Well, that's not exactly what the inquiry said, but it was pretty straight-forward and simple. The inquiry came in through Just Collect's online submission form and the query included a front and back image of the card. The card? Oh, just a 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle card . . . one of the hottest cards in the hobby at the moment.
The collector that contacted us said that he started collecting cards when he bought his first packs when he was just six years old. Can you imagine pulling a Mickey Mantle from a 1952 Topps High Number Wax pack? How exciting would that be?!?
Assessment, Valuation and Preliminary Offer
Mickey Mantle cards are always in high demand and many of the tops spots on our list with respect to cards that we are looking to purchase. The example of the 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle card that was presented to us isn't in top condition. This actually made the process of evaluating it and providing a valuation and a purchase offer a little easier than if the card were in midgrade or even i
n top condition.
Why would it be easier, you might ask? Well, because there isn't much room for conjecture over the condition on the card. The example was in POOR to FAIR condition, but presented very nicely. With a few creases, heavy corner wear and a small bit of paper loss in the logo, there wasn't too much to disagree with.
We were able to provide an evaluation, a value and present an offer to the collector pending an in-person inspection of the card. We provided the gentleman with out FREE, fully insured FedEx Shipping option so that we could examine the card at our Somerset, NJ office and he shipped it promptly.
Do You Have Anything Else?
Most collectors usually have a few cards in their collection, bu unfortunately, the owner of this card didn't keep much else aside from this card and an off grade 1959 Stan Musial card. In fact, the reason that he decided to sell this card, one of the very few cards that he kept from his childhood, was because none of his children had expressed any interest in the card. Perhaps if they had some idea of the value, they could've at least feigned some interest.
Well, It Ain't Exactly Mint
Many times, people apologize for their cards not being in top condition (a nice change from those that think that their cards with dog-eared corners are MINT because they're 30 years old). We understand -- we really do. Cards were not meant to be bought and stashed away in hermetically sealed containers saved from the light of day and mom's Spring cleaning. Cards were meant to be played with, flipped, stuffed in pants pockets and pinned to bicycle spokes.
This Mickey Mantle was, as the owner told us, played with and not well cared for because he wasn't a Yankees fan. In fact, the Yankees were far from his favorite team. As you can see from the images of the card, it was well loved and presents in POOR to FAIR condition. Our concern is that because of some of the extreme wear, the card many not meet with a numerical grade. We'll find out the definitive results shortly as it has made the trip to PSA for authentication and grading and we'll share the final grade with you via an update to this blog by the middle of next week.
*** UPDATE *** The card has graded PSA 1 and we will upload an image upon return!
Where Did You Buy Cards in the 1950s?
Times have changed and so has the availability of baseball cards to those that are interested in buying them. Back in the 1950s, it was not uncommon for large displays to be set up to promote sports and non-sports cards in large department stores. One of the great examples of these store displays is this colorized photo from the Woolworth Store on Fordham Road in New York that presented a display that makes most collectors beg and plead for a time machine.
Just how many boxes are there? Are they high number boxes? Can you imagine pulling out dozens of crisp, pack fresh Jackie Robinson, Mickey Mantle, Pee Wee Reese and Eddie Mathews cards?
Are they low numbers? How many MINT Pafko cards? Would there be Joe Page and Johnny Sain bio variations?
Are they mid series? How many Yogi Berra and Willie Mays cards are hidden behind those wax wrappers? Maybe the black star Frank Campos variation was in there?
In the 1960s and 1970s, cards started to find their way into corner stores, Five and Dimes and candy shelves at the local drug store. In the 1980s and 1990s, they found their way onto shelf space in convenience stores and lined the shelves of card shops that sprung up like weeds in almost every neighborhood across the country.
By the mid 1990s, manufacturers were pumping out multiple brands and raising prices faster than the escalating player salaries. The baseball strike of 1994 put a huge damper on the baseball card market and the subsequent strike in hockey put a halt to the rising interest in hockey cards south of the Canadian border.
As we entered the 21st Century, card shops and weekly card shows disappeared like so many nickle packs of cards from decades past. The Internet and investment money changed the hobby dramatically.
Opening Vintage Packs
There aren't too many places left to find vintage sports cards in unopened form, but VintageBreaks.com has been offering collectors chances to share in the opening of these packs with some phenomenal offerings lately, including the 1955 Bowman Baseball Break that yielded a PSA 9 Mickey Mantle.
Schedule an Appointment to Meet Just Collect at a Show Near You
Just Collect travels to several shows on a regular basis. In the New York area, we often attend the White Plains Show at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, NY. If you're in the New England area, you can make an appointment to meet with one of our specialists when we're in the area for the Shriner's Show at the Aleppo Auditorium in Wilmington, MA. We also visit the Metro-DC area when we attend the CSA Show in Chantilly, VA. If you're in the South Jersey or Delaware area, you can also schedule appointments while we're in the Philadelphia area when we do The Philly Show in Valley Forge, PA.
We set up at The National Sports Collectors Convention every year and this year, it will be at the IX Center in Cleveland, OH and it has been in Chicago, Atlantic City and Baltimore in recent years. Additionally, we travel to the Sports Card and Memorabilia Expo in Mississauga, Ontario for those of you in the Toronto area that want to meet with us in Canada.
We've run into a wide range of people and collections over the past decade. Although we are known for buying vintage sports cards and especially vintage basketball cards, we are also extremely interested in buying non-sports cards, also!
Every collection and every collector is different and we treat EVERY collection with the respect and attention that we show for our own collections. We understand that many have put their heart and soul into building their collection. So when you're ready to sell, Just Collect understands the feelings that you're going through and we will work with you to help you reach a decision that is a WIN/WIN, because if you're not happy, we're not happy.
Won't They Be Worth More if I Grade Them Myself
We discuss all of the selling options with everyone that we meet with. In most cases, selling the collection on their own will put the most money on the bottom line, but it will also take an large commitment of time and energy and one that most are not ready or able to undertake. Another misconception is that grading the collection will return more money. When I hear people say, "You're just going to grade them and get ten times the money," I almost cringe. Grading a collection can be a money losing proposition, especially if you don't know what you're doing. And most times, we grade very few, if any cards, from average collections that we buy.
We value a collection based upon the condition and the value. If a card is worth $100 in a PSA 7 NM, we're going to value it at $100 whether it is ungraded or graded. You can spend hundreds or thousands of dollars grading your cards, but we're still valuing them the same and paying the same regardless of how much you've invested in grading them.