In 1958, Topps introduced their first subset, a group of All-Star cards sponsored by SPORT Magazine. Yankee Slugger Mickey Mantle was, of course, included. In their 1959 release, Topps expanded to include three subsets, All-Star cards, Baseball Thrills, and Rookie Stars. Again, Mickey Mantle was in the All-Star set. I thought it would be interesting to compare the scarcity and cost of Mantle All-Star cards. Both are popular in the post-war baseball card market.
1958 Topps Mickey Mantle All-Star #487
The 1958 Topps All-Star cards aren’t the most attractive baseball subset in the industry’s history. Mantle’s features him completing a swing over a red background with white stars.
1959 Topps Mickey Mantle All-Star #564
Mantle’s 1959 All-Star card featured The Sports News at the top with a head and should shot in front of a bright blue background. Many say a better look than the 1958 All-Star cards.
Neither Mantle All-Star card is particularly difficult to find. However, there are almost there times as many 1958 Mantle All-Star cards graded by PSA than 1959s. There are 7684 graded 1958s and 2679 1959s (at the time of writing).
Sports Collectors Daily said that “It is believed that the All-Star cards of Mangle and Musial were triple printed to increase popularity with the year’s final series, issued during a time of year when baseball season was ending, and football was beginning.”
Because of the disparity in availability, it would be safe to presume that 1959s are valued higher, but how much? The data, of course, supports this hypothesis, but not linearly compared to population-based availability. I’ve averaged the last few available sales of each variety.
|1958 Topps Mantle All-Star $||1958 Topps Mantle All-Star Population||1959 Topps Mantle All-Star $||1959 Topps Mantle All-Star Population|
|PSA-9||2162||46 (3Q)||2628||40 (15Q)|
|PSA-8||496||681 (169Q)||665||301 (135Q)|
|PSA-7||253||1231 (128Q)||299||484 (91Q)|
The data shows that 1959 Topps Mickey Mantle All-Star Cards only sell for 20-30% more than the 1958 variety, despite being significantly scarcer in population.
I surmise there are a few possible reasons why. First, 1959 Topps is more demanding to put together since it’s a larger set. Second, any Mantle card is popular despite relative availability; he transcends typical hobby trends. Third, the disparity in grades is more pronounced at the PSA-7 level and lower for these all-star cards. Fourth, 1958 Topps is older, and people place a perceived increased value on “older” sets, despite being just one year older in this case. Fifth, 1958 feels more unique as it the first year Topps made subsets. The bottom line is that there are a lot of possible reasons to support the presented data.
Both 1958 and 1959 Topps Mickey Mantle All-Star cards carry value in the hobby. They are of the post-war era’s most collectible player and the first two years that Topps featured subsets. The population data supports the 1959s going for a higher price than the 1958s. However, the relative weight of that cost appears to be qualitatively, rather than quantitatively derived.