally, the package also had this 1964 Topps Giants Harmon Killebrew, which is also oversized and may make its way into the piece I’m envisioning.

The remainder of the lot is rounded out by a 1964 Topps Jim Kaat, 1965 Topps league leaders HR featuring three Hall of Famers including Willie Mays, a 1969 Topps Deckle Luis Aparicio, two 1986 Sports Design Products unlicensed wannabe 1969 Cards of Whitey Ford and Eddie Mathews, and an intriguing 1957 Topps Dick Williams.

Why is the Williams intriguing? The bottom border has been cut off and a previous owner clearly had this thing taped to something — perhaps a bed post? — which always reminds me of how cards were enjoyed before they became items associated with money.

While the package didn’t quite deliver the value I’d hope, in hindsight it still offered more value than a lot of current stuff. I mean this lot did have vintage cards of three of the game’s most prolific power hitters — Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays.

Upgrading the ’56 Mantle

Posted in Vintage Upgrade with tags , , , , on December 10, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

There certainly is no shortage of iconic Mickey Mantle baseball cards. He wasn’t the best player — although he certainly is in the conversation — but he is the king of the hobby. Hands down. And along with that status comes a large following for his vintage cardboard.

Many factors could play into which is your favorite.  I mean each of his cards from the 1950s and 1960s has a certain aspect that draws in a particular collector.
For me, that card is the 1956 Mantle. Of course his 51 Bowman and 52 Topps cards are more desirable, but next in line is the 56.

   
I added this 56 Mantle to my collection early last year for less than 10 percent of high book value, which is a standard formula I like to use when buying poor condition vintage. 

Well, not all “poor” condition cards are created equal.  A deal arose in COMC.com that I could not refuse. I went about 12-15% of high book for this one, but look at this upgrade.

  

The original Mantle I owned was creased beyond belief and had four “corners.” My new one has some issues, mainly some minor creases, but presents so much nicer. 

  

Today I am heading to the post office to ship off the old Mantle as it has already found a new home, somewhere in Arkansas. Congrats to the new owner.

Two new vintage Mickey Mantles added to collection

Posted in Mail Day with tags , , , , on August 16, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

I received my latest package from COMC.com yesterday and in it were about two dozen cards including my two newest vintage Mickey Mabtle cards, a 1957 and a 1966.

  
  
The condition on these cards leave much to be desired, but they are real.  

Mantle passed away 20 years ago this month, and even to this day I continue to chase his cardboard.

You can see more of my Mantle collection Here.

Icon-O-Clasm: 1962 Topps Mickey Mantle (“The Holey One”)

Posted in Icon-O-Clasm with tags , , , , on July 22, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

  

Icon-O-Clasm: A trio of 56 Topps HOFers “Names on Back”

Posted in Card Art, Icon-O-Clasm with tags , , , , , on January 29, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

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The Mickey Mantle Collection

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , on January 23, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

IMG_8719When it comes to collecting baseball cards there are just a few names that really strikes a cord with collecting Perhaps the biggest name is Mickey Mantle.  Mantle may not have been the best player in the game, but he is probably the most popular among cardboard enthusiasts.  When I was a kid I only dreamed of owning a single Mantle card.  Any Mantle card.  And when I was 16, Topps released the Mickey Mantle reprint series which turned the hobby on its ear.  Yes, believe it or not, reprint cards were selling like hotcakes.  If you were a collector back then you surely remember the hunt for Topps.

While those reprints were an affordable way for collectors to own reprints of the original Mantles, they are reprints and there is nothing quite like the real thing.

Over the last five years I’ve managed to acquire some real Mantle cards, including his rookie.  No, not that 1952 Topps card that is often mistaken for his rookie cards.  But his true rookie, the 1951 Bowman.  I digress. In addition I’ve added a few of his singles from the 1950s and 1960s, and I figured I’d post them all on my site.  Not only for you to see, but so that I have a visual reference to what I already own.  As the header to the page says, the cards may not be mint, but they are indeed real. Enjoy.