Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The card I've always wanted and now I have it. I rule!

I'm paraphrasing Lester Burnham only slightly.

At the end of yesterday's post, I alluded to a special purchase I was about to make at my local card shop. To be honest, it's a bit of a drive, so it's my "most local card shop", but the trip down was well worth it.

I follow Mike's Stadium Sportscards on Facebook, and when he put a particular card on offer Monday night at a not-completely-crazy-price, one that's been on my wishlist for many years, I asked him to hold it for me and promised I'd be by within 48 hours.

So, you ask, just what is this mystery card?

I won't keep you in suspense any longer.

1962 Topps #200 Mickey Mantle (PSA 3)
I got a chill down my spine captioning that scan.

I've mentioned my desire for this card to several dealers over many years, including my regular vendors at my monthly card show. It even occupied a special section of my Eight Men Out want list that I called the Cloud Nine card.

I've always had a soft spot for 1962 Topps. Before today, my biggest cash outlay for a single card was from that same set, Al Kaline's #150. I'm not much of a vintage collector, but I have four cards each from both it and 1955 Bowman.

You'll notice that those are both woodgrain sets. 

For the first decade of Topps Heritage, I was counting down the years until 2011, when the '62 design was due up. And there's plenty of that in my collection.

But I'm sure the reason I love woodgrain sets so much is because my first pack ever was 1987 Topps. When you're three years old and baseball cards have a woodgrain look, then darn it, that's how baseball cards should look. Topps disappointed us with yet another white border in 2012, breaking the 25-year cycle I hoped would continue.

The card back is pretty great, too. The write-up mentions both Mantle's 1956 Triple Crown and his role in the 1961 home run race, and we get a little cartoon showing The Mick in his legendary post-swing pose.

1996 Topps Mantle Finest #12 Mickey Mantle 1962 Topps (Reverse)
That's from a reprint (of course I have reprints of this card), since the real thing doesn't scan so well inside the slab.

I can't imagine that I'll make a thing of buying cards like this. In fact, it's the only graded card in my entire collection. But it's a real Mickey Mantle card, a name so synonymous with the hobby that Topps retired his number 7, my dad's favorite player when he was growing up in Queens, and a design that looks how I think a baseball card should look. How could I not have wanted it all these years?

Of course, this was a trip to the card shop, so I was sure to pick out some other stuff from the more affordable areas of the store, everything from mid-1990s $1 packs, to a few parallels and First Pitch inserts from 2015 Topps, and even a book for a friend. But all that I'll save for another post.

This card is special enough to stand alone.


  1. Nice - that's a strong looking 3 (to my untrained eye, anyway) - Any thoughts of breaking it out of the case, or are you leaving it in there for all time?

    Congratulations on crossing that one off your list!

    1. Forever is a long time, but I'll probably leave it in there. I'd keep this in a screw-down case if it weren't graded, as I do with that Kaline.

  2. Well done! It's one of the best Mantle cards there is.

  3. Fantastic pick-up!!! That was a much sought-after card in my elementary's schoolyard.

  4. That is an awesome card! Congrats on picking it up!