In my review of the 1959 Yoo-Hoo baseball card set for the 24th Post War Cards Newsletter and its expanded write-up on the oddball archive, I referenced the 1959 Yoo-Hoo Mickey Mantle card. While it’s not officially recognized as part of the set, due to its status as an advertising piece and different design, due to its rarity, and Mantle’s popularity, the card has become an object of desire for a lot of collectors. There are only eight known graded examples of this card in existence, and I’ve managed to track down images of seven of them. In this article, I’ll take a closer look at the 1959 Yoo-Hoo Mickey Mantle card, exploring its history, value, and place in the world of baseball card collecting.
First, here is how the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards describes the 1959 Yoo-Hoo Mickey Mantle card:
In a different format than the other contemporary Yoo-Hoo Yankees cards, the manner of original distribution of this card is unclear. The 2-5/8″ x 3-5/8″ black-and-white card has a portrait photo and endorsement for the product on front. Back is blank.
Under the description of the 1959 Yoo-Hoo set, they wrote that a Mickey Mantle advertising piece is often collected as an adjunct to the set, but no card of Mantle was issued. Beckett’s online checklist also refers to the 1959 Yoo-Hoo Mickey Mantle card as an advertising piece.
From an advertising perspective, Yoo-Hoo had a long-standing relationship with Yogi Berra, their spokesman, for around two decades, starting in the late 1950s when Berra became friends with the company’s owner. Berra helped recruit investors and brought in his teammates to help promote the drink, including Mickey Mantle. Robert Edward Auctions sold the following Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra Yoo-Hoo Advertising Sign for $3525 in April 2010. REA also sold a nicer version of the ad for $10,200 in the Fall of 2017.
It’s a really coveted advertising piece; Clean Sweep sold a slightly more worn version for $2577 in 2018. So clearly, Mickey Mantle was involved with the Yoo-Hoo brand; we just don’t know where the 1959 specific card came from!
But we do know that there are a lot of collectors who want a copy. There are 191 sets on the current finest list of the Mickey Mantle Master Set on the PSA Set Registry. And you need the 1959 Yoo-Hoo Mickey Mantle to finish the set. However, only eight copies are known to the hobby; PSA has graded five, and SGC has graded 3.
I’ve managed to track down images of seven of them and some of their sales history, too.
1959 Yoo-Hoo Mickey Mantle SGC 20 Fair 1.5
Hunt Auctions sold this card for $3500 in 2008.
1959 Yoo-Hoo Mickey Mantle PSA 7
The certification number matches if you visit the PSA database, but the Auction Prices Realized entry is wrong. If you follow the link to Heritage Auctions, the $28,600 card from February 2016 was actually a 1959 Home Run Derby Mickey Mantle. I’m not sure what the mix-up is. However, what’s interesting about this card is the extra material to the right and under the card. Could these cards all have been cut from a test sheet?
1959 Yoo-Hoo Mickey Mantle PSA 6 – Example 1
Robert Edward Auctions sold this PSA 6 for $36k in the fall of 2016, the first time they had offered one of these cards for sale. This example also has extra to the right and under the Mantle portrait. The sizing of the card is 4-1/4’’x 2-3/4″, while the “trimmed” versions are 2-5/8″ x 3-5/8″.
1959 Yoo-Hoo Mickey Mantle PSA 5
Goldin Auctions sold this version of the Yoo-Hoo Mickey Mantle card when it was graded Authentic for $6600 in January 2017.
It was later re-graded and came back in as a PSA 5.
1959 Yoo-Hoo Mickey Mantle PSA 6 – Example 2
Robert Edward Auctions sold the second PSA 6 graded example of the 1959 Yoo-Hoo Mickey Mantle card for $33k in the spring of 2018. This copy is a smaller cut copy.
1959 Yoo-Hoo Mickey Mantle PSA 4
Lelands Auctioned this PSA 4 1959 Yoo-Hoo Mickey Mantle card for almost $50k in December 2022. You can see that this copy has what appears to be a similar right-hand border as the larger-sized cards, but the cut isn’t quite flush with the portrait along the bottom.
1959 Yoo-Hoo Mickey Mantle SGC 80 EX/NM 6
This copy is currently up on eBay with an asking price of $195k.
1959 Yoo-Hoo Mickey Mantle SGC 5.5
This is the only graded copy I haven’t found a picture of.
I have read that Mastro sold a 1959 Yoo-Hoo Mantle for $9600 in early 2009, but I have no idea if it’s the SGC 5.5 or one of the others.
In conclusion, the 1959 Yoo-Hoo Mickey Mantle Card has become a fascinating and highly sought-after piece among baseball card collectors. And while only eight graded examples have surfaced to the hobby so far, it’s possible that a few raw copies may still be floating about as well. Whether you’re a serious collector or simply interested in the history of baseball memorabilia, the 1959 Yoo-Hoo Mickey Mantle Card is a truly unique and captivating piece that continues to captivate enthusiasts today.
PS: If you have more information about this card or a photo of the SGC 5.5, please get in touch with me via e-mail or on Twitter. And don’t forget to subscribe to the Post War Cards Newsletter, where I will share any updates about this card; happy collecting!