10 Most Valuable Vintage Mickey Mantle Cards

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The hobby has a special place for vintage Mickey Mantle cards. Few players, if any, have been as important to sports cards than the three-time American League MVP and seven-time World Series Champion. Mantle was the game’s most popular player at a time that baseball cards were undergoing a major evolution both in how they were produced, distributed and collected. As a result, a major connection remains between Mantle and collectors, particularly those who grew up watching him and chasing his cards alongside the gum they often came packaged with.

Even after retiring and decades after his death, Mantle remains a central part of the hobby. He continues to be a market driver and has many modern cards that command high prices. But it’s the cards from his playing days that truly define Mantle’s place in the hobby. While his early Topps and Bowman cards are the most well known, there are some rarities that carry huge values and intrigue as well.

Here’s a look at 10 of the most valuable vintage Mickey Mantle cards to come out during his playing career.

10 Most Valuable Vintage Mickey Mantle Baseball Cards

Rankings are based primarily on the Beckett price guide.

1. 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle #311

Narrowing down a Mount Rushmore of baseball cards down to just four is no easy task — at least for half of it. However, two should be unanimous selections not needing any debate, the T206 Honus Wagner and this card, the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle.

Few cards are steeped in as much history and carry such lore as Mantle’s flagship debut. It’s the poster child of a new era for baseball cards, landing in Topps’ first flagship set for the sport, a hobby turning point in its own right.

There’s also the fact that it’s a very early card of the Yankees legend, someone who had no peers when it came to baseball card popularity during the hobby’s “Got, Got, Need” Golden Age. Couple that with its short print high number status, complete with legends of a watery grave for many copies, and the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle is a piece of pop culture history.

A copy sold in August, 2022, set a record for the highest price ever paid for a sports card, going for $12.6 million. In early 2021, another copy reached $5.2 million. Both of these represent some of the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle’s top-condition copies. Those that sat in shoebox coffins for decades, surviving the wrath of spring cleaning moms in the process are unlikely to reach such prices, but even the most well-loved copies will rank among the most valuable Mickey Mantle cards.

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1952 Topps Mickey Mantle

2. 1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle Rookie Card #253

Typically, a Rookie Card ranks as a player’s most valuable, especially before autographs, parallels and inserts took hold in the hobby in the 1990s. Perhaps the most famous exception to this rule among vintage baseball cards is Mickey Mantle.

While his 1952 Topps card is often referred to as the Mickey Mantle Rookie Card, it’s not. It is his most important, most valuable and iconic, but Mantle’s RC came out a year earlier in 1951 Bowman Baseball.

For whatever reason, the card simply isn’t as famous as his second-year counterpart from Topps. It’s not Bowman’s first set, nor is Bowman as iconic compared to the hobby’s most storied brand. There’s no legend or Hudson River mythology behind it. It’s simply a Rookie Card from one of the greatest to ever play baseball. Apparently that’s not enough to make it Mantle’s best or most valuable.

Which is fine. Not being the most valuable doesn’t mean that it’s not worth a lot. It is. In January, 2022, a top-condition copy sold for almost $3.2 million. Several others have reached well into six figures. In April, 2024, a Type I photo used as reference for the 1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle reached $843,750 at auction.

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1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle Rookie Card

3. 1961 Topps Dice Game Mickey Mantle #8

A Mickey Mantle card coming out at the midway point of his storied career ranking nearing the top of his most valuable cardboard appearances? It certainly does when it’s one of his rarest. 1952 Topps and 1951 Bowman are seeped in nostalgia and history. The 1961 Topps Dice Game Mickey Mantle is what Indiana Jones might be searching for if they made another movie set in the 1960s or later. For advanced collectors with deep pockets, it’s a white whale.

And it’s one that isn’t supposed to exist.

1961 Topps Dice Game is one of several ’60s test issues produced by the card maker. These never got an official release but a very small number of copies, likely from the planning or early production stages, have since made their way to the secondary market. A complete set is believed to include 18 players but only a handful of each are known to exist.

The black and white photo is in stark contrast to most every other vintage Mickey Mantle card, but so is its rarity.

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4. 1953 Topps Mickey Mantle #82

Beauty, eye, beholder. No matter where one ranks the 1953 Topps Mickey Mantle among the Hall of Famer’s cards from a strictly aesthetic perspective, it’s bound to be at or near the top. The realism, the shading, the soft pose — it’s a thing of beauty and work of art. When it comes to value, it’s also from Topps’ second flagship set and a third-year Mantle.

In July, 2019, a graded Mint copy went for $396,000 at auction.

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1953 Topps Mickey Mantle

5. 1952 Bowman Mickey Mantle #101

Another one for the little guy. Like his Rookie Card, it’s not just value that the 1952 Bowman Mickey Mantle lags behind in compared to 1952 Topps. It’s a smaller card measuring 2 1/8″ by 3 1/8″. Keeping with his earliest cards, beautiful painted artwork anchors the card. It’s one of Mantle’s best and ranks as an all-time baseball card. If you use his more famous 1952 card as the benchmark, this Bowman release might still be overlooked and undervalued (if you’ve got tens of thousands potentially to spend).

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1952 Bowman Mickey Mantle

6. 1968 Topps Giant Stand Ups Mickey Mantle #8

Let’s get one thing straight, floating heads on baseball cards are kind of creepy. One would think that creepy might cut down on a card’s potential value. Not the 1968 Topps Giant Stand Ups Mickey Mantle. Like 1961 Topps Dice Game, this is a card that exists but shouldn’t.

It’s another example of a scarce test issue that made its way into the early stages of production but was never officially released. Measuring 3 1/16″ by 5 1/4″, this Mantle lives up to its name.

The 24-card set has a few different variations, most notably with and without die-cuts around the portraits.

The set is often referred to as a 1967 set, but it’s now believed to have been earmarked for 1968.

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1968 Topps Giant Stand Ups Mickey Mantle

7. 1953 Stahl Meyer Franks Mickey Mantle #6 (1954 and 1955 similar values)

Baseball and cards are a match made in a heaven lined with bubble gum pink walls. While we’re being frank, baseball and hot dogs are another undeniable partnership. So it’s only natural that baseball, baseball cards and hot dogs make up a holy hobby trinity of food-issue proportions.

Mickey Mantle has a handful of different weiner winners. Among the most valuable examples to bring the mustard is 1953 Stahl Meyer. Mantle is one of nine players on the set’s checklist, which consists of three for each of New York’s MLB franchises. This gives it some added regional appeal and rarity.

Packaged with hot dogs, the folks at Stahl Meyer were smart to include a wax coating to add a layer of protection.

Although not as elusive as some of his vintage test issues, it’s still a very rare Mickey Mantle card. Even with its protective coating, it’s one of his most condition-sensitive cards as well with very few in top shape.

Virtually identical follow-ups in 1954 and 1955 are also available and carry somewhat similar values. While the layout and photos are the same on both of these, they’re easily discernible by their yellow borders.

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1953 Stahl-Meyer Franks Mickey Mantle

8. 1953-54 Briggs Meats Mickey Mantle

The 1953-54 Briggs Meats Mickey Mantle baseball card is another connected to hot dogs. Packaged on the backs of packs of franks, these were available in two-card panels. This adds another layer to things as collectors had to cut out the cards by hand. This could quickly lead to a couple of problems like cutting the sides too small or not working the scissors straight.

Then there’s the rarity. 1953-54 Briggs Meats Baseball cards were a regional release available in the Washington, D.C. area. Not surprisingly, the majority of the checklist features Washington Senators players but there is a sprinkling of stars from other teams.

This was a popular shot of Mantle when it came to food-issue cards. Stahl Meyer loved it so much, they used it for three consecutive years. Dan-Dee Potato Chips used it as well for their 1954 baseball card set.

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1953-54 Briggs Meats Mickey Mantle

9. 1953 Bowman Color Mickey Mantle #59

Topps wasn’t the only company to make a gorgeous set of baseball cards in 1953. Bowman responded with a pair of releases, Color and Black and White. Mantle is only in the former. Simple and beautiful is the best way to describe it and virtually every card on the 1953 Bowman Color Baseball checklist. Names are absent from the front, giving plenty of space to the photos, which in and of itself makes a big difference compared to the illustrations that were prevalent at the time.

As if a third-year Mantle isn’t enough to push its values skyward, condition also comes into play. This is an extremely difficult card to find in top shape with centering being a major culprit beyond the usual wear and tear.

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1953 Bowman Color Mickey Mantle

10. 1956 Topps Mickey Mantle #135

One would think that the 1954 and 1955 Topps Mickey Mantle cards would rank higher than 1956. They very well might if they existed. Exclusives and the hobby are far from new. Bowman and Topps were battling it out for baseball card supremacy in the mid 1950s. One weapon at their disposal was to sign players to deals that kept them from appearing on cards elsewhere. Bowman and Mantle had such an agreement in place, making their sets the only place to find the All-Star for a couple of years. But it didn’t last forever.

In early 1956, Topps ended up buying their baseball card competitor and Mantle returned in 1956 Topps Baseball. One of the most popular designs the company has ever produced, it includes two images of the hobby icon. The portrait stands out due to its size, but the leaping action inset isn’t to be ignored.

The 1956 Topps Mickey Mantle has two different variations which are differentiated by the color of the stock on the back. The grey back is more common than the white back.

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1956 Topps Mickey Mantle

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Ryan Cracknell

A collector for much of his life, Ryan focuses primarily on building sets, Montreal Expos and interesting cards. He's also got one of the most comprehensive collections of John Jaha cards in existence (not that there are a lot of them). Got a question, story idea or want to get in touch? You can reach him by email and through Twitter @tradercracks.

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