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Graded 88 NM/MT 8 by SGC. Among more than 300 copies recorded in SGC’s census reporting, just six examples have been placed at a higher tier—an astonishing fact, in view of the hobby market's justifiable inclination to submit nearly every specimen of Mantle's rookie card for professional evaluation. It's only prudent, however, to be so careful when adjudging quality in such an important piece. Fittingly, SGC has affirmed the status of this high-grade example of one of card collecting's greatest classics, Mantle's first and true rookie card. Bowman's number 253 in 1951, picturing the young Yankee outfielder Mickey Mantle, has become properly and firmly established as one of the most valuable and desirable of all baseball cards. Advanced collectors are well-aware that there are fewer nominally top-quality 1951 Bowman Mantle "High Number" rookies available than there are of the double-printed 1952 Topps version. The 1951 cards were prone to a far greater incidence of printing defects than their larger-sized rivals. It is exclusively the truly rare and special Bowman card that is able to defy conventional wisdom and "beat the odds" set forth in accepted axioms of condition comparison. Presented is the epitome of "the truly rare and special," one of the finest 1951 Bowman Mantles known to our industry. The card is crisp and clean, with four square corners and exceptional printing registration. Vivid hues project brilliantly in highlighting Mantle's image on the cardfront, and this example is free of any of the issue's vexatious gum staining, a fault that so frequently mars the back of this entry. Perhaps most importantly, this example has none of the stigmatizing horizontal print lines in the background (caused by flaws in Bowman's printing process), which are such a frequent and persistent problem in the issue. When this card was tucked away long ago, clearly protected from erosive elements, to become a fascinating memento for future generations, no one could have guessed just how great an impact Mantle would have on the game of baseball, and how he would become an idol to millions of youngsters in the years to come. Here is a suitable talisman from the past, one of the very few objects of its kind that is fine enough to suitably honor Mickey Mantle in a sophisticated and thoughtfully composed collection of baseball cards. This is a very aesthetically appealing card due to its blazing color, extremely sharp focus, and, of course, its subject. A nicely centered and printline-free, flagship collectible, in Near Mint to Mint condition.
1951 Bowman #253 Mickey Mantle Rookie Card - SGC 88 NM/MT 8
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