World's Best Mickey Mantle Baseball Card Collection Going on Display

Rich MuellerContributor IIIJuly 24, 2011

1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle
1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle

The single best high-grade Mickey Mantle baseball card collection will be on exhibit at the 2011 National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago next month.

The Donald Spence Collection includes each major card from Mantle's legendary New York Yankees career, spanning two decades—the 1950s and 1960s, all graded nine (mint) or 10 (gem mint) by authentication and grading firm PSA.

On display will be Spence's 1951 Bowman PSA 10 Mantle, a card valued at over $1 million. The entire collection is worth $2 million to $3 million according to Memory Lane Incorporated, the California auction company that is hosting the exhibit at its booth.

With the emphases on celebrating the 60-year anniversary of the 1951 Bowman Mantle rookie card, the exhibit will let fans and collectors actually see what the cards looked like when they came out of trading card packs since all feature razor sharp corners, beautiful gloss and brilliant, vibrant colors. 

Mantle played from '51 to the spring of 1969, when he retired with knee problems. His legion of baby boomer fans has made him a legend in the market and vintage Mickey Mantle cards have been especially good investments for those

The collection on display includes 12 cards given a PSA 10 (gem mint) rating, all of which have no peer in any other collection. Spence owns a 1952 Topps Mantle graded PSA 9 that is one of seven at that grade level known to exist.

The '51 Bowman is Mantle's "true" rookie card, but the '52 is actually often more sought after by collectors who piece together the iconic 1952 Topps set, the first issued by the legendary card company. Worth a pretty penny by itself, a 1952 Topps Mantle in PSA 9 grade has sold for in excess of $100,000.

Spence also owns one of the the most beautiful Mantle cards ever issued in the finest grade possible. His 1953 Bowman Mantle (PSA 10) is a 1 of 1—none have ever been graded higher. They are all just part of a massive and valuable collection owned by the former petroleum engineer.

The Texas collector owns a PSA 10 copy in 1955 Bowman as well as 1956, 1959, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1967, 1968 and 1969 Topps. 

Fans can come by and take pictures holding one of their favorite high-grade cards from the Mantle collection. It's the second time the collection has been on display at the NSCC show, which runs from August 3-7 at the Stephens Convention Center in Chicago.